Tag Archives: Madison Square Garden

Full Concentration

Of the countless Habs photos in this crazy, mixed-up world of ours, this one for me ranks right up there near the top. The close-up action, the fans watching intently (I see one woman), Jacques Plante still almost two years away from putting the mask on.

It’s Dec. 18, 1957, Madison Square Gardens in New York, and Plante and Tom Johnson are working on thwarting a Rangers attack.

The Rangers in front of Johnson are Camille (the eel) Henry and Leapin’ Lou Fontinato wearing number 8. Fontinato would be dealt to the Habs in 1961 for Doug Harvey, who had fallen out of favour with the Canadiens mostly because of his player/union work.

This great photo, slightly adjusted, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated on Feb. 17, 1958, and here, a Habs player wearing #27 is included. But I don’t have a clue who this guy might be because my records show that no one did before Frank Mahovlich, who wore it from 1971 to ’74.

However, one could suggest that it could actually be #22, and if that’s the case, Don Marshall wore this number. But Don had way less hair than this guy and a different shaped head.

Here’s an even wider frame that includes a sprawling Claude Provost in front of Fontinato, plus a couple more women in the crowd.


Just Some Facts

Facts from a 2011 Scotiabank Hockey Club magazine:

The 1928-29 Chicago Blackhawks failed to score a single goal in eight consecutive games.

Latvian-born Helmut Balderis is the oldest player to be drafted by an NHL team. He was 36 when chosen by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1989 draft.

Detroit’s franchise, which was known as the Cougars before becoming the Red Wings, played its first NHL season, 1926-27, in Canada, at Windsor’s Border Cities Arena.

Patrice Lefebvre scored a whopping 200 points in his final junior season. But the former Shawinigan Cataractes’ star, who holds the CHL record of 595 points in his junior career, played just three NHL games and was pointless. (Maybe because he was only 5’6″, 160 lbs.)

Phil Esposito scored his 50th goal three times on his birthday – Feb. 20.

There are ice hockey associations in India, Thailand, Mexico, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.

A rare doubleheader was held at New York’s Madison Square Garden on March 3, 1968. The Philadelphia Flyers, who had their home rink damaged in a storm two days earlier, played the Oakland Seals in a matinee contest. That was followed by a match that night between the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks.

Only Five More To Go

Nice that the Islanders won their game against Pittsburgh. We want the bottom all to ourselves.

The Canadiens did what they do best. A blown lead in the third period, couldn’t get it done in overtime, and then a loss in the shootout. What do they say? It’s like deju vu all over again?

Florida beats the Habs 3-2, and all it means is, well…….nothing. Except Montreal got a lousy loser point and like I said, it’s good that the Islanders won.

Erik Cole tied the game at one in the first period, on a power play of all things, and in the second period, Louis Leblanc swept in on a three on nothing breakaway, made a nifty little move, and the Canadiens went ahead 2-1.

It was nice to see Leblanc show his stuff, but we all know from experience, in watching this club closely from pre-season till now, that a one-goal lead in the second period can only mean one thing.

That this thing was far from over.

And of course the Panthers would score in the third period to tie it. It’s what the script writer wrote. Next year, we’ve got to boot this scriptwriter in the ass and out of town.

That’s fine, this loss. My Russian gang watched it after eating their borscht. They love borscht. It’s a staple. Like beer for me. And by the way, we took this Russian family to Wal-Mart today and it was slightly embarrassing. Is today Welfare Tuesday or something?

If there was a highlight for me, aside from the solid work of Carey Price and Max Pacioretty, was what TSN colour guy Mike Johnson said. Johnson, a thoughtful and articulate fellow who played for the Habs in 2006-07 (11 goals, 20 assists), said that games after being eliminated mean more to teams like the Canadiens than they would to many others, because of the fan support. I so much liked to hear that. We put our hearts and souls into this team all season, and to see them just go through the motions doesn’t work for most of us. It doesn’t for me, anyway. It wouldn’t be right. We’ve put up with enough shit already.

That’s why Rene Bourque is in our bad books. And the others? You fill in the blanks.

Random Notes:

Florida outshot Montreal 36-29.

David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, and Louis Leblanc failed to score in the shootout. I like Cunneyworth’s choice of Leblanc. It gives the young fellow a chance to gain more confidence. He’s scored a beauty earlier, and set up Cole’s first period marker, and deserved a chance on the shootout.

Next game – Montreal travels 500 miles down the road to take on the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It’ll be the Habs third straight Friday night tilt.



The Boston Bruins Are Feeling The Heat As The Habs Come To Town

Here’s what they’re saying in Boston about tonight’s game, and mostly about the way Montreal has manhandled the Bruins this year. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like the Bruins are slightly paranoid.
Montreal not only must win tonight, but it’s entirely possible they could meet the Bruins in the first round. So it’s big.
This story has been copied and pasted from the Patriot Ledger. I know it’s slightly lazy on my part, but it shows how they’re thinking in Boston, so I decided to cheat. Anyway, I have to go to work soon, so this works well.
The story’s called, “Bruins Want To Be Themselves Against Montreal.”
“They’ve Played Into The Hands Of Montreal In Six Losses”

They haven’t seen these guys for two months, but the Bruins are already sick of them.Sick of hearing about how the Montreal Canadiens have scored the most goals in the NHL. Sick of hearing that Montreal’s power play is the best in the league – at home, on the road, overall. Sick of hearing that Montreal has a chance to finish first in the Eastern Conference.And very, very sick of answering questions about the Canadiens beating them all six times they’ve played this season – often easily – and in nine straight meetings overall.“It’s not something we’re looking too much into,” defenseman Dennis Wideman told a couple of reporters who’d asked why Montreal has been so dominant. “That’s your job.”

Boston’s task, in a home-and-home series with the Habs that starts Thursday night at TD Banknorth Garden (the rematch is Saturday night at Bell Centre), is to somehow silence Montreal’s high-risk, quick-strike offense. Points are essential to the seventh-place Bruins’ playoff hopes, and with only nine games left in the regular season, this is no time to be swept.

“We’re going to approach this series just like we did the New York Rangers series a couple of weeks ago – like it’s a two-game playoff,” said veteran center Glen Metropolit.

The Bruins, who’d dropped three of four before that Jan. 19-20 home-and-home with New York, would gladly take a similar result: They won by shootout in Boston, 4-3, then scored a 3-1 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Things have changed in the last month, though: Three- and four-goal games have been rare for Boston, which has scored two or fewer in eight of the last nine games. The Bruins also haven’t had the services of their captain, defenseman Zdeno Chara, for the last five games – one win, two losses, and two defeats in extra time.

Chara, sidelined by an undefined “upper torso” injury, practiced Wednesday without a red “no-contact” jersey. Asked if he could do everything he’d need to do in a game, Chara answered “Yup.” Asked if he’ll return Thursday night, he said “Don’t know. I can’t tell you today.” Coach Claude Julien said a decision on Chara’s availability would be made Thursday morning.

The B’s would obviously love to have Chara back, but the fact that he has so far been unable to help the B’s beat the Habs this year makes it just as clear that one player probably won’t make that much difference.

No, the Bruins say their best chance to win is by playing as they have most of the non-Canadiens games to date.

“Yeah, they’re a great team, and they’ve got a lot of skill and speed,” Wideman said, “but we haven’t even come close to playing as well as we can against them.

“Why? I don’t know.”

Metropolit thinks the Bruins have made it too easy for Montreal to outplay, and usually outscore them early in each game (Boston hasn’t held a single lead), and made it even harder on themselves by losing their composure.

“We start getting frustrated, and kind of try to bully them around,” Metropolit said. “So they keep going on the power play, and sticking goals in. In some of the games, we got kind of carried away.”

Defenseman Andrew Ference agreed.

“There’s a balance between playing with energy, and running around stupid,” Ference said. “If you run around and take a bunch of penalties, sure, you might be winning the physical battles, but when you’re sitting in the box, you’ve played right into their hands.”

The same goes for trying to beat Montreal at its own wide-open game.

“Every time we’ve tried to play run and gun with them, we’ve ended up on the short end of it,” said Julien, citing a 7-4 loss on Nov. 17 as an example. (The B’s matched Montreal goal-for-goal until it was 3-3, then allowed three straight.) “We were able to score some goals on them, but who scored more?”

It’s not that Julien doesn’t want Boston to score four goals Thursday night. He just wants the B’s to do that by playing Bruins hockey, not Habs hockey.

“Our players will know what they have to do,” the coach said. “Hopefully, if we execute it well, we’ll have the results we want.”

Mike Loftus may be reached at mloftus@ledger.com.