Tag Archives: hockey

Nine UFA’s. Should They Stay Or Should They Go?

It was probably somewhere around the end of the first period of the Habs-Leafs game when I became finally convinced that the Canadiens need to be blown up and started almost from scratch again. It was such a pathetic sight. They actually made the Leafs look like one of the greatest teams in the history of hockey. How bad is that?

So with that in mind, the following is the list of Montreal’s nine unrestricted free agents for 2009. What will Bob Gainey do with this bunch? Of course, if another team opens up the vault for any of these guys, let ‘em go, no problem. These thoughts are only about keeping someone if it makes fiscal sense. None of them deserve a raise anyway.

The big nine are Francis Bouillon, Mathieu Dandenault, Saku Koivu, Mike Komisarek, Tom Kostopoulos, Alex Kovalev, Robert Lang, Mathieu Schneider, and Alex Tanguay.

Francis Bouillon is a fairly steady rearguard, but nothing more than that. Often, you won’t hear his name mentioned, but he’s out there. Just a tad small, that’s all. I suppose I’d keep him, although I’m not overly excited about it.

I’ve always thought Mathieu Dandenault was a little underappreciated by the coaches. He sits out often, sometimes when healthy, sometimes when hurt, but he can play both defence and forward. But he’s slow, has seen better days, and the team needs to make room for young guys like PK Subban. I think Mathieu is gonzo.

Saku Koivu is having a lousy year, like most of his teammates. He’s also seen better days. But I think they should hold on to him. I’m not even sure why. Maybe because he’s captain, or something like that.

Mike Komisarek is in my bad books. If Gainey can keep him without giving him some kind of big fat raise, then fine. This is one guy who doesn’t deserve a raise. He deserves a cut in pay. He’s lucky he wasn’t delegated to the press box a bunch of times. If he goes, I’m not feeling bad.

Tom Kostopoulos works hard every night, and even shows admirable leadership qualities. He’s just a grinder, that’s all. But I like grinders, so I think he should stay. I just wish he had the tools to pick it up a notch the way Maxim Lapierre did this year.

Robert Lang was doing the job in fine fashion until he got hurt. In fact, the Habs began sinking like a stone shortly after he was hurt, which is no coincidence. Gotta try and keep this guy.

Mathieu Schneider could be really effective if he could hit the net. But he can’t, he’s old, and he should probably just go.

Alex Tanguay could’ve had a good season this year if he wasn’t on the shelf for half of it. But he’s got some good years left, he’s basically a good player, and Montreal needs him. I think he should stay.

And then there’s Alex Kovalev. ‘Pacca’ is Russian for ‘bye bye.’ So pacca, Alex. And before you close the door, could you give back some of the salary you stole please?

Guest Writer Jim Takes A Hard Look At Don Cherry

You may have read Jim before. He’s had it up to here with shootouts. He comments regularly on the state of the game and how it could be fixed. And beginning now, in three installments, he sets his sights on possibly the only person more opinionated than himself, Don Cherry. 

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                 WHY DON?

I:  POOFING DON

 Should Don retire?  Two ways to reply to this question are:  first, respond directly to it as if it raised a legitimate topic for discussion;  second, examine it’s provenance, question the question, as it were – why has the question even been posed and who posed it?  My position here is clear and unequivocal – of the two, the second approach is the best one because it is the one that impels us to think about Don in an effort to understand  the truly interesting question,  `Why Don?’.

 Should Don retire?  From what?  He can’t retire from himself.  He can’t retire from hockey.  He can’t retire from being a public personality because, after all, it’s The Media, in all its magisterial might, and not Don who decides what is newsworthy and what is not.  Whether or not Don is deemed so a la Paris Hilton or otherwise is, perhaps, moot, however the indubitable fact is that The Media has ordained that Don is NEWS and it is from this fount that all things Donian flow including this question.  Thus, the question is bogus, the appropriate question might be, `Should The Media retire Don?’ If the answer is yes, then I suppose they could start by retiring Coach’s Corner and go from there, stop flashing his mugg at us, passing on his opinions, talking about him – censure any mention of him whatsoever in all the mainstream media, in effect, make him go poof!  Unfortunately (for the anti-Donians), the dood is incorrigible, he simply won’t keep still and, like the Cheshire Cat in Wonderland, he’ll undoubtedly pop out of the infosphere somewhere/when else.  The internet. The local arena.  Bobby Orr’s birthday bash.  Blue II’s funeral.  

  And does The Media really want to retire Don?  After all, it is plugged into him as much as he into it, eh?  As well, The Media insistantly reminds us that it would never ever censure The News!  It merely reports it, the facts  – that Don is, well, out there is not a fact of their making –  and nothing else, that it doesn’t `spin’ possible meanings, that it doesn’t design page-layouts, pick n’ choose and order items in order to favour one interpretation, one position, one set of beliefs over another – after all, it’s not in the propaganda biz, is it?  Nevertheless, culpable as The Media is in the creation of Don, it would be remiss to lay the entire blame for him at its doorstep.

   Don is not merely a two-dimensional construct of The Media, he is also very much a creation of us, the Canadian Hockey Fan..  Perhaps the ultimate responsibility for retiring Don lies with US.  Should WE retire Don? Should WE  take undertake a  determined pro-active initiative to make Don go poof!  WE could do it.  WE could band together, kick things off with a country-wide burning of Don – in symbolic effigy form, of course.  Make Don’s retirement into a national holiday akin to Guy Fawkes day in England with speeches and beer, fireworks galore and balloons and candy apples and everything else that goes into such an event.  I’m sure The Media would luv to help US out.  The ratings would be astronomical and the advertising revenue awesome.  Imagine, Don would go up in flames on practically every block in Canada as WE unite in our unanimous desire to exorcise Don from OUR collective as-yet-to-be-determined sense of self. 

 And Don would be more than happy to lend a hand.  He could deliver a nationally televised rant on European hockey players, fisticuffs, the instigator rule, no-touch icing, etc etc, after which he could diss Ron, tell him for the umpteenth time that he doesn’t know what he is talking about whereupon Ron, his mug graced with a beatific smile, would, after a good bad pun appropriate to the occasion, set a torch to a giant effigy of Don on Parliament hill then a select posse of sports writers could lead US in consigning his Rock `Em Sock `Em stuff and whatever else they deemed was tainted with the imprint of un-Canadian Donism to the cleansing flames. 

 Religous /feminists/environmentalists/activists-at-large could denounce Don as a dinosaur, a relic of a by-gone era, and as such an intolerable obstacle on OUR journey to national self-realization and therefore guilty of creating his own reality – it’s clearly his fault that WE are forced to make him go poof. 

 The politicos could chip in, too. The next morning the Prime Minister could give a speech in which he announces that effective immediately it would be a criminal offence punishable by a fine of no less than $19.37 plus GST and 78 minutes in the corner of the Kindergarten class nearest to the offender to even say Don let alone name your baby after him.  In fact, not only the name Don but the very word could be erased from OUR lexicon.  No more Don! No more don! And Cherry/cherry, too. Kiss `em goodbye! In less than 24 hours Don would be officially gone – after all, WE Canadians are respectable law-abiding citizens, eh?  No longer would he be in OUR collective face and on the tip of OUR tongue and, unlike the Cheshire Cat, his poofing would be terminal leaving US Don-free to continue OUR quest to find ourselves, to create a new vibrant identity that captures and expresses OUR Commitment To Diversity, to being everybody and nobody – a  challenge that only a progressive post-post-modern Canada can meet – and become living proof that `It Is All Relative’ as WE lead the way in the forging of a Brave New World, a peaceful haphaphappy world from which all those bestial atavistic urges and surges inherent in Donism have been eradicated

 An alluring vision, eh?  Alas, like all utopian dreams, it is impractical.  Why? I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Late, Great Enemy Watch News. Thank You Sabres and Panthers!

The Buffalo Sabres beat Boston 4-2 in Boston today. This ends the Bruins’ ten-game winning streak. It’s so nice to see this over-achieving band of Beantown gangsters lose, and hopefully it’s the beginning of many more losses to come.

 

Also….Florida took it to Pittsburgh, winning 6-1 in Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby was in a couple of fights, the goon.

Thank you Florida. I’ll try to be nicer to you in the future. 

 

Later on, two Habs enemies clash with each other when the Rangers play Washington. It’s a no-win situation here. We need both to lose somehow. Also, hopefully Tampa Bay can beat Carolina and LA destroys Philadelphia.

 

It’s all for the good of the Habs, people.

What You Need To Know If You Ever Own A Big-Time Arena

Have you ever wondered how they change the floor quickly between a basketball game and a hockey game?

 

The cement floor has a bunch of freezer tubes of ethylene glycol (antifreeze). To make the rink, the floor is cooled to zero degrees. An eighth of an inch of water is then sprayed on and freezes. The ice is painted white with fine talcum powder and then another half inch of water is sprayed on to freeze. The whole process takes about 12 hours. Removing the ice means heating the tubes until the floor hits about 68 degrees (20 c) and the sheet of ice pops loose. A tractor with a blade breaks up the sheet and shoves the pieces into a pit. The heated tubes dry the floor rapidly and the basketball boards are laid on top. (From The Slice, by Katherine Dunn)

Jumping Out Of The Pages Of ‘The Sweater.’ Leo Likes His Habs.

The young boy in the middle, in his steet clothes, is Leo Brosseau. Leo grew up in Quebec in the 1930’s and ’40’s before moving west to Powell River to work in the mill and marry a local girl. He’s been here ever since.

 

He wasn’t able to play with his team for a while because of a broken arm so he became assistant coach to the coach/priest. That’s the priest in the back.

 

Leo, of course, is retired now, has recently beaten cancer, and every few years flies back to Montreal to see a game. He never fails to tell me what the team needs to do to improve. Leo knows his hockey.

 

This photo is a a real life version of Roch Carrier’s ‘The Sweater.’

 

 

 

Carey Price And Andrei Kostitsyn Beat The Penguins

On paper it was a solid 3-2 road win for the Canadiens. But in reality, they got through by the skin of their teeth against a dangerous Pittsburgh team led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin, of course.

 

But no matter. A win is a win is a win. And anytime you see Carey Price stand on his head like he did tonight, you know it can only be a good sign. Price on top of his game means Price is on top of his game. (You know what I mean.)

 

And anytime you see Andre Kostitsyn come through in a big way, in this case three goals after just returning to the lineup, and you also know someone else is chipping in while guys like Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, and Tom Plekanec were asleep at the wheel for the most part.

 

It’s always a good win when you’re not firing on all cylinders and still get it done, and Montreal now heads down to Florida with a nice two points in the bag.

 

Hey, we’ll take it. On paper it was a solid win.

 

Game Notes:

 

The Habs play the Panthers Monday and Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Four big points here would be a great way to close off the year.

 

ENEMY WATCH

 

New Jersey beat the Rangers. This is good as the Rangers drop to third place with 47 points, only three more than the Habs who remain fifth in the east.  Good job, Devils. Just don’t think about catching the Habs.

The Real Season Is About To Begin. Help The Right Teams To Lose

The second season is about to begin and it’s where men are separated from boys. It’s where the Habs will begin to mount their serious climb up the summit. But a lot of it is up to us. We need to know how to watch and cheer against certain teams. It’s crucial that we send out good vibrations to the Canadiens and bad vibrations to the rest.

 

It all begins Saturday night when the good guys demolish the Pittsburgh Penguins. And then we start rolling.

 

There’s many villains involved, and we need to watch them closely as this second half of the season unfolds.  

 

Montreal sits in fifth place in the east with 42 points. So for us to properly watch hockey, we must concentrate on the four teams ahead of them – Boston -54 points, Rangers – 47, Washington – 45, and Philadelphia – 45.

 

There are also four teams behind the Canadiens to keep an eye on too. New Jersey – 41 points. Pittsburgh – 40, and Buffalo and Carolina with 37.

 

All of these teams must lose. Lose like crazy. These are bad friggin teams. Wretched teams. The players on these teams aren’t nice people. Especially Boston’s number 17, Susan Lucci, and most of the Flyers for that matter.

 

Imagine if Philadelphia finished ahead of Montreal in the standings? I think I’d feel kind of dirty all over if that happened.

 

And Boston, we want to crash and burn, collapse, fold, quit, choke, lose big and lose often. It’s not right that this team should be doing so well. It’s almost unnatural.

 

The next six months are going to be great. But a lot of it will be up to us. Let’s get going.

 

And don’t forget to send those good vibes to our Juniors too.