Tag Archives: Montreal Gazette

Wishing And Hoping

Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette has written another fine article Habs remain a rebuilding project in which he talks about the the fact that the Canadiens are still not ready to contend and how it must be hard for those who saw past glory.

He’s right of course. Too many holes – not big enough, weak defence, lack of scoring, not enough to fill four lines etc.

I’m one of those guys who saw past glory. I’ve been alive for eighteen of their twenty four Stanley Cups. I see the difference between then and now.

But regardless. There’s nothing wrong with simply hoping. Hoping that they play over their head, hoping that somehow everything comes together at the right time, they pull off some kind of miraculous playoff run, and they win even though other teams are bigger and better.

That’s how I think every season and it’s too late to stop now.

 

Cave Paintings

I’m taking a break today, unless something big happens, like maybe an end to the lockout, or Scott Gomez scores a goal at his nephew’s peewee house league scrimmage.

Today, I’m going to go for a big walk (I’ve lost 22 pounds in three months), and I might even stop in at the local pub and gain a couple back again.

For now, some artwork from when I was in grade two, including a Habs portrait which I’ve shown before, and which a guy at the Montreal Gazette said I should frame. And along with the Habs portrait, I’m also including two Elvis Presleys (Elive Prisie) and baseball great Jackie Robinson. I gave Robinson white skin in this, but I think in grade two there was no such difference as black or white skin. Maybe we should all think like second graders.

Red To Relax

Red Fisher, who covered the Habs from 1955 till 1979 for the Montreal Star, and then the Gazette from 1979 until now, has decided to retire. I have no idea why. He’s only 85 for cripes sakes.

And talk about Murphy’s Law. He’s going to be tending his garden next spring while the Habs are going all the way.

Thanks for your great work over the years, Red. Other than Playboy photographer, I think you had the best job on the planet.

 

Delusional? I Disagree

I think the Gazette’s Mike Boone is a great and colourful writer, and is part of a group of writers in various papers who I’ve followed and been fans of over the years. Maybe only Milt Dunnell and Jim Proudfoot , who were my heroes, captured my interest more.

But I take exception with one of his lines in his recent column in the Montreal Gazette.

This one –

“All but the most delusional among us realize the Canadiens compete in the National Hockey League’s Parity Division, a middle tier of teams, each of which can beat any of the others – and, on occasion, one of the elite teams – on any given night.”

I believe in the Montreal Canadiens much more than this. More than just a team langushing in the Parity Division that can sometimes beat an elite team. And I believe in them because I love them and look at the roster and like what I see. I’m not about to concede that I’ve been cheering lately for a team that barely stands a chance.

Of course I understand they’re not the 1958 or ’77 Habs or some of the Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers squad from the 1980’s, but I think the 2011-12 Montreal Canadiens can stand up against anyone in this season. I think the five-year plan started by Bob Gainey is just taking slightly more than five years, that’s all. But it’s still on track, still on course.

I think this edition of the Habs shows more than any of the dismal lineups we’ve seen for much of the 2000’s, and I think they deserve to be taken seriously and become excited about. They’ve added and subtracted, and all parts being equal, they’re better than last year and the year before, and the year before that.

I have eternal faith and belief. And this year, regardless of what anyone says, a strong team will be lacing them up in Montreal.  Carey Price is in goal. If Andrei Markov comes back we have one of the absolute premier defencemen in the league. We have the young and brilliant P.K. Subban and reliable Josh Gorges and Hal Gill and others lining up on the blueline. Up front, snipers abound, who, if they can all be on the same page at the same time, can be as potent as any team in the league. Don’t tell me that if Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, Erik Cole, Tomas Plekanec, Scott Gomez, Max Pacioretty, and Andrei Kostitsyn are all having a good year, that this isn’t a nice-looking group that rivals any team in the league.

With this group, why are we considered only middle-of-the-pack? And not just by Mike Boone but by much of the hockey community.

I’ve been following the Habs in serious fashion for a long time, and I don’t think I’m delusional. What good is it being a fan if I can’t hope and believe? 

If they can put it all together, they are more than a middle tier team which on occasion can beat an elite team, as Mike says. All they have to do is go out and do it.

And I, as a believing fan, think they will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kostitsyn Whines

I have no time for players like this. Ungrateful, underachieving athletes crying and whining to the press that life sucks. 

Andre Kostitsyn, only weeks after signing a new contract for $3.25 million, slammed Jacques Martin in a Belarusian website for not using him the way he should be used. He complained that he was on the third and fourth lines far too often to really showcase his talents.

Kostitsyn has never set the world on fire, whether it was on the top line or fourth. He often seems uninterested, and he often doesn’t play the way we know he can play. Which translates to this…..He hasn’t helped his team the best he can. Not yet anyway. That’s why he was sometimes relegated to lines down the pecking order. He didn’t deserve the royal treament. AND THEY STILL GAVE HIM 3.25 MILLION.

First it was Alex Kovalev blaming coaches, now it’s Kostitsyn. Be a man, earn your money, and help your team. And quit passing the buck.

There’s nothing I can add that hasn’t already been said in succinct fashion by the Montreal Gazette’s great Pat Hickey, so just click here Kostitsyn Has Got To Go. It’s all very interesting.

I’m With Jack Todd On This One

We were extremely happy with Scott Gomez in game one. So happy in fact, that we were willing to forgive and forget. Some even went as far as saying that it’s the playoffs when Gomez shines and earns his money and we shouldn’t be concerned about his lack of production during the regular season.

I was ready to eat the several thousand words I had slammed Gomez with over the past six months.

That was game one. Games two and three, Gomez was back to normal – laughing, not doing much, just being Scott Gomez.

Which brings me to Jack Todd. Sometimes I strongly disagree with the Montreal Gazette writer and his ramblings, and other times I love what he does and admire him. When the Forum closed down, for instance, Todd wrote a beautiful piece about the ghosts of Morenz and others long gone, skating out on Forum ice for one last time after everyone had gone home. It reminded me somewhat of WP Kinsella’s whimsical Field of Dreams

I can be angry at Todd, like the time he insisted Montreal fans have no right to say “we” when talking about the team. I took offence to that and have never stopped saying “we.” Right now, I feel “we” can go a long way if every player shows up on a nightly basis.

In the Gazette, Todd writes about Gomez playing in the final minutes of the Canadiens loss to Boston in game three, how the player stayed out far beyond the time he should have, and was a non-entity throughout. I agree with the long-time Montreal writer, and the article makes me seethe about this overpaid and underproductive number eleven.

Here’s the story – Centre of Attention. I’m thinking you might agree with Mr. Todd this time too.

And no, I’m not ready to forgive and forget Gomez’s pathetic regular season. Not yet. Not until he shows up every night in this postseason and makes a huge difference. Like in game one.

Yes, They Pay Big Dollars, But Does It Make Him Play Better When They Boo?

Although we know that booing isn’t going to make Carey Price a better goalie, Jack Todd in the Gazette makes a case that it’s okay to boo anyway. Carey Price Isn’t Inspiring Confidence.

Todd makes some solid points, although the bottom line for me is that booing won’t make Price play better, but probably worse. So how does that help the team?

Thanks to Danno for sending this over on this dark and early morning.

Just So You Know

You may have noticed in your travels around cyberspace that Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette, in his online post, http://habsinsideout.com/boone/32671#comments, has a somewhat similar story to mine regarding the 1971 Habs-Bruins quarterfinal.

Just so you know, I wrote my piece http://dennis-kane.com/stranger-things-have-happened/ a good twelve hours before Mr. Boone’s story came out, and either great minds think alike, or I take it as a compliment that Mr. Boone liked my idea and borrowed it.

It’s funny, though. They rarely use my stories that I send them, but this happens when I don’t.

You’re Joking, Right Jack Todd?

This from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette:

“When a fan refers to the Canadiens and he uses the word “we,” as in “we’re going to make the playoffs this year,” well – he loses me right there. “We” applies to the guys on the roster. If your claim to fame is that you watch a whole lot of hockey on TV, you’re not part of that “we.” If you’re still in doubt, check your pay slip. If you’re making less than a half-million a year and the cheque does not come from the Montreal Canadiens, you’re not a “we.” Thank you.”
Well, fuddle duddle you, Jack Todd.
We as fans have invested years of heart and passion and concern and joy and ticket dollars and souvenirs in this team. “We” are the Montreal Canadiens too. And it’s certainly not going to take some hack like you who went to J school and was lucky enough to get a gig at the Gazette to tell me and every other Habs fan that we can’t say “we.”

And by the way, we’re going to make the playoffs this year.

Waiting For Koivu, Kovalev, And Others To Wear The Sweater

As Habs fans wait with baited breath to see who the team chooses for 18th pick of the first round in this 2009 entry draft, we also hear that Bob Gainey and company have decided to attempt to sign unrestricted free agents Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, Mathieu Schneider, and Mike Komisarek, who’s been a question mark all along. At least for me. All the information is at Habs Inside/Out , where the Gazette boys who cover the team are on top of things as they unfold by the day and hour.

I’m happy if all five are re-signed, although I expect a few different things if these guys are going to get a raise. I expect Koivu to produce more. In the last couple of years, there’s been too many slumps for the captain. He’s been a non-factor in too many important games.

All we ask from Kovalev is that he doesn’t dog it. When he picks it up a notch, he produces. And sometimes he can be the most sparkling player in the league.  But he’s not always this way, that’s for sure. He was Montreal’s best player in the dismal and nightmarish playoffs.. If only he could play like that all year.

Alex Tanguay would have really helped the Canadiens last season if he could’ve stayed healthy. He missed a quarter of last season. And he was hot often when he played. So we need him healthy, that’s for sure.

We saw how Mathieu Scheider can come in and be a big factor, particularly on the power play. Yes, he’s about a hundred years old. But he can really shoot and be a game-changer. Unfortunately, he often misses the net. Maybe he needs glasses.

Mike Komisarek. Mike Komisarek. I’ve blasted him on this blog. I feel he doesn’t deserve a raise after the way he played last year. But this is a guy, if he decides to make better decisions with the puck, who can be an extremely important piece of the puzzle for Montreal. He’s a big, tough, quality guy. Last year, the Habs defence was, well,…………..forget it. I don’t want to talk about it. But if Komisarek could quit having those acid flashbacks when he’s on the ice, I’d welcome him back with open arms. For now, with Komisarek, the jury’s still out for me. I’ll wait and see how he plays. It’s those giveaways in his own end I have a problem with.