Tag Archives: Mario Tremblay

Great Gift From Marc, Great Goal From Lambert

The other day, owner and founder of Classic Auctions (and my boss), Marc Juteau, came into my office and gave me a beautiful vintage style (with fight strap) Yvon Lambert store model sweater, signed on the crest, which came from a Lambert charity golf tournament.

It was really nice of Marc to do this, and I greatly appreciate it.

When we talk about the unreal night of May 10, 1979, game seven of the semi-finals when Don Cherry and the Bruins were called for “too many men on the ice”, we first think of the  Habs power play that followed, capped off by Guy Lafleur tying the game and sending it into overtime.

Nine minutes in, it was Lambert winning it after taking a pass from Mario Tremblay.

Lambert wasn’t finished there either. Two weeks later, he would net the Stanley Cup winner against the New York Rangers.

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Patrick Had It Planned?

A different angle to the Patrick Roy saga has come to light, thanks to a new CBC interview with former goaltender Mike Vernon.

I first listened to this after Robert Lefebvre has put it up on Facebook, and it really puts a new slant on the night of Dec. 2, 1995 when Patrick let in nine goals against the visiting Red Wings.

Patrick was eventually pulled, he skated to the bench, stormed by coach Mario Tremblay, and told Habs prez Ronald Corey that he’d never play another game for the Canadiens. He was traded to Colorado shortly after.

Everyone blamed Tremblay (and GM Rejean Houle) for sabotaging the goalie, for humiliating him by leaving him in net for far too long. Saint Patrick had been humiliated and not treated with the proper respect. It just wasn’t right.

And then we have the Mike Vernon interview.

For the first time, this has come out. Vernon, who was playing goal for Detroit, says he was sitting in a coffee shop earlier in the day when Patrick, whom he didn’t really know, walked in, sat beside him, and began complaining about the pressure and stress of playing in Montreal. He explained how difficult it was because of the media, fans, and such, and Vernon’s reply was to to tell Patrick that he needed to get out of there. He needed to get traded.

That night, Patrick went out, allowed nine goals, and forced the trade.

It looks like it was his own doing. It seems he may have very well let shots go in that he normally would have stopped. All part of the master plan to get out of Montreal.

The radio interview with Vernon can be heard here Mike Vernon talks about Patrick with the Patrick part somewhere around the eight minute mark.

This is huge news. Patrick tanked to force a trade.

 

 

Have You Ever Been To……?

We really need a general manager in place pronto in Montreal. Not just because the draft is coming up fast and we have the number 3 pick to decide on, and not only because he has to hire a coach and figure out how to ship out Scott Gomez, but also because we need something to talk about here.

I think the GM should be a female. Some nice, sexy, low-cut clothes, a smile and a wink, a gentle stroking of the arm, and she’ll have Glen Sather so screwed up he’ll take back Gomez in a New York minute. And throw in some cash for good measure.

Doug Risebrough’s name has come up and we could talk about the time he ripped Marty McSorley’s sweater to shreds when Calgary played Edmonton. Or when he, Mario Tremblay, and Yvon Lambert were three of the finest plumbers on some of the finest Habs teams ever.

We really need a GM and coach in place so we can agree and argue and plan how we’re going to win the Cup with these guys on board.

Until then, have you ever been to Malibu?

Malibu is only a few minutes along the Pacific Coast Highway heading out from Santa Monica. The houses aren’t spectacular from the highway, but the back of them, along the beach, show their true beauty. They’re also are in the 20 million range if you’re thinking about living there.

Moonshadows, in the second picture, is the restaurant where Mel Gibson got plastered, then got in his car and was promptly stopped by a cop, charged with a DUI, and began a slurring rant about Jews and others.

Although the houses along the beach are owned and lived in by movie stars and high-priced lawyers and such, regular people like you and me can access the beach at several barely-marked paths which you have to look closely for. These billionaries certainly don’t want a lot of riff-raff taking over their beach and talking hockey, that’s for sure. But we can hang out whether they like it or not.

When you go, spread out a towel, gaze at the water, then turn around and notice the hired help at these 20 million dollar places polishing the silver on the decks and washing windows. Live and lounge like a rich movie star on the white sand with the surf crashing before you, then get back in your car and drive several miles to your Motel 6 and hope your TV works and the sheets are clean.

 

One Last Extra, Extra – A Great Year -1978

I’ll bet you’re tired of this. Well, don’t fret, this is the final installment of “Extra, Extra, Read All About It.”

For the last eight Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup wins, from 1971 to 1993, I managed to save the front pages and laminate them. (Although one, from 1977, is an inner page).

This final chapter looks at the great Habs Cup win in 1978, which was a lovely time indeed if you were a fan of the bleu, blanc, et rouge.

Serge Savard, after his team had had sailed to their third straight championship in 1978, lit a big cigar and reflected. “It’s something pretty special to be a Montreal Canadien, you know. We want to keep that role and the good things that go with it. But we have to work to do it because of those kids.”

And what kids were Savard talking about? Kids who played a large role in the winning of this Cup, youngsters like Pierre Mondou, 22, who assisted on two big goals in the final game a 4-1 win over Boston. It would be Mario Tremblay, 21, who didn’t play in the final until the fourth game, and scored twice. And it would be other young fellows like Brian Engblom, Gilles Lupien, Rick Chartraw, Rod Schutt, Mike Polich, Pat Hughes, and Pierre Larouche. 

And seeing these young guys play their hearts out was the motivation for the team to not rest on their laurels, not stand still, and not pat themselves on the back. There was no complacency on this team.

Scotty Bowman spoke about it afterwards during the celebration. “Having the extra guys who could play for just about any NHL club really helps in the motivation department,” said the coach. “We only have one player (Larouche, obtained in a trade with Pittsburgh) who ever played for another team.”

“Our farm system produces kids who want to play for the big club – and the guys with the big-league jobs know it. The kids are hungry, they have their agents pushing them and it makes a healthy situation.”

Larry Robinson won the Conn Smythe in this 1978 playoff year, his second in three years, (the other being in 1976), and he was awarded a brand new Ford Thunderbird from Sport Magazine for his efforts. “It’s an honour, of course,” said Robinson, “but the key to this team’s success is that it’s a real team and what one guy does is no more important than the contribution of another player.”

Montreal in these playoffs first met the Detroit Red Wings, eliminating the Wings four games to one. The Habs then swept the Leafs four straight before taking out the Bruins in the final, four games to two.

They would win one more Cup the following year before things eventually began to unravel.

Some final few words about Larry Robinson winning the Conn Smythe goes to Don Cherry (coach of the Bruins). “He deserves it,” said Cherry. “There’s nothing he can’t do. There were many four skaters on four situations in this series and at those times there was no stopping him.” 

Thanks for reading this series. Now I can hardly wait to write about our next Stanley Cup, happening next spring.

 

Extra, Extra, Read All About It! (Part One)

For the last eight Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup wins, from 1971 to 1993, I managed to save the front pages and laminate them. (Although one, from 1977, is an inner page).

From time to time I’ll talk a little about these wins, and I’ll use some quotes, but I won’t copy verbatim anything from the coverage because writers don’t like that and I don’t blame them. And the last thing I want is a writer or newspaper mad at me.

Maybe I’ll start with 1993.

“CUP COMES HOME” blared the headline, and little did we know that the Cup just a year later was going to run away from home and stay away. Stanley come home. We miss you.

It was Montreal’s 24th championship in 1993, and it was done on the shoulders of Patrick Roy, who would be named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player in the playoffs. Patrick gave us 16 wins and just four losses along the way, and to think if he hadn’t become upset with Mario Tremblay in late 1995 and stormed off the ice saying it was his last game in Montreal, we might have racked up several more mugs in the 1990’s. (Roy had allowed nine goals against Detroit and Tremblay took his time pulling him, which Roy found unacceptable).

But all was peace and love in 1993, like it was when Roy was in the nets for the 1986 Cup win. Michael Farber, in the Gazette coverage, wrote, “You can sum up the Stanley Cup in almost any two words you choose: Patrick Roy. The best. The Canadiens.”

Montreal won that year by beating the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 and claiming the title in just five games. L.A.’s Wayne Gretzky was disappointed. “I said before the playoffs began that I want to go out on a high. I think I played as well as I can. The next few days I’ll talk to my wife. I’m not leaning toward retirement but I’ve fulfilled my obligation to Los Angeles.”  (Kings owner Bruce McNall put a blank piece of paper in front of Gretzky and told him to fill it in. The Great One would remain an LA King for another three seasons before heading to St. Louis and then the Rangers).

But back to the more important stuff – the Habs winning. Montreal’s Lyle Odelein emotionally stated, “You try to take the moment and just hold on to it. You think about what you’re doing and you try to make sure you remember it. I’m from Saskatchewan and I doubt there’s a kid out there tonight who wouldn’t have to do what I did – skate with the Stanley Cup. I was so pumped up I could have lifted the Cup to the sky.”

Stephan Lebeau recalled seeing the Cup in the garage at the Forum when Calgary won it in 1989, but he didn’t touch it. “You don’t touch what isn’t yours. I didn’t want to touch it until we won it.”

To reach the finals, the Canadiens had taken out the Nordiques 4 games to 2, Buffalo 4 straight, and the New York Islanders 4 games to one. Hab haters claimed that Montreal had an easy time of it because two stronger teams, Boston and Pittsburgh, had both been eliminated, but don’t believe these naysayers. They’re a bunch of wankers. 

Of course there was some rioting in the streets of Montreal. Thousands smashed windows, overturned cars, looted, and in general behaved like morons. I’m really hoping that next spring when the Habs finally get their hands on Lord Stanley once again, that fans don’t misbehave. It’s an opportunity to show the hockey world just how mature Habs fans are.

 

Team Wins And Eller Grins

It was a fine night at the old homestead, a very large monkey was ripped from a back, and the Habs rebound nicely after a lousy display in Philadelphia two days ago.

It only goes to show just how effective the Canadiens can be with everyone chipping in. And now, with a solid 4-1 win over the LA Kings, who are a nice young team in their own right, the boys in red are back in the good books and none should be sleeping on the couch tonight.

How great was it to see the smile on Lars Eller’s baby-face as he finally scored his first-ever goal in a Habs uniform? He was relieved all right. And proud. And gloriously happy. Finally that wretched ape is off his back, and although we shouldn’t expect huge things at this point from the young Dane, maybe we can expect his game to be raised a notch or two from here on in.

I’m sure that puck will go front and centre in the Eller trophy case.

And to see his teammates so happy for him. He’s probably still recovering from the affectionate face-washes.

He’ll be phoning his folks probably, which is about eight hours ahead in Denmark, but I’m sure they won’t mind if he wakes them up. Or maybe they were watching on satellite, in their housecoats, and their cheer shook the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen harbour.

A good night was had by many. Andrei Kostitsyn woke from his slumber and not only scored a goal and added an assist, but was also voted number one star? How’s that for a bonus to the Eller thing, who, by the way, was the number two star.

Scott Gomez had an assist and I’m considering this as big news. He now has two goals and five assists in 22 games, which is better than two goals and four assists.

Mike Cammalleri, PK, Brian Gionta, Alex Picard, Benoit Pouliot (who continues to be steady), and Roman Hamrlik also had points on this night. And the defence kept things to a minimum in the danger zone much of the time.

Just a good night in many ways.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – 33-25 Habs.

Carey Price once again was excellent. Geez I wish I would’ve taken him in my pool.

Tomas Plekanec bulged the twine and now has 21 points in 21 games. Kostitsyn is next in line with 16 points in 22 games.

I don’t know what Michel Bergeron, Mario Tremblay and the rest were saying on RDS’s ‘Antichambre’ after the game, but they sure were happy. One could tell absolutely that the Montreal Canadiens won, just from the party atmosphere in the TV studio.

Next up – Friday in Atlanta and then back home Saturday to meet and greet the Sabres.

Canadiens Come Through In Fine Fashion

Through the turmoil of recent days – the dismal losses, George Laraque being released and calling Bob Gainey and Jacques Martin “classless”, big Jean Beliveau suffering a stroke and taken to hospital, and Mike Cammalleri and Maxim Lapierre jawing at each other in practice, the Canadiens went in to New Jersey in a miserable state of mind.

That’s an understatement if there ever was one.

And as long as big Jean is okay, which reports say is the case, then maybe the recent string of bummers was a blessing in disguise. Because the Habs, although not flawless, played a solid, hard-working game and were full marks for a 3-1 win against Martin Brodeur, Jacques Lemaire, Mario Tremblay and those, yawn, New Jersey Devils.

It didn’t start well. Almost two weeks ago when these two met in Montreal, Zack Parise won it for the Devils when he took a long pass, went in alone, and made no mistake in overtime. In this Friday night tilt, Parise once again took a long pass, once again waltzed in, and once again scored. Deja freakin’ vu.

(Zach Parise is a beauty of a player, a swift and dangerous young stud with an incredibly bright and star-studded future.  He was born 12 years after his dad Jean-Paul threatened to decapitate a referee in Moscow during the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series.)

But the Habs persevered. Benoit Pouliot’s stock continues to rise, notching his 11th and doing what we thought Vincent Lecavalier would do in a Canadiens uniform; newcomer Mathieu Darche scored the winner- his first for the Habs; and Mike Cammalleri iced it. Hopefully Max Lapierre gave him an extra high-five shortly after.

I don’t mind saying it: I’m proud of the team tonight. They played like they wanted it and in the end, they got it.

Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing to see something good come from something bad?

Random Notes:

Habs host the Rangers tomorrow night. Who knows what we’ll see. I’m thinking big thoughts, though.


Remind Me Never To Have Any More Specific Expectations

It seemed at the time like some reasonable requests to make.

About 15 hours before the Habs stepped on the ice in New Jersey, I suggested they do this: Other guys chip in a little more with some points; take less penalties; Carey Price to quit letting in easy goals; no one gets hurt; shoot more; and win.

How did these requests pan out?

Montreal scored just once, although it was Travis Moen who got it. It was also unassisted so just one player managed a point tonight. One lousy, stinking, feeble point.

Less penalties? Hah. The team managed to make their way to the penalty box five straight times before the Devils got even one. Although if Jaroslav Spacek deserved his, we might as well just close shop. The most bewildered soul in the house was Spacek, who had no idea why he was sent off. How much do these referees get paid? Whatever it is, it’s too much.

Carey Price softies? It was just a high shot from far out, but Price fumbled it, it hit the post, bounced off him, and into the net it went. Price is obviously a lousy baseball player.

No one gets hurt? It wasn’t my imagination that saw Roman Hamrlik be helped off the ice by the trainers, looking in considerable pain. As of now, I’ve no idea what’s wrong with him but I’m expecting the worst.

Shoot lots? I’m thinking 18 shots on Martin Brodeur isn’t a lot. Double that would’ve been good.

Win. Nope. 2-1 Devils.

Every one of my expectations went down the toilet with a big giant flush.

Random Notes:

How do Devils fans do it. They buy tickets to see that on a regular basis? Jacques Lemaire and Mario Tremblay should be taken to court and forced to reimburse every single ticket holder with promise to make the team more exciting in the future.

Minnesota comes to Montreal Thursday. That means Guillaume Latendresse gets to come back and make fools of us all.

Four straight losses now.


Random Notes From A Random Kind Of Guy

Detroit Red Wings’ goalie Chris Osgood says he can hardly wait to have a beer because he hasn’t had one in two months because of the playoffs. I know exactly how he feels, only instead of playoffs, it’s graveyard shifts.

Is there any truth to the rumour that when Penguins’ star Evgeny Malkin was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy and the team celebrated winning the Stanley Cup, his mom and dad back home put up a sign at their house that read, “If this dacha’s rockin’, don’t bother knockin’.

What’s worse, the Habs not making the playoffs, or getting swept in the first round by Boston?

I can see this leading to a problem. Molson’s has decided they want to possibly own the Montreal Canadiens, as they did for so many years before. But what if a Montreal Canadiens’ fan prefers Labatt’s over Molson’s? It’s complicated.

Sidney Crosby’s beard may someday be officially called a beard.

As far as I could see anyway, cameras during the entire playoffs, from start to finish, showed precious little of players’ wives sitting in the stands.

Patrick Roy’s son Jonathan, who has decided to become a singer, is being guided by Celine Dion’s husband, Rene Angelil. Coincidently, Celine and Rene have expressed interest in becoming owners of the Montreal Canadiens. So does this mean that somewhere down the road, Patrick and Jonathan could conceivably be running the team? Jonathan might be called upon to sing the national anthem. And then there’s that possibility that Patrick could become Mario Tremblay’s boss!

Gary Bettman, in a bid to show the world that Phoenix is indeed a hockey market, is planning the very first Phoenix Winter Carnival. Gary has admitted though, that finding a snowman mascot has been difficult because of melting. And toboggan races may not be all that exciting there.

Approximately 125 days left until hockey season.

Jacques Martin Chooses The Frying Pan Over Palm Trees

martinRound one of the “Official Revamping Of The Montreal Canadiens” has taken place with Bob Gainey’s announcement of the hiring of Jacques Martin as coach of the Habs and the releasing of goaltender coach Rollie Melanson. That’s round one. Now, only about ten rounds are left to go.

There’s also talk that Mario Tremblay will become an assistant coach. So, with Martin and Tremblay behind the bench, and with several Stanley Cup victories now coming up in the next few years, this assures that Patrick Roy will not be joining the Canadiens any time soon. And with a new goalie coach yet to be named, this means that Carey Price will regain his form and stand on his head on the way to the aforementioned Stanley Cup victories.

Martin hails from St. Pascal, Ontario, a small village located southeast of Ottawa heading towards Montreal, so he’s basically a Montreal boy, sort of. When he coached the Ottawa Senators, you could also say he was basically an Ottawa boy. When he was in Florida, you could say he was some English/French Canadian guy from some godforsaken place way up north who coached and ran the local hockey team.

And yes, Martin has won very little in his NHL career except for a Coach of the Year title, but there’s no need to be hard on the guy. That can wait until the end of October. For now, let’s be excited at the prospects of a new face behind the bench. And it should be a piece of cake for him. All he’s got to do is win the Stanley Cup in his first year. Once he’s done that, we’ll all love him.

But if he doesn’t do that, he may just retire to St. Pascal and open a barber shop.