Tag Archives: Henrik Lundqvist

Habs And Rangers Back A Bit

Mike Wyman posted the clip below on his Facebook page yesterday, which is a minute from a 1932 playoff game between the Canadiens and Rangers.

The title reads – The Lightning Game – Canada beats America in Play-Offs for Stanley Trophy. And in the spring of 1932, both Aurele Joliat and Pit Lepine were injured and didn’t play. So we beat the bastards that night even with key injuries.

At about the 41 second mark, you can see Howie Morenz (number 7) making one of his spirited dashes up ice. A quick sampling of the man’s talent, and so great to see. We need some of that flair on Thursday.

George Hainsworth is in goal for the Canadiens, John Roach is the Rangers netminder, and  Ching Johnson is the big, balding Rangers defenceman rushing near centre ice. Ching trips, like a Ranger should.

Roach’s nickname was “The Port Perry Cucumber”. For Henrik Lundqvist, I like “The Swedish Squash”.

Number 12 for the Habs that you see a couple of times is probably Dunc Munro, who was playing his lone season with the Canadiens, but teammate Georges Mantha, who usually wore number 6, also wore 12 at times during this era.

Toronto won the Cup that year but that’s certainly not interesting.

Canadiens Drop Game 2

It began with such promise. The Canadiens came out flying, they were a team on a mission, a team that looked like they wanted it in a big way.

All four lines were motoring. The DD, Max, Gally combo especially was on fire, and after some great work during that first frame, Max slipped it by Henrik Lundqvist and the building was alive.

Happy days were here again. Strike up the band.

The joy lasted 17 seconds.

A puck off Josh Gorges, the score was tied just like that, and in the last minute of play Rick Nash beat Dustin Tokarski on his glove side, it became a 2-1 contest, and all that flying around and buzzing in the Rangers’ end was sucked down the drain.

The killer came in the second when Alex Galchenyuk was sent to the box for sort of tripping Carl Hagelin, who should have no problem getting a job as stuntman in Hollywood when his playing days are over. And with the man advantage, Martin St. Louis converted a nice passing play and it became a very discouraging 3-1 score for the visitors.

Montreal just couldn’t solve Lundqvist, no matter how well they were playing. And there was a young and inexperienced goaltender down at the other end who would need more than just one feeble goal from his guys to help matters.

That was that. A 3-1 win by New York, the Canadiens are now in a huge hole, and although Dustin Tokarski played well, he didn’t provide miracles, which we were relying on him to do in storybook fashion.

The fact is, although the Canadiens outshot the Rangers 41-30, they also flubbed way too many chances, chances that didn’t hit the net, pucks over the net, pucks shot wide, and of course far too many pucks that Lundqvist saw.

And then there’s Thomas Vanek, who can soon go to Minnesota and live happily after. If they still want him.

This guy isn’t close to what we saw in the regular season. You remember – the guy who revitalized Max and helped create a sensational big line, who made smart pinpoint passes, who hit the back of the net when the opportunity arose.

The guy who was turning out to be our best player. Who helped lead the charge in the final month. The guy we wanted management to shower with money. The one who was going to love Montreal’s hockey atmosphere so much. We had a sliver of hope that he’d stay and become a full-time Hab.

Now, for lack of a better description, he’s become a bum.

He’s making horrible decisions. His passes are well off. He looks lazy and not terribly interested. He’s a guy showing that when things get going, he doesn’t.

As far as the goaltending situation goes, maybe Peter Budaj should’ve played. Maybe Michel Therrien, in one surprising hunch to use Toker, ripped the guts out of Budaj. Maybe Budaj would’ve grabbed that Rick Nash shot and the teams gone to intermission tied 1-1.

It’s all hindsight now. It’s also very depressing.

Next game – Thursday in Manhattan. It’s desperate times.

Series Has Only Just Begun

Okay, a few dark clouds have drifted in. When haven’t they?

A 7-2 throttling in game one. A possible Carey Price injury. A situation where a two-game series lead for the Rangers would suck much more than a 7-2 series opener.

But if Price is injured, if we find ourselves suddenly in a wretched hole, keep in mind it’s still not over. Our dream of seeing the Habs competing for the Stanley Cup isn’t done until the mature and the gentlemanly handshakes have begun.

What I’m saying is, except for the truly dominant teams over the years, which we all know Montreal isn’t quite yet but regardless, the road to the Stanley Cup has always been lined with more potholes than Montreal streets, which, if you’ve driven Montreal streets, is a lot.

Guys get injured, unknown factors and horrible surprises crop up. But championship teams, teams that scraped and clawed and came out bruised, battered and bloodied, somehow found a way to reach the promised land, and if Carey Price is hurt and Peter Budaj is forced to come in, everyone deals with it, plays even that much harder, blocks even that many more shots, chemistry and bonding boils over the top, and their names ultimately become inscribed on the Stanley Cup through blood, sweat, and tears.

Man that was a long sentence.

Teams don’t usually coast to the Stanley Cup. Some of the 1970s Habs teams might have, but not in general. Sometimes they coast to the first place in their division, and maybe through the first few rounds of the playoffs, but not all the way to the Cup. If it was like that, it wouldn’t be the most meaningful trophy in all the land.

If Price is hurt, which we still don’t know yet, the scenario we hope for is this: Budaj is forced to come in, he stands on his head, the team carries on and wins it all, and Budaj is forever after talked about by fans and historians as the the guy who, as a backup goalie, joined the fray and helped his team win it all.

How great would that be? We’ve seen Budaj perform in unreal situations this year, so why not again? It’s the best and only thing we can ask, aside from Price being okay and is good to go.

As far as the Chris Kreider’s crash into Price controversy goes, I’ve looked at the play below several times, and although you might disagree, I have this to say about it.

All season long I’ve harped about the fact that not enough Canadiens are willing to crash the net. Aside from Brendan Gallagher, it’s just not what we’ve seen from most guys on most nights. Chris Kreider was skating hard, as he should be, and in a nano second, his skate may have done some damage, which I hope wasn’t the case.

Did he have time to react differently? Not by what I saw on the video.

I know Michel Therrien isn’t happy about it, and I know Brandon Prust said it was “accidentally on purpose”. But this was a split-second situation during the world’s fastest game and I’m giving the guy the benefit of the doubt.

I’m not about to become a Chris Kreider fan. Are you kidding? I hope Alexei Emelin leaves a dent in the boards with Krieder’s body the way Larry Robinson did with Gary Dornhoefer. I hope we never have to mention his name again. I hope a slapshot removes all his teeth. I hope he turns out to be a bum and ends up selling vacuum cleaners door to door.

I’m just saying I want more from the Habs like what Kreider did. Skate like the wind, blow by guys, don’t let up when you reach the crease.

It would also be just fine if Henrik Lundqvist tasted some of the medicine that was given to Price. Let the Rangers be forced to use to their backup goaltender.

All’s fair in love and war.

 

 

Habs Trounced In Opener

It’s not surprising that after such an emotional Boston series, against a team that played such a drastically different style, the Canadiens might look slightly out of sorts in game one of the Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers.

Just didn’t think it would be that much out of sorts.

It was all Rangers, all the time. So much so that our esteemed backstopper Carey Price was relieved of his duties after two frames, with Peter Budaj getting his first shot at the 2014 playoffs.

The Canadiens need to seriously readjust. The Rangers can absolutely fly, but the saving grace is that the Canadiens can too, and once they truly become accustomed to this non-Bruins style of play, they should be fine.

Talk about a wake-up call, a stick to the groin, a water bottle spray to the faces, including ours. Just a dismal start for the team and to disappointed Habs fans who have been so excited and hopeful.

7-2. What the $%#% is that?

Ill-timed penalties. A collapse in the second period when it was just a 2-1 lead for the Blueshirts and the Habs playing much better than in the first.

But with 61 seconds left in the middle frame it was 3-1, and then with 12 seconds left, 4-1.

The third? Three goals in 3:08. All power play goals, the first with Max in for roughing, the other two because of several Prust  transgressions.

One of those games where I had contemplated paying several extra bucks and springing for a scalpers ticket, to soak in the atmosphere. To say I was there in the moment.

I didn’t, and I’m very happy about that. Now I have more money for food.

It was one of the more miserable nights in recent memory, except of course the beginning when the torch kid did his thing and then Ginette did hers. And maybe not quite as bad as game two of the Bruins series when the Canadiens led 3-1 with nine minutes left and lost 5-3.

One thing to keep in mind. It’s a seven-game series. We’ll see a different Habs team on Monday. They’ll have lots to ponder.

They’ll regroup, adjust, and come out a different team. No problem. And I think I’m going to stay away from TV sports highlights for a couple of days.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were undisciplined, including Rene Bourque in the sinbin for three separate minors and Brandon Prust given two separate minors and a 10 minute misconduct, and when the final dust had settled, the Habs had spent 24 minutes in the box and the Rangers just four.

And as far as undisciplined goes, it was the complete opposite of the Bruins series when they stayed cool, calm, and collected.

If you’re curious, Rene Bourque slipped the puck across the line behind Henrik Lundqvist for the Canadiens’ first goal, which was assisted by linemates Brian Gionta and Lars Eller. And late in the third, Eller scored an unassisted shorthanded marker.

Shots on goal, 28 for the Rangers and 22 for Montreal, including just six for the Habs in the first and six in the third. They need to make Lundqvist work much harder than that.

 

 

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.”