Tag Archives: Jon Landau

Galchenyuk Racks ‘Em Up

Our Habs might have the odd overpaid two-goal scorer and a semi-comatose forward, and maybe a defenceman who doesn’t get closer than three feet of the opposition, and of course the injury-prone team with no power play did end up slightly down in the standings last season. Slightly.

But there could be an excellent silver lining.

I’ll borrow a well-used quote from music critic Jon Landau after his witnessing a young Bruce Springsteen in action in 1974, move things around a little, and say, “I have seen the future of the Montreal Canadiens, and its name is Alex Galchenyuk.

I’m craving a true superstar on the team, and I’ll take a chance and speak for several million other fans by saying they want one too. Patrick Roy was the last one. Guy Lafleur was before Patrick. It’s been a long, harsh drought. Not to put much pressure on the young fellow, but that’s the deal. All he has to do is become a big-time superstar like Guy Lafleur. Is it too much to ask?

Fans of every other team might say they want one too. But who cares what fans of other teams want. They’re lucky we let them co-exist with us in everyday life.

Galchenyuk scored three times on Saturday night in leading his Sarnia Sting to a big 5-2 win over the Peterborough Petes, giving our new future star 19 goals and 29 assists for 48 points in 27 games, putting him third in scoring in the Ontario Hockey League behind Niagara IceDogs Ryan Strome (59 points) and Seth Griffith of the London Knights (49 points).

Strome has played three more games than Galchenyuk, and Griffith two more, so be careful guys, he’s breathing down your neck. Maybe by Christmas these two will be chasing him.

Maybe he’ll leave all concerned in the dust.

Maybe he’ll be a great one.


So Long Big Man

We’ve lost a big man, and a great man.

Clarence Clemons, the huge 6 foot 5 inch saxophonist in Bruce Springsteen’s mighty E Street Band, has left this earth at 69, a victim of a stroke, and for me, a distinct memory comes swirling back.

I was lucky enough to see Springsteen and the E Street Band a number of times over the years, but it was the first that stands out more than any other. Because I think for most of us there that night, we had no idea what we were in for.

It was 1975, and although Born To Run was fresh on the charts, I really had no clue who Bruce Springsteen was. He was being billed as “The new Bob Dylan,” and it was for that reason my wife and I, along with another couple, bought tickets to see them at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, a 3000 seat venue with perfect acoustics. Our seats were dead centre, only a few rows from the front, and I expected a folk singer to perform.

Before long the lights darkened, and suddenly a lone voice began, serenading us with the opening of  Thunder Road. “The screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways….” and as the lights gradually came on and the song grew, the entire band swung into action. And aside from The Boss himself, it was Clarence Clemons, The Big Man, swaying to the music, blasting his sax, that our eyes were fixed on.

I knew this was going to be a night to remember.

Springsteen and the boys played for more than three hours, and the normally reserved Arts Centre, a place of ballet recitals and classical orchestras, had fans roaring and dancing in the aisles. The four of us looked at each other with shock and eyes bulging. I’ve seen much of rock’s royalty play over the years, but Bruce Springsteen, with Clarence and the gang, was by far the best. It really was a band you had to see live. Springsteen was everywhere on the stage, the band was tighter than tight, it was pure and unadulterated rock and drama, and I understood what music critic Jon Landau had meant in 1974 when he wrote “I have seen the future of rock and roll, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”

It wasn’t just Bruce Springsteen who rocked our world that night. It was the entire E Street Band, with The Big Man, Clarence Clemons commanding the stage in his own right, and sending us into seventh heaven with his hauntingly beautiful saxophone solos.  He took up much of the stage, this giant man dressed to the nines with his sax glistening, and we were swept away.

Springsteen introduced the band one by one, and when he got to Clarence, whom he had left to the end, he smiled, proudly proclaimed…”and on sax, The Big Man, Clarence Clemons,” and the crowd exploded. Clarence was a force, and it had only taken a few minutes to love him, his sax, and his big, friendly smile.

So long, Big Man. We’ll miss you. And thanks for the memories.