Tag Archives: Mark Messier

Ahoy Captain

It’s big stuff, this talk of the next Habs captain now that Brian Gionta has gone back to his home state.

The fact is, I don’t think anyone right now has what it takes for the role. Kind of sad, but in a few years, it’ll probably all become clear.

Of course, if someone is chosen this year, please forget that you ever saw this.

The names are tossed around. There’s Markov and Subban, and Plekanec and sometimes Max, and for some unknown reason, Brendan Gallagher keeps coming up. I don’t know why. But more about that later.

A captain’s not there just to make the fans happy that there is one. He has to have big time respect and admiration from teammates. They have to look up to him and learn from him. He has to lead by example. That’s why you never saw Howie Young or Sean Avery or Sergei Kostitsyn wear the C on any team.

A Canadiens captain needs to take Rene Bourque aside when Bourque is comatose and give him verbal smelling salts. He needs to tell P.K. to sometimes calm down, or chat now and again with Michel Therrien and politely mention that embarrassing P.K. in public might not be the coolest thing.

A leader of men. Classy, smart, and distinguished. The opposite of me.

The coaches rely on him to talk to teammates and guide and advise. He has to be great with the media and fans. He has to get along in fine fashion with the on-ice officials. Ask the zebras about the wife and kids. Explain politely that Brendan Prust’s fist into someone’s face was a natural reaction caused by the other player saying something uncalled for about the referee’s wife.

It would be great if the players voted on the wearer of the C but chances are it won’t be like that. Which could also lead to the delicate situation of the player being a bit of a brown noser, one of management’s pipelines. That sort of thing is for losers.

Of course that only happens with other teams, not the Habs. This is a team that rises above the nuttiness. There’s never nuttiness in Montreal, you know that.

Andrei Markov leads by example, that’s for sure, and the players, I think, truly respect him. He’s a hard worker, which a captain needs to be, and he’s been around since he paired with Sprague Cleghorn. But when it comes to the microphone or the PR stuff, it’s just doesn’t seem to be in him.

I know a bunch of his fellow countrymen, and most are cut from the same cloth. Reserved and not all great around anything remotely  resembling public attention. Except Lucy’s son Denis in St. Petersburg, who loves to ham it up when the camera’s out. But I think he’s an anomaly.

As much as I admire Markov, he’s not completely captain’s material. At least not in my book. But you might have a different book.

Same with Tomas Plekanec. Not great in front of the camera. Kind of a quiet guy I think. Not one to take a rookie aside and tell him to lay off the booze and broads. Or maybe he does, but surely not the way a Mark Messier or the Rocket would have handled it.

And if you say that’s old time, that this is now, so what? Because leaders are leaders, whether it’s 1914 or 2014.

As much as I like Pleks, and as much as Brad Marchand dislikes him, which is a definite bonus, he, like Markov, doesn’t have the makeup to be a true captain.

P.K. Subban will be a fine captain some day. He leads by example, he struts in public, and he’s fired up to win. He’s perfect in many ways. We don’t want a laid back captain. We just had one. But P.K. still has a bit of goofiness in him, probably what a captain shouldn’t have.

As much as P.K. is liked by his teammates, do they look up to him at this point the way young players in Chicago look up to Jonathan Toews, or in Anaheim to Ryan Getzlaf, or Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh?

Maybe after this season, after P.K. buys a few rounds, wins another Norris, and is voted Most Popular Guy on the Team by his teammates, then it’ll be time to put the C on him. He’s almost there. Just not quite.

The head scratcher for me is why Brendan Gallagher’s name comes up. As great a player he is, with a heart as big as can be, and a guy who would lead by example as a captain should, he’s still a kid. It’s obvious by the one minute interviews we see. He still talks like a kid. He was like a son to Josh Gorges and his wife when Gally rented a room at the Gorges resident.

Of course you could say Sidney Crosby roomed at Mario Lemieux’s house and was a captain at just 19, but these are two different personalities. I’m sure Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog, who was also 19 when given the C, is a man/boy too. There are guys like that. I once had a teammate when I was about 15 who had to shave every day and had this serious man strength. He looked older than the coaches.

Imagine if everyone had his same burning desire as Gallagher. But he’s not captain material because he’s a kid and I don’t understand why it keeps coming up.

Max Pacioretty might make a fine captain, but it seems he gets into areas when he has to re-screw his head back on from time to time. He’s kind of like me in this regard only I probably take longer to recover. It’s not a knock on Max for having his up and down moments. It’s about a captain not having those moments. One who could help Max along when he’s feeling out of sorts.

A captain has to be a big brother. Jean Beliveau was good like this. He knew how to handle all sorts of egos in the dressing room. Max doesn’t seem to have this in his genes, nor does Markov, Plekanec, Gallagher, and P.K., although at least it seems that way to a guy who only watches them on TV and has never been in the room except during the Bell Centre tour.

The captain situation sort of mirrors the team situation. Getting there, but just not quite. I think it’ll be Subban wearing the C in the 2015-16 campaign if he doesn’t screw it up in the meantime by making his teammates want to throttle him.

It’ll interesting to see how this captain thing unfolds. Just wish we had an obvious choice.

 

 

Awards Night On The Strip

 

What rivals the Academy Awards, Grammys, Emmys, and Golden Globe Awards?

Not the NHL Awards Show, that’s for sure.

Tonight’s the night we see players wearing uncomfortable tuxedos and their women beaming proudly. We see awkward speeches, hopefully some seriously low cleavage in the audience, and no Scott Gomez anywhere. We’ve also seen Ron McLean completely out of his element as a stand-up comedian, a cringe-inducing time in space if there ever was one, and maybe he’s been told to stay home.

And for those of you who gag at the thought of Nickelback performing, please keep in mind that Robin Thicke sang a couple of years back and I ask you, what’s worse?

I don’t know exactly what it is about Nickelback. Everybody dumps on this Canadian band, but I don’t mind them. Is that uncool to say? Do you like Robin Thicke better?

When I was a truck driver working out of Calgary, I would sometimes deliver cases of food to various stores in Hanna, Alberta, home of the Nickelback guys and Lanny McDonald. I’ve never ever delivered groceries in Robin Thicke’s hometown of Los Angeles.

In the recent past, the Awards show has been at the Palms in Vegas, which must have been uncomfortable for the players, wives, and executives because the Palms is about three blocks from the Strip, which is way too far. Tonight they’ve moved to the Wynn, one of the nicest hotels in the city, right on Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip, and where, if rumours are correct, sex has taken place in hotels rooms at various times, although I heard that several years ago and I don’t know if it’s still the case.

The big ones are on the line.

Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, and Steven Stamkos are up for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the most valuable to his team. I say give it to Malkin and hopefully cameras pan in on his girlfriend jiggling as she claps.

The Vezina, judged by general managers as top goalie, have Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, and Jonathan Quick battling it out. Tim Thomas couldn’t make it because he’s committed to doing a song and dance at the White House.

The Norris sees Zdeno Chara, Erik Karlsson, and Shea Weber on the short list. Give it to Karlsson. He’s already been partly ruined by getting a big seven-year contract from the Ottawa Senators which will zap much of the hunger out of the kid, and now a Norris, which will zap even more. Sens owner Eugene Melnyk predicted that Karlsson will become one of the greatest defensemen in the history of the game, so load the money and awards on him now and we’ll see how this prediction stands up.

And the Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award goes to the league for coming up with the stupidest name for an award.

Other awards handed out tonight include player with the hottest wife or girlfriend, best stick boy, the Bridgestone Gomez Getting The Job Done Award, the Sean Avery For The Love Of The Game Award, and the Nickelback Courage Award for showing up when everyone hates them except me.

The one award that should be a lock, even if I am biased? Max Pacioretty taking home the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication. Max came back from a broken neck to blossom into a star power forward, and he’s done it with grace and style, never losing a beat after such a tragic event. What a nice touch it would be to see Zdeno Chara present this award.

Roy, Robinson, Gretzky, Messier – In Ottawa

On Friday, September 19, 1986, the Montreal Canadiens played an exhibition game against the Edmonton Oilers at the Ottawa Civic Centre.  I lived in Ottawa at the time but sometimes, as was the case here, real life gets in the way and I had to work and couldn’t go. Just like the time I had a couple of front row seats for Roy Orbison at the National Arts Centre and was out on a truck run, got back late, and missed that too.

But my buddy Frank and his son Robin went to this Habs-Oilers clash, and brought me back a program.

This was a charity event for the Canadian Cystric Fibrosis Foundation, and two beauty teams went at it that night. Montreal had won the Stanley Cup that previous spring, and boasted Patrick Roy in nets, along with guys like Bobby Smith, Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, Bob Gainey, Chris Chelios, and Stephane Richer.

The Oilers were pretty well in a class by themselves. They had won the two previous Cups, in 1984 and 1985, and the two after, in 1987 and `88, with a lineup of Wayne Gretzky, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri etc.

Edmonton won the game that night 8-3, so maybe it was good that I missed it.

The Gomez List

NHL leader lists are an excellent thing. We get to see various groups of players, usually with Wayne Gretzky at the top, leading a pack of players in a variety of categories. 

Although Gretzky’s not in all them of course. He’s not up there in Playoff Penalty Minutes for example. That belongs to Dale Hunter and Chris Nilan with 729 and 541 respectively, with Claude Lemieux third with 529.

Tons of lists. Lots of players with lots of goals and points and such. If you print it off Wikipedia you get about 46 pages worth.

But we’ve got a guy on a list too.

I’d like to mention our very own Scott Gomez.

He’s on this list – Guys Who Have Gone Longer Than 40 Games Without A Goal.

Right freaking now – 44 games – Scott Gomez
2005-06 47 games Cameron Janssen (NJ)
2003-04 51 games Matthew Spiller (Phx)
2002-03 46 games Robert Ray (Buf/Ott)
2002-03 42 games Kryzysztof Oliwa (NYR/Bos)
2002-03 41 games Alexander Henry (Edm/Wsh)
1998-99 61 games Tyler Wright (Pit)
1998-99 46 games Trent McCleary (Mtl)
1998-99 45 games Steven Webb (NYI)
1998-99 44 games Darren Langdon (NYR)
1991-92 50 games Jay Caufield (Pit)
1979-80 43 games Jay Wells (LA)
1974-75 40 games Gary Doak (Bos)
1957-58 45 games Gordon Strate (Det)
1932-33 48 games Vernon Ayres (NYA)
1932-33 46 games Harold Starr (Ott/Mtl)
1931-32 48 games John ‘Jack’; McVicar (Mtl)
1930-31 43 games Francis Peters (NYR)
1928-29 44 games Percival Traub (Det)
1928-29 40 games Gerald Carson (Met/NYR)
1927-28 40 games Charles Langlois (Mtl C/Pit Pirates)

Extra, Extra, Read All About It. Three Winners Chosen In Big Contest

Three lucky people got their names pulled from my hat on the front lawn today to mark the end of our most recent contest involving sending me their picks of towns they’d like to see have Mark Messier and the Stanley Cup come to. Holy Cow. Another Excellent Contest!

So for their troubles, they get to browse through NHL.com stores and pick out something nice for themselves and have a brand new $75 gift certificate to pay with, compliments of the good people at Pepsi, Lay’s, and Gatorade. Team Up and Bring Home the Cup

I really appreciate everyone taking the time to try and I wish everybody could have won.  I also appreciate that you entered because if nobody bothered, it’d make for a pretty lousy contest.

Anyway, the three winners are: Tony, Derry, and Beatnik.

Tony chose the Lake Cowichan Lakers, Derry picked Port Alberni, and Beatnik went with the Dawson Creek Oldtimers.

Congratulations to all three. I’ll be emailing you the numbers to order with.

Holy Cow! Another Excellent Contest!

That’s right. Another chance to win a $75 gift certificate at NHL.com. And this time, three of you will win!

It’s shocking how generous I am.

It’s actually the fine folks at Pepsi, Lay’s, and Gatorade who are springing for these prizes. I’ve just decided to take credit.

Remember the excellent and exciting Leafs Suck So Bad contest that we had recently? Well, this time it’s different, you don’t have to think about the Leafs, and like I say, three people will win.

Just click on “vote” on Bring Home the Cup, have a look at the towns and cities involved in trying to get Mark Messier and the Stanley Cup to come there, and tell me in the comments section below which town you like. 

Then it’s back to the names in the fedora with my wife wearing a white glove, picking three. Don’t forget: $75 buys some good shit. There’s about six days left in this contest so get crackin’.

Honky Enters The Contest Fray

The good old contest is going reasonably well and it’s just shocking that some people are making fun of those poor Leafs.

Doesn’t Richard Simmons play for the Leafs?

Anyway, keep ’em coming. Just complete the sentence “The Leafs suck so bad….” and you could win a $75 gift certificate at NHL.com that the folks at Pepsi, Lays and Gatorade gave me to give to you for mentioning their Mark Messier contest Bring Home the Cup .

You could even buy a Leafs’ jersey with this money! I’m sure they don’t cost much.

My new examples:

“The Leafs suck so bad, Johnny Bower tells everyone he was just a recording artist (Honky the Christmas Goose) so people won’t know what he really did for living.”

The Leafs suck so bad their groupies wear burqua’s.

The Leafs suck so bad the writers who cover the team have asked to be transferred to the obituary-writing department.

And here’s some shocking examples from people with very few morals:

dishonest john Says:
The Leafs suck so bad when you look up the word vacuum in the dictionary you find a Leaf team picture.

  •  Phil Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad they put Pamela Anderson to shame
  •  

    Danno Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad they’re just like my artificial Xmas tree. Back in the basement every year by January.

    Bryan Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad, they can’t even beat ‘em in the bowling alley, let alone on the ice.

    Tony Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad cause…..it’s hockey, not…..boxing!

    jan’scanuckhouse Says: 
    The Leafs suck soooo bad that I have come up with several:
    #7.-that they don’t even know the Stanley Cup has a colour.
    #6.-that Hoover contacted them to inquire about their secret.
    #5.-that they tried lately to trade Luca Caputi for Matt Cooke.
    #4-that the Haitian Embassy has cancelled their season tickets.
    #3-that Stamkos will get another mittfull of pts in TO tonight.
    #2-that even Don Cherry’s new book doesn’t mention them.
    and the #1 reason is that even David Letterman doesn’t have time for them…………….

    Christopher Cordahi Says: 
    Hope this doesn’t get you in trouble with Pepsi.
    The Leafs suck so bad, they deserve a crappy cheer like Eh, O’Leafs Go.

    Derry Says:
    Hey Dennis,The Leafs suck so bad ,they were all kicked out of hicke class.

    Robert Rice Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad, physicists have discovered a black hole forming at their training complex.The Leafs suck so bad, the ECHL has offered them admission into their league.The Leafs suck so bad, the stick boy has demanded a trade.

    Lefty Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad they’re the suckiest sucks who ever sucked.

    Danno Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad that there’s this pal of mine who was this cute little dog who watches all the Leaf games with him on TV. And one night I saw the little dog in a corner of the room crying his eyes out. So I asked my pal “What’s wrong with your dog?” He says, ‘Oh, never mind about that, he does that every time the Leafs suck.” So then I ask him “What does he do when they play great?’ He says, “I don’t know. He’s only nine years old.”And the moral of the story is:Too much truculence inevitably leads to suckulence.

    Mike Williamson Says: 
    DK, I’ll keep this short.
    The Leafs suck,because they are the LEAFS

    Christopher Cordahi Says:

    Ex-Leaf Lee Stempniak says the Leafs suck so bad that being traded to play in an empty building in the desert is a career improvement.

    jan’scanuckhouse Says:

    The Leafs suck so bad that their training camp is actually the set of “The Biggest Loser.”

    Phil Says: 
    The Leafs suck so bad… Why do I even bother? It’s just a waste of breath.

    Diane S. Says:

    Dennis the Leafs suck so bad that their fans are actually movie extras at the games paid by the mgmt. and not fans at all.

    The Leafs suck so bad that puck bunnies are now dust bunnies and not interested because bunnies only like hockey players.

    $75 Buys Some Good Shit

    The good people at Pepsi, Gatorade, and Lays, because I mentioned in here about the nice contest to have Mark Messier come to your town with the Stanley Cup  http://dennis-kane.com/mark-messier-could-become-your-new-best-friend/ have given me a $75 gift certificate from NHL.com to pass along to one of you.

    So I thought about the best way to do this and I’ve come up with this. I’ll run this post periodically for a little while and from comments I’ll pick what I think is a good one. Or if that’s not fair, I’ll draw one from all the names in my fedora.  All you have to do is finish the sentence, “The Leafs suck so bad ……”

    Example – The Leafs suck so bad they’re rated 31 out of 30 teams.

    You can see all the good things to buy with your 75 bucks right here at shop NHL.com

    Mark Messier Could Become Your New Best Friend

    Once again, amateur teams in Canada have a chance to win a special contest where Mark Messier brings the Stanley Cup to the winner’s town and everyone parties the day away with Mark and the Cup.  Bring Home the Cup

    This is a nice little prize for sure, and good for Messier for taking part like this. It’s not every professional athlete who would travel to some quaint little town or village in possible inclimate weather and hang out with the locals. Can you see Barry Bonds or some NFL player with gold chains hanging off him doing this?

    Anyway, this contest closes on March 12 so if you have a team, maybe you should give it a shot pretty soon. You could ask Messier about Gretzky and Sid the Kid and Sean Avery and all kinds of things, including if he ever considered playing for the Habs and if not, why not.

    Franky speaking though, if I won this contest, I’d rather hang out with Jean Beliveau, but I’m sure people would like Messier too.

    Hoping For A Warm And Fuzzy Habs Dressing Room

    Saku Koivu had this to say recently about the difference in closeness between his new team, the Anaheim Ducks, and his old. “It’s more of a tighter feeling than in Montreal.”

    And that says a lot. Because if it’s true, that the Canadiens weren’t a close group, then no wonder they lost big and looked dismal while doing it. You can’t win if you’re not a family, even a disfunctional family. The Edmonton Oilers, thanks to the documentary “The Boys on the Bus”, along with testimonials from Gretzky, Messier, Fuhr et al over the years, have described and shown us what a hockey family is. The Habs of the 1950’s were a close group, except for Jacques Plante maybe, but he was a goalie, and goalies can be whatever they want. Ken Dryden told us in “The Game” what a tight group the 1970’s Canadiens were. The Toronto Maple Leafs, the second-most successful franchise of the 1960’s, became a family and banded together because of one common denominator – their distaste of coach and drill sargeant Punch Imlach. Detroit bonded, possibly because of the tragic car accident involving Vlad Konstantinov, and have shown many times to be a close group. Now Pittsburgh, maybe with the help of Mario Lemieux’s mansion/party house, seems the same.

    But the Canadiens weren’t?

    Were the rumours of a divided dressing room true? Did players go their own way socially, or in small groups only, like we’ve heard? Was there friction in the room, including those who felt Koivu was a taskmaster as captain? Were the Kostitsyn’s moody? Did Kovalev upset players with his inconsistant play and puck-hogging, and what was the true relationship between him and Koivu? Did players roll their eyes when they saw how Georges Laraque was told to go out and stage fights? Did the players drive coach Guy Carbonneau out? Did owner George Gillett stick his nose in places he shouldn’t, and too often? And is the real reason players from other teams have no desire to play for the Habs because attitudes and chemistry are all out of whack?

    When Guy Carbonneau was fired, he said that someday the truth would come out. What is the truth? Is it related to a divided room, with some players poisoning the air? And has the team been blown up and rebuilt because of the problems among players that may have been the biggest contibutor to their dismal performance?

    We’ll hear soon enough about this group, because no team, probably in any sport, is scrutinized, categorized and analyzed the way the Canadiens are. Bob Gainey knows what harmony in the dressing is. I’m thinking he’s gone out and tried to find it.

    Hopefully he has.