Tag Archives: Michel Therrien

Weise Ends It

Dale Weise would score at 19:08 of of the first overtime frame to give his and our Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 win and and a nice one-game lead in what should be an outstanding series.

Fast paced, close, tense, some bad blood, and the right team winning. Now that’s hockey!

The Canadiens easily could have lost though, especially after allowing four goals on just fourteen shots. But thanks to some timely goals and Weise pulling the trigger, all’s well in Habsland.

Carey Price wasn’t particularly sharp, but the Canadiens were still able to get it done, even with him being slightly shaky, and the boys on this night outplayed Tampa for most of the first period, much of the second and third, and most of the overtime.

It was one of those nights that whenever play moved into Montreal’s end, the possibility was there that things could go south quickly. And four times it did.

But the Canadiens never let things get out of hand, they scored some timely goals, and that big first game is won by the team that should have and did.

Tampa had opened the scoring in the first period but just nineteen seconds later, Tomas Plekanec wired it home and the teams went to their rooms all even, although Montreal had outshot the Floridians 14-4.

In the second frame, not long after Brendan Gallagher took a puck in the throat from an Alexei Emelin shot from the blueline, Steven Stamkos would notch his first of two on the night and put his team ahead 2-1. Gallagher would return thankfully. But he might not be happy with Emelin.

Back and forth it went, playoff hockey at its finest, fans everywhere on the edge of their seats and couches I’m sure, and in the midst of scrums and battles, Brian Gionta would take a nice pass from Lars Eller and score a big shorthanded marker that caused Luci and I to yell and once again scare the cat that has happened far too often this year.

It’s going to be a long series for the cat.

The Canadiens would take the lead in the third period after Brian Gionta had corralled the puck at his blueline and got it to Lars Eller who danced up the ice and found the back of the net. A beautiful goal, and the Eller, Gionta and Bourque line skated well and created chances all evening. Hell, all the lines skated well I thought.

Sidenote: P.K. Stock said we have one good line and the other three suck. Just so you know.

One of my big dreams is to be rich enough so I could have spare TVs and whenever Stock comes on, I shoot the TV out the way Elvis used to.

Again the pesky Lightning would reply after a turnover, and the way Price was looking in nets, I experienced one of those strong sinking feelings that I’m really not crazy about.

Things would perk up though after Thomas Vanek converted a great pass from David Desharnais, but Steven Stamkos wasn’t through on the night as his second goal would even things at four apiece. Tampa’s captain is dangerous. Therrien’s gonna have to come up with a plan to calm this guy down down.

Sadly, Montreal’s power play continues to shoot blanks, and when they were given a power play with just 2:01 left in the third, the chance to win it was there on a silver platter. But again…..

Montreal’s man advantage at this stage of the year is confused and non-threatening. Throw out the power play drills they recently did in practice and come up with some new ones. Ask PJ Stock. Maybe he can help.

Overtime almost ended quickly when Max rang one off the post, and usually after something like that happens, the other teams scores. But Tampa didn’t, Dale Weise did, and at that point, I breathed a sigh of relief and now my heart is soaring like a Tawny-Headed Mountain-Finch.

Game two on Friday. Without sounding like a greedy bastard, another win would be good.

Habs outshot Tampa 44-25 on the night.

Habs Spank Sens

It seems there are no normal games when the Canadiens and Senators play each other.

Friday night  in Kanata saw a wild 7-4 win by the Habs over the sinking Sens after spotting Ottawa an early 3-0 lead.

It had been a dismal beginning for the Canadiens to be sure, shockingly finding themselves in a deep hole in under six minutes of play, but soon enough, pucks started finding their way behind a shaky Craig Anderson.

And when the dust had settled, the Canadiens had scored seven straight goals before Ottawa would notch a late one.

This was the same Craig Anderson who stoned the Habs last year in the playoffs. On this night, the Sens might have had better luck with Pamela Anderson.

The DDs burned it up again, with Max getting three plus two assists. Thomas Vanek had three assists and DD two.

I heard recently that some who study advanced stats have decided that because the DD line isn’t great defensively, they could hurt the team and should be broken up.

Talk about throwing water on a beautiful thing.

Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt weren’t exactly defensive specialists either, but no one was complaining when they were popping 50 or 60 goals a season.

The way this game started, with three goals in under six minutes by Ottawa, it was certainly cause to be concerned. Was it one of those nights for Peter Budaj?

Were the Senators determined to pay back in a big way for being embarrassed at the Bell on March 15th?

Instead, Budaj was great. Tremendously sharp. The DD line would soon catch fire. And it all started when Andrei Markov bounced one in off Anderson from behind the line, near the side of the net.

Then it was off to the races, although the Sens would hit some posts and Budaj had to be sharp as a razor from time to time.

After Markov, the goals just kept coming, almost every second shot went in, and it became Weaver, then Max, Eller, Max, Max and DD, and it’s two big points and the Sens are basically screwed.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Ottawa 43, Montreal 23.

P.K. Subban rode the bench for most the first period after not being harder on checks during a couple of Sens goals. PK would see a very low 13:39 of ice time.

I truly disagree with Michel Therrien’s methods regarding P.K. A Norris trophy winner being treated like a raw rookie.

There were several scuffles throughout, including Galchenyuk and Karlsson, Tinordi and Gryba, and Gally and Neil, with a player scrum developing from it. But all in all, it could’ve been worse. It could’ve been a Canadiens-Nordiques type of affair.

George Parros played while Rene Bourque watched from the press box, and George not only almost had an assist on the night, but was also sent out to cool things down when characters like Zach Smith and Chris Neil were getting overly obnoxious.

Max scored his 36, 37th, and 38 goals of the season and when one looks at the top four goal scorers in the league, it’s Corey Perry with 41, Joe Pavelski with 39, Max with 38, and Sidney Crosby with 36.

How great is that?

Next up – Detroit at the Bell Saturday night. Should be a beauty, but more about that later.

 

 

 

Hockey Morning In Brossard

Luci and I went to the Habs practice this morning at the Sports Complex in Brossard, and I have to say, do I ever love doing this. Luci does too.

Grab a chair, sit behind glass in the open area with coffee in hand, and watch the boys go through various drills in an organized and business-like manner.

Stephane Waite had about eight players working on Carey Price from different angles and Price was up and down and didn’t seemed to be labouring with his knee.

Buday and Tokarski manned the other end with the rest of the guys.

Thomas Vanek was on a line with Max and Desharnais. The EGG line was together. Briere skated with Plekanec and Gionta. Prust, Weise, and Moen were together, and depending on the drill, it was various combinations involving White, Bourque, Parros and Michael Bournival.

And although it was cool to see everyone out there doing their thing, I found myself watching Bournival often. This is a kid with good size, is a beautiful skater, and has a great wrist shot.

My feeling is, Bournival (who was drafted in 2010 by Colorado and traded to the Canadiens later that year for Ryan O’Byrne) has a long and fruitful career ahead of him and the Canadiens landed a beauty when they got him.

Yes indeed, taking in a Habs practice.

A great way top spend an hour and a half. It’s nice that the public can do this and it’s all very comfortable.

Like a kid, I’m wide-eyed when I see the guys firing pucks and skating like the wind close up in practice. I guess I’m never going to truly grow up.

Brossard 1

Brossard 2

 

The Night MT Blew His Team’s Chances

Michel Therrien, as you know, coached the Canadiens once before, from 2000-01, when he replaced Alain Vigneault after 20 games, to part way through the 2002-03 season when he was fired and the team brought in Claude Julien.

That first season under Therrien saw the Canadiens miss the playoffs after going 23-27-13 under him.

The third season saw him fired after a dismal stretch that saw the Canadiens lose ten of twelve games.

But it was the middle year of Therrien’s reign, 2001-02, and in particular the second round of the playoffs, that became the saddest state of affairs.

The team, with a tremendously hot Jose Theodore in nets and a heroic Saku Koivu, who had returned to the team just prior to the post season after his fight with cancer, had upset the favoured Bruins in the first round and met the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.

Montreal would jump into a 2-1 series lead against the Hurricanes, and were leading 3-0 in the third period of game four when Therrien decided to yell at referee Kerry Fraser when the Habs were already a man short.

Fraser gave Therrien a bench minor for being mouthy, and it was downhill from there.

The Hurricanes scored on the 5 on 3, rallied and won 4-3 in overtime, and then clobbered the Canadiens 5-1 and 8-2 to eliminate Therrien and his deflated players.

Carolina would eventually lose in five games to Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals after taking out the Maple Leafs in six games in the Eastern Final.

It could’ve been Montreal taking out the Leafs if it wasn’t for Therrien.

It could’ve been Montreal in the finals against Detroit, and although they would’ve been in tough against a team that boasted the likes of Shanahan, Fedorov, Hull, Yzerman, Lidstrom, Robitaille and the rest, at least they would’ve been in the finals, something that hasn’t happened since 1993 when they won it all.

But Therrien screwed it up.

Here’s Kerry Fraser’s explanation of the Therrien bench minor, from a 2011 TSN story.

“The bench penalty that put Montreal down two men was a turning point in the series for sure. The Habs were cruising along at the midway point of the third period and Therrien was feeling pretty good about himself and their chances, all decked out in his bright yellow sports coat. (I mention this because you couldn’t miss him behind the bench.)

“As the Carolina Hurricanes attacked the Montreal goal, Habs defenseman Stephane Quintal  delivered a heavy cross-check to the back of the upper shoulder/neck of a Cane with such force that it knocked the player clear into the back of the net. I was the trailing referee and called it from an open sightline at the blue line. It was an obvious infraction and Quintal went right to the penalty box.

“I was standing at the referee crease, about 90 feet as the crow flies from the Canadiens bench, assessing the penalty when I heard Coach Therrien screaming at me. I turned to see Therrien standing on top of the boards, like a big yellow bumble bee buzzing his wings up and down and hollering, “Kerry, what the *&^%$?”  At this point I really didn’t want to assess a bench penalty to put his team down two men so I thought I would give him a second chance. I pointed to my chest and mouthed the words, “Are you talking to me?”  Therrien nodded his head and shouted for the second time, “Yeah, what the &^%$?” I guess he wanted to make sure I got the point, even on the second attempt.”

 

 

Practice Makes Perfect

While you were helping keep things going by working hard, Luci and I were at the Brossard barn to watch the Habs work out on the field and then on the ice.

Not once did Michel Therrien or Gerard Gallant call me down and ask for advice.

Why would that be?

Anyway, everyone seemed loose and in a good mood and I suppose that’s good.

Practice Notes:

Max wasn’t there.

Price likes to bug teammates by flipping pucks at them.

The lady at the coffee counter is quite attractive.

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Moving On, Sort Of

Not all that thrilled with Michel Therrien right now, not that it matters I guess. Of course he could care less what me or anyone else thinks, aside from Marc Bergevin.

The Canadiens played like a frightened, hesitant, overwhelmed team against Philadelphia, and the one time one of them showed some fire and passion, PK Subban, who took a penalty for smacking a guy, the coach sat him on the bench for parts of the third period as punishment.

The one guy who was was actually awake and who may have helped in any sort of comeback attempt. Guys can sleepwalk, not score for fifteen games, and play like they’re hungover, but when PK shows some fire, not long after being named to the Olympic squad which means he’s one of the best of the best, he’s punished like a kid in school.

And Danno brought up a good point about Therrien not pulling Budaj for an extra attacker in the last minute. Therrien said he saw no reason, because the boys weren’t in it anyway. What kind of reasoning is that?

Mike also suggests that maybe those who thought it was wrong to bring in a coach who’d been canned once before by the team might be right after all.

Anyway, moving on. It can’t be healthy to stew for so long like this.

From the CJAD website – a backyard rink in St-Lazare, near Montreal.

rink 1

rink 2

rink 3

rink 4

 

 

 

Futility In Philly

Another tough one to watch. It’s hard to know where to start.

The Canadiens drop a 3-1 decision to the Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday, and on paper at least, a 3-1 score looks almost respectable. There’s been 3-1 scores for a hundred years.

But this was no barnburner, no close game with close calls, no “it could have gone either way” game.

It was the Flyers night for sixty minutes. The Canadiens might as well have stayed home and talked football.

How bad were the boys on this night? How about nine shots in the first period, six in the second, and five in the third.

It had to be the airplane food. Or the Philadelphia cheese steaks.

Or maybe about twelve of them are still sulking because they didn’t make an Olympic team, while the eight that did were deciding, when the game was on, how many suits to bring to Sochi.

What’s with this team? Deader than a Texas salad bar. Some nights they’re so completely out of sorts. Uninterested. Boring. I could go on.

If you have a job that pays six or seven figures, being uninterested isn’t an option.

Maybe it’s a subtle form of mutiny against the coach. Or maybe the captain isn’t good at rallying the troops.

And for added enjoyment, when they desperately needed some kind of oomph in the third period, Michel Therrien decided to sit P.K. Subban for several shifts. Did Therrien think Daniel Briere and Rene Bourque and the likes up front would probably get it done? Or maybe the high-powered Subban-less defence?

That’s seven straight losses for the Canadiens in The City of Brotherly Love. It’s ten straight wins for the Flyers. It’s all so very depressing.

With all my heart I hope for a shakeup. A trade. Maybe a Tinordi and Beaulieu call-up. Maybe even, and I know it’s as farfetched as can be and ridiculous to even wish for – a goal or two, and a great game, from Rene Bourque.

Random Notes:

Total shots on goal – Flyers 27, Habs 20. Not a huge margin, but if you saw the game, you know it was.

Peter Budaj in nets came up big several times, which is good. But he’s lost his last three starts, which is bad. Budaj’s record now stands at five wins, five losses, and a shared loss with Carey Price, which is mediocre.

Tomas Plekanec, on a nice pass from Brian Gionta, broke the shutout and gave us hope. But most of his teammates were in a coma and so it was a hopeless hope.

Brandon Prust pummelled Zac Rinaldo in the second period, which could have got things going, but on this night, Angelina Jolie could’ve dance the hula naked at centre ice and the boys still wouldn’t have woken up.

Next up – Oh goody, it’s only the Chicago Blackhawks to contend with on Saturday. Should be no problem there.

 

 

Max Mentionings

All the way home I listened to speculation on TSN 690 about the possibility of Max Pacioretty getting traded, with the question being, for whom?

Or is it just idle gossip on a slow news day in Montreal, aside from all the ice and snow.

I don’t want Max traded. Streaky or not, he’s a big power forward who can find the back of the net.

How many others on our team can we say the same of? And how many are out there who are similar?

What, we’re going to get even smaller? If Marc Bergevin trades Max for a little guy, I’m moving to Tibet to find the true meaning of life.

Okay, I can be swayed. I’ll take either David Backes or Alex Pietrangelo for Max.

There was also talk that he and Michel Therrien don’t see eye to eye. Twenty guys on those ’70s Habs teams didn’t see eye to eye with Scotty Bowman either.

There’s probably a thousand examples. It’s part of nature. Working for the man.

Again, I don’t want Max traded.

And congratulations to him and his wife Katia for their new baby boy, Lorenzo. May Lorenzo grow up in Montreal. At least during the winter.

 

The Mayor’s Mouth

“I will be the mayor of all Montrealers,” said Denis Coderre said last Sunday when he was elected top dog of the city.

All Montrealers except David Desharnais.

“Allo? Un billet simple pour Hamilton pour David Desharnais svp… Hello? Can we get a one-way ticket to Hamilton for David Desharnais please…” tweeted Coderre during Sunday’s game.

I agree with players such as Max Pacioretty and Josh Gorges, and coach Mike Therrien also. This sort of thing isn’t going to help Desharnais. It’s kicking him when he’s down, by the new mayor of Montreal.

It’s one thing for fans to moan about DD’s lack of production in online chats. It’s the same as talking sports in a bar. And fans should complain about one lousy assist in seventeen games. But when the mayor says something like this, it hits the airwaves. It’s everywhere. Kind of a kick in the gonads.

I wonder how Rob Ford would handle the DD situation.

Desharnais must feel like a piece of shit. His family too.

Coderre says he’ll be the mayor of all Montrealers. Everyone except DD.

Kids Inspire In Habs Win

It was one of those nights to smile. Not only because the Canadiens ended their four game slump by beating the New York Islanders 4-2, but also the way the kids, the EGG line, created and dazzled and were rewarded with eight points on the night.

Alex Galchenyuk, chosen first star, nailed down a goal and two assists. Brendan Gallagher, chosen as second star, added a goal and an assist. And the centre on this line, Lars Eller, contributed a goal and an assist and was given third star.

Leave it to the kids to inspire and bring the team back to life, out of the doldrums, and stop the bleeding that was beginning to flow instead of trickle. When these three are clicking, it can be poetry in motion. The way they work, pass, shoot, finish, it makes my heart soar like Timothy Leary’s mind in 1967.

Just imagine what we have to look forward to as they mature and gain experience.

Tonight was a feel-good story for a change. A big win, led by the youngsters. Love the feel-good stories.

Brendan Gallagher opened the scoring in the second period, but the Islanders tied it soon after with Francis Bouillon in the box for holding. But two Habs power play markers, one by Lars Eller and another by Michael Bournival, and it was 3-1 after two.

In the third period, New York edged closer with a power play goal, but the Canadiens iced it with a lovely Gallagher to Eller to Galchenyuk display, and folks at the Bell went home happy and Michel Therrien went home with his 250th NHL win.

Random Notes:

Tomas Plekanec was sent to the box in the second period for face-off violation. Maybe it was explained on RDS and I just don’t understand French well enough, but I didn’t get it. It seemed to me that Pleks stepped on a stick and went down. And as far as face-off violation goes, I thought it only meant players cheating in the circle and such. I’m hoping someone will clear this up for me. I’m not afraid to admit this is something new to me.

Travis Moen left in the second period, apparently with a virus. Maybe he has to cook his hamburgers a little longer.

PK Subban was motoring all evening and playing like we know and love.

Shots on goal – Montreal 31, Isles 26.

Love these 6 pm games. Not too early, not too late.

Next up – Thursday when the Lightning come to town. Hopefully the kids and their inspirational play will set things in motion and the Canadiens come out breathing fire.

Alexei Emelin might finally be back in action on Tuesday. Here’s hoping.