Tag Archives: Maurice Richard

I Wonder If George W. Bush Is A Habs Fan

Three big nights coming up for the surging Habs, beginning Thursday in Washington to complete the home and home series with the Capitals. I wonder if George W. Bush likes hockey. Do you think he’s heard of the Rocket, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr? Maybe Sean Avery?

I’m sure he must know something about Wayne Gretzky, and possibly Mario Lemieux. He’s probably aware of Alex Ovechkin, but only because they work in the same city. George is a baseball and football guy. But from time to time, he might check out page 7 or 8 of the Washington Post sports section, where hockey is buried, and notice something about the Capitals.

Why, he may have even noticed a story about the big 4-0 win by Montreal over his home team the other night. Cripes, I hope he doesn’t bomb Montreal.

I like the Caps, but only because of their new coach, Bruce Boudreau. Otherwise, they’re meaningless to me. Boudreau seems like the kind of guy you were pals with in school, the one who helped with your paper route, the one whose mom had the great cookies. He seems like just an ordinary Joe who happens to be fullfilling a dream right now. I hope he does well, just not on Thursday night.

Saturday afternoon, Montreal takes on the Islanders, then Sunday it’s down the freeway into Manhattan to tackle the New York Rangers, home of Mr. Congeniality, Sean Avery.

Note from Dennis:  It’s 1 am Saturday morning and I just realized the Islanders and Rangers are playing in Montreal. So about the last paragraph? Pretend you didn’t read it. Except the part about Mr. Congeniality. (It’s not my fault. I’m old.)

Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby: Who Would You Choose?

They’ve both been in the league since the 2005-06 season, and both, in their own distinct ways, have been fabulous. Any General Manager, if asked who he would pick from these two to build his team around, would have to think long and hard. Crosby is the successor to Gretzky and Lemieux’s mantle, and is The Next One. Ovechkin plays with abandon, and several of his many goals have been described as some of the prettiest ever. Both fill rinks wherever they play, both genuinely love the game, and both have the big numbers.

SO HOW DO THEY MEASURE UP? LET’S TAKE A LOOK.

Sidney Crosby is 20 years old, and Ovechkin is 22.

Crosby is a centreman. Ovechkin plays left wing.

Crosby is 5’11”, 200 lbs.  Ovechkin is 6’2″, 217 lbs.

Crosby, in 206 games, has 95 goals, 190 assists, for 285 points. (with 207 penalty minutes.)

Ovechkin, in 213 games, has 137 goals, 126 assists, for 263 points. (with 126 penalty minutes.)

THE QUESTIONS THAT REMAIN TO BE SEEN ARE:

Who will prove to be the bigger winner. Crosby’s on a better team and may wear a Stanley Cup ring soon. Ovechkin may never wear the ring. Winners create more of a legacy than non-winners.

Who will have more longevity. Both are good sizes, but both go kamikaze to the net. Crosby already is in the midst of a serious ankle injury. Ovechkin has dodged the bullet so far.

Crosby’s a Canadian, so his love of hockey is built in. For him, hockey’s as natural as eating and sleeping.

Ovechkin’s Russian. And you can tell by the smiles that he finds sheer joy in playing the game. It seems his love of hockey is built in too.

Crosby’s a better playmaker with all the hockey smarts. Ovechkin just plays with natural instinct and has a colourful knack when scoring. 

Crosby is the new Gordie Howe. Ovechkin is the new Maurice Richard.

I Hate The NHL All-Star Game

Like the title says, I hate the NHL All-Star game. I hate the nonchalant approach, the smiles and friendliness among those who normally dislike each other and three days from now will be trying to send their new-found buddies through the glass face-first. I hate the football scores. I hate the smug looks on the players as they play pond hockey. I hate the announcers going overboard in explaining how great everyone is. I hate the fancy little skating and shooting contests. So I don’t watch it. It’s my right.

I also hate the way it has broken up the great momentum Montreal has had leading up to this.

Remember the 1970 baseball All-Star game when Pete Rose bowled over catcher Ray Fosse at home plate?  Rose was playing to win. It was part of his soul. The Rocket, Ted Lindsay, John Ferguson Sr. and Doug Harvey had similar spirits, and this is what I like. Not this kissy-face shit we see now. 

Years ago, the all-star team played the previous year’s Stanley Cup champs. Everyone had something to prove. The champs wanted everyone to see they were still champs. The all-stars wanted another go-round at the champs. It was serious hockey. Players thumped and walloped. Goalies stood on their heads. Fans got a real treat, and their money’s worth.

Now, there’s so many players, the league doesn’t want to have just 20 all-stars. And teams don’t want anyone to get hurt. So we get to see a love-in now instead. If I want to see a love-in, I’ll rent Pamela and Tommy’s honeymoon video.

What It Takes To Be A Good Montreal Canadiens Fan

A GOOD MONTREAL FAN:

Won’t have another favourite team also.

Will have a real dislike for Toronto and Boston, and probably Ottawa.

Won’t stop rooting for them if you live in, or close to, another NHL city.

Will feel lousy anytime the team loses.

Is proud to say you’re a Habs fan in any circle of people.

Will never admit that Howe was better than Richard.

Really, really wishes they’d win the Cup soon.

Will say that Harvey comes right after Orr for greatest defenceman, even if you’ve never even saw a film clip of him.

Really misses the Forum.

Really misses Claude Mouton.

Really misses Danny Gallivan and Rene Lecavalier.

Never bets against them in sport select-type lotteries.

Won’t sing that wretched song when the game is close.

The Rocket, the Montreal Canadiens, and Rich Man, Poor Man

This year, Montreal’s Andrei Markov will earn 5.7 million dollars patroling the blueline. Teammate Roman Hamrlik will be close, at 5.5 million. Captain Saku Koivu stands at 4.7 million.

In 1940, Montreal’s Ken Reardon was paid $4000 for the season. Junior Langlois in 1959 made $7500. Jean Beliveau, who the Canadiens practically got down on their hands and knees to sign in 1953, was paid an unheard of $25,000, but that was what he’d been making with the senior Quebec Aces and the Habs had to at least match it.  And Rocket Richard was paid $5000 for his first season, in 1942-43, and earned a total of $350, 000 over 18 star-studded seasons with the Habs, ending in 1960.

This year, Francis Lemieux, a centreman who has yet to crack the Habs lineup, earns $461, 667. That’s $111, 667 more than the Rocket made in his lifetime.

More of the Insanely Fascinating “Fascinating Facts!”

Fascinating fact #1. Bep Guidolin played his first NHL game in 1942 with Boston. He’s the youngest player ever to play in the league, at 16 years old.

Fascinating fact #2. Floyd Curry attended his first Montreal Canadiens training camp in 1940 at just 15. He didn’t make the team but it’s still quite a feat.

Fascinating Fact #3.  Bobby Orr played for the Oshawa Generals, a farm team of the Boston Bruins, when he was just 14.

Fascinating fact #4.  Hall Of Fame goalie Johnny Bower didn’t play his first NHL game until he was 30 when he was called up from the minors to the NY Rangers. He played one season, then three more in the minors. After that he was traded to Toronto when he was 34 years old. Amazingly enough, and this is why this thing is called “Fascinating Facts”, Bower played goal all those years with poor eyesight and rheumatoid arthritis.

Fascinating fact #5  Claire Alexander, who played defence for the Leafs in the mid 1970’s, came into the league when he was 29. Before that, he was a milkman in Orillia, Ontario. (my hometown).

Fascinating Fact #6  In the early 1960’s, when I was about 12, my parish priest, Monsignor Lee, was somehow connected to the Toronto Maple Leafs. I think it had to do with St. Michael’s College. One day, he took my buddy Ron Clarke and I to Peterborough to see an exhibition game between the Leafs and Chicago. The afternoon before the game, we had dinner at the hotel with the Leafs’ brass. The players were in an adjoining room. So Ron and I had dinner with the Monsignor, King Clancy, and Jim Gregory, who has just been recently inducted into the builder’s catagory of the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Fascinating Fact #7   In the 1950’s, New York tough guy Lou Fontinato (who later was traded to Montreal), got into a real scrap with Rocket Richard. Fontinato got Richard’s sweater off and proceeded to rip it to shreds with his skates. A few weeks later, Fontinato received a bill from the Canadiens for $38.50.