Tag Archives: Joe Sakic

Fab Habs Lads Edge Avs

Canadiens beat the Avs 3-2 again for the second time in two nights, only this time in regulation. But more about that below the photo. (It also happens to be three straight wins in preseason by the bleu, blanc et rouge, all by the score of 3-2)

The photo below is from last April when we were in Quebec to paint the town red. Well, not exactly paint the town red. Partied quite a bit, though. Well not exactly partied. Walked around a lot and went to a restaurant.

The historic district of Quebec City is sensational, and a handful of miles away is Le Colisee, The House That Beliveau Built, with the new barn being built next door.

Le Colisee holds 15,399 folks, and on this night when the Canadiens and Avalanche did battle, the attendance was………no idea. For some reason, the  Canadiens.com site was blank with no stats. Didn’t anybody want to do it?

Colisee

Jiri Sekac showed some serious moves, scored a beauty, and is absolutely forcing management to keep him. He had an excellent rookie camp, an excellent main camp, and is now excellent in exhibition games.

Feeling good about Sekac.

Sven Andrighetto, also enjoying a fine preseason, tied things in the second after Colorado had opened the scoring in the first, while in the third, the Avs took the lead once again when Montreal’s Gabriel Dumont was in the sinbin for shooting the puck over the glass.

But soon enough, Sekac, in a magical moment, used his skate to free the puck from goalie Semyon Varlamov and did a cool wraparound to even things at two. And then David Desharnais sent a sweet pass that Brandon Prust had to skate like the wind to catch, and Prust burst in and fooled Varlamov.

Unusual to see Prust behave like a left-handed Guy Lafleur.

The Quebec crowd was pro-Avalanche, cheering for them throughout. The Avs were once the Quebec Nordiques, and all I can say is, when the Expos left Montreal, I could care less about the Washington Nationals.

But there’s always been that built-in rivalry between big city Montreal and the quainter Quebec City, so it’s not really a surprise that Quebec fans cheered against the Canadiens.

Joe Sakic was introduced and given a hardy ovation. Pretty sure that wouldn’t happen with Eric Lindros. (If you’re not aware of the Lindros/Nords situation, give it a Google).

Shots on goal? I don’t know. Like I said, Canadiens.com was blank.

As it was in the first game, only six players played who can be considered regulars or semi-regulars – Tokarski, DD, Prust, Gilbert, Tinordi, and Beaulieu. The rest of the lineup was prospect-packed.

Next up, Washington Capitals at the Bell on Sunday night, probably to lose 3-2.

“The Hockey News” From 1988

In a box in my closet I found a few old issues of The Hockey News from 1988, and here’s a sampling of things mentioned:

“We’re so used to this against Montreal, but we’re not complaining.” – Quebec Nordique GM Maurice Filion after an apparent tying goal was waved off against Montreal Feb. 29.

Consumer crusader Ralph Nader lobbied NHL president John Ziegler in an attempt to keep ticket prices down. FANS (Fight to Advance the Nation’s Sports), a group headed by Nader, cited the average ticket price for an NHL game at $7.87, which Nader said was “the most difficult to justify of all the major sports.” (Note from me – Originally I thought this had to be a typo, so I dug through old ticket stubs and I see that it was very possible. I have a Habs-Bruins stub at the Forum that was ten bucks. And various other stubs I have from the late 1980s ranged from ten to fourteen and upwards around twenty bucks. So maybe $7.87 isn’t completely farfetched. Just seems too cheap, that’s all).

“When Borje and the other Swedes went to the NHL, took all the crap and didn’t come home in a box,” said Mats Naslund, “we all knew we had a chance to play in the NHL.”

After Steve Yzerman scored his 50th goal – against Sabre goalie Tom Barrasso – he fished the puck out of the net. Then, inexplicably, he tossed it into the crowd on his way back to the Detroit bench. “I just thought someone else might appreciate it (as a keepsake) more than me,” Yzerman said. “I have the memory of it, and I’ll never forget it. I don’t need the puck. But he was destined to get it anyway. Jacques Demers chased down the fan who caught it, and traded him another puck and a stick for it. The coach planned to have the milestone puck mounted.

“Obviously, the fans in Minnesota don’t care about the playoff race.” Boston Bruin GM Harry Sinden, after 9,591 people showed up at the Met Center to watch Montreal and Minnesota play a 2-2 tie March 14.

Joe Sakic took it right down to the wire for a photo finish that not even the Western League stewards could decide. The Swift Current centre scored four goals in his team’s last regular-season game March 19 to tie Moose Jaw’s Theoren Fleury with 160 points. The WHL has no formal tie-breaking procedure and declared Sakic and Fleury co-champions. It’s the first time in WHL history two players have tied for the scoring championship.

Originally drafted by the Sabres in 1980, Randy Cunneyworth explains his failure to stick in Buffalo rather succinctly. “Square pegs don’t fit into round holes.”

“It’s funny,” said Stephane Richer. “In the past few games it seems that everything I shoot is going in or any time I make a pass to my linemate he scores.” Richer scored on four of 10 shots in a 7-6 overtime win at Los Angeles March 5. Among the goals was the game-winner, making it 44 goals in 65 for number 44 as he helped Montreal to a league-high eight consecutive victories.

Springfield Indians (AHL) center Bruce Boudreau had his 20-game point streak snapped by Maine in a 4-2 loss Feb. 28.

Leafs suffer double-digit embarrassment – a humiliating 10-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at Maple Leaf Gardens.

HOF Post Game Comments

The Hockey Hall of Fame Induction ceremony went off swimmingly, except for the time maybe when Mats Sundin pronounced Elmer Lach’s name “Latch,” and Patrick Roy took a swipe at the Canadiens, saying they decided to trade him, which only sort of happened after Roy told Ronald Corey he’d never play another game with the team. Maybe he’s upset he wasn’t hired as coach or GM.

The speeches went smoothly, although Bill Hay’s seemed long and drawn out, but I thought Pavel Bure’s was excellent, as were the others..

And to cap off a fine night, Gary Bettman looked tired, hollow, concerned, pale, and not a happy camper whatsoever, and the women looked lovely.

New Kids In The Hall

Congratulations to Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure, and Adam Oates for their induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the shrine in Toronto that houses photos, plaques, artifacts, and memories of players who once played  the sport that has become extinct and remembered by oldtimers who think back to a time, like last year, when the game was actually being played and fans would come to the rinks with full wallets and leave with empty wallets.

These are four worthy inductees, all classy, all proficient, and which include two Canadians (Oates and Sakic), one Swede (Sundin), and one Russian (Bure). Bure was a shoo-in to make it big ever since he, Alex Mogilny, and Sergei Fedorov dazzled in the World Junior Championships when they were just young, peach-fuzzed Russkies. I also remember talking to a buddy about Bure and agreeing that this guy must not have had any trouble getting the ladies when he was starring in Vancouver.

Sundin rubbed me the wrong way slightly when he came out of retirement to play for the Vancouver Canucks, taking him until January to actually make up his mind and lace up for a measly five million to play half a season Sundin Helps His Wallet. But a great player, huge at 6’5, 230 pounds, and enjoyed a brilliant career, particularly in Toronto.

Adam Oates was not only a great playmaker but also an excellent musician, teaming up with Daryl Hall to record such smash hits as “Rich Girl” and “Kiss is on my List.” Oh wait, wrong guy. Oates teamed up with Brett Hull in St. Louis to become Hull and Oates, not Hall and Oates. Sorry.

Joe Sakic is from Burnaby, which explains why he’s called Burnaby Joe. A quiet and all-round respected and admired fellow who was such an excellent player, and whom of course would have looked mighty fine in a Habs uniform. He possessed a wicked wrist shot, and just seems to be a fine gentleman, as do the other three as well.

Four great players who deserve to be called Hall of Famers, and I can’t wait to see what their wives, if they’re all married, look like at the ceremony.

 

Bure Exploded

 

I watched the Hall of Fame announcements the other day, and I’m only just now waking up from the coma.

Bill Hay, Jim Gregory, and Pat Quinn gave us the four new names (Adam Oates, Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, and Mats Sundin), like they were giving a eulogy at a funeral. It was like everyone was dead – not just the newly-elected and still-alive players, but Hay, Gregory and Quinn too, who may or may not have been propped up with someone behind working their mouths..

It made a Catholic retreat seem like a biker bash.

Regardless, the four players deserve the honour, and I can’t help thinking how Pavel Bure would have made such a fantastic Montreal Canadien.

Bure, although he came a half dozen years or so after Guy Lafleur had left Montreal, would have been a wonderful successor to the throne. We haven’t had a true superstar since our number ten, and Bure would have fit the bill perfectly. But alas, he ended up with the Canucks, (and then the Panthers and Rangers) which was too bad for us and too bad for him.

I remember Bure during the 1989 World Junior Championship in Anchorage. He, along with linemates Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Fedorov, dazzled and burned up the tournament. Bure was a sight to behold. His blinding speed, his explosiveness, his goal-scoring, all with a face that looked to be about 11 years old. And he brought all of that to the NHL.

What a Hab he would’ve been. A new gunslinger in town who played a style of hockey most Habs fans love and older ones remember from heros no longer donning skates, or dead like Bill Hay, Jim Gregory, and Pat Quinn. Bure would have brought his girlfriend at the time, Anna Kournikova, to Montreal, and I would have seen that she was comfortable while Pavel streaked down the ice and netted huge goals to the roar of the crowd.

Certain teams need certain players; Boston likes guys who give the finger to fans and noses, Philadelphia leans towards obnoxiousness and lousy goalies, and Bure, with the offence and excitement he provided, would have been a terrific fire-wagon Hab. On the ice at least. Off ice, the Russian Rocket was apparently aloof, arrogant, and selfish, which led the Vancouver Sun’s Elliot Pap to say the only way they should hang Bure’s sweater from the rafters would be if he was still in it.

But that’s beside the point. It was what he did on skates as a smallish-yet-shifty right winger, and it was plenty. Besides, Pat Burns, and then Jacques Demers, would’ve kicked his ass.

 

 

Game Watch – Colorado Comes A Callin’

  
3:13 pm Pacific – Pre-game preparation, which means I try to think of any players on the Avalanche without having to look it up. So far I’ve come up with Matt Duchene, the great young defenceman. If you would have asked me a few years ago I would’ve been able to say Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Patrick Roy, but that was then and this is now. The preparation also includes spaghetti and petting the cat.

3:15 pm – The Avalanche destroyed Ottawa 7-1 the other night, which means if we beat the Denverites, we’re way better than Ottawa!

3:30 pm – We need this game. The standings show us in 12th place right now in the east. And there’s only 15 teams for $#&^% sakes.

3:55 – Scott Gomez tells Pierre Houde about “Hockey Fighting Cancer,” and we all appreciate the time the players take to hang out with those fighting this evil sickness. Years ago when I was visiting my mom in a Toronto hospital when she was fighting her own battle against the disease, I mistakenly got on the wrong floor and ended up on a floor of little kids, all bald, all sick. It’s unfair, and this is one disease that needs to be licked once and for all.

4:13 – There’s the flag kids and now the team. We need our scorers to score.

4:19 – Great save by our pink-padded, pink-masked Price. But they should never had been allowed to walk in like that.

4:24 – Horrible goal by Colorado, one that slipped through Price’s pads. But regardless of this bummer, Gionta, Plekanec, Cole and the rest have to start doing something. Far too often, the opposing goalie has the easist job in the world when the Habs are playing. Dismal start.

4:35 – Max Pacioretty ties it up after some nice pressure in Colorado’s end. Nice solid goal. They’ve played better in the last few minutes and I’m hoping for big things from here on in. It’s a tie game, which is much better than being behind.

4:52 – That’s it. End of period one, and it’s a 1-1 tie. Not bad. Habs are on a power play after Shane O’Brien tried his best Hulk Hogan headlock on Mathieu Darche.

Intermission babble:

We had several good chances in the first. Lars Eller a couple of times; Travis Moen came close, and Gomez sort of came close. Imagine if Gomez scored.

Max Pacioretty had six shots on goal in the first, which is more than some guys get in six games.

Second Period

5:10 – ET LE BUT!! Plekanec blasts it home on the power play. 2-1 Habs.

5:19 –  Montreal needs to bury a couple more and put this game out of reach. It’s too close right now, anything can happen, and we need at least two more. Maybe six.

5:25 – Max takes a holding penalty and this could either make or break things. Kill it, great. Don’t kill it, as happened a couple of times the other night, and everything could go south.

5:29 – There you go. Price gives the guy too much net to shoot at and the visitors tie it on the power play. This where I think about going to the beer store.

5:31 – Oh no, PK. Our man loses it after winding up, and the guy skates in alone and scores. PK, what a blunder. Time out. This is what I mean about things going south after not killing the penalty. 3-2 Colorado.

5:39 – Oh man. Travis Moen continues his Guy Lafleur impersonation by scoring clear in after being set up by Brian Gionta. Gomez got the other assist. Moen has scored a couple of beauties lately and seems to be enjoying being on a top line. It’s now 3-3.

5:45 – Ridiculous. Off a skate. Fools Price. 4-3 Avalanche.

5:48 – Siren goes.

Intermission babble. There’s been moments of fine play by the Habs, and more moments when they’ve been out of sync, and it’s obvious something is wrong. They’re a better team than what they’ve shown in three and two-thirds games, and why? Jacques Martin finally showed some emotion when he blasted them at the bench, and he looked extremely pissed off. I’m pissed off too.

Third Period

6:09 – Habs on the power play and swarm the net. They’re coming close and this could be a momentum builder.

6:20 – Almost for Kostitsyn. Avalanche have been lucky at times.

6:23 – Subban called on an obvious trip. Not the greatest night for our young star. He might want to get dressed and sneak out before Martin comes in the room tonight.

6:28 Gionta ties it!!!!! A little backhand through legs finds the mark. 4-4.

6:29 YES!!! Desharnais defects a smart Max pass and we’re in the lead. Holy smokes!!! 5-4 Habs!

6:36 – Diaz penalty for chopping the skate out from under his man. Lovely. Will they shoot themselves in the foot?

6:37 – Yes they did. 5-5. Penalties. When will they learn?

Overtime.

Didn’t have to be but it is.

Shootout:
Plekanec – nope. Hit the post.
Avs – yes
Max – nope
Avs – yes

Habs lose. Gawd.

Post game stuff – Carey Price wasn’t great. Subban either. But we saw some life from Cole, Gionta, and Plekanec, for what it’s worth.

Still no 100th win for Price.

This game may have been exciting somewhat because of the 11 goals, the back and forth leads, overtime and a shootout, but the team lost and they looked both good and bad while losing. And that’s 13 goals allowed in four games.

Next game – Tuesday, when Buffalo pays a visit.

The Toronto Maple Leafs (How Can I Say It Politely), Will Smell Like Farm Animal Excretement

Hockey fans became completely sick of hearing Mats Sundin’s name about a month ago, and so I apologize for mentioning it now. But His Majesty is on the verge now of announcing whether he will retire or play, so I thought I’d get just a little head start on this.

 

If he plays, there’s always the chance he’ll rejoin his old club, the Toronto Maple Leafs. But I just had a look at the Leafs’ 2008-2009 roster, and maybe His Majesty should consider retiring. Wow! Harold Ballard and girlfriend Yolanda would’ve made this club. King Clancy would’ve made this team, when he was in his eighties.

Several of the hot dog vendors would make this team.  Prince Philip could make this team. Richard Simmons would be on the first line. My daughter’s baby would make this team, and the baby’s not even born yet.

 

The Leafs best player just may be ex-Hab Mikhail Grabovski. And they’ve added Rangers goon Ryan Hollweg, a guy who blows his mind way too often. There was no room for him anymore in New York, but of course there’s lots of room for him in Toronto.

 

Jason Blake will be their leader, like Jean Beliveau, the Rocket, Mark Messier, Joe Sakic, and Steve Yzerman were for their teams. You bet!

 

And I could mention the other Leaf players on the roster but you wouldn’t care anyway.

 

Toronto fans will pack the place every night to see one of the most inconsequential teams in Toronto ever.

 

Mats Sundin will make his choice soon. He can join the Leafs. He can join some good teams like the Habs. He can retire. Or he can help old pal Borje Salming with his underwear business. We’ll see shortly.

 

Sorry to mention his name. Also sorry to mention the Leafs.