Tag Archives: John Tavares

Weber And Gang Win Another

blastA blast from the point from Shea Weber with just 2:57 left in the third period, and the visiting Montreal Canadiens leave town with a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders.

The major roll continues to roll.

Speedy Paul Byron, elevated to the first line with Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk, opened the scoring in the second period, and this middle frame had belonged completely to the Habs, right up until John Tavares evened things on the power play. But it all worked out in the end so it doesn’t matter.

In the third, after Galchenyuk rang one off the crossbar, Phillip Danault banged home a Weber shot after great fourth line forechecking, and the Habs took the lead, but not for long.

Almost three minutes later, ex-Bruin Dennis Seidenberg (which makes him a natural enemy), tied it after serious Islanders pressure, but it was all for naught, because the guy who came over for PK Subban, which caused some to consider jumping off a bridge or slitting their throat, scored the winner, his third of the season and nine points, which leads his team.

He also scares the daylights out of opposing players near the boards, which may or may not be factored into analytics.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Islanders 29-28, and were 1/1 on the power play (Weber).

Al Montoya, playing in his fourth game, was solid as usual and has allowed just 7 goals overall.

Years ago Henri Richard and Ralph Backstrom would be timed doing circles around the Forum, with both skaters fighting to be the fastest. Pretty sure Paul Byron would have given both fellows a run for their money, and I think they’d agree.

Next up –

Thursday night at the Bell when the Tampa Bay Lightning show up to get their arses kicked.

Soft and gentle rant – Alex Galchenyuk still isn’t that superstar we’d hoped for, even though he did score 30 goals last season. I thought by now, after 3 1/2 seasons, we’d see him blossom into one of the league’s elite, but we still wait. Maybe it won’t happen, at least the way I wanted it to.

Just want another Guy Lafleur, that’s all.

 

 

Max’s OT Goal Wins It

Nice work by David Desharnais in overtime to grab the puck, change direction, feed Max Pacioretty who scored the game’s only goal, and end the misery of sitting through any more when I’m in the middle of an excellent puzzle I could’ve been working on.

The team isn’t playing well, scoring has gone south for the winter, and the boys were lucky to win against the second-worst team in the east.

It’s not something to jump for joy about. They easily could’ve lost, and we might as well accept the fact that sometimes we’ll be incredibly happy with the gang and other times not so much.

Right now, that sensational 9-0-1 feeling is long gone, replaced by a lot of grrrs and tabernacs.

I hate Habs roller coaster rides. I don’t even mind them losing sometimes. I just prefer they play decent hockey while losing from time to time, and score goals while doing it.

It was 0-0 through three periods, and the only time there was reason to cheer was when Lars Eller laid out John Tavares with a good old fashioned, old-time hockey bodycheck when Tavares wasn’t paying attention.

Of course Eller got two minutes for it. Good, clean, hard hitting is an infraction it seems. And contrary to popular opinion, superstars can be hit hard, as long as the hits are clean.

But back to the main problem. Two goals in three games. Unacceptable. I’m going back to my puzzle.

Random Notes:

Because I’d never really paid much attention to George Parros until this year, I had in my mind he was a bit of a mad man. A good fighter. A feared fighter. A bad-tempered rotten bastard.

Instead we got a calm looking guy who scraps only in staged fights and never outright wins.

He got clocked tonight by Isles tough guy Eric Boulton, was wobbly getting up, and left the game, never to return. Now it’s up to George’s wife and family to convince him to retire.

George isn’t what any of us had in mind when the Canadiens signed him. An experiment that began to fizzle in the first game of the season.

Back to the drawing board in regards to the intimidation factor. Has Knuckles Nilan kept in decent shape?

Canadiens outshot the Islanders 25-21.

Next up – Sunday night – 6:00 ET against the Panthers.

Not expecting much.

Fans have been on Desharnais and Daniel Briere over the course of the season, and now I think it’s time for Brian Gionta to feel the wrath. In my eyes, he’s been a bum. He’s too small, his shot is lousy, and he’s old. In my opinion, three darn good reasons.

 

 

Habs Back On Winning Track

Brendan Gallagher came within a whisker of making the club last year, he was cut just a week before opening night, and you have to wonder how the lowly Habs of a year ago might have fared with this kid in the lineup.

Another goal tonight for young Gallagher, who never seems to take nights off and just keeps grinding and scoring and getting knocked down and getting back up again. Would he have helped make up the 15 points the team needed to make the playoffs last year? Or was another year of seasoning the key for this important piece of the puzzle?

The Canadiens beat the Islanders 5-2 on Long Island, but it certainly wasn’t a picnic of any sorts. The boys were sloppy on occasion, they fell behind 2-1 in the second, and had their hands full most of the night with the dangerous John Tavares and Matt Moulson, who seem to thrive on playing the Habs. But Carey Price put up a wall, the team scored four unanswered goals, and now they’re back to just a point behind first-place Pittsburgh, a team Montreal plays after just three more sleeps.

Montreal’s first two goals were power play markers from Michael Ryder and P.K. Subban, and after Brian Gionta converted a nice pass from David Desharnais, Gallagher got his before P.K. notched his second.

The one-game slump has ended and it’s back to working on another slice of winning-streak heaven. Once again I’ll say it – I’m proud of our guys.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot the Islanders 29-27.

Next up – Those pesky Sabres are back at the Bell Centre on Saturday, just days after beating the Canadiens 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday. So a good throttling of the Buffalonians is in order.

Please note: The original box score had Gallagher with two goals on the night, and is what I had originally written. But the fourth marker was later changed to Subban. Sorry.

 

 

Some Cool World Juniors Ticket Stubs

The World Juniors are about to kick off on Boxing Day, and today I’m mentioning the 2009 tourney held in Ottawa because my friends JW and Heather in Ottawa were there and they gave me a set of their ticket stubs, which I thought was extremely nice. But they always have been a very kind and giving couple.

Canada won gold in 2009, their fifth consecutive, by beating Sweden 5-1 in the big game. PK Subban was one of two defencemen named to the all-star team, and the three leading scorers that year were Cody Hodgson with 19 points,  John Tavares, 15, and Jordan Eberle with 13.

PK ended in 9th spot with 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) which is still excellent.

The tickets feature players from different years, such as Czech Republic star Tomas Plekanec, who played in both 2001 and 2002, and Sidney Crosby in 2004 and 2005.

Others players featured on the tickets are Patrick Kane 2007, Nik Antropov 1999, Jonathan Toews 2006-2007, Roberto Luongo 1998-1999, Dany Heatley 2000-2001, and Jack Johnson 2006-2007. And the gold medal ticket is a real bonus.

   

Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of, Habs

So many things to be concerned with. Christmas presents, lousy weather, Scott Gomez, global warming, Andrei Markov and Ryan White coming back, the Habs making the playoffs, the European debt crisis, what Kim Kardashian has decided to do with the wedding presents, and plenty of other things too.

But first and foremost, we need to beat the Islanders on Tuesday night.

The last time these two teams met, it wasn’t pretty. Here’s how it went down on November 17th on Long Island:

Montreal managed to find themselves down 3-0 in the second period, but would eventually wake up slightly and begin to scrape and claw. Twice they came within reach, narrowing it to 3-2 and then 4-3. But overall it was mostly the Islanders on this night, the game ended as a 4-3 Habs loss, and from that point on, the Canadiens have won just four times in twelve games.

I remember this game on Long Island well. (Not really, I looked up my post from that night, but whatever). Peter Budaj was the goalie that night, he misplayed a puck behind his net that spurted out to an Islander, and the boys were behind the eight ball faster than you can say, uh, Petteri Nokelainen, who has 17 letters in his name which is tied with Michael Cammalleri for most on the team if you’re interested.

And before the Islanders began to grab their three-goal lead, they were all over the Habs, hitting posts and crossbars, and it was all quite disturbing to say the least. John Tavares was allowed to roam freely, and what he needs is a stiff crunch from Alexei Emelin to stop this nonsense.

Presently the Islanders sit in 14th place in the east, and surely we can beat these people and create a dizzying two-game winning streak. It’s not too much to ask. And can we please beat them properly and not in overtime or a shootout or a flukey goal after being outplayed or blowing a nice lead.

This is a plea from the far reaches of the Sunshine Coast. Show some moxy, you crazy Habs. Outplay these basement dwellars, and do it with sharp play and hard work. For one of the few times so far this year, impress the hell out of us.

We demand these two points. It’s our right as Habs fans.

 

 

So Long, Bob. I Don’t Blame You

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It was easy to be a fan of Bob Gainey when he played because he seemed to do everything right, in a blue-collar kind of way. He wasn’t flashy like teammates Guy Lafleur or Yvan Cournoyer, but he was an all-important piece of the puzzle on the world’s greatest team in the latter part of the 1970’s.

So when Gainey was brought to Montreal to run the circus, to settle things down and get the job done in fine and patient fashion the way he had done as a player, I was pleased. Every move he made as a general manager I believed in, because I believed in this guy. I knew he wouldn’t do anything without long and serious thought, and so his decision was the right decision. I believed this.

But the team Gainey built after coming from Dallas is a mess. It was a mess last year and the year before. He tried players, they didn’t get it done, and so he tried some more. He fired coach Claude Julien and stepped in to do the job himself, he fired Guy Carbonneau and stepped in again. His coaching resume consisted of losing in round one every year, except when he took the Minnesota North Stars to the final in 1991. And as Habs GM, he never got better than making it to the second round of the playoffs in 2007-08.

As much as I’ve always believed in Gainey, there are questions. Taking on an $8 million dollar contract for Scott Gomez is one. Bringing in so many small players must be questioned. There’s no doubt the skill is there, but so many? Gionta, Cammalleri, Gomez? Every single hockey expert on the planet will tell you that a team of small guys will not go far in the NHL playoffs. It’s just too tough to win battles against the big strong behemoths who play in the league now.

Biggest of all is the goalie situation. PJ Stock brought up a great point last night on Hockey Night in Canada when he said the Canadiens dropped the ball with Carey Price. They should have had him living with a mature veteran and family, seeing how a guy who’s been around the league for a long time lives his life in the fishbowl. Sidney Crosby still lives at Mario Lemieux’s house. John Tavares lives with Doug Weight and family. Instead, like Stock said, they bring in a young guy from the west, give him a million bucks, tell him to take an apartment in downtown Montreal, and let him fend for himself in a classic party city. In Montreal, restaurants and clubs practically kill to have Habs players in their joints where booze flows and gorgeous women looking for rich, famous, handsome young studs, are everywhere. And Price soaked it all in.

Yes, Gainey and the organization did drop the ball with Price.

I was happy when Gainey overhauled the club this year. They needed to be blown up after bowing out in four dismal games to the Bruins in last year’s opening round of the playoffs. I’m just not happy witht the size factor. And whether or not Gainey made the right moves or not, he couldn’t control the abnormal amount of injuries the club has suffered through so far. It’s just plain bad luck for the organization when you replace most of the team in the off-season, and then the majority of the new players take their turns in hospital beds.

Can Pierre Gauthier, Gainey’s replacement, make a difference? Maybe if there are no more injuries, and maybe if he can convince Carey Price that the youngster is the future, but for now, Jaroslav Halak will play on most nights. If Gauthier can convince Price without ruining him, he’ll have done a big job.

The task at hand is simple for Gauthier. Tweak the team until you like what you see. Keep both goalies. Make the team a little bigger up front, (Dustin Penner?), decide whether you think Jacques Martin is the guy to run the bench, put the C on someone’s jersey.

For Bob Gainey, maybe he’ll bow out of hockey altogether and spend quality years with family and friends back in Peterborough. With the sadness he’s experienced, losing his wife and daughter, he needs to remove himself from a league that eats its young. He seems like the kind of guy who would enjoy sitting by a stream with a fishing rod, or diving into a good book.

All the best to Bob Gainey, a man I’ve always respected.


The Show Comes To Terrace, BC, And Joe Has It Covered

Kraft Hockeyville is coming to Terrace, BC this weekend, home of my buddy Joe Pelletier. The highlight of course will be the Vancouver Canucks taking on the New York Islanders on Monday in this northern, working class BC town, and Don Cherry, Roberto Luongo, John Tavares and the rest, along with the Stanley Cup, will be there to take part in all the festivities that will be spread throughout the weekend.

Joe will be covering the entire big deal on his great site Greatest Hockey Legends. Stop in and have a look. It’s nice when small-town Canada gets big-time hockey.

Louis Leblanc Picked By His Hometown Team. But It’s Harvard For Now

 leblanc

First, the second-most important thing. As expected, John Tavares is now a New York Islander, Victor Hedman becomes a Tampa Bay Lightning, and Matt Duchene is off to Colorado. That’s how the first three picks in the 2009 entry draft were supposed to go, and that’s how it played out.

And talk about a raise! These guys, and the rest of the crop, go from borrowing money from their billets so they can go to the movies, to being able to buy the whole movie theatre. Am I jealous? No. I’ll just keep on slaving away until I’m 69 so I can pay the bills because that’s what I want to do.

Now, the most important thing. The Canadiens selected hometown boy Louis Leblanc who played for the Omaha Lancers of the US Hockey League, where he scored 28 goals and had 39 assists. He’s a little too slight at the moment, just 178 pounds for being a six footer, but young guys always fill out. The way they eat, how can he not? And he’ll do that while attending Harvard, which, for those in Slobovia, is an elite school where students have to be smart.

Imagine how it would be if the young fellow blossoms into a star in Montreal. A French-Canadian Montrealer wearing the bleu, blanc, rouge. It’d be magic. He’d be a hero. Just what the doctor ordered. C’mon Louis, hurry up and do your Harvard thing, put some beef on, and get up here and be the star we need you to be.

Of course, we don’t want to put any pressure on you.

Montreal got a good young French-Canadian forward who’s going to become a Harvard guy. A guy with athletic prowess and a good head on his shoulders. The girls are going to love him.

Just A Few Ramblings Before The NyQuil Kicks In

Just to recap:

PK Subban has signed a three-year deal with Montreal.

Pittsburgh blows out Washington 6-2 in the most anticipated game of the year.

Pittsburgh will play the winner of Boston-Carolina.

The Canucks again disappoint their fans as Roberto Luongo is less than great in the series-ending game against Chicago.

No, I don’t have swine flu.

Canada lost to Russia in the World Championships.

Brian Burke is ready to wheel and deal to get John Tavares.

I’m buying the Canadiens for 400 million.

Gary Bettman says the Phoenix Coyotes are safe and sound.

Newest thing to come up. Cam Cole says the Canucks should think about trading Luongo to Montreal for Carey Price. Luongo for Price

Don Cherry says Detroit looks unstoppable.

I’m pretty sure Don’s going for Boston. And is that Homer Simpsons’s boss Mr. Burns, sitting beside him?

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Canada’s Juniors Find A Way. Now They Smell Gold

Like has happened so many times before, Canada has found a way to win. Canada’s Jordan Eberle tied the game with just five seconds to go, and then scored, along with John Tavares, in the shootout, to thrust Team Canada into the World Junior gold medal game Monday against Sweden.

 

And I’ve never agreed more with Jim as I do now. The outspoken critic of the shootout is dead on in this. It’s a shame it came to a shootout. It was tense, exciting, back and forth hockey for all three periods and the ten minute overtime.

 

And then it was decided by a shootout.

 

But what a game. I need to find some downers somewhere. Check my blood pressure. I just love the World Juniors. Young kids who, if you saw them in the poolhall, are just ordinary pimply-faced kids who like video games, chicks, and giggling. But put a hockey uniform on them and they transform into magical, ultra-talented boys/men playing like NHL’ers. They’re a sight to behold.

 

How can young kids play such fine hockey?