Tag Archives: Nail Yakupov

Game Night Eyelids


Habs in Edmonton, the coffee’s brewed, the puck is about to be dropped, and already it’s my bedtime. That’s why the coffee’s brewed.

How long can I go?  And to make matters worse, it’ll be the same on Tuesday night when the boys are in Calgary. Time zones should be the same across the continent, with all games starting at 6:30.

Period One:

Dustin Tokarski is between the pipes for the Canadiens, and on the home front, the big pot of coffee won’t stop bubbling. I knew I shouldn’t have poured Lucy’s homemade sugar whiskey-based arthritis cure into it.

A Max goal called back, confusion at the blueline, the loathsome Benoit Pouliot scores with 19 seconds left, and it’s 1-0 Oilers.

That, combined with too many Habs penalties (4), and I’ve decided to make a double Harvey Wallbanger.

Period Two:

I just looked in the mirror and I look like shit. Maybe I’ll dig out the bennies and peyote buttons. It’s only period two, there’s lots of hockey left, and peyote makes me look better.

Unchecked and wide open, Yakupov makes it 2-0. So depressing, and the coffee and sugar whiskey aren’t working out. I keep missing my mouth.

Galchenyuk and Yakupov had dinner today at Yak’s house? John Ferguson would hate that. I’d better eat some buttons and drink some toasts to Fergie.

Period Three:

Just heard a noise. After asking the cat, it turns out it was my nostrils. Shut the %$&# up, nostrils.

Even though the walls are slanted and the floor feels foamy, the pills and peyote aren’t working.

The game’s not gone well. Lousy power play.  And there seems to be too many players on the ice. About 37 on each side. And one of the linesmen has snakes wiggling out from the holes in his helmets.

Oilers’ empty-netter. 3-0. I stayed up and partied for this?

I’ve got the munchies, and if you want my advice, don’t snort Friskies. It doesn’t inhale well and it’s not fair to the cat.

Shut out by the shitty Oilers and their insane coach Dallas Eakins. Good night.


Babbling On

In this week’s TSN Rookie Rankings, Brendan Gallagher is number one and Alex Galchenyuk number three. The last time I posted this type of thing, on February 20th, Galchenyuk was one and Gallagher two. What a dynamic duo!

Interesting enough, Nail Yakupov is currently way down at 26, and TSN describes the number one overall pick as “cold – one point in the last six games.”

Boston lost to Pittsburgh last night, which eats up one of the games-in-hand the Bruins have on the Canadiens. So the Bruins have now played just two games less than the Habs and hopefully they get smoked whenever they do make up these extra two.

For all you Scott Gomez fans, the San Jose Shark now has two goals and four assists. He’s also a minus five.

Darth told me he saw P.K. Subban and another guy walking down the street near the Bell Centre the morning after the team got back from Florida. Darth and P.K. said hello to each other, and Claude Julien, who happened to be across the street, yelled over that P.K. really embellished the hello. (I made up that last part).

When the NHL was first thinking about introducing the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP, they considered calling it the Bill Barilko Trophy in honour of the great Leafs defenceman who died in a plane crash in Northern Ontario just months after scoring the Cup winner against the Habs in 1951.

The next bunch of games for the Habs goes like this: The Senators visit tonight, on Saturday the Canadiens are in New Jersey, then it’s back home to greet the Sabres on Tuesday. So needless to say, three wins is the task at hand. We need Bourque, Diaz, and Prust to get fixed pronto. PAGING DR. RECCHI.

Yes, I know they don’t play a lot of minutes, but I think it’s okay to complain a little about Colby Armstrong with zero goals and three assists in 26 games played, and Ryan White with one goal and no assists after 18 games. All we ask is that they find themselves on the scoresheet just a tad more.

Montreal journalist Andy O’Brien (d. 1987), who was around when Howie Morenz played, once said that Morenz was like a compact version of Bobby Hull.

You can see Bobby Hull in this game below, a Leafs-Hawks tilt that took place almost exactly 52 years ago. There’s a big brawl here, and Bob Nevin ties it up for the Leafs with just over a minute left. Luci and I were at a neat luncheon in Toronto a couple of years ago and I was introduced to Nevin, who was standing at the bar.






Our Kids On Top

TSN’s most recent rookie rankings, with Chucky and Gally in numbers 1 and 2. And even though this is just TSN’s and one man’s (Scott Cullen) opinion, it’s still great to see. Interesting to see Yakupov at 15th.

Thanks to Danno for this.

Rookies – Updated February 19

A. GalchenyukName: Alex Galchenyuk
Team: Montreal
Rating: 76.72
(Photo by: The Canadian Press)

Rank 2-30

No. Player Pos. Team Rating
2. Brendan Gallagher RW Montreal 75.01
3. Cory Conacher LW Tampa Bay 74.49
4. Vladimir Tarasenko RW St. Louis 73.00
5. Justin Schultz D Edmonton 71.81
6. Simon Despres D Pittsburgh 71.57
7. Brenden Dillon D Dallas 70.72
8. Jonathan Huberdeau LW Florida 69.80
9. Dougie Hamilton D Boston 68.81
10. Patrick Wiercioch D Ottawa 65.85
11. Jake Muzzin D Los Angeles 65.84
12. Tye McGinn LW Philadelphia 65.64
13. Jonas Brodin D Minnesota 65.41
14. Andre Benoit D Ottawa 65.36
15. Nail Yakupov LW Edmonton 64.52
16. Drew Shore RW Florida 63.93
17. Brendan Smith D Detroit 63.15
18. Marcus Foligno LW Buffalo 62.68
19. Mika Zibanejad C Ottawa 62.03
20. Brian Lashoff D Detroit 61.88
21. Jordan Schroeder C Vancouver 61.57
22. Jakob Silfverberg RW Ottawa 61.45
23. Casey Cizikas C N.Y. Islanders 60.78
24. Tomas Kundratek D Washington 60.70
25. Mikael Granlund C Minnesota 60.43
26. Brandon Saad LW Chicago 59.57
27. Leo Komarov RW Toronto 58.64
28. Michael Stone D Phoenix 57.25
29. Jaden Schwartz LW St.Louis 56.34
30. Reilly Smith LW Dallas 56.07

Habs High Five

Three shots in the first, seven in the second, and eight in the third, and as feeble as that may sound, the Canadiens still found a way to down the New York Rangers 3-1 at Madison Square Garden, and in doing so find themselves king of the hill, top of the heap, with five straight wins racked up to put them first in the East.

New York opened the scoring in the second period, and with Montreal’s lack of offence, one goal might have been enough. But it wasn’t. Not after Max Pacioretty, with his second of the season, found the back of the net with just 1:15 left in the middle frame. Perfect timing, this goal. And a downer, I’m sure, for the Rangers.

In the third, Alex Galchenyuk converted after nice work from linemates Brandon Prust and Lars Eller, and lately we’ve seen Chucky set up two winners ( against Florida and Carolina) and score his own winner tonight. The guy’s had a fine start to his big-league career, and he doesn’t seem nearly as cocky as Nail Yakupov in Edmonton. In fact, he’s as serious and focused as can be, mature for having just turned 19, and I’ll bet there’s an army of young Montreal ladies who’d love to help him take a shower.

Still, this game could have gone south in the final minutes when Tomas Plekanec took a tripping penalty with just 3:06 remaining, and shortly after Tortorella pulled Henrik Lundqvist for an extra attacker. But Raphael Diaz settled things when he sent the puck 170 feet into the empty net, and the streak continues.

They found a way, and the beat goes on.

Random Notes:

New York outshot Montreal 25-18. Carey Price, recovered from the flu, held the fort and as they say in hockey lingo, he gave his team a chance to win.

Lars Eller enjoyed a fine night, he skated hard and handled the puck well, and the coach should be pleased.

Next up – The Islanders at the Bell on Thursday.

Hopefully Brendan Gallagher’s concussion has vanished into concussion universe, never to be seen or heard from again.

So happy with the team right now, but if I was a bit of a nitpicker, I’d say Erik Cole was slightly lazy in covering his man in front of the net when the Rangers made it 1-0. But they won so all’s forgiven and forgotten.







Russians Fall To Canutskys

Team Canada downed the Russians 4-1 on Russian soil at Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad, (Ufa) and although the Russian squad boasts a couple of players everyone’s talked about for a year or two – Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko, the Canadians have guys called Grit and Heart and Malcolm Subban in their lineup, with Subban playing great between the pipes and stopping all but one, including a penalty shot, although it was fired wide.

Too bad the young fellow belongs to Boston. It’s the only bummer I can muster right now.

Onward it goes. Canada earns a bye to the semi-final way off on Friday, which gives them good time to nurse their aches and pains and buy nesting dolls for their families, and will play the winner of the U.S./Czech contest, which will be held on Wednesday. Russia and Switzerland hammer it out on the same day for the right to take on Sweden in the other semi-final.

Canada and the U.S. would be an excellent match-up, as would Russia and Sweden. Who knows how things will unfold at that point. But I have faith. I’m a proud Canadian.

Wouldn’t it be weird to see Switzerland win the whole thing?

Canada Storms Back Against Slovaks

Team Canada found themselves down 3-1 to the Slovakians midway through the second period before switching to fourth gear, pumping in five unanswered big ones, and ending up with a nice, convincing 6-3 win over this somewhat disciplined Eastern European club that favours a bottling-up type of game that can often be effective, as shown in their 3-2 overtime loss to the Russians the other day.

It certainly didn’t work today, though, because Canada showed patience, wherewithall, and the proverbial intestinal fortitude to storm back. It’s what Canada does. Always has, always will. We’re proud of this.

Canada also showed a bit of an edge which will have Nail Yakupov saying “See, I told you so!” J.C. Lipon took a five minute penalty, plus a game misconduct, for a crisp elbow to a Slovakian noggin, and later on, Anthony Camara was sent off with a five and game for charging which saw Slovak Patrik Luza leave on a stretcher. Not good, but anyway……

Canada now meets the U.S.A. on Sunday (4:30 a.m. eastern), which should be fun, with Alex Galchenyuk suiting up for the enemy. Galchenyuk managed one assist in his U.S. team’s 2-1 loss to Russia, and hopefully on Sunday he shines in a losing cause..

Little Known Fact:

The city of Ufa’s original name was Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad, but was shortened to Ufa when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad was founded by Ivan the terrible, also known as defenceman Ivan Irvin, who played four games with Montreal during the 1952-53 season. Irvin ended up in what would become Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad after Montreal veterans Doug Harvey and Butch Bouchard hilariously decided to put the drunken rookie on a ship bound for Europe instead of the team train going to Chicago, as a rookie initiation joke.

Players back then were certainly a fun-loving bunch.


Someone Suggested……

Tonight, while at work and taking a break from giving my usual 155%, I read, on the TSN site I think, someone suggest that Montreal should trade PK Subban to Edmonton, straight up, for Nail Yakupov, the first-overall pick in this year’s entry draft.

The argument is, basically, that PK has way too much of an ego, he’s already been offered $2.75 million a year for two years in which he and his agent said thanks but no thanks, and that he’s going after big money even though he’s still maturing and hasn’t reached elite status yet. And the Oilers really need help on the blueline.

But to trade our PK for an unproven kid yet to play a game in the NHL? Maybe if Bob Gainey was at the helm it might happen. But I don’t think Marc Bergevin would do it in a million years. At least I don’t think he would.

On the other hand, having both Yakupov and Galchenyuk in the lineup might create some serious fire-wagon hockey.

Anyway, we’re all armchair quarterbacks and this fellow just threw the Subban/Yakupov thing out there for the hell of it. But it got me thinking all the way home from work.

I just wish PK would hurry up and sign and we move on to other stuff. Like lockouts and the commissioner and all that.




A Great Pick

It doesn’t take a special mind like Stephen Hawking or P.J. Stock to know that the Canadiens did tremendously well with their number three pick. I think we all feel it, if other Habs fans don’t mind me speaking for them a little.

Sarnia Sting coach Jacques Beaulieu, who had both Alex Galchenyuk and first-overall pick Nail Yakupov in his lineup, said Galchenyuk has what it takes to be a better player than Yakupov. It had been full speed ahead for Galchenyuk until he blew his knee out, but his knee is fine now and everyone knows it. It’s one of the reasons the NHL holds the Draft Combine – to get to the bottom of matters like this.

Heck, I think even Dr. Recchi would give him the green light if he examined him.

And as nice as it might have been to have a young stud defenceman like Ryan Murray added to the mix, Montreal is already grooming blueliners Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu, the latter being the son of the Sarnia coach. It was time to go for the gusto. A future superstar. A player to warm the hearts of superstar-deprived Habs fans.

It’s the thought of a big and dominant centreman coming aboard that puts a smile on our faces. I don’t know how long it will be before the young fellow earns a spot with the big club, but I hope it’s soon. The sooner the new-look Habs train gets rolling down the tracks, the better.


Going For Galchenyuk

It was an impressive bunch indeed who took part in the recent NHL Combine, a 100 or more young physical specimens lifting and jumping and squeezing in front of an audience of NHL bigshots who studied these young fellows like men ogling strippers from the front seats of a strip club.

These young guys, strong, quick, and with great hair, are ready to make their mark in the big leagues, and watching them is a reminder how things have changed in pro sports with big contracts on the line. Long gone are the days of whipping into shape two weeks before the season opener. Gone are the days of the chubby and out-of-shape. Rest in peace, Gump Worsley.

With Montreal choosing third on Friday’s Entry Draft, it was interesting to see these kids and hear them talk and see what they can bring to the table. Do the Habs need a great young defenceman such as Ryan Murray, Mathew Dumba, or Morgan Rielly, or is a flashy forward like Mikhail Grigorenko or Alex Galchenyuk the answer? For me, from watching the Combines, I’m hoping it’s Galchenyuk who puts on the CH in four days.

Galchenyuk not only impressed at the Combines with his jumping and lifting, but also with his personality. This is is a kid with all kinds of charisma, and the fans, media, and ladies would love him. If Montreal is going to have a great young superstar, it’s terrific that he’s interesting and doesn’t come off as a cardboard talking head.

Most importantly, of course, is his talent, and from all accounts, this guy has plenty. He’s a big 6’2, 185 lb. package of speed and skill, notching 83 points in 68 games as a 16-year old with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. The following season he played only two regular season games and six playoff contests because of a knee injury, but that hasn’t seemed to bother scouts and general managers. He makes them drool even without playing.

Galchenyuk is also a bit of a curiosity. He’s American-born, from Milwaukee, his dad was a minor league hockey player, but the family returned to Minsk when Alex was a toddler. The family would come back to the U.S. when the young fellow was 15 so he could play Midget AAA for the Chicago Young Americans, where he sparkled, and a year later he was drafted by the Sarnia Sting.

Galchenyuk speaks English with a light Russian accent, and is a dual citizen, holding both American and Russian passports. He has said that when it comes time to play for his country, it would be the U.S., which should put to rest any concerns about the kid bolting to the KHL. That and the fact that he’s spent his formative teen years in North America honing his craft.

Galchenyuk apparently has what it takes to be a star in the NHL, and what better place to shine than in Montreal? In interviews he’s showed he’s not nervous in front of a microphone, he believes in himself, and seems a rare breath of fresh air. He’s poised and skilled and you would have to think there would be an opening for him in the near future when you consider the Habs’ centremen currently consists of David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller, Ryan White, and yes, Scott Gomez. Surely he’d find a spot in there somewhere. And it’s just another in several dozen reasons to send Gomez packing.

Of course, all this is wasted two-fingered typing if the young fellow goes second, after Nail Yakupov, or fourth, which is the Islanders’ pick. I’m just saying he’d be a nice pick for the Habs, and I’m hoping it happens.



3rd Pick. Is That Good?

We’re in Anaheim, California, late in the evening, and I’ve just found out only now that we have the third pick in the June draft.

Those Edmonton bastards. Again they get a young world-class stud, for the third year in a row. (Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins came before). Is it because their weather sucks so much that the hockey gods feel sorry for them?

Regardless, I’m not excited and I apologize to everyone who has their hopes higher than Timothy Leary at a Merry Pranksters party. I’ve seen too many times over the years a high draft pick turning out to be sour as sour can be. Neil Brady (3rd), Wayne McBean (4th), Pat Falloon (2nd), and Alexandre Volchenhov (1st) didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

The NHL road is littered with high picks that died quicker than American Idol top 20 winners.

I hate to be negative but I can`t help it. We’ll see who the Canadiens take in June, and we’ll see the impact he makes when he finally dons the CH. But I’m just not excited at this time. I’m jaded. I’m sorry. Good night. I just wish we could have had a shot at Nail Yakupov.

And who are some of the other choices involved besides Yakupov?

Mathew Dumba, a smallish defenceman. Filip Forsberg, a smallish left winger. Ryan Murray, a nice-sized defenceman. Alex Galchenyuk, a tall centreman. And Mikhail Grigorenko, also a nice-sized centreman. I’m curious to know who’s the odds-on favourite is of whoever’s left of the Habs’ brass.

Again, good night. We’re right across the street from Disneyland but Luci and I are taking the day off. We’ll let our Russian visitors go crazy with Mickey Mouse while we hang out and relax and recuperate after driving 2500 kilometres in the last three days.