Tag Archives: Manny Malhotra

Tonight In Nashville

The Canadiens are in Nashville on this late March day, hoping to keep the ball rolling with a fourth straight win.

They also want to stay firmly planted at the top, as opposed to the Boston Bruins, who have fallen out of a playoff spot and which makes Habs fans everywhere feel tremendous sympathy for bummed-out Bruins supporters.

As a side note, isn’t it funny how Max Pacioretty put Ex-Lax in those “Max 67″ burgers he fed Bruins fans the other day in Boston. What a crazy jokester Max is.

The Canadiens and Preds clashed just one other time this season, on January 20th when a PK Subban blast in overtime gave the good guys a 2-1 win.

In reading my notes on this game, it seems that Carey Price was responsible for the Canadiens win, as the boys were thoroughly outplayed for two periods.

Imagine that. Price saving the day. Has this ever happened before?

Our man Price will be working on a third straight shutout tonight in Music City, which is a long way from the NHL record held by Ottawa’s Alex Connell back in 1927-28 when the Sens goaltender shut the door for 461:29 minutes, adding up to six shutouts in all.

But that was then and this is now. In 1928-29, players’ shots were far from the 90 mph missiles let loose now. No curves, sticks that didn’t bend, pucks shot by men standing 5’6” and weighing 150 pounds.

Of course, equipment worn by goaltenders back then didn’t come close to what Price and the rest wear now, but no matter. Different worlds. And 6 blankings is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It’s a tremendous feat accomplished by Mr. Connell, who was ultimately inducted into the HHOF in 1958.

I’ve got nothing against the old Ottawa Senators. It’s the new version I can’t stomach.

With nine games remaining for the Habs, Max needs 5 goals to hit 40, so we’re hoping he’ll pop at least one tonight. Alex Galchenyuk has 19 and looking to reach 20. Manny Malhotra, if he plays, will continue to win faceoffs and remain at 1 goal.

Below, Alex Connell. And below Alex are the ingredients for the Max 67, minus the Ex-Lax of course.

Ottawa Senators Goalie Alex Connell in Uniform --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Max

 

 

 

 

Good Team Blanks Bad Team

image1

With Carey Price posting his 6th shutout of the season, the Canadiens drop the visiting Toronto Maple Laffs 4-0, and all remains swell in Habs universe.

That’s four straight wins for the good guys, they remain tops of the pops, and it makes my heart soar like a Prigogine’s Double-Collared Sunbird.

Certainly a satisfying night, except for the part about going 0 for 4 on the powerplay and being outshot 30-23. It was a confident bunch, playing behind an always confident and usually perfect Price, and it culminated with a Leafs jersey being thrown on the ice.

I’d hate to see a Canadiens jersey tossed on the ice and if I was at a game when it happened, I’d hunt the person down and pour my twelve-dollar beer on his head. But somehow, seeing a Leafs jersey crumpled up like a dead blue and white varmint makes me snicker just a tad. Am I a bad person?

The boys were in fine form, except for those times when it was left to Price to come to the rescue. Several times they would pass back to the world’s greatest goalie, which is a nice enough play, as long as the puck doesn’t hop over Price’s stick.

And on Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry would whine and bitch that the Canadiens were seen smiling and enjoying themselves way too much. In my mind, smiling means things are going good. Which is what we want. Much better than seeing them shake their heads in disgust and smash their sticks.

I remember when Scott Gomez would smile when things were going bad.

Manny Malhotra scored his first of the season after Dale Weise stole the puck and dropped it back to him in fine style.

Tomas Plekanec bulged the twine when the team had the extra attacker on during a delayed penalty call.

And David Desharnais, targeted by far too many critics, mostly Habs fans, made it 3-0 in the third period after several players banged away (and Jonathan Bernier cried foul for goalie interference), and then scored his second of the night into an empty net after receiving a nice and generous pass from Max.

The boys are rolling, they’re a serious contender for all the marbles, and now we wait and see if Marc Bergevin deals to strengthen an already solid club.

Once again feelin’ good. It’s been a long time since we had a team that has a great chance to go all the way, and all we can do is hope no one crashes into Price the way Chris Kreider did last spring. Imagine.

Now it’s a four-game road trip to where the weather is slightly better than in Eastern Canada and the U.S. It’s Monday in San Jose, Wednesday in Anaheim, Thursday in L.A., and Saturday in Arizona.

No problem.

Random Note:

P.K. Subban’s assist on Plek’s goal ties him with Calgary’s Mark Giordano for most points (48) by a defenceman.

Sergei Gonchar was back in the lineup after missing the last six games after getting nailed by then-Leaf, now-Blue Jacket, David Clarkson.

P.A. Parenteau is healthy now but was scratched, as was Mike Weaver.

 

 

Canadiens Wear Out Jackets

popcorn 1

For a team that has had trouble scoring a lot of goals, 10 in the last two games is a beautiful thing.

The Canadiens, like they did on Tuesday in St. Louis, win another 5-2 game, and their two-game road trip comes to a successful close with the gang playing solid if not spectacular hockey. For example, their power play continues to fire blanks and….well….continues to suck.

Now it’s a rumble with the Leafs on Saturday at the Bell to close out February. The March schedule is a bit of a bitch but that’s for another time.

P.K. Subban opened the scoring just 1:49 into the game with a big blast after Manny Malhotra won the faceoff cleanly and got it back to our man. One slightly disturbing thing to note – Manny doesn’t seem to be winning just about every faceoff like he did up until recently. If he’s not doing that, should he be in the lineup?

And without mentioning Columbus goals because it’s not important, the scoring continued with a Markov shot from the top of the circle, Max would notch his 30th, and in the third frame, Jacob De La Rose bagged his first NHL goal and then added another with the net empty.

P.K. would collect a couple of assists to go with his goal, and his 47 points is good for second best behind Max’s 53.  Max needs 10 more goals in 21 games to hit 40. Can he do it?

Devante Smith-Pelly had a couple of decent shots on goal, and although he didn’t overwhelm, he’s probably still in a bit of a stunned mode considering he was an Anaheim Duck just a few days ago and has had just one practice with his new team. I was hoping we’d see more physical play from him, but I’m a patient man.

Smith-Pelly worked the right side, usually with De La Rose and Brandon Prust, but at times things were juggled around because he has a coach named Michel Therrien, and he also saw a small amount of time on the power play.

The new guy wore number 21, and I don’t know if you’ll find this interesting or not, but Toe Blake, in his first season with the Canadiens in 1935-36 after coming over from the Maroons, wore number 21. But from 1937 until the end of his career in 1948, number 6 was Toe’s.

One question lingered as I watched the game unfold. How did that whole row of fans wearing Habs jerseys get tickets right behind the Canadiens bench?

Random Notes:

Shots on goal were 27 apiece.

The photo at the top is one of my vintage popcorn boxes. Here’s some more. Very proud of my mint boxes, which date back to the early and mid-20th century.

Just what you wanted to see on a hockey blog, right?

popcorn 5

popcorn 4

popcorn 3

popcorn 2

Canadiens Drop Another

Couldn’t see the Habs-Coyotes Sunday matinee, but I heard that the boys, except for a flurry at the end, were reasonably lousy in their 3-2 loss to Arizona.

I did manage to catch the Habs and Sabres on Tuesday though, and aside from a third period flurry, were reasonably lousy in their 3-2 loss to Buffalo.

The Canadiens had plenty of chances, with pucks missing the net left and right. It’s infuriating to say the least. Maybe a bunch of them need to see an eye doctor.

Hit the net for #$&@ sakes.

I don’t have much to say. I’m a tired guy just back from an exhausting trip.  Here’s my official summary – the big shot 5th place Habs, busy feeling high and mighty after back-to-back 1-0 shutout wins over really good Rangers and Washington teams, suddenly lose to the 27th place Arizona Coyotes, and the 30th place Buffalo Sabres.

And I’ll add this. It’s a grueling marathon, this 82-game season, and there will be stinkers. Doesn’t matter if pro athletes make millions. Sometimes they don’t give the expected 100%.

Keep in mind, the minute the playoffs start, most of us will forget all about the regular season.

Next up – New Jersey Devils at the Bell on Saturday, and then the Canadiens head to Boston for a Sunday meeting.

Brandon Prust was involved in a cool sequence to tie the game at one in the 1st and lure us into thinking that it was the beginning of the end for the Sabres. Prust burst out of the penalty box, knocked the puck off Tyler Myers near centre ice, the puck scooted to DD who sent it back to Prust who buried it.

DD, in the 3rd frame, would score his team’s other goal.

Shots on goal – Habs 34, Sabres 18.

Left winger Jacob de la Rose was called up from Hamilton for his first NHL game and was -1 with 5 hits recorded.

Gabriel Dumont also saw action, while Michael Bournival, Manny Malhotra, and Mike Weaver didn’t.

Habs Hold On Against Stars

The Canadiens found themselves in a couple of 5 on 3 pickles, saw Alexei Emelin get the boot for pounding Jason Spezza into the boards (which led to one of those 5 on 3s), but with some big time help from Carey Price, skated away with a 3-2 win over the visiting Dallas Stars.

A fine yet fortunate outcome for the boys, after being outshot 42-26 and for much of the night outskated, but with Price doing his thing we know any night can mean two points. It warms the innards. We just don’t need any Krieder-like crease bulldozing from now to late spring.

That’s three straight, four of their last five, and the Canadiens continue to roll along, mostly because the aforementioned guy between the pipes is the best in the business. And once again he had the job of handing out pucks to lucky fans after being chosen first star.

This guy has given away a lot of pucks this year.

Alexei Emelin early on gave his team the lead when he shot into a herd of players down low near the boards, the puck somehow skirted to the front, caromed off a Stars d-man, and into the net it went.

The Canadiens then made it 2-0 when Alex Galchenyuk dashed in from the left side, moved nicely around the lone defenceman, and backhanded it past goalie Kari Lehtonen. They were off to the races. Going good. The Ole singers were clearing their throats.

Until Manny Malhotra, for some inexplicable reason, was tossed from the faceoff circle with 3 seconds left in the first and was replaced by Brendan Gallagher, who was outmatched on the draw and Jamie Benn blasted it home with only a second left to make it a 2-1 game.

Speaking of Gally, he’d give his team a two-goal lead on the power play in the second period, and I don’t really have to describe Gally’s goal. He did the old Gally three step – fought like a demon in the crease, didn’t give up, and ended up pounding it home.

Throughout the second and third periods the game became a tense deal, especially after Dallas scored to make it 3-2 in the second when Emelin’s major had just 17 seconds still left on it.

But they hung on throughout, mostly because of Price. Thank you Price.

Now it’s a short hop to New York to tackle the Rangers on Thursday. I’m betting Price will be chosen first star.

Habs Win In Buffalo

buffaloCan the Canadiens win against Josh Gorges, Brian Gionta, and the lowly Buffalonians? My confidence is shattered.

Jiri Sekac and Jarred Tinordi are in, Rene Bourque’s a healthy scratch, and Mike Weaver has come down with the flu.

Is it only a coincidence that both Weaver and Lucy are sick at the same time? Is Weaver having an affair with my wife?

Dustin Tokarski is starting in nets for the Canadiens, and I want to get this out right now. Tokarski’s teammates call him Ticker and not Toker, probably because word has come down from above that there will be no marijuana connotation.

The Canadiens organization is all about image and I’m guessing they aren’t crazy about the nickname Toker. But it’s what I prefer, so here at least, it’s Toker.

The boys have also been playing like they’ve been toking between periods.

First Period:

0-0.

Habs – slightly boring. Period in general – more than slightly boring.

Michael Bournival got crunched and it looks like a shoulder problem.

Neat play of the period – Sekac showed some fine moves when he did some dangling on one particular shift.

On the plus side, Toker’s working on a shutout. On the minus side, so’s the Buffalo goalie.

Second Period:

0-0. The shutout is still in effect. Boring is also still in effect.

Neat play of the period – um….Pleky and Max coming close when shorthanded?

Disappointing play of the period – Canadiens came in on a 3 on 1 and Manny Malhotra shot it over the net.

Third Period:

ET LE BUT!!! 1-0 Habs when P.A. Parenteau converts a P.K. rebound. It’s hard to believe and I don’t know what to say.

But…hold on. After Jiri Sekac crushed Zadorov into the end boards, the Sabres tied it up on the power play.

1-1.

Better period but it still sucked.

Neat play of the period – I forgot to write it down if there was one.

Overtime:

Two great chances by Max, both foiled by Neuvirth.

Shootout:

Them – yep
Galchenyuk – yep
Them – nope
DD – nope
Them – nope
Parenteau – yep

Canadiens win 2-1. Not great by a long shot, but it’s two points and maybe they can become motivated by this.

Next up – Saturday, when gambling kingpin Thomas Vanek and the Minnesota Wild visit the Bell.

More Magic!

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Habsville 20 that day,
The score stood Wings 1-0, with just 4 minutes left to play.
But Chucky tied the contest, with 3:09 to go.
And DD won it for his team, their last loss 4 games ago.

Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard was stopping everything. The Wings were moving, their game in control, and the clock wound down.

But once again the Canadiens would come from behind, pull another rabbit out of the hat, and they skated away with an unreal 2-1 win in overtime to the roar of a ecstatic Bell Centre crowd.

Six wins and a loss to start the 2014-15 season. Red hot. White hot. Blue hot. I’d almost given up on them as the clock wound down, but not quite.

There is always hope, except when it’s a blowout like the Tampa debacle, and when Chucky scrambled to retrieve the puck behind the net and lit the lamp on a wraparound, the game was suddenly not lost. It could be won afterall, and just 56 seconds into overtime, David Desharnais did just that for them and us.

Very proud right now. I had been slowly sinking into the couch, and now I’m alive and ready to rock for at least another hour.

Random Notes:

I think every time I focused on Manny Malhotra in the faceoff circle, he won the draw. This is a guy who’s going to make a huge impact in key moments over the next eight months.

Montreal had outshot Detroit 34-28 after three periods.

It wasn’t like the Canadiens didn’t make Howard work. They had bundles of chances – Parenteau, Malhotra, Galchenyuk, Desharnais, and on and on. But like the announcer said, some nights the puck looks like a beach ball, and  for Howard, it appeared this night was one of those.

Next up – it’s the Rangers on Saturday.

 

Habs Have Avs

It’s only the second game of preseason and I don’t see a lot of passion, drive, speed, and execution just yet.

From me, not them.

Early on like this, as it is every year, I find myself daydreaming a lot during games. It takes me awhile to gear up. I guess I’m a bad Habs fan.

Here’s the half-assed skinny:

Canadiens win 3-2 in overtime on a nice goal from Alex Galchenyuk when he walked in from the right side, cut into the middle, and fired one home. A beautiful goal.

How many moves can a good Chucky chuck? Maybe plenty this year.

Max and PK scored the other goals, both on power plays.

Christian Thomas played well once again, was chosen third star, and isn’t about to get sent to Hamilton just yet. Maybe he’ll latch on and go for a big league ride.

Much better tonight as far as seeing regulars play. Only Scherbak, Hudon, Pateryn, and Thomas were the prospects on this night, with fourteen regulars if you include Malhotra, Beaulieu, and Drewiske, and why wouldn’t you?

Shots on goal, Montreal 36, Colorado 27, with Carey Price and Peter Budaj donning the pads for the good guys.

Next up, Friday night in Quebec City when the same two teams do it again. Will the passion, fire, and execution be there? I don’t know. Depends on how I feel.

 

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.

Seen In Passing

I spotted Gary Bettman and Bill Daly the other day on the Sunset Strip, and I asked if they wouldn’t mind if I took their photo. They were gracious and true gentlemen, and I don’t know why everyone is so hard on them right now.

And it was just an incredible stroke of luck that later in the day, I also ran into NHLPA big shot Donald Fehr and two player reps – Philadephia’s Scott Hartnell and Vancouver’s Manny Malholtra. Wow! Who would’ve thought?

What are the odds of meeting so many important NHL people in just one afternoon? Sometimes I think Lady Luck follows me around.