Tag Archives: Mike Cammalleri

Mr. Departure

I’m certainly ready for tonight’s Habs-Flames tilt at the Cowboy Hat, and I’ve decided my plan of action.

Because I need to give my usual 147% at work tomorrow, it means I need to hit the hay as soon as the Habs win the game. So I’m going to have to work at my game report as things progress and have it done before Carey Price can get his pads off.

Yes it’s a departure from my usual way of doing things. But that’s me – Mr. Departure.

As for tomorrow’s 9:30 eastern time puck drop in Edmonton, I’m still working on it.

First things first. A big win for the Habs in Calgary.

Go Habs! Douse those Flames.

Randon Note:

Apparently no Mike Cammalleri tonight for the Flames. That’s good, I didn’t want to see him anyway. Not that it matters.

The Beaverton’s Fun With Georges

Ian Sirota shared another link on Facebook, a piece in the satirical “The Beaverton” about Georges Laraque lacing his political spiel with hockey jargon, and which you can see here – Georges in the Beaverton.

Things like “hoping long hours of practice and hard work will pay off.”
“Have to go out and play solid.” And he threw in some passing, forechecking, and scoring.

Of course it’s all tongue-in-cheek. Good old-fashioned humour. It’s my introduction to the Beaverton, and thanks Ian, it’s pretty darn amusing. I like the one about the 90-year lady who’s decided not to go skydiving this year.

And Georges passing? Forechecking? Scoring? Maybe in a hotel room.

Georges might make a good politician. He’s a talker. And he’s way too mouthy when he shouldn’t be. Like most politicians. He went on about George Parros recently, and the way he blabbed dressing room gossip such as he did about Mike Cammalleri, which you can see right here , was childish and should have stayed in the room where it belonged.

And speaking of Mike Cammalleri, I don’t know if you’ve seen his commercial where he’s working out and is so fast he can stop and sign a kid’s shirt and take a picture, and a guy watching couldn’t see it until the film was slowed down.

Have you seen that? I hate it. And the kid looks like he’d rather be at the dentist.

Here’s a link if you haven’t seen it – Cammy. I think it’s the stupidest thing.

Or maybe this is even stupider – Georges

Almost Not Small

Marc Bergevin says the the team is too small. Tomas Plekanec says it isn’t.

I’ll settle this.

They’re too small. But almost not.

There are only two small guys on the Habs – Brian Gionta and David Desharnais, both standing at 5’7. They’re the two who make the team seem small. Without them, the subject wouldn’t even come up.

Francis Bouillon is small on paper, 5’8, but by all accounts is stronger than strong, so he doesn’t count. He’s probably stronger than three-quarters of the guys in the league who stand a foot taller.

Brendan Gallagher is 5’9, but we know what he’s like. There aren’t many around the league, tall or not, that I’d rather have. He’s big. The size chart just doesn’t say so.

Tomas Plekanec isn’t big, and he isn’t small. He’s 5’11. Guys like Pleks are perfect. Speedy and talented and not shrimps. They don’t count when you say a team is big or small. Sidney Crosby is the same height as Plekanec.

This isn’t the smurfs anymore. Gomez is gone, Cammalleri too. There were just too many smaller guys all bunched together once upon a time. But that was then. Rene Bourque, a good-sized power forward at 6’2, helped change the dynamics when he and Cammalleri switched cities.

Guys like Prust and Max and Tinordi and Eller and others are miles from being small. Even young Alex Galchenyuk is 6-1.

It’s a bigger team now. And fast and slick and talented. Fire-wagon hockey. Beautiful.

It’s just the two little guys, that’s all. In warmups, the team looks small because of these two. It’s like the wee guy in Buffalo – Nathan Gerbe at 5’5. That’s too small. Everything’s out of whack when you see a little bugger like that skating around.

We don’t need to be huge. I prefer a slightly smaller and swift skating variety, like we have now. Just a couple of tweaks, nothing serious, and maybe people will stop saying the team is too small. Cause they’re not. Two guys are causing an optical illusion.

Plekanec and the GM are both right. The team is small and it’s not. A slight change, and all’s right with the world.

 

 

Gun Shy About Size

Take your mind back, back to the summer of 2009, when Bob Gainey ruined our team?

June and July of that year were when Montreal traded for Scott Gomez and brought in UFA’s Brian Gionta and Mike Cammalleri. I was excited at the time, mainly because the Canadiens needed fresh blood, and I’ve been an optimistic bugger for pretty well every move the Habs have ever made, beginning when I was a kid. I’m always so hopeful, and maybe because I’m a Libra, I come up with all kinds of positives.

I thought fire-wagon hockey was back. I figured it would be a lightning-fast team of new Henri Richards and Ralph Backstroms, swirling around the ice and causing many a headache for lumbering forwards and defencemen of other teams. I was so hopeful

Did these three, who were immediately coined “The Smurfs,” improve the team a great deal? Hah! Montreal, in the blink of an eye, got smaller, became the laughing stock of the league, were mentioned everywhere by everyone as too small (I got so sick of that), and got pushed around in the playoffs like a grade one kid playing with grade fivers. We can only thank Jaroslav Halak for that beautiful run in the 2010 post-season against Washington and Pittsburgh.

We know how Gomez has turned out and I don’t want to get into it now. I’ve just eaten. Gionta and Cammalleri had their moments, Cammalleri shone at times, especially in those Caps and Pens games when he was a gunner-extraordinaire, and Gionta, although talented, is way too small at 5’7′ and his best days are behind him. Even more unfortunately, his best days were with New Jersey, not Montreal.

I hated that Montreal had gotten so small almost overnight. I cringed when I saw teams like Boston manhandle them. I knew that to win a Stanley Cup, it helps to be big and strong.

I say all this because I’m feeling bad. In the 1970s and 80s, I was one of Bob Gainey’s biggest fans. I loved his work ethic, his strong skating, his quiet and intelligent demeanor, his leadership, his penalty killing, his goals, his huge role in all those Montreal Stanley Cups. Never in a million years would I think I’d be joking about him, calling him down, and almost ridiculing him for what I think was basically destroying the team instead of improving it.

But I find myself doing these very things now. What was he thinking? Not just taking on the sinful Gomez contract, but making the team so small in almost one fell swoop. He played against tough Bruins squads, and the Broad St. Bullies. He knew muscle is usually needed to succeed. He learned under people like Scotty Bowman and Sam Pollock, who envisioned the proper mix of muscle and skill. But he turned the club into a laughing stock, Pierre Gauthier coming in turned the county fair into a circus, and Montreal every year remains the favourite team for predictors, along with the Leafs, to not make the playoffs.

Hopefully the black cloud is beginning to move away, everyone has woken up, and the team is now being gradually corrected under Marc Bergevin and the other new leadership boys. I know that whenever I hear that someone small, like Brendan Gallagher, is on the cusp of making the team, my heart sinks a little. Gainey has made me gun shy for the little guys, and I know I’m not right.

I admired Gainey so much as a player, and when he became management, I remember, when others were beginning to question him, my stock answer would be, “In Bob we trust.” And I did trust him. I trusted him as a player and from what I heard from him in interviews, and I saw no other reason not to when he took the reins. So I guess it comes down to two questions. What was he thinking? And what was I thinking?

The BIG Story Of 2012

There goes 2012. Maybe it’s a good thing.

The Habs were disturbingly mediocre in 2012, finishing 15/15 in the Eastern Division, one point behind 14th place Islanders and two behind the Leafs. I still feel nauseous.

Along the way, Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitysn were shipped to Nashville and I miss Hal. The other guy – not so much. Mike Cammalleri was given a one-way ticket to Calgary after saying publicly that his team was quite pitiful, and that was all well and good except for the fact that the Canadiens got Rene Bourque in return. We’re still not sure if Bourque is dead or alive or just really stoned on valium.

Habs’ brass Pierre Gauthier and Bob Gainey were dismissed after doing quite a lousy job for way too long, and interim coach Randy Cunneyworth and assistant Randy Ladouceur were let go when the season ended, with Michel Therrien announced later on as Cunneyworth’s replacement. It wouldn’t have mattered if Cunneyworth learned to speak French without a trace of an accent. He was on his way out and he and everyone else knew it. Finishing in the basement didn’t help matters either.

Alex Galchenyuk was chosen third overall by the Habs in the 2012 entry draft, thus allowing us to dream that the young fellow will blossom into a Guy Lafleur-type superstar. If we’re going to dream, we might as well dream big, don’t you think?

The Summer Olympics took place in London and I’m still regretting not training to be a gymnast for these games. Judging by the more than 150,000 condoms that organizers gave out to athletes, it seems like I missed an excellent party. And September of 2012 marked the 45th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, a series which catapulted Paul Henderson from normal, everyday NHL player to monumental icon, and a series which allows me tell everyone how I was a bartender in Sudbury at the time.

And of course 2012 saw the L.A. Kings win the Stanley Cup, once again the Vancouver Canucks collapsed when it counted, a lockout began, and the world didn’t end like it was supposed to.

But none of this can match the BIG story of the year. The story destined to become a movie, a story to tell grandkids and at parties and around the supper table for years to come.

February 9, 2012. The night, while playing against the New York Islanders, when Scott Gomez scored a goal.

It was a mighty feat, his first in more than a year, and it was the winner to boot in the Habs’ 4-2 decision over the Isles. The puck came out to him and although it seems impossible, he shot it right into the net. He did. It’s in the video below if you don’t believe me.

Yes, the biggest story of 2012. Can it get any better than that?

Oh, and Happy New Year. May great things happen to you over the next 12 months.

Canada’s Greatest City

Canadian Prime Minister Little Stevie Harper said the other day at the Calgary Stampede that Calgary is the best city in the country.

In 1990, on a whim, I quit a good job in Ottawa, my wife got a transfer from the post office, we hauled our two kids out of school and away from their friends, and moved to Calgary. Just for the heck of it.

Calgary, situated in a large wheat field, is where one can enjoy summer snow, winter thaw, and winter torture. I can recall one winter waiting with my son for a rapid transit train, and the electronic sign told us it was minus 69 with the wind chill. The wind blows off the prairies like a truly bitchy Mother Nature, and there are very few swimming pools because the mountains, an hour and a half away, cool the evenings down considerably.

Traffic on the Deerfoot, Crowfoot, and other trails during rush hour just sucks. In fact, it can be absolute bullshit. The city needs to revamp the way it has traffic flowing. And when the freezing rain hits the freeways, it’s like watching giant bumper cars bounce around.

We left our car in our driveway one time when we were leaving for overseas, and came back to find hundreds of dents in the roof from golf-ball size hail. It’s a place where I took one lousy job after another, including door-to-door milkman, and several semi-driver gigs. And two years after moving there, I went through an excruciating divorce that just about killed me.

However, Calgary can be a fine place. It’s only a few hours of leisurely drive to get to Banff. Or Edmonton if you’re so inclined. You’re probably not inclined but anyway.

The Bow River runs through town, which is a nice touch, especially since the city sits on the prairies and it’s nice to see water. It has NHL hockey and CFL football, and the incredible Mac’s Midget Tournament over Christmas. It used to have Triple A baseball, the Cannons, which I really loved going to. Flames defenceman Ric Nattress, who also played for the Habs in the early ’80s, and family sat behind us one time at a Cannons game.

Calgary has an excellent Chinatown, and lots of people wear cowboy hats.

I just don’t feel I agree with Little Stevie. I sure missed Ottawa, still do, and Vancouver has a lot of things going for it that you’ve probably read in brochures or seen in some crazy Canadian-made movie showing tons of street scenes. Montreal is fantastic except Darth says there’s too many potholes. And I seem to recall some sort of politcial unrest there too.

Toronto is where Li’l Stevie grew up. He probably got laid for the first time there. Smoked his first cigarette and joint there. Received his first wedgie. How come he doesn’t pick Toronto as Canada’s best city?

At least Toronto has the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Orillia is only a couple of hours away. Yorkville Avenue in the core of Toronto was once as cool a street as any in the country, maybe the coolest, but the Man and ladies with furs took over and it’s like Rodeo Drive now.

There’s a lot of great cities in this country. Maybe the one with the least mosquitos should be judged the best. Or the coldest beer. Or the best weather. Or the most beautiful women. And if having the most beautiful women decides the question, then yes, Montreal is the grestest city in the country.

 

Pens Pull A Habs

The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a three-goal lead and lost game one to the Philadelphia Flyers. This isn’t good, this lead-blowing, as Habs fans know all about, but I think the Penguins will regroup and eventually eliminate the Flyers. Of course I’ve been wrong before. I remember when I was excited when the Habs got Rene Bourque.

The Canucks bowed 4-2 to the LA Kings in their game one, and as I sit in a hotel room in Anaheim, I can clearly hear Canucks fans far and wide whining about how it’s the same old song and dance. The Canucks, as most of you are aware, have been dismal failures in the playoffs, time and time again. I’m weeping tears of joy at this moment.

And Nashville beat Detroit 3-2 with rookie Gabriel Bourque notching two of the Preds’ three goals. Hey Nashville, wanna trade Bourques? We’ll even throw in Scott Gomez and a Mike Cammalleri jersey to sweeten the pot!

Taking The Russians To A Game

I managed to see the first period of the Habs/Capitals game and it was 2-1 Caps when it was time to leave the Shark Club in Vancouver and take our Russians, Denis and Natasha, to Rogers Arena to see the obnoxious Canucks beat the Calgary Cammalleri’s 3-2 in overtime, thus eliminating the Cammalleri’s.

It was close, though, with the Canucks scoring with about a minute left in overtime. I think I said damn or something to that effect when it happened.

But I know how the Habs made out, a 3-2 shootout loss, although it took me awhile to find out as there’s no out of town scores shown at Rogers Arena except for the few times they showed it on the big screen. It took me halfway through the third period before I knew that the Canadiens had grabbed themselves another of those points we don’t want or need.

Is this the way all rinks do it now? I remember the days when the out of town scores were a fixture on the wall to keep track of. Now you can’t even go for a piss without missing it.

There were also some differences between two weeks ago when I saw the Habs in Vancouver, and tonight with the Flames:

Two weeks ago, the Shark Club, across the street from the rink, was jam-packed with good folks wearing Habs jerseys. Habs jerseys as far as the eye could see. It was magnificent. And not just at the Shark Club but on the street and inside Rogers. Tonight, the Shark Club was jam-packed with people sporting Canucks jerseys, with just the odd sighting of a Flames fan. What, are planes on strike in Calgary? Is there a mountain blockade?

At the rink two weeks ago, Canucks fans seemed respectful and orderly. Saturday with the Flames in town, it was like it was a full moon. People threatening others and jostling about. Maybe it was because the Canucks and Flames are in the same division, but aggression filled the air.

Mike Cammalleri scored a goal to tie the game at two, and was given second star on the night. And another ex-Hab, Maxim Lapierre, was voted third star. The game was interesting and loud, but because I have no emotional attachment, it became a much different night than when the Canadiens were in town. I just wanted to see some good fights, and I wanted an exciting game for Denis and Natasha.

The game was loud and exciting, and the Russians are a happy couple. Denis has been hankering to see an NHL game for the majority of his 33 years, and he wasn’t disappointed. And we sat 14 rows up in the corner so the view was fine.

More and more I find myself disliking the Canucks. I can’t put a handle on it, but this is a team I want to see lose. Even if I do live just up the coast. I can’t wait for the day when they fizzle out in the playoffs.

Random Notes:

The 50/50 draw took in $104,000, so some lucky bastard or bastarette walked out of Rogers with 52,000 clams. Wasn’t me, that’s all I know.

Denis got his picture taken with retired Canuck Stan Smyl.

 

 

Gauthier Gonzo

Our wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens have an opening for a new general manager after Pierre Gauthier has been sacked, and rightly so. Gauthier can now slither back to his pad in Vermont and do whatever he does. I dunno, what do ghosts do anyway?

Finally an excorcism from this season from hell. The first big step on the road to recovery. So long to the guy who brought us Tomas Kaberle, who fired assistant coach Perry Pearn on game day, who traded Mike Cammalleri midway through a game and gave us the ghastly Rene Bourque, and who hired a non-French-speaking Randy Cunneyworth, a virgin big league coach, to replace the fired Jacques Martin.

Gone is the man without personality, the man who led our team to the basement, and who gave us embarrassment beyond words. How could you do that to us, Mr. Gauthier? Your name will forever be associated with failure. Such a legacy.

Now who will replace him? Will it be Patrick Roy?

We’ll know soon enough. And next on the list? What to do with Scott Gomez.

 

 

Hab Night In Cowtown

My son will be at the Habs-Flames game in Calgary tonight, and I’m glad he’s going. I did my best to teach him to be a strong and faithful Habs fan, and I feel I did my job.

We were at a game at the Saddledome in the early 1990′s and sat down low for the pre-game warmup, just beside the players’ walkway to the dressing room, and when Patrick Roy came off the ice, he gave his stick to a father and son right in front of us. I still haven’t forgiven Patrick for that.

I also can’t believe that tonight neither Mike Cammalleri nor Scott Gomez will be in their respective lineups. Talk about getting ripped off. All those paying customers, shelling out big bucks, and no Gomez and Cammalleri. It’s like seeing the Habs and Detroit in the 1950′s with Rocket Richard and Gordie Howe not playing.

Below is an ad from a 1981 Flames program, with the yet-to-be-built Saddledome. At that time the Flames were still in the old Corral, a place where I finally met and chatted with the Rocket at an oldtimers game in the early nineties. He was the referee that night, and he came out of the dressing room during intermission to say hello. Jimmy Mann had yelled at him that there was somebody out here who wanted to meet him – me. He was as friendly as can be, and truly one of the big moments in my life.