Tag Archives: Matt Cooke

Those Bruins Bastards

You don’t hate the Boston Bruins more than I do. Looking at them hurts my eyes. Messes with my mind and mood. If they’re about to go all the way, I might walk on nails, get my chest hairs ripped out with duct tape, and visit the dentist, all around game time of the final night.

But I sure respect what they’re doing right now. At this writing, it’s 5-1 Bruins in the third period of game two. Boston also won the first, with both games on the road. They’re playing like they can win it all. They’re shutting the Pens down. They’re tough and disciplined and everyone seems to be on the same page.

It hurts me to write that.

This is what the Canadiens have to become. Tough, with scorers scoring. With a goaltender to be relied upon. With a strong defence. With a few more bigger bodies.

What a novelty act the Bruins have going. Everyone playing well at the same time. I’m not used to that as a Habs fan.

And as much as I despise the Bruins, Matt Cooke plays for Pittsburgh. So what’s a neutral fan to do?

Pittsburgh isn’t exactly on my wish list. And they’re in deep trouble, even though they finished head and shoulders above everyone else in the east during the regular season, with 72 points, nine more than the second-place Habs.

They were unstoppable. They grabbed Jerome Iginla and Brenden Morrow to join Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They enjoyed a 15-game winning streak late in the season. They were a machine.

And the Bruins are killing them.

Boston was nothing to write home about during the regular season, ending up with one point less than Montreal and showing little of what we’ve become accustomed to in the past few years. Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, and Zdeno Chara were only heavy winds instead of gale force hurricanes. It was like the Bruins in general had seen better days.

But this team obviously knew what they’re doing, and even though the Habs finished ahead of them, they weren’t about to concede anything. The playoffs are a different animal, and the Bruins seem to have it figured out.

Most of them only made it to grade three, but they’ve got the playoffs figured out.

 

Markov And Price Babblings

Andrei Markov has been announced as Montreal’s nomination for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given each year to a player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication.

This means that the cabinet space the Vezina was going to take up could now be used for the Masterton! You see how things work out!

Hopefully Markov, who came back this year from a couple of knee injuries that forced him to miss all but twenty games over the past two seasons, can capture this important award. And even though he’s older and slower now, and sometimes gets caught out of position, he’s still one of our key blueliners, played every game this year, and I believe was the best thing that ever happened to Alex Emelin (except for Emelin getting married and having a baby, I suppose).

Pittsburgh has nominated Matt Cooke, which kind of tarnishes the whole thing. I wonder if Ottawa writers will be scrambling to vote for him.

It’s another off-day for the Canadiens, another day to rest and regroup and try to figure out why they’ve been so incredibly mediocre lately, and there’s lots to think about. Like how they got themselves in this mess in the first place. A mess where fans are mad at them after a three month love-in. We had the parade route planned. Now players discuss which alley to escape down.

We worry if they’ll ever play an excellent game again. Can anything be more depressing?

I know what the problem is, and if you consider me a Price-basher, you’re as wrong as can be. I’m a Price-believer. All along I’ve considered him and Pernell Karl as our true superstars. He’s the guy my wife wants to have her picture taken with. She loves him. He looks a lot like her son.

But when a team goes out every night with a solid game plan, is playing as well or better than the other team, and suddenly finds themselves down 2-0 or 3-0 midway through the first period after a couple of weak goals, the solid game plan flies out the window. It becomes a worry whenever the puck is in their end, because they realize their backstopper isn’t sharp once again.

And because there’s no sharpshooter like Steven Stamkos to rely on to begin a dramatic comeback, the game is basically over before twenty minutes has been played.

I was shocked when I read the other day that Price’s average (2.59) has dropped to 29th in the league, and his .905 save percentage sits at 33rd. What the heck is that? I’m feeling bad about this, and my wife has gone silent.

We can look at our lack of production from forwards, and our defence that needs work, but until Price comes up big at crucial times, like the first or second shot of the game for example, we’re gonna be screwed. He’s not getting help from guys in front, but we ask that at least he keeps us in the game until a way can be found at the other end.

It’s what good goalies do. It’s what Price used to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’ll Send Chills Up Your Spine

Are you strong enough to sit through these? Can your heart take it?

You’ve been warned.

Chernoble Diaries

A group of wholesome American students visit Chernoble twenty-five years after the deadly meltdown, and find themselves stuck in the god-forsaken place when their car battery somehow becomes dead. Horror ensues as a hideous half-man, half-monster, created from the radioactive air, hunts down the terrified students and begins to eat them one by one. Brad Marchand plays himself as the hideous monster.

Bride of Frankenstein

A retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic tale of a grotesque monster created in a lab, only in this later version, the monster takes a wife who is every bit as ugly and loathsome as he. Audiences shrieked in horror and some fainted the first time Zdeno Charo appeared on the screen as the wife.

Night of the Living Dead

They come alive in the cemetery and roam the streets eating innocent townfolks’ testicles as folks flee for their lives. Director Orson Snail does a masterful job in getting the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team to act as the testicle-eating zombies, although in interviews, Snail has admitted that he really didn’t have to do much. “They were naturals,” he said. “Like they’ve done it before. And we saved money by not needing makeup artists.” Kudos to newcomer Nazem Kadri for his realistic portrayal of the village idiot.

Dawn of the Dead

Audiences in Boston, Toronto, Ottawa, and elsewhere walked out of theatres horrified and disturbed after seeing how the Montreal Canadiens, given up for dead, suddenly emerge and willfully slaughter hockey teams in major cities throughout North America.  “We thought they were dead and buried,” cried shocked patrons everywhere. “I’m probably not going to be able to sleep tonight,” admitted a trembling and red-eyed Dion Phaneuf.

28 Days Later

A group of animal-loving activists free a bunch of chimps from their cages, only to discover soon after that the deadly germs of the primates have quickly killed millions. Unfortunately, by the time the chimps are rounded up and secured, the world has become partly deserted. “I’ll send them out again if you don’t let me be Habs stick boy,” warned the diabolical yet extremely handsome activist Dennis Kane.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Zombies and more zombies. Thousand of them. Smelly, disgusting, gruesome, pus-oozing zombies. Boston Bruins fans played their parts well. “It worked because all they had to do was grunt,” explained producer Alfred Spielberg.

Psycho

The story of a lonely man in a lonely motel, waiting patiently for a female victim to show up so he can introduce her to his mother who lives in the creepy mansion up on the hill. The shower scene is a bone-trembling classic, and director and sometimes hockey coach Sir Ken Hitchcock has theatre-goers shaking in their boots as the heroine, portrayed by troubled star P.J. Stock, is treated rather shabbily to say the least. Matt Cooke is brilliant as both the mother and son, and he still maintains that he didn’t try to actually hurt Stock and Hitchcock during the making, but it happened and he’s sorry.

Carey

Based on the Stephen King novel “Carrie,” it’s the story of a person who is unmercifully tormented and ridiculed, but eventually finds out he has telekinesis powers that become apparent when angry and upset. The final scene, when a tormented Carey wills the arena to explode, is riveting.

 

 

 

 

 

Crosby-Talk

Crosby

It’s been a few days now since Sidney Crosby took a puck in the face in which he lost some teeth and had his jaw broken, and I’ve been thinking about it a fair amount since it happened.

For one thing, with a couple of chicklets nestled on his jersey and the painful look on his face, it’s living proof that pucks are hard. It certainly must have hurt like hell, especially after the freezing wore off.

And I thought, this is a fellow with some truly bad luck, who had missed much of last season due to concussion, and he comes back fully recovered and in fine form, and then this happens. Is this payback from an evil clothes dryer he used to shoot at?

It also occurred to me that the Penguins signed Iginla and the other guys just in time, and I figured they’ve almost come out smelling like roses aside from the fact they’ve just lost probably the best player on the planet.

It then went through my head how this could be good for the Habs, as Crosby may not be 100% if and when the Canadiens meet the Penguins at some point in the post-season. How long does it take to recover from eating liquids for a month? I just hope concussion issues don’t arise from this. This is a fellow human being we’re talking about.

The best player in the world needs to play, and if Montreal is going to win it, I want them to win it with Crosby healthy. The Canadiens rolled through both him and Ovechkin in the 2010 playoffs, and this year the possibilities are endless, no matter who it is they go up against. And I don’t wish serious harm on anyone, although I guess seeing Matt Cooke run over by a souped-up zamboni might be kind of fun.

Hopefully, Sid’s healing goes well and he’s back in shipshape form sooner than later. The league needs him, he’s a class act, and that’s enough bad luck for a guy who grew up a Habs fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penguins Waddle In

Saturday, and it’s wet out. There’s a reason why Powell River is so clean. Old Ma Nature likes to wash it.

It’s also game day for the Habs, with the Penguins in town and no Evgeny Malkin to contend with. But of course there’s the kid from Cole Harbour who needs to be corralled.

Sidney Crosby is tied with Steven Stamkos at the head of the class with 31 points, and seeing this, without seeing much of him, I’m assuming he’s at the top of his game. As a comparison, Montreal’s top guy, Max Pacioretty, is 49th in the league with 16 points. Micheal Ryder has 14, but all with Dallas. Tomas Plekanec, third in Habs points, sits in 86th spot with 13.

It’s a chance to widen the gap to five points over a team breathing down our necks, which should happen because I see no reason for it not to. Keep the momentum going and feel good because 24 hours later, it doesn’t get any easier. It’s the Bruins who make me nervous, mostly because they’ve had their best start in 26 years or something like that, and they’re up on Sunday.

The Bruins have also only played 17 games to Montreal’s 20, so it goes without saying that this is a team that needs to be crushed.

But first things first. Take out the Penguins, who are missing Malkin, a guy currently experiencing the same problems as Montreal’s Raphael Diaz and Rene Bourque – the dreaded concussion. I thought things were supposed to get better in this department after all the trouble so many players, including Crosby of course, have had over the last few years with head injuries. Maybe there’s no real answer. Maybe as long as hockey will be played, heads will get knocked and brains scrambled.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the other thing that makes me nervous. Matt Cooke plays for Pittsburgh.

I’ll be back later. Like the Habs, I’ve also got a big task at hand right now.

 

Karlsson And Cooke

Just want to quickly mention that it’s terrible to see Ottawa’s young, sensational defenceman Erik Karlsson gone for the season after a Matt Cooke skate blade cut his Achilles tendon in his left ankle.

I suppose we can’t know exactly, especially if he denies it till the cows come home, but to me it sure looked like Cooke was trying to do some damage with his skate. But it seems impossible to know for sure when he’s pleading innocent.

Karlsson is such an impressive young player. He controls the play, he’s got a big shot, he’ll attack like a forward, and he’s a dominant guy, a real special player. He’d look great in Habs uniform. It goes without saying that Ottawa and their fans are going to miss him in a big way.

As for Cooke……….

I’m With Max Of Course

A very interesting story has emerged regarding a disagreement betwen Max Pacioretty and league suspension-giver-outer Brendan Shanahan.

Max says that during his recent hearing for coldcocking Kris Letang, Shanahan compared it to the Matt Cooke/Marc Savard affair.

Shanahan insists he didn’t say this.

So who was it? I’m siding with Max. He says his agent and Pierre Gauthier can vouch for him.

The story can be seen here Pacioretty Disputes Shanahan’s Words, and thanks to both Mike Williamson and Danno for sending it along.

Tonight’s The Night, Gonna Be Alright

Mike Cammalleri will be lacing them up tonight in Pittsburgh, and that’s great news. Maybe our offensive thrust will be a little more thrusting.

Is it too much to ask that our guys go a game, or a week or a month, or even several months, without a serious injury to a key guy? Are they lacking vitamins?

But wait. Hold the fort. The Pens haven’t exactly been lucky either. They’re missing Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy, Brooks Orpik, and their two leading scorers up until now, James Neal and Kris Letang. I’d say that’s pretty well the meat of their lineup.

So it’s two teams going at it tonight will injury woes. In the big picture, may our doctors be better than their doctors.

We need this game, of course. With Ottawa and Winnipeg playing against each other, and who happen to be the only two teams with less points in the east than our guys, the Habs are now poised to slip within a whisker of being the worst in the the Conference if they don’t get their shit together. How depressing is that?

Matt Cooke should be in their lineup, so keep your head up. Or as they say, on a swivel.

My game report will again be in the wee hours, once I return from whence I came.

Go Habs

Back In The Saddle Again

Carey Price stopped the pucks, Mike Cammalleri played more like Mike Cammalleri, and the Canadiens rebound after a dismal showing in St. Louis two days ago by blanking the Penguins 3-0 in Pittsburgh and causing Habs fans everywhere to enjoy things for a change after a dark and dirty last four days.

How beautiful is it when your team comes out of the gate in the first minute of two periods and puts the other team behind the eight ball before jock straps even begin to smell? It’s a sweet thing for the doers to be sure as Tomas Plekanec opened things up just 46 seconds into the game and Travis Moen repeated the act 24 seconds into the second period.

You have to sort of picture why this is such a good thing. Before the game, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma would go over things, planning stategy and winding his team up in a big way, then his boys, whooping and hollering, skate out to an adoring crowd  and bingo….Montreal scores 46 seconds in and screws it all up.

Then, in the dressing room between periods, Bylsma would pull his best Knute Rockne, motivating and convincing the boys that the game is there for the taking, gets them back into a fine frenzy, they skate back out to the adoring crowd, and pffft…..Travis Moen pricks the balloon by scoring before Mario Lemieux can even get back to his luxury box. 

And with that, the flightless birds are almost finished and the Habs feel the good life after living on skid row for the past few days.

Just an excellent afternoon for all with a stake in the Montreal Canadiens, like you and me and the Molsons. They played a fine road game, bottled up the Penguins for most of the day, and best of all, no one got hurt by Matt Cooke.

Random Notes:

PK Subban played with some flamboyance not seen lately, and personally, I’ve missed this from our young star. Yes, he’s been a fine, solid and dependable blueliner, learning mostly from Hal Gill, and this is dandy, but seeing a touch of the wild and crazy PK was a little like seeing Led Zeppelin crank it up after a soft ballad.

Mike Cammalleri, with a goal and an assist, was maybe the Habs best player on this day. This after I said the other day that he’s been but a shell of himself since his shoulder injury. But I shouldn’t take credit. Okay, I will.

Carey Price recorded his eighth shutout. And probably in direct correlation to his oustanding play this year is the fact that I noticed on Your Canadiens last week when cameras followed him around buying a bowling ball and such, that he has such a  pretty girlfriend with a gorgeous smile.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – 26-20 Pittsburgh.

Next up – the red hot Capitals pay a visit to Montreal on Tuesday.

Brent Sopel, now on the shelf with a broken hand, joined his former Chicago teammates the other day to hang out with President Obama at the White House. Wouldn’t it have been great if Sopel wore a Habs jersey to the event? Or at least shouted Go Habs Go at some point.

Penguins Power Play Proves Poisonous

It’s a waiting game now. Waiting to see if Andrei Markov is gone for good from the series.

Is that a depressing opening line or what?

But Montreal losing 6-3 in the opening game against Pittsburgh shouldn’t be depressing. We shouldn’t let it get us down. You bet it would’ve been nice to grab the opener, but it was obvious the team had no zip to their game, and Jaroslav Halak in nets looked tired, far removed from those cat-like moves we saw from him in the Washington series.

But it’s a serious concern if Andrei Markov is out for a lengthy stretch. It’s one of the worst-case scenarios we can think of. We’re already without Jaroslav Spacek for far too long with what was described initially as a virus but now is an undisclosed injury.

We were just kind of getting used to having an-almost healthy lineup, and then Markov, the recipient of a legal hit by Matt Cooke, went down in a twisted heap, and like I said earlier, now it’s a waiting game. I guess almost getting used to a healthy squad was way too much to ask.

One thing’s also for sure: It may have been a legal hit Cooke threw at Markov, but before this series is over, Habs fans everywhere will be looking to lynch this guy who has a reputation of dirty and cheap hits that often injure others. I’d love to see some Hab, any Hab, pummel this guy. He was nasty in Vancouver and he’s nasty in a Penguins uniform.

Montreal needs a rest after their glorious seven-game series win over Washington. They’ve come off such a high that this really wasn’t a surprise. They were bound to be as dull as most of my tools. Imagine what it must have been like for Team Canada in 1972. They won the thing with Paul Henderson’s goal with 34 seconds left in game eight in Moscow, and instead of coming home and celebrating, they still had to play a meaningless game in Prague against the Czechs. It was the last thing they wanted. In the end, they tied the Czechs 3-3 with four seconds left and played without any kind of enthusiasm whatsoever. 

The Canadiens will regroup with a little more rest; Jaro Halak, who was yanked and replaced by Carey Price in the third period, will return to the nets and play better, and the team will regain their energy as the series moves forward. It’s just one game, and I’m optimistic that the Habs will turn it around. They might want to think about tightening up their penalty killing though. Or even better, don’t take any penalites. Four power play goals by the Penguins killed the Canadiens on this night.

Random Notes:

Don Cherry called Halak “Havlak” all evening. And then, when Ed Johnston was interviewed, he called him “Havlak” too. C’mon guys, it can’t be that difficult to get the poor guy’s name straight. He’s been in the league for awhile now.

PK Subban scored his first NHL goal. The first of hundreds. Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta also bulged the twine.

Shots on goal were Montreal 31, Pittsburgh 24.

Don’t forget it’s an afternoon game on Sunday – 2 pm eastern.