From the Empire State Building and Staten Island Ferry in 1986.
Fifteen years later, the buildings in the distance would be gone.
Arnold Palmer, the Maurice Richard of golf, shows Maurice Richard, the Arnold Palmer of hockey, a good way to grip a club circa 1960. Arnold and the Rocket were in New York where both were honoured as Athletes of the Decade in their respective sports by the S. Rae Hickok Co.
Whew, that was a close one for Sean Avery. Imagine if he’d have to play another series? These last seven games against the Capitals have already cut in severely to his fashion/designer job. Now that the Rangers are gonzo, Sean can finally concentrate on more important things. Being in the playoffs must’ve been a bummer.
However, having said that, Avery is a really effective player, especially along the boards. He’s hard to handle. If this guy had more respect for his real job, players and fans around the league would have more respect for him. He’s a good player.
The theme for today is – You can’t win every game. The greatest of the great lost from time to time. Often, sometimes. And tonight, Montreal continued the tradition of losing from time to time. By losing to the Ottawa Senators.
You could just feel something was missing tonight, and it was obvious what it was. Andrei Markov. Never has he looked larger, better, so important, as now, when he’s not there. With him gone, along with Mathieu Schneider and Francis Bouillon, the team is relegated to playing Mike Komisarek and Josh Gorges almost 30 minutes a game, with guys like Patrice Brisebois and Ryan O’Byrne there to pick up the blueline slack. That’s scarier than when I saw the original ‘House On Haunted Hill’ at the Opera House theatre in Orillia when I was a kid.
Right now I’m tearing the house apart, looking for the Russian remedy that’ll have all three of these defencemen up and at ’em sooner than thought. It involves vodka and garlic and moving the concoction around ten days here and ten days there and then a few drops with milk and all that. It not only cures injuries but also takes care of hangovers and is a fountain of youth to boot. It hasn’t worked for me but I’m blaming that on the sixties.
Such a huge game coming up in New York against the Rangers. Then it’s Thursday in Boston. I gotta find this recipe quick and get it to these injured guys.
Montreal was supposed to win the game. That’s about as big an understatement as I’ve ever come up with. And the reasons are obvious: They’re trying to leave the Florida Panthers in their dust and stay solid in the playoff hunt. And they’re a better team than the young and injury-ridden New York Islanders. As simple as that.
And win they did, a big, old-fashioned, lopsided 5-1 spanking of the Islanders on Long Island. And as an extra bonus, the New York Averys lost 4-2 to Carolina, which means Montreal jumps ahead of these Averys and into seventh spot. Seventh seems like first at this stage of the game.
Montreal’s big line of Tanguay, Koivu, and Kovalev tallied six points and continues to make me feel warm and fuzzy all over. TSN has labelled them the AKA line, but I much prefer ‘The Big Line’ to this initialized handle they came up with. Maybe I could get a job at NHL headquarters naming lines!
The Kovalevian One notched three assists, played well, and easily could have had five or six points if Koivu would’ve finished some close-in chances. But it wasn’t only Kovy who sparkled. Most on the team did. And TSN announcers Chris Cuthbert and Pierre McGuire were absolutely right when they said that if Chris Higgins, Andrei Kostitsyn, and Tomas Plekanec could get it going, then the Habs would be firing on all cylinders, which makes me all aglow when I think about this.
It’s also interesting that the fuss over Guy Carbonneau being fired and Bob Gainey taking over has now quieted down. Although probably the biggest reason Gainey is having success is ‘The Big Line,’ which began when Alex Tanguay returned from his seven week shoulder injury. That and Carey Price finding his game which went into hiding for awhile, although it was Jaroslav Halak who earned the win tonight because Price hasn’t been eating his vegetables and is in bed with the flu.
Now it’s off to Toronto, the team that humiliated the Habs on March 21. It’s payback time, boys. Show these Torontonians that they’re not even on the same planet as you.
George Laraque once again had one of his staged fights. If George is going to fight, just once I’d like to see him absolutely furious. These things he gets into now seem just silly.
TSN cameramen did a very poor job of finding women in the stands with cleavage. RDS is much more proficient in this area.
Yes, they lost 4-3 to the New Yorkers. And yes, this isn’t good. But at least they got a point. And there were a few good things to focus on. Like Alex Kovalev playing quite well except for those times when he was a puck hog.
Then there was that move by Maxim Lapierre to tie the game at two. He looked like Jean Beliveau the way he swooped in, made a nice little deke on the defenceman, got the goalie going the wrong way, and fired it home.
Andrei Markov played as good a game as I’ve seen him play this year. And young guys Max Pacioretty and Matt D’Agostini worked hard and drove to the net.
These were all good things. And there were only a couple of bad things. The problem is, these couple of bad things were pretty important. Montreal again allowed a lot of shots on net. Thirty nine’s way too many, but it’s a normal night for the Canadiens.
And the only other bad thing about the Habs tonight was that Carey Price, although looking good during the game, couldn’t stop a beach ball in the shootout.
Thursday night, the Habs are in Ottawa. They’ll win that one, then they’ll beat Toronto, then whip Atlanta, then destroy Tampa, then paste Buffalo, then kill Chicago, and so on.
Last but not least, there’s something I have to say. I feel I’m being a man about this, mature, when I say – Sean Avery played well, looked absolutely like a well-adjusted human being, and I didn’t see one smirk from him all night. There, I’ve said it. That took balls.
This is the new Sean Avery. We’ll see how long this lasts.
In a nutshell, it looks like this. The Canadiens and Rangers, who play each other tonight, both have 80 points, just two points away from being out of the playoff picture. There’s nothing more I can add to this.
The Rangers are in Montreal Tuesday for yet another big game for both teams.
And I have a dream. Wars and starvation end, cures are found for diseases, and Gregory Stewart pounds Sean Avery into oblivion.
Good guy Tom at The Ryan Coke Experience has gotten wind of a rumour you might want to check out on his site – that both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens are showing interest in Atlanta Thrashers sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, a guy with almost 500 points in almost 500 games in the NHL.
Normally I’d want something like this to happen. A young, fifty goal guy in a Habs uniform. But, like Marian Gaborik, I want neither player. Montreal has the team now to do the deed. There’s just no sense in shaking up the chemistry, regardless of how good these guys are.
And they need to first let me be flag guy at the Bell Centre before bringing in any more players. First things first.
Anyway, have a look at Tom’s site. He, by the way, lives in Ottawa but, unlike many of my own Ottawa friends, has stayed a Habs fan and hasn’t been swept away by Senatormania in the Senatorium.
And because Tom reads my blog, he’s one of the best people in the world.
Another one of the best in the world is Jordy, who let me know today that long-time hockey writer Stan Fischler, based in New York, says Carey Price is a stiff, cocky, mediocre goalie.
Stan Fischer is not one of the best people in the world. In fact, saying something like that makes him a leading candidate for worst person in the world.
Last, but certainly not least, I’m completely open to having people guest blog on this site. (as long as it’s good.) Anytime you want to send in a little story about anything related to hockey – yes, even the Canucks, Leafs, Sean Avery etc., you’re welcome to do this.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to write something. Well, here’s your chance. Just email me with your story at email@example.com and I’ll check for spelling and you’ll be in print. Please, though, not too many f bombs.
Hockey fans became completely sick of hearing Mats Sundin’s name about a month ago, and so I apologize for mentioning it now. But His Majesty is on the verge now of announcing whether he will retire or play, so I thought I’d get just a little head start on this.
If he plays, there’s always the chance he’ll rejoin his old club, the Toronto Maple Leafs. But I just had a look at the Leafs’ 2008-2009 roster, and maybe His Majesty should consider retiring. Wow! Harold Ballard and girlfriend Yolanda would’ve made this club. King Clancy would’ve made this team, when he was in his eighties.
Several of the hot dog vendors would make this team. Prince Philip could make this team. Richard Simmons would be on the first line. My daughter’s baby would make this team, and the baby’s not even born yet.
The Leafs best player just may be ex-Hab Mikhail Grabovski. And they’ve added Rangers goon Ryan Hollweg, a guy who blows his mind way too often. There was no room for him anymore in New York, but of course there’s lots of room for him in Toronto.
Jason Blake will be their leader, like Jean Beliveau, the Rocket, Mark Messier, Joe Sakic, and Steve Yzerman were for their teams. You bet!
And I could mention the other Leaf players on the roster but you wouldn’t care anyway.
Toronto fans will pack the place every night to see one of the most inconsequential teams in Toronto ever.
Mats Sundin will make his choice soon. He can join the Leafs. He can join some good teams like the Habs. He can retire. Or he can help old pal Borje Salming with his underwear business. We’ll see shortly.
Sorry to mention his name. Also sorry to mention the Leafs.