Tag Archives: Jaroslav Spacek

Kaberle Kaput

It’s been reported that Tomas Kaberle has been placed on waivers, and is there anyone out there who might be surprised by this?

Kaberle was a decent player when he was a Toronto Maple Leaf, where he spent 12 seasons, and whether or not Boston and Carolina fans were happy with him, I’m not sure. All I know is that Habs fans sure weren’t, at least most of us anyway.

Kaberle came to Montreal in 2011 in a trade with the Hurricanes for Jaroslav Spacek, and signed on the dotted line for three years worth a ridiculous 4.25 million per. Four and a quarter million for a defenceman who avoided the heavy-hitting the way Sonny Liston avoided Cassius Clay.

It was just a big mistake all-round, and it’s nice that the Kaberle chapter has come to a close. We need guys who enjoy the heavy-going, not ballerinas.

The TSN report can be seen here.

And this is what I said when the guy came over in the first place. Kaberle In, Spacek Out

A Painful Loss To The Hurricanes

Man, that stings. Sometimes losses are only depressing. This one, falling 5-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes, stings like a very large and angry bee.

It had the makings of a tremendous night at the Bell Centre. Down 2-0, and storming back with a breakaway goal from Tomas Plekanec and two power play markers from Erik Cole and David Desharnais. Suddenly it’s 3-2 Habs, and I don’t know about you but I went “woo hoo!”

Then it all came crashing down.

First, an Eric Staal shorthanded goal when he easily walked around Tomas Kaberle, who had a mediocre night at best. Then the Canes went ahead on a power play, and finally, another into the empty net.

And we had been feeling so good. So high. So drunk with wins. Now it’s just a big lousy hangover.

Two huge points that could’ve been but wasn’t. Against a team with a worse record than Montreal’s. I gotta find a new sport. My heart can’t stand it. I saw an extreme sport on the news the other day where players play full contact with a giant soccer ball, and they use tasers on each other. Imagine, they zap each other with tasers. Maybe this is what I should be watching.

Down the drain goes the winning streak, halted at four games. What could have been, and now it’s the Bruins on Wednesday. Is this the straw that broke the camel’s back? I hope not, but damn…..

Random Notes:

Carolina outshot the Canadiens 35-33 and controlled much of the play over the night, which is inexplicable.

Jaroslav Spacek, coming back to the Bell, scored on a Carolina power play and sure looked happy doing it.

Ryan White and Ian Schultz didn’t dress, although I wish they had. Things might have been different. Of course, this is hindsight at its finest.

The Canadiens now have to start another four or five-game winning streak, beginning with clobbering the Bruins on Wednesday. If they don’t, maybe like that new extreme sport, there should be some tasering.

 

Marjo Won’t Be Seeing Spacek Anymore

If you’ve read my blog, you’ve probably seen Marjo’s name, as she comments quite often about the state of the game and the Habs. She’s a delight, and is a most excellent part of the family here. I’ve already offered her a management position when I own the team. I’m thinking “President Of Making The Organization Even Classier Than It Is” if she doesn’t mind.

Marjo emailed me the other day with a little story, and I asked her if it would be okay if I posted it. She said fine, so here goes:

“My two boys play hockey (one Atom and the other Peewee (and if I can add, these games are very often more exciting than the NHL)).  Anyway, we were at my son’s Peewee game last night and I had to call up a goalie from another team (I manage my boys’ teams) because our goalie got stricken with a bad case of acute asthma which landed him in the hospital for two days (awful).  Anyhow, walking into the arena, there was Geoff Molson!  I came close to bombarding him with the usual questions he’s probably being bombarded with these days, but chose to respect his privacy.  Besides, surely he was there to watch his kid play.

Later, I called our goalie’s mom to see how he was doing in the hospital and she said Moen, Subban and Desharnais came to his room for a visit (the Habs visited the children’s hospital yesterday) and he was cherished with autographs and gifts…

Also, every Sunday night I play hockey for a women’s team down the street.   A couple of months ago, I was ordering a drink upstairs and standing beside me was this guy that looked very familiar.  I said to him: ” For a minute I though you were Jaroslav Spacek!” and with a thick accent, he said: ” I AM JAROSLAV SPACEK!”.  I asked him when he was going back to work and he said tomorrow.  That was when he returned after being injured the first time….I see him pretty regularly every Sunday night, same time.  His kid takes a powerskating class.

It’s a small world over here when it comes to hockey!!”

Kaberle In, Spacek Out

Montreal has sent Jaroslav Spacek to Carolina in exchange for underachieving fluffball Tomas Kaberle.

I hate this, if only for the fact that I haven’t liked Kaberle’s play since he was a Toronto Maple Leaf, but him being a Leaf and then a Bruin may have distorted my view somewhat.

Once upon a time he handled the puck well, sent nice passes up ice to streaking forwards, and was the quarterback on the power play. But like most hockey players, there came a time in Kaberle’s career when things began to wind down. It wound down big-time in Boston, then Carolina, and unless he surprises the heck out of me, his winding down will continue in Montreal.

Kaberle doesn’t play tough, mishandles pucks, is caught out of position, and even though he’s had a nice career playing 931 games (84 goals, 454 assists), that was then and this is now. We need more toughness, not the opposite. Do you think a guy like Kaberle is going to help ease the problems of keeping pucks out of the net when the score is close, as has been one our achilles heels this season? Not a chance. We’ve just picked up a guy who more and more would make a decent American Hockey Leaguer.

Jaroslav Spacek is a stay-at-home type, strong and conservative, who does the little things, and is a more or less reliable blueliner. Nothing fancy, just punched the clock and went to work. He’s been bitten by the injury bug lately and he’s old at 37. Kaberle is the opposite type of player, a skating, puck-handling playmaker four years younger than Spacek. But these numbers don’t mean a thing when it comes to Kaberle. This isn’t a guy in his prime, it’s a guy on the downside of things. He’s also a guy who earns a whopping $12.75 million over three years.

All I can say is, I hope Kaberle somehow becomes a nice fit in Montreal and proves me wrong. But I very much doubt it. And is this the best the Canadiens can do in fixing what ails them? Or is it just the beginning?

With all my heart, I hope more changes are coming. And with all my heart, I hope it gets better than the addition of Kaberle.

 

 

Habs Let It Slip Away

A two-goal lead squandered. A power play that went one for five. And a shootout loss to the visiting Buffalo Sabres to cap the whole thing off.

Such an important game, blown in the third period after the Habs had made it a nice 2-0 game with goals by Erik Cole on the power play (yes, you read it right – on the power play), and then Montreal’s most consistent player from the start of the year, Max Pacioretty, with his 7th of the season.

But in the third the tide was turned. Just 53 seconds in, Buffalo narrowed it to one. And after the Habs failed to capitalize on another power play, the Sabres tied it up.

Just like that, we knew this might not have a happy ending.

With all the buzz in the past 24 hours concerning Milan Lucic taking out the Sabres’ Ryan Miller, it was quite something to see Erik Cole come in contact with Miller’s replacement, Jhonas Enroth in overtime. Poor timing indeed. Not only was a penalty going to be called for sure on this, but it put the Habs in penalty trouble when they least needed it.

Cole, though, played a terrific game, and he came close often. It’s hard to believe that through preseason and well into the regular season, Jacques Martin kept Cole to minimal minutes, with very little power play ice time. How could Martin not recognize at that time the talent level of this guy?

But regardless of how well Cole did, he still took an extremely ill-timed penalty, and his team was lucky to get out of the period still alive.

My wife mentioned that it must not be easy to score in a shootout, and I told her that even Wayne Gretzky had problems with this aspect of his game. And not only that, I added, but Carey Price, as good as he is, seems to have trouble stopping  them. The Sabres then managed to score on both tries in the shootout, Max Pacioretty found the back of the net for the Habs, but Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta didn’t, and it became a depressing 3-2 win for the Sabres.

Random Notes:

Lars Eller, even though he’s played fairly well so far this year, has scored only once, with 3 assists, and it’s about time he started helping the team with some points, don’t you think?

Hal Gill was out with the flu, Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn didn’t dress, and now Jaraoslav Spacek is hurt and probably won’t play on Wednesday against Carolina. It’s gotten to point of almost laughable, in a sick and distorted sort of way. They can’t score and they can’t stay healthy. What’s a Habs fan to do?

Afterward, Jacques Martin hauled out the tried and true big-time sports cliché  – “The best defence is offence.” But Jacques, what about Buffalo outshooting Montreal 10-4 in the third period to even the score?

I think he just wanted to say it because it sounded good.

Total shots on goal – 32-27 in favour of Buffalo.

Oh geez, I almost forgot. Scott Gomez has an assist this year!

 

Good, Bad, And Ugly – Habs’ October

October was quite a month, eh?

It began on the 1st when the boys schmucked Tampa Bay 5-1 in preseason play in Quebec. We liked that.

On the 6th, it was a miserable 2-0 loss in Toronto in the first game of the regular season, but three days later, the gang rebounded by ruining Winnipeg’s party with another 5-1 win.

So October began with two wins (one in preseason) and a loss, and I suppose we were okay with that. Maybe slightly concerned with the loss in Toronto and the dismal six and two record in preseason, but we clobbered Winnipeg, didn’t we? 

Unfortunately, the heart of the month became a gnashing of teeth and the call from far and wide to send Jacques Martin to Pinkslipsville. Six straight losses. Andrei Markov still missing in action with no end in sight, and Jaroslav Spacek injured. Mike Cammalleri too. Erik Cole looked like a huge mistake, and assistant coach Perry Pearn got the dreaded word and not Martin.

The power play and penalty kill stunk. Guys like Mr. Reliable, Josh Gorges, were making weird mistakes. Fans were leaving early from the Bell Centre, and we longed for Kirk Muller to come back somehow.

And Scott Gomez? He was there sometimes in the month and sometimes not. It’s not important.

Would they ever look good again? We weren’t sure. What about Subban? His road to superstardom had gone from pavement to gravel. Carey Price was good but it wasn’t enough. Not when you’re a stud like him.

It was a lousy time and a great excuse to drink beer.

But however, October did end nicely.

It began with Yannick Weber tying the game with three seconds left in the first period that got the ball rolling as the Canadiens first downed the Flyers, then struck twice against the Bruins. And October, which is the birthday month of my dad, my brother, my son, myself, my best friend, and several people at work, was salvaged. (Please note – if my math is correct, nine months before October is right around New Year’s Eve. A lot of moms and dads were in a frisky, champagne-soaked mood, don’t you think)?

Erik Cole is getting it together and has become one of our best players. Travis Moen has been a nice surprise, as has David Desharnais. Raphael Diaz should be thanked for his yeoman’s service. Carey Price was voted NHL 1st star of the week. Guys paid to score are starting to score. PK Subban is finding his mojo and as a bonus, became engaged in battle with the Nose That Skates.

And through it all, Max Pacioretty, and then Lars Eller after returning from injury, have played like guys ready to don All-Star jerseys.

The team went from worst in the east to two points out of a playoff spot in a nanosecond. And we heard that Andrei Markov is indeed still alive and could return in November, a month when parents get frisky because there’s nothing else to do except write early Christmas cards.

Now it’s almost a six-day rest. It’s been years since Saturday when the Habs last played, and players’ babies will be toilet-trained by the time the team plays again, in Ottawa on Friday. Then it averages out to a game almost every second day after that, including one next Tuesday when the red-hot Edmonton Oilers, with all those young guns, come to town.

But until Friday, may the practices be sharp, may the bruises heal, and may the team not forget how they won their last three games. We want no more of the misery that so much of October gave us. It wasn’t a great month, even though it’s the anniversary of moms and dads everywhere getting frisky on New Year’s Eve. 

 

Finding Positives On A Sinking Ship

They played with determination and spunk, and still managed to lose their sixth straight by falling 2-1 to the Florida Panthers.

In four of the Canadiens six straight losses, they’ve scored just once per game. And they were shut out on opening night in Toronto. These guys fire so many blanks, the Octomom could live with a dozen of them and she’d never get pregnant.

Where have we seen this before? Almost every game, that’s where. The Habs look great for half the game and hold a slim lead, but slowly but surely, the other team climbs back into it and skates away with two points. There are five million Habs fans who are mighty sick of this story. It’s become old with ripped pages and we need a book-burning session.

And of course another injury occured to an important player as Max Pacioretty seemed to twist something down below and we wait for details. Sure, let’s lose Patches now. And then after that, who’s next? Gionta? Subban? Price?

But, surprisingly, there were some positives. Erik Cole played a fine game, scoring his team’s lone goal and creating several good chances as he charged up the ice, moved the puck well, and buzzed around in enemy territory.

Lars Eller played with smarts, skill, and growing confidence, and is fast becoming one of our best and most talented players.

Seeing Jaroslav Spacek back seemed to have a calming effect on things, it did for me, and showed how priceless experience can be in so many subtle ways. It’s like having grandpa come to visit.

Peter Budaj, in for Carey Price, looked confident and right at home, and made a bunch of solid stops along the way. Budaj, in this game at least, showed he could be a back-up goalie we can rely on and not get nervous about when we hear he’s slated to play. Hopefully he can continue to mirror what was a nice game for him in a losing cause, and maybe he’ll prove to be a definite upgrade on Alex Auld.

And last but not least, there are several teams in the eastern conference with not many more points than Montreal, if you can believe it. So even a modest couple of wins could move the Canadiens up considerably.

Wow, is that positive or what?

Random Notes:

Shots on goal, 41 Montreal, 31 them. Firing blanks.

This thing could continue to slide. Philadelphia on Wednesday, Boston on Thursday, and then Boston again on Saturday. I suppose if the Canadiens play like they did tonight, with a few more goals scored, anything’s possible.

But I’m not holding breath.

Spacek Back Tonight

Hockey Inside/Out has reported that Jaroslav Spacek will suit up tonight against the Panthers, while Alexei Emelin will watch from the press box.

It’s great to see another mainstay return to the fold, especially an experienced defenceman, as we all know how Carey Price has been hung out to dry lately, and Spacek provides this invaluable experience plus the all-important character traits the team has been short of, it seems.

I’m sad about Emelin. He came here with expectations of being a thumper and a guy who can pass and shoot with the best of them. But, for whatever reason, not a lot has happened yet with this Russian fellow.

You don’t need to hear how much we need this game tonight. Unless you feel a big loss is the only way to get rid of the coach. So the questions lingers – how many losses before Jacques Martin is handed his walking papers?

Buffalo Burgers On The Menu

I won’t be seeing the Habs-Sabres game until nearly midnight, so there’ll be no live blogging or recapping right after. It’s a work thing, and it’s going to happen again on Thursday. But it’s only a few games a month that I’ll be late getting to and it sucks but I’m just going to put my head down, get through it, and in a few days it’ll be just a distant and dark memory.

Anyway, I know what’s going to happen. The Canadiens will come out fired up after their embarrassing 6-5 shootout loss to the Avalanche the other night, and will score early. The Bell Centre will be loud, and the team will have all this meth amphetamine-type adrenaline running through their veins.

Late in the first, Buffalo will score after skating in on a four-on-nothing breakaway and tie the game on a shot through Price’s legs. Soon after we notice the Canadiens are starting to crash from their meth high.

Buffalo will score again early in the second and boos will start to be heard around the rink. The Canadiens are jittery as J-Mart juggles, but suddenly and without warning, David Desharnais finds the back of the net. The momentum swings back to the Canadiens, and with Carey Price suddenly reborn and legs together, the Canadiens take charge.

P.K.Subban on the power play puts the Habs in the lead midway through the third and does a sensational fist and leg pump that would have seized me up for a week if I tried it, and with the goalie pulled, Scott Gomez scores on the empty net for the insurance marker, although he was really trying to pass and it went in off somebody’s helmet.

3-2 Habs, but it was dicey for awhile. Fans at the Bell Centre go home with full hearts and empty wallets.

In the meantime, I came up with these numbers from a neat site called SmartSportsFan.com, a place where you can compare players in various categories using coloured graphs.

In the 2010-11 season, the shooting percentage (goals from number of shots) for Tomas Plekanec was 9.7%, Scott Gomez 4.5%, Andrei Kostitsyn 10.2, Brian Gionta 9.7, and Mike Cammalleri 9.8.

In contrast, C0rey Perry was 17.2%, Steven Stamkos 16.5, and Daniel Sedin 15.4.

Shots on goal – Tomas Plekanec had 227, Brian Gionta 298, Andrei Kostitsyn 196, and Mike Cammalleri 193.

Alex Ovechkin had 367.

Hal Gill had 151 hits, PK Subban 106, and Jaroslav Spacek 90. Nicklas Lidstrom finished with 92, Shea Weber 113, and Brent Seabrook 154.

Go Habs. Slice those Sabres.

Spacek And Cammalleri Out A Fortnight

It’s not quite the nightmare it could have been, as Hockey Inside/Out has told us that Jaroslav Spacek and Mike Cammalleri will be out for about two weeks.

Two weeks? This is nothing.Teenagers sleep that long in one shot. We’re used to hearing about players gone for two months or more, so this is great news I suppose.

I just wish the medical staff would give us a clearer picture regarding Andrei Markov. Is he back soon? Is he back in a few months? Will he ever be back? Has he applied for employment insurance?

Maybe no one knows. Or maybe they do and it’s not a pretty picture.