Tag Archives: Max Pacioretty

Big Georges Laraque Only Two Away From A Hat Trick!

It was wild and wacky, this 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars, and there’s nothing wrong with wild and wacky. Not for me, anyway. Keep those goals coming that make us smile, those Georges Laraque moments when he finally banged one home and then tackled the glass. Brian Gionta taking a stick in the teeth and potting two. Benoit Pouliot showing that even though Guillaume Latendresse is playing well in Minnesota, Pouliot, the one who came the other way in the trade, is also doing it, and scored his seventh.

And Mike Cammellari taking a rink-long pass from Roman Hamrlik, faking, doing a little spin, and confusing the hell out of Marty Turco as the puck found the back of the net.

These were all goals to make a Habs fan smile. It was one of those nights.

In fact, I’m feeling so good I’m not even going to bring up the dumb penalties some Habs players, who I won’t mention, took. Don’t worry, Max Pacioretty and Glen Metropolit, I won’t mention your penalties for holding and hooking respectively that were obvious infractions and could have cost the game. Your names are safe with me.

Carey Price in goal was, on my scale of 1 to 10, somewhere around a seven. I don’t know if you agree with that or not, but I didn’t see a spectacular Carey Price, I saw just a pretty good Carey Price. And on my scale, that’s a seven.

Random Notes:

Ottawa visits Montreal on Saturday and then the Canadiens pack up and head to Manhattan to take on the Rangers Sunday evening. Two huge games. Can’t get much bigger at this stage of the game.

They should take the train to New York the way they did in the old days.

Several good enemy losses tonight: Toronto beat Philadelphia 4-0. Ottawa shut out the Rangers 2-0. Atlanta lost to Buffalo, and Tampa Bay lost to Florida. These are all excellent losses. It’s just too bad Ottawa had to get two points.


Penguins Rain On Parade As Habs Fall 3-1

It’s weird how a team can sleepwalk through the first part of one game (Columbus) and tonight in Pittsburgh jump out of the gate like everyone’s on crystal meth. Of course this energy didn’t last the complete game, but it is curious.

And two notable things happened in the first. The Habs fell behind 1-0 after Sidney Crosby scored with an assist to Paul Mara’s foot. And Sergei Kostitsyn pulled off one of the reasons he was sent down to the minors in the first place for – screwing around with the puck near the offensive blueline, only to lose it and almost cost a goal.

My wife, who wasn’t saying much up until this point, says Sergei must be brain dead in general.

I don’t know what kind of a student Sergei was back in Belarus but I’m guessing he wasn’t an honour student. Like Yogi Berra said, “Baseball (or in this case, hockey), is 90% mental. The other half is physical.”

And to be fair to Sergei, I was no honour student either. I was so far from being a good student I practically needed a visa to go to class.

The boys fell apart in the second period. So they pretty well did the exact opposite of the Columbus game. Things just weren’t happening after the energetic first. When it was 2-0 I kept thinking, “if they could only get one soon.” And then Pittsburgh scored to make it 3-0 so then I started thinking, “if they could just get two, they could make it a game.”

In the end, the Canadiens fell to the Penguins 3-1, but there’s no way I’m saying anything negative about this group. They’re a batterd bunch with guys in the lineup still learning their craft, and I’m proud of them.

And I’ve said all along, if they can maintain a .500 pace, which they’re doing, until everyone gets back, then they’ll be fine.

But the words of Yogi Berra once again ring in my ear. “The other teams could make trouble for us if they win.”

Random Notes:

While shorthanded in the third, Tommy Plekanec charged up the ice and got it back to Ryan O’Byrne, who blasted away from about ten feet out. Unfortunately, he shot it right into Marc-Andre Fleury’s glove. Many will say it was an outstanding save, but really, he only had to move his glove about an inch to grab it. This would have made it 3-2 and thing’s could have become very interesting.

Max Pacioretty got thumped from behind when he didn’t have the puck and looked to be shaken up. My first thought, and probably yours too was, there goes another one.

Pacioretty also scored the Habs’ lone goal and on a nice setup from Sergei Kostityn. Good for both of them. These are two we need help from.

Carey Price looked slightly off at times.

Washington visits the Bell Centre on Saturday.

A One-Sided Affair And A Night To Build On. Habs Trounce Enemy

There’ll be no harsh words tonight. No getting on anyone, no wondering why some players aren’t doing this and that. Heck, I’m not even going to bring up how Jaroslav Halak blew his shutout by giving the puck away on a power play.

Because this is a night to savour. A delicious, one-sided, crowd-pleasing 5-1 blowout over the New York Islanders to give us all hope that slowly but surely, the team’s coming around and isn’t the sad sack bunch we saw just recently on a west coast swing that we’re all trying desperately to forget.

Seeing five goals was like seeing Sophia Loren topless in one of her old movies – rare but exhilarating. Glen Metropolit was a force with two assists. Two guys who took longer to score than me in high school – Max Pacioretty and Maxim Lapierre, finally hit home runs. And Marc-Andre Bergeron has a shot that bends steel. This is a guy who’s a keeper, and when Andre Markov gets back, these two will help show all the naysayers out there that this is a team to be reckoned with.

5-1. Is it possible?

Random Notes:

Marc-Andre Bergeron’s shot reminds me of mine when I played for the Orillia Byers Bulldozers midgets. The only difference is, his is fast, hard, dangerous, and leaves the ice.

Pierre McGuire kept talking to Carey Price on the bench during the game and I’ll bet Price wished Pierre would just shut the hell up. But like I said, I’m not criticising anyone tonight.

I’d also like to take the time to defend Hal Gill a little, who often has the crowd and broadcasters on him because he’s a tad slow. But if you were Gill’s size, which is just slightly shorter than the Empire State Building, would you be a fast skater? Gill gets it done in other ways. Like his long reach, and taking out bowling pins in front of the net. I think we should give Hal a break because on this night especially, it’s all about peace and love.

I completely dislike the “Smurfs” nickname Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and Scott Gomez have been tagged with. Stop it people. Did you or do you call Henri Richard, Theoren Fleury, Martin St. Louis, and many other superstars “smurfs?” Just because an announcer thought this up at some point, does it mean you have to embrace it?

Rangers in town Saturday. Keep it going, boys. Put some red blood on those blueshirts.

Liking The Habs Two Days In A Row

Habs 2, Sens 1.

Do you think the Canadiens should wear their team jerseys and jeans, or nice suits, in the Stanley Cup parade next June?

JUST KIDDING, PEOPLE. We’ll talk about this later.

My wife is disappointed. And when she’s disappointed, I’m disappointed. But I don’t know how to make it better. I pointed out new coach Jacques Martin to her, and she doesn’t think he’s handsome enough. Forgive her for her shallowness, but she’s still a huge Habs fan, loves her team, and is pissed that Kovalev isn’t there.

Curious and interesting to see our new big guys out there. Defencemen Hal Gill, 6’7″, 240 lbs, Paul Mara,6’4″, 210 lbs, and forward Travis Moen,6’2′”, 211. What a different look the Habs are this year from last, between last night’s game with Gomez and Cammalleri and company, and tonight with these guys. All these mixtures and styles. I like this.

Max Pacioretty: With your gangway style and lanky bow-legs, you remind me of Dave Balon. That’s a great thing. He was a great player.

Tomas Plekanec: I was so happy to see you play tonight with energy and purpose the way you did two years ago. If I was your neighbour, I’d cut your lawn.

Brian Gionta: You slick little bugger. You were born to play in Montreal.

Random Notes:

I’m not happy about Phil Kessel joing the Leafs. He’s good, and we want Toronto to be bad. But we’ve got Gionta and Gomez and Cammalleri and Plekanec and the Kostitsyns’ and…….it just goes on and on. So there’s no worry about Kessel. And anyway, this makes Boston a little less dangerous.

Next Up – Habs in Ottawa Saturday night to visit Alex Kovalev.

Steve Begin Begins A New Life In Dallas

For five years we watched Steve Begin report to work with steel toes and a lunchpail. We watched a guy who earned his money, who toiled as a grinder with the Montreal Canadiens, a plumber, a fourth-liner. But being a plumber and a fourth-liner didn’t mean he wasn’t an important player, although lately he’s been a healthy scratch. The Canadiens simply have too many good young players vying for jobs with the big team. Gregory Stewart, Matt D’Agostini, Kyle Chipchura, and expecially Max Pacioretty have all shown they belong, and unfortunately, Begin’s days became numbered.

Steve Begin gave everything he had with the team. He fought bigger foes, often in a losing cause, went into the corners, crashed nets, and would even score a big goal now and then. He was, and is, a player most teams and coaches would like to have. The only complaint I have is that he would sometimes take poorly-timed penalties. But I appreciate the kind of player Steve Begin is, and I hope he has a long career in the NHL, starting with his brand new team, the Dallas Stars.

The player coming Montreal’s way is 28 year old defenceman Doug Janik, Defencemen are valuable commodities, and even though Janik may play mostly in Hamilton for now, the old adage that you can’t have enough good defencemen holds true. Maybe down the road he’ll become a solid blueliner in Montreal.

What else does Bob Gainey have up his sleeve? Between now and next Wednesday, I’m sure there will be more movement from Montreal. The team needs to get stronger. Have you looked at the standings lately?

Habs Give Leafs And Grabovski The Boot

It was no contest tonight between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. No contest at all. In fact, it was almost like a Red-White scrimmage with the Red team coming out on top 6-2.

 

It could have been 10-2. Montreal had more chances to score than Casanova. And when you add the extra intigue of several donneybrooks and an obvious distaste of each other between Mikhail Grabovski and most of the Canadiens, you’ve got an old fashion Habs-Leafs war of days gone by. I almost expected John Ferguson and Eddy Shack to make an appearance and drop the gloves and ram each other with their heads.

 

The Habs are rolling. The Leafs aren’t.

 

Montreal, first and foremost, and received solid goaltending from Jaroslav Halak. And the scoring came from throughout the lineup. The brothers Kostitsyn, Guillaume Latendresse, Maxim Lapierre, Max Pacioretty, and Alex Kovalev did the damage. And many others came close.

 

These are good times if you’re a Habs fan.

 

Mikhail Grabovski was a Hab, but he did the unthinkable a year ago. He felt he wasn’t getting enough ice time from Guy Carbonneau, and on a Habs west-coast swing, he bolted the club into the arms of his agent. Not long after, he was sent packing.

 

This year, when asked how many friends he still had on the Canadiens, he said none.

 

And he has no friends because he quit on them. And now he’s with a loser while his old teammates are making noises in the Eastern Conference. Several Montreal players wanted a piece of him tonight, as they have previously this year. And they probably will again in the future.

 

 Bad feelings linger.

 

Game Notes:

 

Alex Kovalev came out of his funk when they gave him the ‘C’ after Koivu went down.

 

Yannick Weber played his first game NHL game. He was placed up front instead of on defence, but I’m sure the young fellow wasn’t complaining. 

 

Canadiens meet and greet the second-place Washington Capitals on Saturday night, and travel to Boston Tuesday. Two big games, four big points. That’s the plan.

 

ENEMY WATCH

 

Unfortunately, Boston beat Ottawa and Philadelphia beat Minnesota. That’s the bad news.

 

The good news is Atlanta won over New Jersey and Pittsburgh lost again, this time to Nashville. Looks like Malkin and Cindy Crosby aren’t enough in Pittsburgh.

 

 

 

 

You Can’t Win If Your Goalie Doesn’t Stop The Puck

Jaroslav Halak, playing for the again-absent Carey Price, didn’t remind anyone of Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden, or Patrick Roy tonight. In fact, he didn’t even remind me of Bob Chruszcz, goalie for the Orillia Byer’s Bulldozers Midget club, of which I was a smallish yet shifty right winger.

 

Halak let in three he should have stopped in the Habs 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, albeit, the first one was deflected by teammate Kyle Chipchura. But he should’ve had it anyway. Stevie Wonder could have stopped the other two.

 

In the third, Marc Denis replaced Halak in goal and allowed only one goal. Which is one too many. 

 

Carey Price needs to start eating more Wheaties. It’s play some, out some. It’s upper body, lower body, flu-this, flu-that. Aren’t young guys supposed to be indestructible?

 

Not him. Shape up, Carey.

 

The Devils winning doesn’t affect the Canadiens fourth-place standing, but New Jersey does creep within one point of Montreal and are now tied with Philadelphia with 47 points to the Habs’ 48.

 

Game Note;

 

Max Pacioretty scored his first NHL goal in his first game. But his team lost so who cares?

 

I’ve got nothing left to say. I hate it when the Habs lose. YES, they’re supposed to win every game. Quit saying that.

 

 

Rambling Notes Regarding Habs-Minnesota and The NHL In Europe… And, THE QUEEN!

The Canadiens ended their pre-season games with a 3-0 loss to Jacques Lemaire’s quite boring Minnesota Wild. So the final tally for the Habs was six wins and three losses.

 

And if you think 6-3-0 is okay, you’re right. But it really doesn’t say much about the upcoming regular season. These games, of course, are all about seeing prospects, deciding on lines, and getting your act together before the going gets tough.

 

Don’t forget, the Vancouver Canucks now sit at six wins and no losses in pre-season play, and they’re not going to be hoisting the Stanley Cup any time soon.

 

Max Pacioretty and Kyle Chipchura didn’t dress, and although Pacioretty was impressive these last few weeks, he’s been sent down to Hamilton along with hard-shooting Yannick Weber. There’s just not a lot of empty spaces on the Habs roster right now.

 

Saku Koivu and the rest of the wounded regulars are back, except for Georges Laraque and Francis Bouillon.

 

IN OTHER NEWS:

 

I woke up after working a graveyard shift just in time for the second period to start in Stockholm between Ottawa and Pittsburgh. It was amazing. For about the first seven or eight minutes of play in this period, the building looked half-empty, with big chunks of seats sitting deserted.

Then finally, with almost half the period gone, everyone was back in their seats and it looked to be a sell-out. What if Sidney Crosby scored some kind of mind-blowing goal while all these people were still in the lobby eating their smelt sandwiches?

 

I guess in Sweden, fans aren’t in a big hurry to get to their seats and watch the game they paid about a hundred bucks for.

 

My son says it’s good to have NHL games played in Europe, if only so Europeans can see how real referees and linemen handle games. Officiating in Europe has been horrendous since Moses had peach fuzz. 

 

IN MORE NEWS:

 

Apparently, four American teams are on the bubble as money-losing franchises that could move – Atlanta, Phoenix, Nashville, and the Florida Panthers.

Why is the NHL so hesitant to bring a struggling team back to Canada?  Winnipeg in particular.

 

IN MORE AND MORE NEWS:

 

Remember the big picture of the Queen at one end of the rink in the old Winnipeg Arena?

For those of you too young to have seen it, here it is.

 

 

 

 

Habs Take out Detroit. This Is Good, Even Though It’s Only Pre-Season

Good 2-1 shootout win tonight (Tuesday) against the Detroit Red Wings. However, pre-season is pre-season so I’m not going to go into great detail.

 

Highlights included Carey Price swatting the puck behind him to save a goal, and 19 year old Max Pacioretty notching the lone Habs goal, plus another in the shootout. He played really well and if this continues, he’ll be tough to send down.

 

TSN announcers Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire were hard to understand at times because they mumbled as they told their little ditties. They almost make me miss Bob Cole.

 

Sergei Kostitsyn played, but older brother Andrei didn’t.

 

Robert Lang didn’t look overly impressive, but I’m a patient man.

 

I wonder if the hot dogs are as good at the Bell Centre as they were at the Forum.

 

Detroit didn’t play Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. The Wings were probably concerned that I may have put the injury hex on them so they took no chances.

Bob Gainey Knows What He’s Doing. And He Just Keeps Showing It.

Bob Gainey’s recent decision to sign great big defenceman Ryan O’Byrne to a multi-year contract means Gainey and coach Guy Carbonneau feel O’Byrne could turn out to be a force to be reckoned with, which he hasn’t shown yet in his handful of games with the Montreal Canadiens except very briefly here and there.

 

Patience is being shown here. That’s why Gainey and Carbonneau are hockey bosses, and not working in a supermarket.

 

O’Byrne has shown that he knows how to party, which landed him in hot water in Tampa last year, but he hasn’t yet shown signs that he going to be the next Larry Robinson. But this kid could be a huge asset to the Habs. All he has to do is play with more of a chip on his shoulder.

 

O’Byrne is 6’6″ and 228 pounds, a size that other General Managers would trade their wives and kids for. And now, with a brand new three year contract under his belt, O’Byrne can relax, get mean and nasty, and throw smaller players trying to score on his goalie up and over the glass.

 

I’m also sure that with this new contract, O’Byrne and his parents are going “WHEW” after the fiasco in Tampa that could have possibly blown his career. (For those unaware, O’Byrne and his teammates had their annual party where rookies pay the shot, in Tampa Bay two days before a game, and around three or four AM, police were called when O’Byrne was somehow left standing there holding a few bucks and a purse belonging to a young woman in the restaurant. It was all very odd, but the team backed him, and now, with this contract, he can put it all behind him and step it up a notch.)

 

Montreal also signed a young player out of the University of Michigan with the great name of Max Pacioretty. And what a great name it is! Sounds like he’s out of the 1930′ or ’40’s. Sounds like he could be a pulp fiction private eye.

 

But what Max brings to the table is a big, young power forward who, as Gainey explains, isn’t far off from making the big club. And we all know that Montreal needs a big power forward.

 

Max says he models himself after the Canucks’ Ryan Kessler, which could be a great thing indeed. Kessler plays a big mean game with the Canucks, and is one of their most important players. Other GM’s drool about this guy. Pacioretty is 6’2″, 203 pounds, while Kessler is 6’2″, 205 pounds, which means, after I did the math, that they’re pretty well the same size. 

 

So Bob Gainey probably decided against signing someone like Todd Bertuzzi, a power forward on the big downside of his career, because he had planned all along to ink Max P., a babes-in-arms power forward.

 

In my book, you have to really like these two recent signings. And add Georges Laraque to the mix, and the Montreal Canadiens have gone from one of the smallest teams in the league to one of the biggest. meanest machines around.

 

October can’t come soon enough.