Tag Archives: Henrik Lundqvist

Sidney Says……..

ESPN asked 11 players which goalie they thought was the best in the NHL. Here’s what they said:

(Sidney’s answer is the the last.)

Thanks to Affairs de Gars.com for the link.

Mike Smith ( Phoenix Coyotes)  said Henrik Lundqvist – N.Y

Shea Weber (Nashville Predators)  Henrik Lundqvist
 
Patrick Sharp (Chicago Blackhawks) Henrik Lundqvist
 
Steve Ott (Buffalo Sabres) Henrik Lundqvist
 
David Backes (St. Louis Blues) Pekka Rinne – Nashville
 
Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) Pekka Rinne
 
Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) Jonathan Quick – L.A.
 
Matt Moulson (New York Islanders) Jonathan Quick
 
Tyler Seguin ( Dallas Stars) Tuukka Rask – Boston
Jonathan Toews ( Chicago Blackhawks) Roberto Luongo – Vancouver
 
Sidney Crosby (Penguins Pittsburgh)  Carey Price – Montreal

Habs High Five

Three shots in the first, seven in the second, and eight in the third, and as feeble as that may sound, the Canadiens still found a way to down the New York Rangers 3-1 at Madison Square Garden, and in doing so find themselves king of the hill, top of the heap, with five straight wins racked up to put them first in the East.

New York opened the scoring in the second period, and with Montreal’s lack of offence, one goal might have been enough. But it wasn’t. Not after Max Pacioretty, with his second of the season, found the back of the net with just 1:15 left in the middle frame. Perfect timing, this goal. And a downer, I’m sure, for the Rangers.

In the third, Alex Galchenyuk converted after nice work from linemates Brandon Prust and Lars Eller, and lately we’ve seen Chucky set up two winners ( against Florida and Carolina) and score his own winner tonight. The guy’s had a fine start to his big-league career, and he doesn’t seem nearly as cocky as Nail Yakupov in Edmonton. In fact, he’s as serious and focused as can be, mature for having just turned 19, and I’ll bet there’s an army of young Montreal ladies who’d love to help him take a shower.

Still, this game could have gone south in the final minutes when Tomas Plekanec took a tripping penalty with just 3:06 remaining, and shortly after Tortorella pulled Henrik Lundqvist for an extra attacker. But Raphael Diaz settled things when he sent the puck 170 feet into the empty net, and the streak continues.

They found a way, and the beat goes on.

Random Notes:

New York outshot Montreal 25-18. Carey Price, recovered from the flu, held the fort and as they say in hockey lingo, he gave his team a chance to win.

Lars Eller enjoyed a fine night, he skated hard and handled the puck well, and the coach should be pleased.

Next up – The Islanders at the Bell on Thursday.

Hopefully Brendan Gallagher’s concussion has vanished into concussion universe, never to be seen or heard from again.

So happy with the team right now, but if I was a bit of a nitpicker, I’d say Erik Cole was slightly lazy in covering his man in front of the net when the Rangers made it 1-0. But they won so all’s forgiven and forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rangers Tonight

Rangers

The Canadiens hit Broadway tonight for a meeting with the Rangers, and to keep their win streak alive, they know they’ll have to contain the big five – Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Andy Bathgate, and little Camille Henry. They also know they must be aware of the Ranger’s tight defence, with stalwarts such as Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto, Harry Howell, and Bill Gadsby patrolling the back end.

The Rangers sit eight in the east with 17 points, four points behind the second-place Habs, and at this point, N.Y. coach John Tortorella hasn’t announced whether he’s starting Henrik Lundqvist or Gump Worsley in goal.

A big game for the Habs, as they look to blast those Blueshirts and keep us happy.

Awards Night On The Strip

 

What rivals the Academy Awards, Grammys, Emmys, and Golden Globe Awards?

Not the NHL Awards Show, that’s for sure.

Tonight’s the night we see players wearing uncomfortable tuxedos and their women beaming proudly. We see awkward speeches, hopefully some seriously low cleavage in the audience, and no Scott Gomez anywhere. We’ve also seen Ron McLean completely out of his element as a stand-up comedian, a cringe-inducing time in space if there ever was one, and maybe he’s been told to stay home.

And for those of you who gag at the thought of Nickelback performing, please keep in mind that Robin Thicke sang a couple of years back and I ask you, what’s worse?

I don’t know exactly what it is about Nickelback. Everybody dumps on this Canadian band, but I don’t mind them. Is that uncool to say? Do you like Robin Thicke better?

When I was a truck driver working out of Calgary, I would sometimes deliver cases of food to various stores in Hanna, Alberta, home of the Nickelback guys and Lanny McDonald. I’ve never ever delivered groceries in Robin Thicke’s hometown of Los Angeles.

In the recent past, the Awards show has been at the Palms in Vegas, which must have been uncomfortable for the players, wives, and executives because the Palms is about three blocks from the Strip, which is way too far. Tonight they’ve moved to the Wynn, one of the nicest hotels in the city, right on Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip, and where, if rumours are correct, sex has taken place in hotels rooms at various times, although I heard that several years ago and I don’t know if it’s still the case.

The big ones are on the line.

Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, and Steven Stamkos are up for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the most valuable to his team. I say give it to Malkin and hopefully cameras pan in on his girlfriend jiggling as she claps.

The Vezina, judged by general managers as top goalie, have Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, and Jonathan Quick battling it out. Tim Thomas couldn’t make it because he’s committed to doing a song and dance at the White House.

The Norris sees Zdeno Chara, Erik Karlsson, and Shea Weber on the short list. Give it to Karlsson. He’s already been partly ruined by getting a big seven-year contract from the Ottawa Senators which will zap much of the hunger out of the kid, and now a Norris, which will zap even more. Sens owner Eugene Melnyk predicted that Karlsson will become one of the greatest defensemen in the history of the game, so load the money and awards on him now and we’ll see how this prediction stands up.

And the Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award goes to the league for coming up with the stupidest name for an award.

Other awards handed out tonight include player with the hottest wife or girlfriend, best stick boy, the Bridgestone Gomez Getting The Job Done Award, the Sean Avery For The Love Of The Game Award, and the Nickelback Courage Award for showing up when everyone hates them except me.

The one award that should be a lock, even if I am biased? Max Pacioretty taking home the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication. Max came back from a broken neck to blossom into a star power forward, and he’s done it with grace and style, never losing a beat after such a tragic event. What a nice touch it would be to see Zdeno Chara present this award.

Forget Those Three, We’ve Got P.K.

The Habs host the Oilers tonight, and yes, I’ve mentioned the young guns in Edmonton in the past and how well they’ve done, and I wish I hadn’t. Because Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle are the enemy. And I hate writing about players on other teams. Let their own bloggers spout admiring adjectives.

Besides, we have PK Subban, young like these three, as important to the Habs as they are to the Oilers, but who’s been sent to the back of the class by many as the new darlings become the teacher’s pet. Hopefully this evening will show a peach-fuzzed PK denting the boards by crushing these children as they scurry down the ice, full of themselves because the press won’t stop going on and on about them.

We need PK to show that he’s a step ahead of them in development. To take charge on power plays and make the crowd ooh and awe as he dashes up the ice with the puck. A goal or two, especially on the power play, would be a pleasant experience. Clean, punishing, thunderous checks, the order of the day.

We want Oilers fans tuned in to their televisions from the northern Alberta city to watch with appreciation as Subban does his job in a big way, and on this night at least, show those three as just ordinary soldiers.

PK has developed some sort of reputation with opposing teams and their fans, and unfortunately, officials too, and it needs to be corrected. Darth mentioned the other day, and rightly so, that most players probably wouldn’t have been penalized for spraying snow in the face of Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, but because it was PK, he was sent to the box. There have been accusations, right or wrong but probably right, of the odd slew-foot from PK, some questionable diving from time to time, and a lot of chirping, and it’s all unnecessary action from a budding superstar.

P.K. has hit a small boulder on the road to superstardom while these three have had a smooth highway so far. But starting tonight, our guy can show everyone that he’s the real deal, and Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, and Eberle, as good as they are, are still a step behind on the star chart.

 

 

A Little Snow In The Face

P.K. Subban getting an unsportsmanlike penalty for spraying a little snow on Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist seemed a little harsh, don’t you think?

Here’s an excerpt from the National Post, May 2011, after something similiar had occurred during a Red Wings-Sharks playoff game:

“Forget headshots and hits from behind or even ramming an opponent’s face WWE-style into the stanchion. What has got everybody up in arms is spraying tiny flecks ice into a goaltender toward a downed goaltender’s mask.

Snowgate is what some are calling it. And we will admit it is a cheeky move, not unlike Sean Avery waving his hands and stick in the face of Martin Brodeur during a power play a few years ago. In that instance, the league immediately stepped in and adopted the “Avery Rule,” which made such tactics punishable via an unsportsmanlike penalty.

But after the San Jose Sharks repeatedly sprayed snow in the face of Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard during Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference semi-finals, should the league start handing down penalties?

It is tough to say. In a lot of instances, the player is driving hard to the net in search of a rebound and then stopping inches from the downed goaltender, so spraying snow is inevitable. The referee would have to determine intent. Even then, we’re talking about a little snow.

Sharks captain Joe Thornton said it is part of the game. And Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said he has “no time for gimmick or circus acts.”

But it is clear that Howard believes his opponents are using a bit of gamesmanship.

“They’re trying to get under my skin,” said Howard. “I know that and I won’t let them.”

Not true, said McLellan, who believes all the talk about snow showering is to detract his players from going hard to the hard.

“We are going to the blue paint and no one is going to take that away from us,” he said. “We’re going to stop in the blue paint and we’re going to stand there. And nothing is going to change moving forward. I guess we have to be a little more cautious with where we stop in that blue paint, but that’s not changing.”

San Jose Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi said he would have no problems if referees penalized players for spraying snow, but in order to do so they would have to determine a player’s intentions.

“If you can do it during the play, you can make the goalie blind for a second,” said Niemi. “But once you get a break, like a whistle, then it’s different.

“If you do it on purpose, maybe yeah. Sometimes I think they’re coming for a rebound and it just happens.”

And here’s Kerry Fraser weighing in on the same playoff incident, from The Malik Report, May, 2011

Kerry Fraser weighs in on Sharks’ ‘snow showers’ on Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard

by George Malik on 05/02/11 at 04:31 PM ET
Updated at 5:59 PM: Todd McLellan and Joe Pavelski say nothing will change: The sidebar story of note regarding the Red Wings 2-1 loss to San Jose on Sunday involved the Sharks’ continued use of “snow showers” to annoy Jimmy Howard, and TSn analyst and former referee Kerry Fraser says that at least he’d call a penalty on the Sharks (which is a no-no, as we already know) for their antics:

Grab the shovel because you are bang on relative to the ‘snow job’ that Jimmy Howard is getting. As a referee, I wanted players to STOP before running into the goalie. The method and purpose here, however, is blatantly obvious. Action must be taken by the referees. Here’s how I would have handled the situation.

The second time it happened I would have approached the San Jose bench and had a direct conversation with coach Todd McLellan. Todd is a very intelligent coach and an excellent guy to deal with. I would have said, “Todd, we have a pattern here that you and I need to address. The next Shark player that stops hard for the purpose of deliberately throwing snow in Jimmy Howard’s face will receive an unsportsmanlike minor penalty! Can I count on you to take care of this please before I have to?”

Knowing Todd as I do I believe that would be all it would take? If, however it did happen again my greatest hope is that the act would be committed by the worst offender – Joe Pavelski! One call would take the snow plow off the road until next winter and justice would be served.

Continued, and he regrettably is equally demonstrative about the fact that “incidental contact” is a non-reviewable play…

Let’s all be surprised because, via the Mercury News’s Mark Emmons, the Sharks plan on continuing to shower Howard:

McLellan had a short, unapologetic response to that before boarding the plane Monday morning.

“Then there shouldn’t be any loose pucks laying there, and we won’t go there,” he said. McLellan also added: “We’re going to the net anytime there’s a loose puck there, and we’re stopping in the blue paint. It’s as simple as that.”

Pavelski, who got into a shoving match with Howard in Game 1 after a shower that earned both of them roughing penalties, said there is no intent.

“It’s not like we’re coming from long distances when the puck’s not there,” Pavelski said. “He’s bobbling pucks and we’re going hard. If the puck’s just laying there and he’s taking awhile to cover it up, you go. You have to do it because if you swing away and the puck is just laying there for a tap-in, that would stay with you for a few weeks.”

 

 

Habs Show Some Moxie In Loss To Rangers

It was a 6-3 loss for the Canadiens in New York, but that’s only part of the story. Because I’ll bet the Rangers breathed a sigh of relief when their sixth goal went in during a late-game power play.

This was one loss that doesn’t sting. After all, Montreal was down 5-1 after the first period, with Carey Price pulled in favour of seldom-used Alex Auld, and instead of the boys giving up, it became au contraire. Auld played probably his finest game this season and made several outstanding saves. And slowly but surely, with Auld doing his part, the Habs began to make a game of it. This, after playing the night before against Tampa with the Rangers waiting cosily at home.

The team began to scratch out a fine performance. James Wisniewski blasted one home in the second period to make it 5-2. Then Brian Gionta tipped in a Wiz shot and it was 5-3. And they kept coming. Without question the boys had their chances to get within one, and at that point the game would have been absolutely up for grabs.

It could have been a great night. It wasn’t, but it could’ve been.

Unfortunately, a referee put the whole thing to bed. At the 16:21 mark of the third period, Benoit Pouliot came close to netting one of those aforementioned huge markers but in the process was hurled into Henrik Lundqvist by a Ranger defender. Pouliot had no say in the matter, it wasn’t his choice, and was wrongly penalized. It was a call that iced it for the home team.

At this point Jacques Martin almost showed emotion. 

The Rangers then proceeded to score their sixth with Pouliot in the box, and that was all she wrote.

I’m not upset with this loss. Not at all. Some games I want to throw a brick at the TV, but in this one, I sat back and watched a seriously depleted lineup play with guts and heart. We just need some guys back, that’s all.

Random Notes – no Hal Gill, Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Halpern, along with all the usual cast of characters. 

TSN kept going on about Brandon Prust answering the bell in a big way against Travis Moen with only one second played in the game, but no one said one word about Travis Moen answering the bell in a big way against Brandon Prust.

Prust and Subban also sort-of-tangled after the Ranger took out Price in the crease.

Subban also opened the scoring in the first period with a big shot from the blueline.

Shots on goal – 31-25 Rangers

Next up – Sunday in Minnesota.

Habs Hold On For Dear Life

I’d first like to address any Habs fans who happened to be at the Bell Centre to see the Canadiens’ 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

You lucky bastards and bastardettes.

You saw it all in living colour, and you got your money’s worth. You saw a big win in a deafening barn. You watched Andrei Kostitsyn fire one home in dramatic fashion. You cheered as Travis Moen got his licks in against Kris Newbury. You laughed to see NY coach John Tortorella jaw it out with a spectator behind the bench. You yelled and booed as Henrik Lundqvist jumped Max Pacioretty. You were there for two big power play goals and you witnessed a dominant Habs team.

Yep, you saw real good stuff. FOR TWO FREAKIN’ PERIODS ONLY.

Montreal owned the Rangers after forty minutes, outshooting them 29-12, blasting away at a fatigued Lundqvist who barely had time to catch his breath before another onslaught would arise. It was beautiful, passionate, a big relief over what we’ve seen lately.

Then it all fell apart. Almost.

As been the case lately with the boys making it way too hard on themselves, I’ll bet we almost expected what would happen next. The Canadiens let the other team back in, and early domination evaporated as the Rangers controlled, scored again, hit the post, were all over the Habs, outshot them 21-12 in the final frame, and almost came all the way back to shock those lucky folks who happened to be at the Bell Centre, not to mention the rest of us.

A game we had in our back pocket.

That was way too close for comfort. Whew! With my wife in Vancouver and just me and the cat hanging out, maybe I should walk down to the corner pub.  I need something to calm the nerves.

Random Notes:

There was one delicious little incident that made me glow all over. Brandon Dubinsky was speaking yesterday about the apparent PK Subban slew foot, and he said that he hoped Subban might do something in tonight’s game so they could take advantage of it and score. But in fine and poetic fashion, Dubinsky let things get the best of him, went after Subban for no real reason, took a penalty of his own, and voila, Habs scored!

It was just one of those things that makes my day. It also must have been tough to take for Dubinsky.

Shots on goal - 41-33 Habs.

Wiz had assists on the Roman Hamrlik and Tomas Plekanec power play goals.

Next up – Calgary in town Monday.

Habs Win A Big One In Manhattan

Sometimes those plain and simple no-frills road games can be so important in the scheme of things.

Montreal, in beating the Rangers 2-1 at Madison Square Garden, earn a blue collar road win, collect two points, and they do it with Alex Auld getting it done in nets and coming through when we needed him to.

Auld was sometimes good, sometimes average, and sometimes lucky, and this successful outing can only help his game and give his coaches and fans the confidence that all is not lost when Carey Price has a well-deserved night off.

It was a road game the Canadiens wanted to win, which is another of those understatements I seem to come with every so often. They edge just two points closer to New York in the Eastern Conference. They stay neck and neck with the Bruins for first in the Northeast. And Carolina, chasing the Habs for the final playoff spot, beat Calgary tonight 6-5 in a shootout, but failed to gain ground with Auld and company winning this big game in the Big Apple, a city bracing itself as a frigid Mother Nature decides to be bitchy again..

Now Price gets his rest, the team gets the points, Auld gets his win, and even though the Habs continue to be a feeble scoring machine, a win is a win.

Now, all they have to do is fight the snow and winds to get back to Montreal to meet and greet the Penguins, who are already there all toasty and pampered.

Random Notes:

So far it’s still Jaroslav Spacek credited with Montreal’s first goal but it sure seemed that it went in off Mathieu Darche, who also thought so. Regardless, it tied it at one.

Benoit Pouliot fooled Henrik Lundqvist with a nice shot over the goalie’s shoulder to win it. Pouliot’s had his moments lately to be sure.

Penguins tomorrow. Let’s hope the plane back to Montreal ride isn’t too stressful.

Shots on goal – 38-26 Habs.

Dusting Off The Crystal Ball. Let The Games Begin.

The Hockey Barn asked me to write down my predictions for the opening round of the playoffs, and although predictions are for gypsies, as Toe Blake used to say, I’m giving it a shot.

Anything can happen come playoff time. Every team is just one small injury or one bouncing puck away from sinking like the Titanic. Surprises are the order of the day. Overwhelming favourites stink the joint out. Journeymen rise, at least for a few weeks, to stardom. Cheers and tears abound. Pencils are sharpened for playoff pools.

And in the end, after it’s all been sorted out, the team with the will, talent, luck, endurance, and great goaltending emerges from the pack and hoists the Stanley Cup while champagne is poured over interviewers’ heads, and there’s wild celebration and dancing in the street. It’s a beautiful thing. Trust me, non-hockey fans.

In the east, Montreal and Boston will lock horns for the 32nd time. Washington will play the Rangers. New Jersey meets Carolina, and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia fight it out.

Who will emerge?

This is the playoffs, not the regular season, so throw out the window Boston’s marvelous regular season record where they ended up first over-all. It wouldn’t be the first time the first place team fell to the eighth place squad. Montreal’s the solid underdog, no one with any sense at all gives them a chance. And for that reason alone, I’m picking Montreal in seven.

Washington’s too good, I think, for New York, with the great Alex Ovechkin to cause fits. But also add star defenceman Mike Green to the mix and it proves too much for the Rangers, who have the dubious honour of having Sean Avery on the team. So, who would you pick, a team with Ovechkin and Green, or a team with Avery? Washington in six. I’d say five but New York has one thing going for them, a solid goaltender named Henrik Lundqvist. And we know what goaltending can do in the playoffs.

New Jersey ended high in the eastern standings, but Carolina came on strong late in the year. This is a close one to pick, but I’m saying New Jersey in seven, only because they have a winner in goal named Martin Brodeur. Although he’s old. But so were Terry Sawchuk and Johnny Bower in 1967.

In the Battle of Pennsylvania, Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and company should outlast the Flyers. I’ve got a personal Habs-related grudge against the Flyers, and the Kate Smith magic vanished years ago. Penguins in six.

In the west, first place  San Jose takes on Anaheim, Detroit meets Columbus, Vancouver and St. Louis will battle, as will Chicago and Calgary.

San Jose should have no problem whatsoever with Anaheim. I think it’s going to be short and sweet. Sharks in five. Of course, I may be way out in left field about this one, but I’m sticking with short and sweet.

Same for Detroit over Columbus. Detroit, the defending champions, just have too much artillery, and although Columbus played well this year, they should prove no match for the Wings. Detroit in six.

You never know what you’re going to get from Vancouver. How many times can they disappoint their fans in the playoffs? They have possibly the best goaltender in the league, a good, solid defence, and some great forwards like Ryan Kessler and Alex Burrows. (Should I mention Mats Sundin, who scored nine goals in 41 games?) So, with Luongo and the Sedins and Burrows etc, my prediction is – St. Louis in seven.

I really want Calgary to beat Chicago, but I don’t think it’ll happen. The Flames are not going into the playoffs in playoff form, they’re injured, and Chicago has had Calgary’s number this year. Although it would be fun to see, there should be no upset here. Chicago in six. Sorry Calgary. I hope I’m wrong.