Tag Archives: Jonathan Drouin

Canadiens Hijack Jets

A gutsy comeback by the Habs in Winnipeg, capped by Max Pacioretty’s overtime winner, and the boys glided off the ice with a nice 5-4 win.

What a difference a couple of days make. Incredibly lousy in Minnesota on Thursday night, and a hard-working, solid display on Saturday.

With Al Montoya in net.

With Andrew Shaw scoring two power play goals.

And with Hometown Hockey coming from my hometown Orillia tomorrow!

It’s elation, sort of! But they’re in Chicago after the Orillia piece, so the elation might be short lived.

The game in Winnipeg was a back and forth deal, with the Jets opening the scoring in the first, followed by Shaw’s first after he redirected Jonathan Drouin’s shot.

Shaw would strike again in the second, but after that it seemed all wrapped up for the Jets as they would soon even it up, take a 4-2 lead in the third after Blake Wheeler blew by a stumbling Jeff Petry, and we waited for the inevitable.

Things looked gloomy, yes they did. But Pleks, after great work by Gally down low, narrowed it to 4-3, and then Petry atoned for his big mistake by firing home the tying goal with just 4:44 left in the period.

Overtime it became, and as the clock moved toward a shootout, Max Pacioretty suddenly bulged the twine on the power play. And just like that, the Canadiens rack up four wins in six games.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Jets 50-23.

Brendan Gallagher has been a bright light on most nights, and Saturday was no exception. He just kept fighting, nobody works harder, and as my buddy Mike Williamson says, he should be captain.

Once again, if you get Sportsnet, tune in a half hour before game time and check out Hometown Hockey’s feature on Orillia, where I was a smallish yet shifty right winger for Byers Bulldozers midgets and bantams. A time when I had trouble focusing I guess, as I used to sing Beatles songs under my breath as I raced down the ice.

 

 

The Start Can’t Be Much Worse

Seven games in, the Canadiens sit 30th overall with just 3 points (1-5-1). Only Arizona, with one measly point, is worse.

Montreal’s goals per game is the lousiest in the league (31st), with a 1.43 average.

They’re in 28th place for Goals Against (3.86).

27th on the power play (7.7%).

24th on the penalty kill (76.9%)

Stay-at-home defenceman Karl Alzner has 3 assists, which puts him number two on the team behind Jonathan Drouin, who has 5 points.

Alex Galchenyuk has 1 goal and 0 assists. The same goes for Max Pacioretty.

The guy with the big shot, Shea Weber, has a goal and an assist.

Carey Price, apparently the world’s greatest goalie, has a mediocre .885 save %. He’s lost his last five starts.

Tonight the Canadiens are in Anaheim. “Go Habs Go” he said weakly.

 

Habs Fall To Leafs In OT

The Canadiens fell 4-3 in overtime to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, and the hockey world is in utter disbelief that Montreal would give…

…a run for their money.

Yes, Montreal would take the lead just 2:19 into the first period when Jeff Petry blasted one from the point after a nice set up by Jonathan Drouin, they were outplaying the blue and white by a nice margin, the Bell crowd was happy, life was as it should be, but two goals in 44 seconds by the Leafs, who are…

in the history of the world…and the Habs looked to be in big trouble because the Torontonians can score and the Montrealers can’t, so we waited for the Bell Centre roof to cave in. But lo and behold, Alex Galchenyuk, with his first goal (and point) of the season while on the power play, the team’s first PP goal of the season, and it was hard to believe for all concerned.

How could the lowly Montreal Canadiens hang tough like this? Against a team that Central Canada hockey broadcasters, writers, analysts, hanger-ons, groupies, Don Cherry, Richard Simmons, Kim Jong-un, 5000 Syrian refugees, and many more, all consider to be…

Donald Trump can’t wait to invite them to Washington where he’ll have blue trim painted around the White House windows in honour of this juggernaut. Although he’s undecided about Nazem Kadri.

Montreal took the lead in the second period when Jonathan Drouin redirected a Karl Alzner hard pass from the blueline, but just 1:10 later, Patrick Marleau inched the puck just over the line, the teams were tied at three, and would remain so for the rest of the middle frame and all of the third.

Sadly in overtime, Auston Mathews notched the winner, Leaf fans rejoiced, and Sportsnet’s Daren Millard, who compares the Leafs to  Gretzky’s Oilers, had to be excused to go to the bathroom.

All in all, it was Montreal’s best outing of this young season, and now have 1 win, 3 losses, and 1 overtime loss/point racked up. Most importantly, three guys who had yet to score – Petry, Galchenyuk, and Drouin, did so, and maybe it’ll get them rolling. Rome wasn’t built in a day, a few others need to step up, and Max needs to stop shooting from far out at goalies who stop these type of shots while gawking at lovely ladies in the stands.

Another concern lingers, the sometimes mediocre backstopping of Carey Price. With this lineup we need Price at his best most of the time, but it hasn’t happened yet. We’ve seen some sensational stops from the guy, but because he’s Price, we need more than just some.

They fought valiantly but couldn’t get it done against the…

Random Notes:

The Canadiens now jet to California for games in San Jose on Tuesday, L.A. Wednesday, and Anaheim on Friday.  What a shitty October schedule for this team. Not that there should be any excuses I suppose.

Time now for…

 

Early Season Habs Blues

Four measly goals (and a shootout marker) in four games. Three straight losses after falling 3-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks on opening night at the Bell Centre. Another night of the power play shooting blanks.

If this keeps up, those wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens should be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs sometime around Christmas and we can concentrate fully on the magic of winter, spring, and early summer.

But they looked great in the first period, which should give us some hope. Maybe false hope. Tomas Plekanec handed the boys a 1-0 lead just 1:15 in, after letting loose a nice wrist shot, and they even ended the frame with 16 shots to the Hawks’ 7.

Really good. I was happy. Not happy the way Hugh Hefner was probably happy, but still pretty happy.

The problem was, Chicago scored twice in 19 seconds with only a couple of minutes left in the first, so all the good work that had been done was crushed like a beer can on a frat boy’s forehead.

And the main problem is, even though the boys are getting plenty of shots in each game, these are shots fired by guys not blessed with good hands, which is most of the team. Who on the Habs is blessed with good hands – Pacioretty? Sometimes he is. Drouin? Hopefully.

Who else, Galchenyuk? The guy who so far in this early season looks like he’d rather be back in his apartment with several lovely young ladies. Maybe he should be somewhere else. Maybe Marc Bergevin should’ve moved him when other GMs still thought he was good.

Chicago’s third goal was a power play marker in the second period with Philip Danault in the box for hooking. A cheap call I thought, but whatever, Montreal was toast, because they only score once a game and that had already happened back in the first.

Next up for the Habs is a Saturday night tilt at the Bell against the Leafs. The Leafs, who score more goals in one game than Montreal does in four.

This morning on Sportsnet Hockey Central, host Daren Millard blurted out like a 12-year old,”Do you think the Leafs are becoming the Oilers of the 1980s”? I almost choked on my 7 a.m Labatts Blue.

The 1980s Oilers are considered one of the NHL’s greatest-ever teams. Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Anderson, Kurri. The Leafs, I’m pretty sure, aren’t quite the 80s Oilers.

The Leafs-media love-in is causing a whole new wave of Leafs fans. Refugees are pouring in, turning on their TVs, and hearing how fantastic the team in Toronto is from groupies like Millard.  So they become fans even though they don’t know the difference between a puck and Auston Mathews’ used jock strap.

Speaking of Mathews, here’s a photo of him and his teammates today doing some dryland exercises at their training facility.

And now – for some post game bonus coverage of action on the water. The seas were angry that day, my friends.

We were at a restaurant outside of St. Petersburg, Russia, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, where I went fishing at a small adjacent pond and caught a large trout.

Then the folks in the kitchen cooked it up and we ate it.

 

Game One Shootout Win!

Last year the Canadiens were 9 wins and a shootout loss to start the season, and the year before it was 9 straight wins out of the gate.

But overall, they weren’t very good, you know that. They were gone after 6 playoff games last year, and were so bad without Carey Price two years ago, me and the gang playing road hockey on Elmer Ave. in Orillia (photo above), might have given them a run for their money.

This year, in Montreal’s season opener in Buffalo, it was a 3-2 shootout win for the good guys, in a game that was surprisingly entertaining for the first of the year. Sometimes a first game can be almost preseason-like, but not this one, and good for Sabres fan who paid the big bucks and kinda got their money’s worth.

Two points in the bank, to be withdrawn sometime down the road when they’re on shaky footing. Maybe they’ll start with 9 straight again this year, whatever it means.

The first period gave us a good look at new Habs rearguard Victor Mete, who won’t turn 20 until June. The young fellow, straight out of junior with the London Knights, is a terrific skater and plays with poise. Hopefully he’ll still be playing with poise when the going gets tough.

The Sabres opened the scoring on a power play, and although the Habs started well, it was the Sabres who came on strong as the period wore on. But with just over two minutes left, a bang bang play – Gally to Jonathan Drouin to Max – and the game was tied.

That was the first period, and now, during intermission, I’d like to show you the vintage pedal car I bought in Revelstoke a few months ago. It was made in the late-50s I think, but resembles a Quadricycle from the late-1890s. Henry Ford used to bomb around in a Quadricycle before he started his company in 1903.

But enough about that.

The second period saw Buffalo’s Jason Pominville notch his second of the evening just 22 seconds in to give his team a 2-1 lead, and the hosts had the edge in play to this point. But the Sabres enjoyed back- to-back power plays and couldn’t get it done, which, if they care enough, could cause a restless sleep tonight. But maybe they’ll sleep soundly. They still get paid, and they got a point.

The second period ended, and during this intermission I’d like to mention that Lucy and I spend three great weeks in St. Petersburg, Russia this summer. We just got back about a month ago.

In the third, Philip Danault shoved home a wraparound at the 8.01 mark, the game was tied, and would remain so into overtime, where no goals were scored even though it was fire-wagon, back and forth hockey.

Really exciting. Really unusual for game one, as I said.

Before the shootout, I’d like to mention that my old pal from Orillia, Kerry Baker, a guy I lost track of more than 40 years ago, came to visit with his lovely Jacquie. We had connected on Facebook about a year ago and finally met up a few weeks ago. He’s a great guy with a great woman, and we had a mighty fine couple of days eating and drinking and drinking and eating.

Jonathan Drouin, showing lovely hands, was the lone scorer in the shootout after parking a backhand into the top of the net past Sabres netminder Robin Lehner. Drouin’s a great player, a difference maker, and he’ll look just dandy holding the Cup high next June.

I also visited my daughter and grandkids in Nelson this summer, and here we are wondering how the team will do this year.

So far, so good.

Random Notes:

In the shootout, Paul Byron rang one off the post before Drouin made his magic.

Sabres outshot the Canadiens 45-40 during this lively affair.

Buffalo was 1-5 of the pp, while the Habs went 0-4.

Next up – Saturday in Washington at 7:00 pm ET.

My website is 10 years old now.

 

Here’s To You, Historic Habs

leo

I saw the Beatles at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1966, and Janis and Zappa in Atlantic City in ’69.

I saw Led Zeppelin in Vancouver in ’73, and Evel Knievel sail over 13 Mack trucks on his motorcycle at the CNE in ’74.

NOn my TV in Orillia I saw the Kennedy assassination in ’63, and Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in ’69.

And from my couch in Powell River in 2016, I saw the Montreal Canadiens have their lousiest season in 75 years.

The historic Habs.

Something to tell my grandchildren.

And their fifth loss in a row (forget the overall loss tally) was against the Boston Bruins, with good old Brad Marchand scoring one of four Bruins goals as his team rolled over the hometown Habs 4-1.

It’s the Twilight Zone, baby.

It was last year when Marc Bergevin gave Michel Therrien a four year contract extension that kicked in this season, at $2 million per, and which takes him to 2019.

This was the report at the time;

Montreal re-signed Michel Therrien to a four-year contract extension Saturday, two weeks after the Canadiens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“It really shows the stability that [general manager] Marc Bergevin and [owner] Geoff Molson want to establish with the Canadiens,” said Therrien on a conference call. “We’ve progressed a lot over the past two years and we want to continue to progress. It’s a sign of confidence.”

Continue to progress. Yes indeed.

Oh, you like Michel Therrien and argue that it’s not his fault this team is on the fast track into the depths of hell? Do you think getting Jonathan Drouin is the answer instead?

I don’t want my historic times tampered with. So lose boys. And then charge fans for your autograph on your days off.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Bruins 39-24, with their lone goal coming from d-man Mark Barberio. The sharpshooters are still on their extended lunch break.

Next up – Habs in Toronto on Saturday. Imagine.

Two More Young Bucks

The Canadiens, choosing 34th in the second round, picked 6’2″ Swedish left winger Jacob De La Rose, and then went again at #34 and grabbed the top-ranked goalie in the draft, Rosemere native Zachary Fucale.

Rosemere is just north of Montreal, and Fucale, who’s been minding nets for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league, is a Carey Price fan and of course a Habs fan.

How great is that!

With Fucale between the pipes and first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon and third overall Jonathan Drouin roaming the ice up front, it’s no wonder the Mooseheads captured this year’s Memorial Cup.

De La Rose’s number’s can be found here and Fucale’s here.

Halifax Wins The Big One

Congratulations to owner and president Bobby Smith and his Halifax Mooseheads for defeating the Portland Winterhawks 6-4 today to win the Mastercard Memorial Cup in Saskatoon.

Halifax’ Jonathan Drouin and 17-year old Nathan MacKinnon were outstanding for the winners, and should have no trouble whatsoever paying the bills for the next 20 years. MacKinnon scored three times and added two assists, while Drouin contributed five assists.

The Colorado Avalanche, who won the draft lottery a month ago, have the luxury of choosing between MacKinnon, Drouin, and Portland’s great young defenceman Seth Jones, which is a nice dilemma to have.

I’d choose MacKinnon, as many would. He’s just too explosive and smart to let slip to number two, but to be honest, I haven’t seen enough of all three to be absolutely sure. Maybe Jones is still the odds-on favourite. Those big, mobile d-men are a nice commodity.

Halifax had dominated the first period, jumping into a 3-0 lead, but in the second, Portland seemed to find their game, and chipped away until it became a 3-2 nail-biter.

But in the third, Halifax tallied three more times and the Hawks just twice to make it close for awhile, and the Nova Scotians were full marks overall for the well-earned title of best in the CHL.

Owner Bobby Smith was a beauty of a hockey player. Tremendously intelligent, big, and crafty in a Jean Beliveau sort of way, with hands as soft as can be. As a junior with the Ottawa 67s, he set a record of 192 points in one season, a record that still stands to this day. He would spend seven years with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1980s, crammed between stints with the Minnesota North Stars, and Smith would hoist Lord Stanley’s mug with the Canadiens in 1986.

Smith’s Montreal numbers included 505 games played, with 172 goals and 310 assists for 482 points.