Tag Archives: Lars Eller

Price And Subban Come Up Big

Carey Price was often sensational and P.K. Subban scored a couple of beauties as the Canadiens edged the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

Five wins and just one loss, but without getting carried away, it was Colorado’s third-string goaltender Calvin Pickard between the pipes, and we still had to hold our breath as the clock wound down.

It truly would’ve sucked if a third-stringer shut the door. But he didn’t, so maybe I’ll just quit talking about it.

The Canadiens once again were forced to play catch up, with the Avs leading 1-0 after the first frame. Max would fall short on a clear cut breakaway, and we moaned and groaned. (I’m assuming you moaned and groaned).

But the second period took a definite turn, beginning with a P.K. blast from just inside the blueline on a power play.

Finally this guy was solved, and nightmares regarding a rawer than raw goaltender beating our team were put to rest. If someone’s gonna have a storybook night, let it be against another team.

Shortly after, cooler than cool stuff happened, if you’re a Habs fan of course, which, according to the organization, approximately 10 million around the world are. (How do they count something like that?)

Alex Galchenyuk jumped out of the penalty box, took a nice feed from Brandon Prust, and gave the guys a 2-1 lead. More and more, we’re seeing fine hints of soon-to-be superstardom from Galchenyuk. Just like we knew we would.

Jarred Tinordi, showing again that he’s the team’s tough guy, got his licks in on Avs’ tough guy Cody McLeod, and ain’t it grand when our tough guy can also play, unlike George Parros and Georges Laracque.

Speaking of Georges Laraque, I’m reading his autobiography that Danno sent me, and Georges, according to himself, is the world’s greatest person. He won every fight, he’s a saint in many, many ways, he was underappreciated and never used properly as a hockey player, and the only reason he decided to play for the Habs was because his mother lived in Montreal.

Maybe I’ll talk more about Georges another time. But back to things that matter – the game. Not that I don’t appreciate Danno’s gift. Thanks again Danno.

The highlight of the night? P.K. Subban, out of the penalty box, chased down the puck, swooped in behind the Avs net with a defenceman losing his footing, found himself with the puck in front of Pickard, moved to the right and beat the young fellow with all the swagger P.K. could muster.

If you missed it, it’s at the bottom.

A goal that put smiles on 20,000 folks at the Bell, and a big slice of the 10 million Habs fans around the world who saw it. If they have Rogers of course.

In the third period, Price came up big several times, but the game was narrowed to 3-2 when, with Pickard pulled for an extra attacker, a deflection fooled our guy, making P.K’s second goal even more heroic.

But that was it. The team held the fort, it ended 3-2, and we exhaled.

Five wins and one loss to start the 2014-15 season. If you’re wondering, the boys were 4-2 last year after six games.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Avs 36-34.

Overall a fine win, with Price, P.K., and Chucky sparkling, Manny Malhotra winning draws and playing like the mature player he is, and I thought Eller skated well and at least he finally has a point now in his six games, collecting an assist on P.K’s winner.

Next up, Tuesday when Detroit visits. The Canadiens’ only game until next Saturday.

 

 

The Morning After

It’s a little odd attempting a game recap the morning after. My brain’s taking a while. It feels like a bowl of steel cut oats. Sort of a glue-based, chewy mush.

But the United Center clash ended late last night, and I couldn’t wait until later on today. You might think I was a slacker.

It was Toews and Kane, Keith and Seabrook, Sharp, Richards, Versteeg, and on down the line. All the usual suspects. A strong, solid lineup, playing at home against Dumont and De La Rose. Andrighetti, Dowell and Bowman and just a sprinkling of household names like Bourque, Weise and Eller.

That’s not fair.

Except the underdogs had Carey Price in nets, and as the night progressed, the red, blue, and white legs found jump, the chances began, and in the end, the little engine that could skated off with a surprising and impressive 3-1 win, even though they were handily outshot. But not outworked.

It was 0-0 through two periods with Mr. Price coming up big a bunch of times, including getting his mitt on a clear-cut Duncan Keith blast from about twelve feet out. A sensational stop from Price, and it was the Canadiens who would finally break the ice in the third, not Kane or Toews or Sharp, when Rene Bourque, after almost scoring, came up with a nice second effort and banked one off Hawks goalkeeper Antti Raanta.

And when Nathan Beaulieu converted a swell Drayson Bowman pass to make it 2-0, it truly did start to feel like good things might happen on this night for what was technically a bolstered Hamilton Bulldogs squad.

A slight hiccup when Greg Pateryn, looking to impress and win himself a job, whiffed on the puck at the blueline which sent Andrew Shaw in alone, and suddenly it was 2-1 and the Hawks thought they had a life.

But they didn’t, because five minutes later Michael Bournival hit the empty net, and the Canadiens are now four wins and a loss in preseason, and looking mighty fine.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Chicago 32, Montreal 19.

Alexei Emelin thumped on several occasions, which is always a beautiful thing. I love the thumps, whether it’s Emelin or anyone else wearing the CH doing it. It keeps other teams from getting too high and mighty.

Next up, Friday night in Ottawa and then the Sens visit the Bell on Saturday.

 

Let Some Hitting Begin

Getting closer and closer to the real thing with seven exhibition games ready to go, beginning with the Bruins on Tuesday, the team that got their keisters kicked last spring in the playoffs by mere mortals who weren’t supposed to poke the almighty bear.

The bear got poked and it skedaddled right out of the rink and onto the nearest golf course.

How sweet that series was. A seven game battle royale that saw the Habs taking the opener 4-3 in Boston when P.K. scored in overtime, and game two had Montreal holding a 3-1 lead with nine minutes left, only to allow three goals in just over five minutes by Boston, plus an empty netter.

What a start, and what a series that would unfold. Electric. Nail biting. Ulcer-inducing. Ultimately crappy for the Bruins and their fans that made my heart soar like a flock of seagulls.

Ginette Reno warbling in Montreal. Shawn Thornton acting like a six-year old with his water bottle hijinks. Bruins anthem singer Rene Rancourt looking like he was peaking on acid.

Games going back and forth, keeping us all on the edge of our seat, chomping at the bit for the next game and then the next.

The Canadiens grabbed the series lead in game three with a 4-2 win. Remember that?

That was the night P.K. charged out of the penalty box, took a nice Lars Eller pass, and waltzed in along on Tuukka Rask, beating the goalie with a cool little move to the right that caught the goaltender flat-footed.

Boston would take game four with a tighter-than-tight 1-0 overtime win, and then grabbed game five by winning 4-2. It was excruciating to say the least.

I remember the odd Hab fan beginning to fold up the tent. Prematurely of course.

Montreal was dominant in game six, blanking the Bs 4-0 with Thomas Vanek awakening and notching a pair, and the series went to seven games, as it should, ending with the Canadiens posting a lovely and glorious 3-1 win that set Habs fans whoopin’ and hollerin’ throughout a dozen or so  time zones.

It seemed like only yesterday when it all went down, and which concluded with Milan Capone proving during the handshake that when his hockey career is finished, he’ll do just fine in the Cosa Nostra.

Frustrated Bruins players. Depressed Bruins fans. A suicidal Jack Edwards. And the Canadiens moved on to the Eastern Conference Final.

It was almost orgasmic.

It’s Boston at the Bell on Tuesday,  Colorado visits on Thursday, then on Friday the Habs and Avs clash again, only in Quebec City.

On Sunday the Caps pay a visit to Montreal, Wednesday the boys are in Chicago and Friday in Ottawa, and our Habs’ preseason ends on Saturday Oct. 4th when the Sens come to town for part two of being spanked.

After that it’s a few days to get ready for game one of the 2014-15 season when the Canadiens travel to Toronto to face the Worst Sports Franchise in North America.

How great is that? The Worst Pro Franchise in North America! That’s what ESPN decided about the Leafs organization and at this time I’d like to thank the TV channel for their fine assessment.

 

Summer Notes From Habsville

A number of things happened Habs-wise this summer, the most surprising being I was able to decipher the notes I’d made regarding the things that happened Habs-wise this summer.

Gone are Daniel Briere, Josh Gorges, Brian Gionta, Tomas Vanek, Ryan White, Douglas Murray, George Parros, and anthem singer Charles Prevost Linton.

Francis Bouillon, at this writing, remains stranded on the desert island named Limbo. Douglas Murray’s island is slowly sinking. George Parros’ island is somewhere near the lost continent of  Atlantis.

White now finds himself in Philadelphia where one of his jobs will be to protect captain Claude Giroux from grabbing police officers’ buttocks, and Bouillon’s future seems secure. If he doesn’t find a hockey job, the City of Montreal is ready to step in and make him a fire hydrant.

Auditions are now in process for the anthem singing gig. Unfortunately, management, with a somewhat prickly attitude, has informed me that I’m not allowed to be singer AND stick boy.

Forward P.A. Parenteau, from Colorado in exchange for Briere, is now part of the family, and Gorges and Gionta aren’t, as the two UFAs were picked up by Buffalo, a place Gionta is probably happy about being. Gorges, maybe not as much, considering it’s Buffalo.

Parenteau is 31 and hopefully more effective than Briere, who is on the verge (Oct. 7th) of becoming 37. Gorges’ passion and shot blocking will be missed. Gionta’s captaincy will be replaced in a year or two, and until then, Max, Markov, Pleks and P.K. will serve as assistant captains.

In the spirit of fairness, Markov, with the most seniority, should be the one to accept the Stanley Cup from Mr. Bettman next spring.

Signings this summer involved free  agents Manny Malhotra (1-year, from Carolina), Tom Gilbert (2-years, from Florida), and goaltender Joey MacDonald (1-year, from Calgary). And Jiri Sekac from the KHL Lev Praha squad signed a two-year entry level deal.

Those with new contracts include P.K. Subban, at 9 million a year for 8 years. Apparently there is no truth to the rumour that P.K. has bought the Sun Life Building in downtown Montreal to use as his winter residence, so you can stop thinking about that.

Regulars Andrei Markov (3 years), Dale Weise (2-year extension), Mike Weaver (1 year), Lars Eller (4 years), and coach Michel Therrien (4-year extension), also penned their names on paper.

Chosen in the 2014 Entry draft, 26th overall, was Moscow-born Nikita Scherbak, who looks, speaks, and plays like a young Alex Galchenyuk, who’s a grizzled old guy now.

Assistant coach Gerard Gallant is now the head guy in Florida and replaced by Montreal native Dan Lacroix.

Lacroix helped out behind the Rangers bench last year, and if it was he who advised the despicable Chris Kreider to run Carey Price and then Dustin Tokarski, he should be hung by the thumbs outside a Bell Centre window for several hours, and then be forced to teach our guys (aside from Brendan Gallagher) how to run goalies too.

Player Development guru Patrice Brisebois leaves and replaced by former NHLer Rob Ramage. And Trevor Timmins has had the title “Vice President of Player Personnel” added to his “Director of Amateur Scouting” handle.

Timmins is widely respected, particularly in Northern Ontario where they named a small city after him.

Former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, an ultra-talented battler if there ever was one, retired after 1124 regular season games played, with his last 5 seasons in Anaheim and 13 years and one lockout season with Montreal before that. Thank you Saku, for all you did for the Montreal Canadiens and the city. Which was plenty.

And finally, Mensa member Brad Marchand mentioned that he dislikes Tomas Plekanec quite a bit. “Anybody who spells “Thomas” without  an “H” is a rotten bastard”, said Brad.

Other things could happen in the days and weeks too. If so, just mentally paste them to this.

Darth Comes Through Again

Darth (Wade Alexander) has been creating cool pieces of computer art for several years and it’s always a good day when another shows up that I can post.

Some of his other stuff can be seen right here

And now, without further ado, Darth’s newest.

PKPortrait

Carry On Canadiens!

Wild and wacky.

And when the dust had settled, the Canadiens give a little payback to the Rangers with a 7-4 pasting after chasing Henrik Lundqvist in the second, after enjoying a huge lead that they would blow and then regain, and who knows, as the icing on the cake, maybe we’ll even see a Ranger or two suspended!

Would’ve been a good night to be at the Bell. So much went on. Lively as hell. Lots of cheering and fretting. And now the Canadiens are alive and well, and it’s on to New York Thursday to keep the ball rolling.

Montreal practically owned the first period and led 2-1 after Alex Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec lit the lamp, and in the second period, after killing a couple of penalties, went up a lovely 4-1 after Max and Ren Bourque bulged the twine.

But everyone except Lucy in Russia knows what happened next. New York scored three goals on six shots, suddenly it was tied at a horrifying four apiece, and the thought of this team being eliminated after leading 4-1 almost caused dry heaves.

But suddenly, the sun came up again. Rene Bourque scored his second of the night before the period had ended, the boys took another lead, and in the third Bourque would complete his hat trick, DD would score on the empty net, and all’s well in Habsland.

They could’ve folded the tent after those three quick Rangers goals that tied it, but they didn’t. And I’m willing to bet that some Knute Rockne-like speeches were made during the intermission that kept the gang on the straight and narrow throughout the third.

An awesome win. Montreal was the better team. They’ve been playing better slowly but surely as the series goes on and the Rangers know it.

As icing on the cake, we’ll hear sometime soon that Rangers d-man John Moore will get a couple of games suspension for clocking Dale Weise in a play somewhat similar to the Brandon Prust hit. You know, the one that made Rangers fans, players, and coaches scream blue murder about.

And then picture the wailing and sobbing from the Rangers if the less-than-talented Derek Dorsett, who sprayed a flag kid with snow at the beginning of the contest, also gets more than a wrist slap for a nasty headbutt on Mike Weaver near the end.

Who headbutts? Only extreme nutcases.

Dustin Tokarski came up big throughout and Rene Bourque led the charge with three goals. A tremendous night. And lots of guys contributed.

Markov collected three assists. Max ended with a goal and an assist, Eller and Weiseboth had two assists, Galchenyuk with a goal and an assist, Plekanec had a goal, and Vanek grabbed an assist, as did Gally, Gionta, and PK.

More of the same in New York on Thursday please. Except for the part about blowing a 4-1 lead.

Random Notes:

Alexei Emelin was a scratch and hopefully he’s back on Thursday.

Final shots on goal. Montreal 28, Rangers 27.

Derek Dorsett’s a weasel. There are several on that team. And we love the idiotic penalties Benoit Pouliot continues to take. Keep it up Benny!

 

 

 

Habs Trounced In Opener

It’s not surprising that after such an emotional Boston series, against a team that played such a drastically different style, the Canadiens might look slightly out of sorts in game one of the Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers.

Just didn’t think it would be that much out of sorts.

It was all Rangers, all the time. So much so that our esteemed backstopper Carey Price was relieved of his duties after two frames, with Peter Budaj getting his first shot at the 2014 playoffs.

The Canadiens need to seriously readjust. The Rangers can absolutely fly, but the saving grace is that the Canadiens can too, and once they truly become accustomed to this non-Bruins style of play, they should be fine.

Talk about a wake-up call, a stick to the groin, a water bottle spray to the faces, including ours. Just a dismal start for the team and to disappointed Habs fans who have been so excited and hopeful.

7-2. What the $%#% is that?

Ill-timed penalties. A collapse in the second period when it was just a 2-1 lead for the Blueshirts and the Habs playing much better than in the first.

But with 61 seconds left in the middle frame it was 3-1, and then with 12 seconds left, 4-1.

The third? Three goals in 3:08. All power play goals, the first with Max in for roughing, the other two because of several Prust  transgressions.

One of those games where I had contemplated paying several extra bucks and springing for a scalpers ticket, to soak in the atmosphere. To say I was there in the moment.

I didn’t, and I’m very happy about that. Now I have more money for food.

It was one of the more miserable nights in recent memory, except of course the beginning when the torch kid did his thing and then Ginette did hers. And maybe not quite as bad as game two of the Bruins series when the Canadiens led 3-1 with nine minutes left and lost 5-3.

One thing to keep in mind. It’s a seven-game series. We’ll see a different Habs team on Monday. They’ll have lots to ponder.

They’ll regroup, adjust, and come out a different team. No problem. And I think I’m going to stay away from TV sports highlights for a couple of days.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were undisciplined, including Rene Bourque in the sinbin for three separate minors and Brandon Prust given two separate minors and a 10 minute misconduct, and when the final dust had settled, the Habs had spent 24 minutes in the box and the Rangers just four.

And as far as undisciplined goes, it was the complete opposite of the Bruins series when they stayed cool, calm, and collected.

If you’re curious, Rene Bourque slipped the puck across the line behind Henrik Lundqvist for the Canadiens’ first goal, which was assisted by linemates Brian Gionta and Lars Eller. And late in the third, Eller scored an unassisted shorthanded marker.

Shots on goal, 28 for the Rangers and 22 for Montreal, including just six for the Habs in the first and six in the third. They need to make Lundqvist work much harder than that.

 

 

Dear Wife

The title was supposed to be Dear Lucy and not Dear Wife, but I thought people might think it was about Lucic and we can’t have that.

My wife Lucy is in a Russia right now and she’s a huge Habs fan who happens to be missing this dramatic little thing we call the Habs-Bruins series.

She’s missed a lot, don’t you think?

Dear Lucy,

Game six was a beauty. Your favourite player Pleks was great. Your other favourite player Max came through in a big way. Your other favourite player P.K. carries on in his superstar ways. And one of your new favourite players Dale Weise flexed his muscles in front of Milan Lucic, mocking the thug for his actions in game five.

The boys skated and never stopped working, and your favourite player Carey Price, who reminds you of your son Denis, shut the door. And I’m happy to report that your favourite blond-haired player Lars, who you want to mother, has continued to shine.

I also want you to know that your favourite Russians (aside from your sons of course), Andrei and Alexei are crunching bones, giving Carey a hand around the crease, and making sweet passes, just like you knew they would.

You’d be so proud of the whole bunch of them.

The Bruins of course are oily greaseballs as you know, and they don’t represent normal North American humans, as you also know. More like those annoying Ottomans from a few centuries back that your ancestors disagreed with.

You really need to get up at 3 am and watch if you can find a channel showing it. Or have recorded Putin speeches and clips of him playing beer league hockey preempted everything else?

I know you’d be a nervous wreck and maybe it’s a good thing you’re in Russia right now and not watching it. And with you being away, the cat’s eardrums are finally healing after being near you when the Canadiens scored big ones in the Tampa series.

I just wish you were here so you could have seen how well they played in game six, and experience the excellent atmosphere around Montreal right now. It’s like the Bolshevik Revolution, only bigger and more important.

Could you also cook me some lasagna and mail it?

Miss and love you,

Dennis

Stayin’ Alive Canadiens

They weren’t to be denied. Not on this night. Not when the strikers struck, the blockers blocked, and the saver saved.

Lars, Eller, a force in these playoffs, got the ball rolling. Max came to play at a time when we very much needed him to, notching the Canadiens second of the night, using his feet to get the puck to Thomas Vanek for a power play marker, and he skated hard.

Thomas  Vanek scored that huge third goal and another as Tuukka Rask was on his way to the bench. And David Desharnais contributed an assist and saved a puck as it was sliding ever so slowly over the goal line.

Max, Thomas, and David. The three we needed in a big way. When everyone’s going, it’s a beautiful thing.

Josh Gorges and Mike Weaver sacrificed their bodies in front of flying pucks. Nathan Beaulieu, inserted for the game, played well, blocked shots, moved the puck, and assisted on Max’s marker.

Tomas Plekanec won important faceoffs. PK dangled. The fourth line, with Daniel Briere back, kept the pressure on in the Bruins end. And Carey Price held the fort as the Canadiens rack up an impressive 4-0 win to take this amazing and emotional series to a game seven on Wednesday.

It was as gutsy a performance as we’ve seen from Les Glorieux in this postseason. The lineup was packed with battlers, guys who believed. And when they skate, battle and believe, they win.

It makes my heart soar like not only like a Rufus-bellied Hawk-Eagle.

Just a solid night, although the Bruins had their chances, including a puck off the crossbar and the aforementioned Desharnais save. But mostly this was a night that belonged to the Canadiens. They kept the tempo high and the pressure on. They allowed very few odd man rushes. There weren’t nearly as many frantic moments around Carey Price as we’ve seen in previous contests.

There was no letting up, with only a few bad penalties such as P.K. holding a stick, and they got the puck out of danger constantly, which is much better on the nerves, particularly mine if I might say so.

As special bonus, I was invited to watch it with friends and we high-fived and cheered and sometimes fretted, and all-round, it was a wonderful night.

Wednesday night in Beantown. Game seven. It’s what we asked for, and they delivered.

Outplayed All Evening

Not much good to say here. The Canadiens were outplayed from start to finish, they were outmuscled, outworked, outchecked, and basically bottled up for about 50 of the 60 minutes, and although the final score looked an almost respectable 4-2 loss, it wasn’t. Not by a long shot.

The Canadiens were dismal and they lacked drive. How do you lack drive in a crucial playoff game? And once again, the scorers, the ones we rely on to light the lamp, didn’t come through.

Except PK and Gally of course, who’ve refused to stay quiet in the series when others around them have. Lots of heart with these two, but it’s no surprise.

To make matters worse, mainstays Eller, Bourque, and Gionta were ineffective and were shut down from start to finish. In fact, Bourque reminded me of his season-long comatose efforts. Eller was slightly better. Gionta was physically a non-factor. Too small in a game like this.

On top of that, the fourth line, which has contributed throughout the playoffs, were non-existent, and Michel Therrien’s choice of Brandon Prust in for Daniel Briere didn’t prove as brilliant a move as he might have hoped.

Prust’s name was barely mentioned, although the line only played about eight minutes. But of course he wasn’t alone in the not standing out department.

The Bruins were too strong in game five, and most of the Canadiens were surprisingly inept. They weren’t sharp to say the least. I’m expecting some true grit from them on Monday.

If they don’t come out breathing fire at the Bell, there might be some serious character flaws in many that need to be dealt with.

It was almost like they’d conceded early on, maybe right around the time Tomas Plekanec performed his dubious hat trick so to speak.

It was Plekanec who, instead of taking an extra second to cross the red line, iced the puck which led to a series of events and the Bruins’ first goal.

It was Plekanec who barged into Tuukka Rask with seventeen seconds left in the first, which led to a Bruins power play goal a minute into the second period.

It was Plekanec just a half minute later who took a high sticking penalty and six seconds later it was 3-0, and for all intents and purposed, the boys were dead.

It’s here I have to agree with what Don Cherry didn’t like and mentioned afterwards. Plekanec sat in the box with his leg resting on a ledge, like he was lounging in Acapulco.

When I saw that I wondered what the hell he was doing. Maybe in Europe you might see something along those lines. Not in a Habs-Bruins playoff struggle.

And even though Plekanec was terrible and in three ways helped cost the game, his teammates weren’t there either. They’ve been reading their press clippings about how they have the Bruins on the run, how great they’ve been, how they’re in the Bruins’ heads.

Tonight, the Bruins had them in their back pocket. The Canadiens were outmatched in every way in a huge game, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

Random Note:

Shawn Thornton spraying PK with the water bottle as PK skated past was bush league to say the least and a typical type of Bruin move.