Tag Archives: Jeff Skinner

Habs Drenched By Hurricanes

hurricane

I think it takes a special talent for a team sitting at the top of the heap to lose to a team at the very bottom and look tremendously mediocre while doing so.

Yes, those wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens, bowing to the lowly Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in Raleigh, a team 20-some points behind them.

They can’t be feeling good about this. If Jean Beliveau was captaining this team, he’d politely and respectfully give them all a mighty fine and gentlemanly dressing room tune up.

But the Canadiens have that special talent to play down, having also lost to the 28th place Oilers, the 25th place Avs, and the 22nd place Canucks (and were bombed 6-1 by the Avs and 5-1 by the Oilers in the process).

The only good that came from this night was Daniel Carr, called up from St. John’s in place of Devante Smith-Pelly, who notched a wraparound goal in his very first shift of his first NHL game. That’s the kind of thing I’ve dreamed about doing off and on for about five decades or more.

It’s with great pride to announce that Carr played the 2009-10 season here in Powell River, at the barn not far from my house. However, I didn’t go to one game in 2009-10, so that’s the end of this feel-good story.

But I would like to say one thing. The BCHL is an underrated league, with lots of talent like Carr winding up in the NHL. You’d be surprised by some of the names, like Brett Hull, Paul Kariya, and even Carey Price for a season before heading to the WHL.

There’s been a whack of them. Even Scott Gomez for those three Gomez fans out there.

Carr’s goal in the first period got things rolling, but the Canes would even it up on the power play on a smooth finish by Jeff Skinner who simply flipped it over a sprawling Mike Condon.

In the second, Sven Andrighetto would give Montreal the lead after converting a nice pass by Jeff Petry, but two minutes later Joakim Nordstrom tied things up again, and into the third we went.

Carolina would take the lead briefly, but Michel Therrien’s coach’s challenge saw the goal ruled no-goal because of goalie interference. Whew, we thought. But it made no difference, because the Canes would score another anyway.

Later on, with Tom Gilbert in the box for tripping, Skinner, with his second of the night, won it for the home team.

It’s not the first time Gilbert watched a nightmare unfold from the sinbin. There was that fathers trip recently when he did the same sort of thing. Now, whenever Gilbert goes home during the off season, he’s grounded.

The Canadiens lose their second straight, or 3 of 4 if you want to go that route. And they sleek off into the night, hoping they don’t get beer pored on them by drunken and disgruntled Habs fans because they couldn’t play well enough to beat the team tied with Calgary and Edmonton as league’s worst.

Random Notes:

Eric Staal hit several posts, missed several open nets, and scored the goal that was called back. This is the guy who’s the subject of trade rumours, with Montreal being a possible destination.

Staal would be a nice addition, although we already have plenty of guys who can’t hit wide open nets.

And speaking of Staal. he was sent to the box with just over three minutes remaining for flipping the puck over the glass, but the Canadiens, with Condon pulled and enjoying a two-man advantage, still couldn’t get it done.

And because of that very thing, they didn’t deserve to win this thing.

Shots on goal – Habs 38, Canes 29. The previous game against Washington, which was also a 3-2 loss, they had 35 shots to the Caps 19.

Next up – Wednesday, when the Bruins show up at the Bell.

 

 

 

2011 – The Year Of Gomez’s Promise And Other Fine Moments

Another year older and deeper in debt. Etc.

2011 had some fine moments for Habs fans, and unfortunately, some not-so-fine moments. So let’s have a glimpse at what happened in this Year of the Rabbit. And please keep in mind, things aren’t in order here. That would be way too normal.

Carey Price posed with his arms crossed after a win, which upset some and I don’t know why. I thought it was quite creative. Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury mimicked Price a week later but alas, it all ended there.

Saku Koivu returned for the first time after being traded to Anaheim, and that was nice. Unfortunately, Saku’s new team won 4-3 in a shootout.

P.K. Subban was selected for the All-Rookie team at the All-Star game in Raleigh. PK’s smile made us smile, and when he put on Jeff Skinner’s jersey in the shootout competition he made us smile even more. At least I smiled. I don’t know about you.

I held half a dozen or so contests in 2011, with people far and wide winning some good shit.

James Wisniewski took a puck in the face in Edmonton, looked like we’d lose him for months, but he was back for the Heritage Classic in Calgary just a few days later. We would eventually lose Wiz anyways when Columbus gave him a zillion dollars. And speaking of the Heritage Classic, Carey Price put on his new facemask that was so weird that little kids were put to bed early so they wouldn’t see it and have nightmares.

Rearguard Brent Sopel played one year with the Habs, and when he was cut loose at the end and not picked up, ended up going to the KHL and is probably slurping borscht as we speak.

My grandson Adam entered the world on February 3rd and will almost certainly play for the Habs in twenty years.

Also in February, Luci and I went to Vancouver to see the Habs beat the Canucks in a terrific game where we had great seats and a wonderful time. And speaking of Vancouver, Gilbert Brule of the Edmonton Oilers was driving in his car with his girlfriend, near the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay, and stopped to pick up a hitchhiker who happened to be Bono from the band U2. I just find that as weird as can be.

Boston won the Cup, as you know, and thousands rioted in the Vancouver downtown area. Several dozen are just now on the verge of having their big court appearances and most say they feel bad. I feel bad too. Because the Bruins won the Cup.

We lost assistant coach Kirk Muller to Nashville affiliate Milwaukee Admirals, Boston Pizza changed their name to Montreal Pizza during the playoffs, Bruin Andrew Ference gave the finger to the Bell Centre crowd after scoring a goal, a tortoise named Gerry La Tortue tried to predict games in the Habs-Bruins series and often failed miserably, and Hal Gill signed a one year, 2.25 million dollar contract.

A woman in Vancouver flashed her boobs at San Jose’s Ben Eager while he sat in the penalty box, Winnipeg got an NHL team again – the ex-Atlanta Thrashers, and Luci and I went to Ontario where we hooked up with some great new and old friends and co-workers in both Ottawa and Orillia, enjoyed a luncheon with NHL oldtimers in Toronto, visited my dad in his new old folks home, stayed with my brother, and went to see the old arena in Orillia where the doors were locked.

2011 was the year of the big Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty, which fractured Max’s neck which in turn caused many Bruins fans to laugh and jump with glee. It also allowed Mark Recchi to use his medical knowledge to diagnose the situation and conclude it wasn’t as bad as we were led to believe.

Jean Beliveau turned 80 in 2011, Wayne Gretzky 50, Carey Price 24, and Don Cherry 119.

I had an interview in Puck Daddy and Bruins fans accused me of sounding like a Hab fan.

Andrei Kostitsyn slammed Jacques Martin for playing him improperly, Josh Gorges signed for one year, 2.5 million, Erik Cole also inked for 4 years, 18 million, and Roman Hamrlik went to Washington.

Assistant coach Perry Pearn was let go, and the two Randy’s – Cunneyworth and Ladouceur, joined Martin behind the bench.

Vancouver Giant sensation Brendan Gallagher had a great camp and almost made the Habs, Chris Campoli was added to the blueline corps, and Scott Gomez told us he was embarrassed by his previous season, was sorry, and things would be different this year.

Longtime Canadiens trainer and equipment guy Eddie Palchak passed away, Andrei Markov almost played on the Habs’ California trip but didn’t, Jacques Martin was out and Cunneyworth in, Rocket’s star was stolen from the sidewalk at the Forum, the bilingual coach issue has raised it’s ugly head, and I mistakingly ate some toxic maple syrup and lived to tell about it.

So there you have it. I know I’ve missed a lot, but enough’s enough.

And of course, I wish you all a very splendid New Year. May it be your best year ever.

 

 

 

Top Rookies, Including PK, Announced

PK Subban, who proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was as important to his team as any rookie in the league was to their’s, got only honourable mention in the list of 2010-11 Calder Trophy candidates.

It’s a bumper crop of young guns this year, and you can see the top three, along with the handful not in the top three, right here.

Oh well, no rookie of the year for P.K. I suppose he’s going to have to settle for drinking out of the Stanley Cup instead.

Max And Chara Talk, And PK Annoys

I see that Zdeno Chara has had a chat with Max Pacioretty sometime recently and that’s good. If Chara spoke from his heart, saying he worried for Max and never wanted to hurt but simply erase him from the play, then that’s excellent.

Of course, it isn’t good if Chara warned Max to never, ever push him again after scoring an overtime goal.

Maybe now Mark Recchi will step forward and say he was out of line for saying Max embellished his injury. Or is the former Hab still having trouble removing his foot from his mouth?

Elliotte Friedman on rookie of the year –  He chooses Jeff Skinner, but also had this to say –

“You know who is not getting enough respect? John Carlson.
He led all rookies in ice time, both for the season and per game. He was six points behind Kevin Shattenkirk, who led diaper-dandy defencemen in scoring. Carlson and Karl Alzner became the shutdown pair on a team that changed its system at Christmas and charged at the end to win the East. That’s pretty good.

P.K. Subban’s chances are hurt because he annoys people. That’s unfortunate, because he had a major impact on a decimated blue-line. But Carlson had a better year.”

Carlson had a better year? He had 7 goals and 30 assists for 37 points, plus 44 PIM’s. PK notched 14 goals and 24 assists for 38 points and 124 PIM’s. The Canadiens relied heavily on PK after losing Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges for the season and Jaroslav Spacek for 23 games. PK is such an impact player that the Bruins will be concentrating hard on him as he can be a game-breaker.

And he annoys people? What does that have to do with anything? If Bobby Orr had annoyed some, does that mean he wouldn’t have won all those Norris’? It’s about skill, impact, importance to team, points and other intangibles. It shouldn’t be about whether PK annoys some players or not.

Am I wrong or was Friedman’s statement one of the sillier things you’ve seen lately? Hall of Famers and others throughout the decades annoyed other players too.

Wayne Gretzky used to tell Gary Lupul he was useless and didn’t belong in the league. Gretzky was a known trash-talker and that annoyed others I’m sure. Alexander Mogilny, after being asked by his Vancouver Canucks’ coach (who I won’t name) to do more backchecking, replied, “And how much money do YOU make?’ To me, that’s also pretty annoying.

Ted Lindsay would call Rocket Richard every hateful and racist name he could think of. That must have been tremendously annoying.

But PK’s a rookie and is supposed to behave. The unwritten rule is that you can’t be annoying until you’ve been around a few years. Too bad.

 

PK Subban Should Rack Up The Points, Says LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun, writing for ESPN.com, has listed who he thinks will be the rookies making the biggest impact in this 2010/11 season. Of course, PK Subban is there.

John Carlson, 20, Washington Capitals: The world junior hero for Team USA looked right at home after the Caps called him up last season, collecting six points (1-5) and a plus-11 rating in 22 regular-season games. The defenseman has the potential to be this season’s Tyler Myers, a complete player at both ends of the ice. 

P.K. Subban, 21, Montreal Canadiens: If there’s an award for exuberance, then it’s not even close. Subban would win in a landslide. The infectious young blueliner won over Habs fans last spring by stepping into the frying pan and putting up eight points (1-7) in 14 postseason games following his late-season call-up. He didn’t fold at all under the immense pressure. He’ll see serious power-play time this season and could rack up the points.  

Jonathan Bernier, 22, Los Angeles Kings: It’s hard to believe Bernier could contend for the Calder three years after his NHL debut in London, England. But the goalie’s short, four-game stint in October 2007 was followed up by more time in junior and then the AHL as he developed his craft. He went 3-0-0 in a late-season call-up last season, sending a message to the Kings that he is ready. Jonathan Quick, look over your shoulder; you’ve got serious company in the Kings’ net.  

Jordan Eberle, 20, Edmonton Oilers: The Canadian world junior phenom got a taste of AHL postseason hockey two seasons in a row and in between dominated the Western Hockey League. He’s ready. The forward may also rack up the most points of any first-year NHL player.  

Magnus Paajarvi, 19, Edmonton Oilers: This kid won’t be intimidated, having played pro hockey in his native Sweden for three years before coming over. The forward has serious offensive skill, and it will be fun to watch him compete with teammates Hall and Eberle. The only concern is whether Paajarvi will hit the wall since the NHL season is longer compared to what he is used to in Sweden.  

Tyler Seguin, 18, Boston Bruins: The alter ego to Hall from the June draft, Seguin may begin the season playing alongside Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. Talk about two linemates a rookie forward can learn from. The Bruins have no reason to rush Seguin along, so they won’t put too much on his plate.

 Tyler Ennis, 20 (turns 21 on Oct. 6), Buffalo Sabres: You might be looking at a dark-horse candidate here. The forward put up nine points (3-6) in 10 NHL games with the Sabres last season. Dynamite skills. Could put up some real nice numbers this season.

Mikael Backlund, 21, Calgary Flames: With the injuries to centers Matt Stajan and Daymond Langkow, the Swedish prospect has a real chance to establish himself early this fall. He put up 10 points (1-9) in 22 games in a late-season look in 2009-10.  

Jamie McBain, 22, Carolina Hurricanes: Subban and Carlson are getting most of the hype among rookie blueliners, but this kid put up 10 points (3-7) in 14 games with the Hurricanes last season and 40 points (7-33) in 68 AHL contests. That’s 50 points at the AHL/NHL level combined. Remember the name.  

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, 19, Phoenix Coyotes: There are two jobs available on the Coyotes’ blue line, and the Swedish prospect is trying to nail one down. He’s going to be a big-time offensive blueliner for the Coyotes, no one’s denying that, but the question is whether it happens this season or next. He had 33 points (11-22) in 52 games for his Swedish second-division club Leksands last season.  

Jeff Skinner, 18, Carolina Hurricanes: Last June’s seventh overall pick has turned heads in the preseason and it’s no wonder why. He scored 20 goals in 20 playoff games last spring in the Ontario Hockey League, giving him 70 in 74 games combined. He’s only 18, but he could be a keeper this year.  

There are three more goalies we want to leave you with:  

Michal Neuvirth, 22, Washington Capitals: The Czech product put up some dazzling performances in the last two AHL playoff runs for Hershey. It’s telling that the Caps aren’t just handing over the No. 1 job to Semyon Varlamov. They are seriously high on Neuvirth.

 Robin Lehner, 19, Ottawa Senators: The Swedish goalie is destined to begin the season in the AHL, but don’t forget his name. The Sens’ front office is drooling over this kid, and if Pascal Leclaire or Brian Elliott falters at the NHL level, you could see Lehner back in Canada’s capital before the season is over.

Jacob Markstrom, 20, Florida Panthers: Like Lehner, it would appear the Swedish netminder will begin the season in the AHL since star Tomas Vokoun and veteran backup Scott Clemmensen are ahead of him. But Vokoun will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and you can bet if the Panthers fall out of it, they’ll look to move him before the trade deadline to get assets in return. Once Vokoun is gone, this is Markstrom’s team.

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.