Tag Archives: Mario Lemieux

Cream Of The Crop

003

Howe

Gretzky

The best ever? It’s been written and talked about forever.

I don’t care. I want to talk about it too. It’s cold and I don’t want to go out.

There’s no real definitive answer I think, but it can be broken down in stages.

Howie Morenz in the 20s and 30s. Maurice Richard’s name was added in the 40s. Gordie Howe and the Rocket in the 50s.

It was all Howe in the 1960s, although Bobby Hull’s name was tossed around by some, and Bobby Orr showed up in the latter part of the 1960s and into the 70s.

Then Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky came along and ruled the 80s and 90s.

Gretzky’s name comes up much more than Mario’s, but Mario, before he got sick, would take a back seat to no one and ended with 1723 points in 915 regular season games, including an 85-goal season in ’88-89.

Maybe Mario is underrated when it comes time to talk about the best ever. He was big and smart with hands of gold.

Sidney Crosby is great of course, but he’s not in this stratosphere. Not yet at least. I wonder if some would disagree about that.

Usually, it boils down to three guys when this topic comes up – Howe, Orr, and Gretzky.

My choice is Bobby Orr.

Although I would see Gordie Howe play a number of times over the years on television (once live at Maple Leaf Gardens in the mid-’60s), he never seemed to completely control the flow of the game the way Orr did, although I know Howe was in a league of his own in almost every department.

Orr’s two years older than me and comes from the same area of Ontario. We were worlds apart as players of course, but at least I can say I  played in many of the same barns as him, maybe against some of the same guys he played against in town like Midland and Huntsville and Gravenhurst. I feel some sort of Central/Northern Ontario connection in a way.

Bobby Orr was a minor league phenom and we were talking about him with envy when we were kids. We knew about him. We heard about his exploits. Parry Sound kids my age came down to Orillia to play and I think our teams played there too. And we watched his brother Ron when his Junior C Parry Sound team played in Orillia.

I saw Orr a few times in Orillia over the years, including a night at the Atherley Arms Hotel when he was at a table with friends and a guy with a few too many drinks in his belly came up to Bobby and was rude and vulgar, which wasn’t cool.

I also by chance walked by him and his wife Peggy in the Orillia park one day and said hi, and they both smiled and said hi back.

I saw him play when he was 16 in an exhibition game in Bracebridge. He was with the Oshawa Generals at the time, but on this night he suited up with the Orillia Terriors senior team against a Muskoka all-star senior team. Orr had the puck all night, and we could see other players – talented, grown men – laughing and shaking their heads at how good this teenager was.

Orr skated like no other defenceman, he had different bursts of speed, he charged the net and racked up points like no other defenceman, and he controlled the play like no other player on the ice. He was also strong and smart, and when it came time to drop the gloves, he could be nasty.

That’s a complete player to me. He did it all and cruelly it didn’t last long because of his bad knees (10 seasons in Boston and a short stint in Chicago). But what a player he was before his knees did him in.

Orr himself says Gordie Howe was the best ever. He played against Howe and watched Gretzky throughout 99′s career. But it’s Howe he chooses, as do many.

Howe wasn’t flashy like the Rocket, Orr and Gretzky, but every pass from him was on the tape, his shot was as hard or harder than any player in the league, he was as good or better a goal scorer as there was, and he was a mean hombre, the toughest player in the league. Punches that crushed noses.

No one dared fight him. He struck fear into the hearts of others, but they respected him. To go into the corners with him was never a good thing. His elbows were legendary.

And of course Wayne Gretzky. You need a fancy calculator and about an hour to tally his records. There’s a legion of players and fans who insist he’s the greatest ever. It’s been said often that in the heat of battle, he thought two or three plays ahead. It was ridiculous how he could rack up the points.

But I go with Bobby Orr. Orr had it figured out ahead of time like Gretzky did. It’s some sort of miraculous instinct. He was a better skater than Gretzky, there’s no comparison in toughness, and he collected reams of points even though he was a defenceman.

He also comes from my neck of the woods and from the same era, which is important to me.

The only Boston Bruin I was ever a fan of.

 

 

Fight Thoughts

I’ve wondered off and on over the years about how I really feel about fighting, and I’m asking myself again with all the buzz about the George Parros incident. It seems I’ve always leaned towards fighting.

But I can’t stand the goon stuff. The guy who can only fight and not much more. And I’m not smart enough to figure out the staged stuff.

I just think that many who are now clamoring for a total ban on fighting didn’t mind at all seeing someone like Wendel Clark and Marty McSorley getting into a beauty. Or Larry Robinson teaching Dave Schultz a big lesson.

The Broad Street Bullies won two Stanley Cups through thuggery and scrapping with a serious amount of talent thrown in for good measure. But it was the Canadiens, who played the non-mugging kind of game, who put a stop to the nonsense in Philadelphia. Great hockey trumped fighting. And a good Larry Robinson fist to Dave Schultz’s face.

That was some serious goon stuff the Bullies were dishing out back then. And it went on every night in the WHA too. I think both have played a major role in the evolution of goonery.

Remember those sensational games in the 1987 Canada Cup when Canada and Russia met in the finals and Wayne Gretzky set up Mario Lemieux for the winner in game three with less than two minutes to go? There was no heavyweight goon on either team. No staged fights. But that wasn’t real life. It was a much anticipated Canada-Russia match up when the rivalry had meat on its bones.

But if the rules would’ve allowed, maybe a good tussle between Rick Tocchet and Sergei Svetlov would have added to the lore. And many who now say they want fighting out of the game might have whooped and hollered back then if some nastiness really had cropped up.

I don’t think fighting will ever end, even if someone dies from it. But somehow it has to be curbed and the only good solution I’ve heard so far is from Bob McCown on Prime Time Sports who suggested the NHL make it so goons must be paid the league maximum, which is about $12 million or so a year. How many teams would carry one then?

The sight of George Parros trying to sit up with that concussed look on his face was disturbing to say the least. But George was hired to be the muscle, to add an element the Canadiens haven’t had and were going nowhere without, and it’s a tough job that can have some dark moments. I can’t imagine doing this job. I have a really sensitive nose.

I was happy to see George signed, and I just got finished saying we need goons out of the league. But if he could be a preventive measure, dropping them in only the truest of situations, without the staged stuff, and throwing in some hard work that results in a scoring chance now and again, then what’s wrong with that?

So is it fighting or no fighting that I want? I want the Wendel Clark, Larry Robinson, Clark Gillies kind of fights. No staged stuff. Just an honest disagreement now and again that helps our team win.

Good Wood

Ron Green in Orillia sends along an interesting story from TheStar.com – Hockey Is In Tom Scanlan’s Bones  – about a fellow who bought game-used sticks once owned by the 42 players who scored at least 500 goals in the NHL. The sticks were up for auction last June from Classic Auctions in Montreal.

42 is a lot of sticks, especially when you attach the importance of the players who handled them. I have two that belong in this category – Wayne Gretzky and Jean Beliveau. He has 40 more than me, including the Rocket’s, which has me oozing with envy. I’ve always wanted one of Rocket’s sticks.

There’s a few in the 42 I can do without, starting with Mark Recchi, but all in all, it’s a beautiful pile of timber and good for the guy for being the winning bidder.

For the record, here’s the 42 men who’ve scored at least 500 goals, in order of ranking:

Wayne Gretzky - 894
Gordie Howe – 801
Brett Hull – 741
Marcel Dionne – 731
Phil Esposito – 717
Mike Gartner – 708
Mark Messier – 694
Steve Yzerman – 692
Mario Lemieux – 690
Luc Robitaille – 668
Jaromir Jagr – 665
Teemu Selanne – 663
Brendan Shanahan – 656
Dave Andreychuk – 640
Joe Sakic – 625
Bobby Hull – 610
Dino Ciccarelli – 608
Jari Kurri – 601
Mark Recchi – 577
Mike Bossy – 573
Mats Sundin – 564
Mike Modano – 561
Guy Lafleur – 560
Joe Nieuwendyk – 559
Johnny Bucyk – 556
Ron Francis – 549
Michel Goulet – 548
Maurice Richard – 544
Stan Mikita – 541
Keith Tkachuk – 538
Frank Mahovlich – 533
Bryan Trottier – 524
Pat Verbeek – 522
Dale Hawerchuk – 518
Jarome Iginla – 516
Pierre Turgeon – 515
Jeremy Roenick – 513
Gilbert Perreault – 512
Jean Beliveau – 507
Peter Bondra – 503
Joe Mullen – 502
Lanny McDonald – 500

Mario Bar

As a trucker in 1992 or ’93, I was delivering to a grocery distribution centre in Calgary and I noticed a new chocolate candy bar called Mario on the shelves. So I bought a box of 24 for 20 bucks or so, and decided to sit on it forever and see if it became valuable. After several days my ass was getting really sore and the bars were melting.

Today I looked on eBay and saw that single bars are selling for about 3 to 5 bucks, and one person has a box, like the one above, for $197 or best offer.

I also found this official looking announcement elsewhere as I was speeding wildly down the information highway:

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 16 /PRNewswire/ — National Hockey League superstar Mario Lemieux will have his own candy bar, it was announced today.

The “Mario Bar,” announced at a press conference here today, is the first consumer food product to bear Lemieux’s name and marks the first time a hockey player is to be featured on a nationally and internationally marketed candy bar. Each “Mario Bar” will include a collector’s card with a photograph of and vital statistics on Lemieux. A select number of cards will feature an authentic Mario Lemieux autograph.

Lemieux, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ center and the most valuable player of the past two Stanley Cup Championship series, has signed a contract with Pittsburgh Food & Beverage, Inc., parent company of D.L. Clark Company and Wayne Candies, Inc. The “Mario Bar,” a specially packaged version of the caramel Bun(R) Bar, is expected to arrive at retail outlets throughout the United States and Canada by early March 1993.

“I’m excited about having my own candy bar. It tastes great, has a connection to the city of Pittsburgh, and shows that major companies are recognizing the sport of hockey,” Lemieux said.

The growing popularity of hockey, with an estimated 45 million fans in the United States and Canada, and Lemieux’s stature as a superstar in the sport made the “Mario Bar” a natural, according to Ty Ballou, vice president of marketing and sales for D.L. Clark Company.

Ballou also noted that a limited-edition run of one million specially packaged Clark(R) Bars, featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships, sold out as quickly as it was produced earlier this year. While distribution of that bar was limited primarily to the tri-state area surrounding Pittsburgh, Ballou expects the “Mario Bar” to be even more popular with consumers throughout the United States and Canada.

A sports celebrity tie-in is nothing new for Pittsburgh Food & Beverage, Inc. Its subsidiary Wayne Candies, Inc. of Fort Wayne, Ind., marketed a similar, top-selling candy bar known as the “Reggie Bar” to honor Reggie Jackson during the height of his popularity in the 1970s.

Pittsburgh Food & Beverage, Inc., (PF&B) is the privately held parent company of the D.L. Clark Company and Wayne Candies, Inc. PF&B’s product mix includes the Clark(R) Bar, Bun(R) Bar, Black Cow(R) and Slo(R) Poke candies. The Pittsburgh-based food and beverage company also operates the Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

-0- 12/16/92

 

Big Numbers, Huge Numbers

Alex Galchenyuk scored again on Sunday as his Sarnia Sting edged the Oshawa Generals 3-2, this coming a night after his three-goal showing in Peterborough, and so while I should have been working, instead I used the boss’s computer and calculator and came up this: (with the help of Miss Vicki, who seemed to know what she was doing).

Galchenyuk has 20 goals and 49 points in 28 games, which, if Miss Vicki is correct, means that he’s on track for a 48-goal season, 119 points in total. That’s fine work for a guy who only played two games last year because of a knee injury. And who knows, maybe he’s just getting revved up and could finish with much more.

I gotta tell you. Keeping a watch on Galchenyuk is much more fun than my Gomez watch.

And before I continue down the junior path, it seems that ECHL players, which Gomez is one of right now, earn an average of $500 a week. With Gomez, that’s more like it.

A 130-point season for Galchenyuk would be great. I think we’d all be happy with that. But have a gander at these numbers:

Bobby Smith holds the OHL record for 192 points during the 1977-78 season, and Ernie Godden, playing for the Windsor Spitfires in 1980-81, scored a total of 87 goals! Godden would be chosen 55th overall by the Leafs, but only played five games with Toronto and that was it for the NHL. Maybe because he was small at 5’8 and 160 pounds, that his career screeched to a sudden halt.

In the WHL, Ray Ferraro holds the record for goals with 108, while Rob Brown (remember him?) had 212 points during the 86-87 season with the Kamloops Blazers.

And of course I save the best for last.

In 1983-84, Mario Lemieux managed 133 goals and a total of 282 friggin points.

Bonus stats!

In the 1971-71 season, Guy Lafleur scored just three less than Mario’s record, nailing 130 goals while with the Quebec Remparts. And Sidney Crosby’s best year with Rimouski saw him net 66 goals and 102 assists for 168 points.

 

My Friend The World Junior

I can’t wait for tonight’s Canada-Russia battle. It’s payback time for the Canadians and they have the team to do it.

I was going through some old photos and found my friend Gary Lupul (below), who passed away in 2007 at just 48 years old, and who played in the 1979 World Juniors, when it was still club teams participating. Gary was playing in the Western Hockey League for the Victoria Cougars and was recruited by the New Westminster Bruins for the tournament, held in Sweden.

He showed me his jersey from the tourney one night when we were downstairs at his parents’ house playing pool. It was blue, with white lettering.

Gary would go on to play for the Canucks, but sadly his lifestyle derailed his career. But he made some serious noise as a player. He was a crowd favourite, and the Pacific Coliseum faithful used to chant ‘Loop, Loop, Loop’ thoughout the game. They loved him. He scored on his first NHL shot, against Rogie Vachon, and one night in Montreal, Gary beat Bunny Larocque twice in a game against the Habs.

He was a star from the beginning. In minor all-star, he once notched 70 points in 16 games. At 16 he was rookie of the year with the BC Hockey League Nanaimo Clippers. And he racked up 300 points in three years with the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League.

As a Canuck he was a force to be reckoned with in the 1981-82 Stanley Cup finals against the Islanders.

He played a total of 300 games, with 70 goals and 75 assists, and if he would’ve buckled down, it would have been so much more.

Mario Lemieux’s first fight in the NHL was against Gary.

Here’s Gary and myself and some friends, taken about 15 years ago. It looked like we were having a good day. He was a tremendously fun-loving guy, made us all laugh and kept things lively and upbeat, and was a great guy. (Gary’s in black shirt and sunglasses, I’m in white with the goatee.)

September Was Canada Cup Time

 

It was always around this time, in early September, when those beautiful Canada Cups were held, when the Russians were still the enemy, when Sweden, Finland, and Czechoslovakia offered up National team excellence, and when the United States was becoming, slowly, a team to be reckoned with too.

It was when Alan Eagleson appeared to shine, demanding and getting his way about money, times, the choosing of officials, and maybe even deciding what kind of mustard and relish went on the hot dogs. He pounded desks and swore and bullied his way through five successful ventures, and as rotten a bastard as he was, he got the job done.

Sadly, it was discovered later, with the perseverence and fight of Carl Brewer and his partner Susan Foster, that these tournaments, along with the annual all-star games, were lining Eagleson’s pockets, making him a rich man beyond his wildest dreams. It was money belonging to the players, that should have been deposited into the NHL Players Association pension fund and wasn’t, and Eagleson would later be forced to set up shop in the crowbar hotel for his dastardly deeds. 

There were five Canada Cups, all in September, and each held special magic. These tournaments gave us supreme hockey, brilliant hockey, fast, back and forth, with drama and suspense, great goaltending and memorable goals, and if you were rooting for Canada, you celebrated four of the five times.

Canada won in 1976 thanks to the tournament-winning overtime goal by Darryl Sittler against Czechoslovakia. Myself and other E.B.Eddy workers in Hull, Quebec hid in the mechanic’s room where a television was stored, and we watched the final game with one eye on the TV and the other on the boss’s van that he’d drive around in. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch but we got to see much of it.

Many pick this team as possibly the best ever, and it’s easy to see why. Bobby Orr was the tournament MVP. Denis Potvin said out loud that he was as good or better than Orr in the series, and maybe he was. Larry Robinson, Bobby Hull, Bobby Clarke, Guy Lafleur and a barrel full of other stars were in the lineup. Future Hall of Famers from top to bottom. We were proud in Canada.

Russia came back with a vengeance in 1981, clobbering Canada 8-1 in the final game, and the KLM (Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov, and Sergei Makarov) dazzled and made NHL teams drool at the prospect of getting these guys signed to a contract. That would come later.

Russia also boasted the brilliant Vyacheslav Fetisov and his partner Alexei Kasatonov on the blueline. These two despised each other but played like brothers-in-arms on the ice. And regardless of how powerful this five-man unit was, the Soviets also had an ace up their sleeves – the great Vladislav Tretiak in goal, who once again gave the NHLers fits as he had in the past. Tretiak was named MVP in this 1981 series and all in all, we weren’t so proud this time.

Canada met Sweden in the finals of the 1984 edition of the Canada Cup, and won two games to nil over Mats Naslund, Hakan Loob, Kent Nilsson and company. Gretzky, Michel Goulet, Paul Coffey, Mike Bossy and the rest of the ususal suspects proved too much for the Swedes, and the Canadians redeemed themselves from the previous 1981 embarrassment.

!987 proved to be maybe the most exciting of all the tournaments, at least in my eyes, and one of the most dramatic and memorable goals ever scored happened in the final game. On September 11th, the Soviet Union beat Canada 6-5 in overtime. Two days later, in Hamilton, Canada returned the favour and beat the Soviets by the same score, 6-5, again in overtime. And in Hamilton two days after that, Wayne Gretzky charged up the ice, passed it back to an open Mario Lemieux, and again, it was a 6-5 game, only the winner came with 1:26 seconds remaining instead of going into overtime.

I was in Leningrad, Russia, (before it was changed back to St. Petersburg) when the 1991 Canada Cup was held, and it’s an odd feeling to be sitting in a Russian home watching this tournament. Out hosts often cheered wildly for Canada, but maybe they were just being nice. But it wasn’t the Russians that Canada faced in the final, it was the U.S., and although the Americans managed to go so deep for the first time, Canada swept them in two games to win it again.

I miss the days of the Canada Cup very much. It was us against them, like it was in 1972, only without the initial shock of finding out that great hockey was being played elsewhere, and it offered the added bonus of the other European powerhouses involved. The Olympics now may present the same countries going head to head, but back then, European players still weren’t household names in North America the way they are now. They were still a curiosity, a mystery, and gawddam we wanted to clobber them.

The Canada Cups were a terrific time for hockey fans around the globe. It’s just too bad Alan Eagleson walked away with most of the money.

Gomez

If someone continued to dump on me about my work production, I’d be getting mightily riled. So why do I go on about Scott Gomez?

I’ve been very hard on Gomez lately because he’s, well….. not doing enough. On the ice at least. Maybe at home he’s a ball of fire, fixing the dryer and cutting the lawn and scrubbing the oven. I hear he has some nagging injuries now and I’m sympathetic indeed, but it doesn’t give him an out for the other parts of his season.

He just isn’t helping the Canadiens like he should, aside from his ability to carry the puck in sweeping motions from his end, deep into the other. Gomez does this well, and he’ll often find a teammate and get him the puck and at times, things happen from this. That’s what he does but it’s not enough. Not when the team needs more.

But I need to refocus. Scott Gomez might be an extremely nice person. I saw (on TV of course), Larry Robinson give him a warm hug before the New Jersey game a while back and any friend of Larry Robinson is a friend of mine.

I admit I admired his unusual bent-over skating style when he played for the South Surrey Eagles in the BCHL and came to Powell River. And there are times now when he’s reasonably effective. Not often but I’m just saying.

I don’t know why I expect more from him, aside from the large contract and the fact that he won the Calder trophy a decade ago with the Devils. And yes, the team gave up on Saku Koivu and added him. 

The reality is, except for the 2005-06 season in New Jersey when Gomez managed 33 goals, his career has shown that he’s not any kind of a scorer at all. Never has been. He’s now in his 12th year in the NHL and his goal totals have been 19, 14, 10, 13, 14, 13, 33, 13, 16, 16, 12, and now just 7. So even though he’s slightly off-pace for a normal Gomez year, he’s not far off.

Last season with the Habs he managed only 12.

This is not Guy Lafleur.

I guess all we can expect is that Gomez takes the puck from his end to the other, sometimes make a nice pass, and sometimes kill a penalty. If he really hasn’t been a goal scorer all along, why should we expect him to be one now? 

That’s not being too negative, is it?

Scott Gomez has seven goals in 63 games. These players below scored almost as many in just one game. (This also isn’t being too negative, is it?)

    
Name? Nationality? Team? Date? Goals?
Joe Malone  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01917-12-19 December 19, 1917 5
Harry Hyland  Canada Montreal Wanderers 01917-12-19 December 19, 1917 5
Joe Malone  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01918-01-12 January 12, 1918 5
Joe Malone  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01918-02-02 February 2, 1918 5
Newsy Lalonde[3]  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01919-03-01 March 1, 1919 5
Newsy Lalonde  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01920-01-10 January 10, 1920 6
Joe Malone  Canada Quebec Bulldogs 01920-01-31 January 31, 1920 7
Mickey Roach  United States Toronto St. Pats 01920-03-06 March 6, 1920 5
Joe Malone  Canada Quebec Bulldogs 01920-03-10 March 10, 1920 6
Corb Denneny  Canada Toronto St. Pats 01921-01-26 January 26, 1921 6
Newsy Lalonde  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01921-02-16 February 16, 1921 5
Cy Denneny  Canada Ottawa Senators 01921-03-07 March 7, 1921 6
Babe Dye  Canada Toronto St. Pats 01922-12-16 December 16, 1922 5
Red Green  Canada Hamilton Tigers 01924-12-05 December 5, 1924 5
Babe Dye  Canada Toronto St. Pats 01924-12-22 December 22, 1924 5
Punch Broadbent  Canada Montreal Maroons 01925-01-07 January 7, 1925 5
Pit Lepine  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01929-12-29 December 29, 1929 5
Howie Morenz  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01930-03-18 March 18, 1930 5
Charlie Conacher  Canada Toronto Maple Leafs 01932-01-19 January 19, 1932 5
Ray Getliffe  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01943-02-06 February 6, 1943 5
Syd Howe  Canada Detroit Red Wings 01944-02-03 February 3, 1944 6
Maurice Richard[5]  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01944-03-23 March 23, 1944 5
Maurice Richard  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01944-12-28 December 28, 1944 5
Howie Meeker  Canada Toronto Maple Leafs 01947-01-08 January 8, 1947 5
Bernie Geoffrion  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01955-02-19 February 19, 1955 5
Bobby Rousseau  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01964-02-01 February 1, 1964 5
Red Berenson  Canada St. Louis Blues 01968-11-07 November 7, 1968 6
Yvan Cournoyer  Canada Montreal Canadiens 01975-02-15 February 15, 1975 5
Darryl Sittler  Canada Toronto Maple Leafs 01976-02-07 February 7, 1976 6
Darryl Sittler[5]  Canada Toronto Maple Leafs 01976-04-22 April 22, 1976 5
Reggie Leach[5]  Canada Philadelphia Flyers 01976-05-06 May 6, 1976 5
Don Murdoch  Canada New York Rangers 01976-10-12 October 12, 1976 5
Ian Turnbull  Canada Toronto Maple Leafs 01977-02-02 February 2, 1977 5
Bryan Trottier  Canada New York Islanders 01978-12-23 December 23, 1978 5
Tim Young  Canada Minnesota North Stars 01979-01-15 January 15, 1979 5
John Tonelli  Canada New York Islanders 01981-01-06 January 6, 1981 5
Wayne Gretzky  Canada Edmonton Oilers 01981-02-18 February 18, 1981 5
Wayne Gretzky  Canada Edmonton Oilers 01981-12-30 December 30, 1981 5
Grant Mulvey  Canada Chicago Black Hawks 01982-02-03 February 3, 1982 5
Bryan Trottier  Canada New York Islanders 01982-02-12 February 12, 1982 5
Willy Lindstrom  Sweden Winnipeg Jets 01982-03-02 March 2, 1982 5
Mark Pavelich  United States New York Rangers 01983-02-23 February 23, 1983 5
Jari Kurri  Finland Edmonton Oilers 01983-11-19 November 19, 1983 5
Bengt-Ake Gustafsson  Sweden Washington Capitals 01984-01-08 January 8, 1984 5
Pat Hughes  Canada Edmonton Oilers 01984-02-03 February 3, 1984 5
Wayne Gretzky  Canada Edmonton Oilers 01984-12-15 December 15, 1984 5
Dave Andreychuk  Canada Buffalo Sabres 01986-02-06 February 6, 1986 5
Wayne Gretzky  Canada Edmonton Oilers 01987-12-06 December 6, 1987 5
Mario Lemieux  Canada Pittsburgh Penguins 01988-12-31 December 31, 1988 5
Joe Nieuwendyk  Canada Calgary Flames 01989-01-11 January 11, 1989 5
Mario Lemieux[5]  Canada Pittsburgh Penguins 01989-04-25 April 25, 1989 5
Mats Sundin  Sweden Quebec Nordiques 01992-03-05 March 5, 1992 5
Mario Lemieux  Canada Pittsburgh Penguins 01993-04-09 April 9, 1993 5
Peter Bondra  Slovakia Washington Capitals 01994-02-05 February 5, 1994 5
Mike Ricci  Canada Quebec Nordiques 01994-02-17 February 17, 1994 5
Alexei Zhamnov  Russia Winnipeg Jets 01995-04-01 April 1, 1995 5
Mario Lemieux  Canada Pittsburgh Penguins 01996-03-26 March 26, 1996 5
Sergei Fedorov  Russia Detroit Red Wings 01996-12-26 December 26, 1996 5
Marian Gaborik[6]  Slovakia Minnesota Wild 02007-12-20 December 20, 2007 5
Johan Franzen[7]  Sweden Detroit Red Wings 02011-02-02 February 2, 2011 5

Habs ‘A’ Game Gets Lost On Way To Rink

This was the team with four losses in five games. The team with cap problems which on some nights was forced to ice less skaters than it should.

This was the team that shut out the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 on Thursday night.

My wife mentioned to me during this sad-fest that the Devils’ goalie was both lucky and good, and I explained that it was Martin Brodeur, a Montreal boy whose father Denis had been the Canadiens photographer for years, that young Martin had grown up a Habs fan, and he had plenty of family and friends in the stands watching once again as he did well against the good guys.

My wife then asked why he wasn’t playing for Montreal and I told her these players, when they’re young, don’t have a choice where they end up and he’s stayed in New Jersey, the team that picked him, for all of his long career. If they did have a choice, maybe Mario Lemieux would’ve been a Hab too.

It’s not fair, she added quietly.

But enough about the enemy. What about the Habs?

They didn’t bring their A game. Maybe their B game. Maybe even C. Was it too many days off (four and a half)? Could it be the Devils’ stifling system? I don’t know. The puck bounced around, passes missed the mark, pucks missed the New Jersey net, penalties disrupted any momentum.

Whatever you can think of is fine with me. It was probably all there. They had their chances to be sure but that’s where Martin Brodeur came in.

Whatever. We wait all week for this game and thud, it hits us like a safe dropped on our heads from a balcony.

Random Notes:

Montreal scorers were – the guy three rows up with the blond, the short fellow with the freckle-faced girl in the nosebleeds, the two brothers dating the top-heavy twins, the tall guy getting the redhead drunk in the luxury box, and maybe a thousand or so others scattered about. Other than that, there was no scoring on this night.

Shots on goal – 29-20 for the Habs.

Next up – in Ottawa where the Canadiens attempt to get their shit together.

Habs Rebound And Sink Sens

The Canadiens win their second in two nights, and look out Toronto Maple Leafs, we’re coming.

Tonight it was the Ottawa Senators, with absolutely no help from Alex Kovalev, who fall to the Habs, and when you look at Montreal’s five games so far, only one was where they didn’t gain any points. So how can I be less than happy? How can I criticize?

I can’t.

I can, however, mention that PK Subban continues to make me nervous with some of his puck handling and ill-advised decisions, but how can I even be negative about this? He’s a rookie, with a only a few games under his belt last season and just five this year.

But CBC’s Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson were right when they pointed out that PK stayed on the ice for almost all of a power play with fresh and experienced defencemen biting at the bit to get out there. This is a big thing the young fellow needs to straighten out. Can’t have dissention within the ranks.

I know as a smallish yet shifty right winger for the Orillia Byers Bulldozers midgets that this can really piss off teammates.

PK is learning and we must be patient. He needs to be brash and colourful and daring, but until he sorts it all out over a period of time, he’s playing havoc with my nervous system.

The game was a see-saw affair, beginning with Brian Gionta looking like a shrunken Mario Lemieux the way he burst down on a clear cut breakaway and deked Sens goaltender Brian Elliot out of his jockstrap.

The Senators then tied it at one and in the second period scored two goals on just two shots that had visions of the old Carey Price dancing in my head. But our boys didn’t collapse. Jeff Halpern closed the gap, and then Andre Kostitsyn, playing the way we’ve begged and pleaded with him to play, scored a great goal late in the second after being set up by Tomas Plekanec. And in the third, Plekanec took the bull by the horns and scored his own beauty after a lovely Kostitsyn rush.

Good stuff. Plekanec and Kostitsyn getting it done.

Random Notes:

Carey Price got his first win at the Bell Centre in a long, long time. So long, in fact, that eight track cassettes were still around and Don Cherry was normal when he won last. Okay, maybe not that long. But it was last February, which is a long time ago.

Shots on goal? An amazing 40 to 19 for the Habs. How often does this happen? 

Next up – not until next Thursday when the New Jersey Devils pay a visit.

Keep it going, you crazy Habs.