Tag Archives: Ottawa

Joliat and Dryden Signed The Books

I drank a beer or two with Aurele Joliat at the old Prescott Hotel in Ottawa, sometime in the mid-1980s, and drove him home afterwards. I knew he’d be there because he showed up each week with his bowling team. We got along splendidly, even though he insisted that the Rocket couldn’t tie Morenz’s skate laces.

I brought my book, ‘The Montreal Canadiens’ by Claude Mouton, and Aurele was more than happy to sign it and mention my broken arm (although it was only a small cast on my wrist).

Ken Dryden signed his book ‘The Game’ for me by writing “I’ve had a lot of fans in my life, and you’re one of them. Happy Birthday, Dennis”.

My sister got him to write that. It was a bit of an inside joke she and I had going at the time. She said he chuckled as he wrote it.

Three Stories From Way Back

Three short stories on this April day as we enjoy all the Canadian teams in the playoffs.

Beef cattle, farm pond, Oklahoma

My friend and I (he doesn’t like me talking about him so I’ll just call him Fred), stuck out our thumbs in Vancouver back in the fall of 1969 and began to slowly make our way across the country to Orillia.

Late at night in Swift Current we hopped on a boxcar and rode for several hours until we saw the lights of Moose Jaw in the distance. We’d been warned that if yard security caught us we would end up in jail and that would’ve sucked, so we needed to jump off before the train reached the end.

As we began to slow down, Fred said we should jump and off he went, right into a cow pond that got him drenched from head to toe and smelling like a sewage plant.

About twenty seconds later, the train came to a complete stop and I walked off.



My friends and I used to drink Four Aces sherry (95 cents) and other such marvels, down in the bush with the hobos. These old hobos would sit in their clearing deep in the forest, grumbling and cursing but not really talking a lot, with their campfire burning and bottles emptying, and we’d join them because it was safe as we were usually underage at that time.

After guzzling my Four Aces on one of these visits, I threw up and staggered out of Hobo Jungle, but minutes later realized that I’d lost my false tooth and plate. So I staggered back through the bush in complete darkness, and somewhere along the line put my hand down on the ground.

Although I couldn’t see a thing and was blind drunk, my hand landed right on my false tooth.



In grade ten my school organized a class trip to Ottawa, but students had to have half-decent marks to qualify.

I didn’t qualify.

But I really wanted to go on the class trip, so I rounded up my friend Craig Ortiz and we hitchhiked there instead.

At the start, just outside of Orillia, we hid in the ditch as the school buses with all those students who were smarter than me passed us, but because we were lucky with rides, we beat those buses to Ottawa. At the Lord Elgin Hotel, where they were checking in, we surprised everyone and were allowed by the teachers to sleep on the floor of someone’s room.

It was good fun I think, but hitchhiking back sucked and Craig and I ended up at the Lindsay police station where we asked a cop if we could sleep in a cell that night because it was freezing cold, and he obliged.

Back at school, Craig and I were each given a month’s detention.



It’s A Beautiful Day!

I’m in a good mood. A great mood. I feel like whistling. The sun is shining brightly, birds are singing, I had a good sleep, and my porridge tasted terrific. I hope you have a wonderful day too. You deserve it.

I also hope the Ottawa Senators crash and burn and suck and get blown out and are ridiculed and humiliated and their coach gets his mustache stuck in a combine harvester.

I hope anthem singer Lyndon Slewidge pokes himself in the eye when he does that finger thing at the end of the song.

I hope Senators fans whine and fret and cry and yell at the referees, and in general, feel hopelessly lousy and depressed as their team smells like the sanitation truck that empties out the sewage system on the ferry boat.

I hope Ottawa bars sit deathly quiet as hockey fans quietly nurse their Pink Ladies, long after the televisions have been shut off.

Yes, it’s a fine day. I feel like whistling.


Ottawa’s A Fine City

I really like the city of Ottawa. I lived there for 17 years, all over the place, and I became a real Ottawan. There was that apartment on Carling near Britannia and the one downtown on Gloucester St. There was the high rise on Alta Vista, the place on Morrisette, that other place on Meadowlands, the brand new $39,000 townhouse in Barrhaven, that nice little brick house on Browning, and there might be more once I think harder about it.

I arrived with nothing and gradually built a nice life there. I have fond memories.

People joke about Ottawa. How boring it is. How the the sidewalks are rolled up at 6 pm every night. How it’s the town that fun forgot. I never found it boring. I got married there and my kids were born there. I had great friends, excellent parties, a job I enjoyed, went to a pile of concerts at the NAC and Civic Centre, and could get in the car and easily drive to Montreal or Toronto or to the old hometown Orillia four hours away.

It was all nice and comfortable, and I look back and often think that I should never have left.

But having said all this, I dislike their hockey team. A lot. I had left by the time the Senators franchise kicked off, but an old friend of mine in Ottawa (not J.W.), who was my Habs buddy, suddenly and inexplicably became a Sens fan and promptly rubbed it in my face when his new team beat the Canadiens. He thought it was great, and he’d been a lifetime Montreal fan up until then. We used to make treks to the Forum together. And he dropped them like a hot potato.

This might be the biggest reason of all that I love seeing the Sens lose.

The Senators are without some key guys, which I don’t feel bad about. Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen, and goalie Craig Anderson are all on the sidelines, and somehow this team has still managed to win their last four games. The nonsense has to stop. It’s smoke and mirrors right now. If the Senators carry on in some sort of winning mode with basically an American Hockey League team filling in, I’m going to be really pissed.

The mandate now is to see Habs kick some ass tonight.





Habs Looking To Sink The Sens


The Ottawa Senators are at the Bell Centre Saturday night, and it’s a game Montreal must win to continue their gradual climb up the ladder of success. And there’s no reason why they shouldn’t win. Look at the sad sack bunch they’ll be playing.

This is a recent photo of the Senators at Scotiabank Place, wearing their retro-jerseys and minus big guns Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek who were injured and didn’t want to make the long, arduous trek to the rink, along with several others who ran out of gas driving all the way out there, plus Alex Kovalev, who sometimes shows up and sometimes doesn’t.

It’s also quite a homely team.

JW Speaks

A couple of days ago I wrote about an old friend, JW, who was a good, solid Habs fan for years but began cheering for the Senators instead when Ottawa finally got a team in the early 1990’s. Sorry JW, Can’t Do It

I’ve never understood it, never will. And I know several just like him.

JW has replied and now has his say:

Never have I seen a response like this to a topic on Dennis’ blog so you all listen now as JW speaks.
Yes I was a Habs fans for all those many years. But as a fan of the greatest game on earth I longed for a team that I could live and die with in my own home town.
I put money down early as a show of support for this franchise and when it was awarded purchased season tickets.
Our home opener was against the Habs and quite frankly I wasn’t sure how I would react. But when Neil Brady scored that 1st goal and I stood and cheered my brains out the answer was obvious. I was a Sens fan above all others.
In 15 years in this city I have by my own estimates supported this team in a dollar amount that exceeds 30,000. Why for heavens sakes would I make this kind of financial commitment and cheer for a team 2 hours down the highway because I was once a fan? Would you? I doubt it.
The emotional high that comes with supporting a team to the end, win or lose is priceless. I did not jump ship. I went with a team that won all of 10 games that first season, built themselves through the draft and competed for the Stanley Cup. That window of opportunity has past but I look forward to the future years as we build again.
I’m a home town fan of a team that plays in this city. Why would I be anything else.
Cheers all!! JW

4-1 Win In Ottawa Puts Habs In Playoff Spot. Now They Have To Stay There

I’ve decided to do something different tonight. I’ve decided not to bother with all the ins-and-outs of what happened in the big 4-1 win in Ottawa tonight.

You know how it all played out. You saw the shots on goal margin, the great saves by Halak, the nice Plekanec-to-Cammalleri goal and the pinball shot by Marc-Andre Bergeron. You saw Scott Gomez become a huge penalty-killer, and you hardly saw Alex Kovalev in his Sens uniform because it was one of those nights when Alex decided to go on coffee break..

He’s been known to do that on occasion.

You also saw Jaroslav Spacek go down with an injury, and pretty soon if these parade of injuries don’t stop, I’m going back to church and start asking questions. I’m owed. Owed big time. I was an altar boy for goodness sakes. All those early mornings during summer holidays when I had to get up at the crack of dawn to do the altar-boying. That time when I set myself on fire lighting candles. Or how I almost tripped several times in front of a church full of people because my robe was too long.

Hey, Man upstairs. I’m owed. So enough with the injuries already.

I also read the other day about a crazy trade rumour involving Edmonton and Montreal. Whoever wrote the story (in a CBC article) came up with this: Sheldon Souray and Andrew Cogliano for both Kostitsyn’s. This is probably just a silly rumour but I’m mentioning it because in this blog, it’s all the news that’s fit to print.

Random Notes:

To all the Habs fans who became Senators supporters and tossed the Habs aside like an old oily rag when Ottawa got a team, please don’t cry in your corn flakes.

Habs were outshot 46-27. I have no comment on this, except good for Jaroslav Halak.

Thursday, Pittsburgh’s in Montreal.

A Win In Ottawa Means Much

If the Habs can sock it to the Senators tonight in Ottawa, they will catapult themselves right into seventh place, tied with those same Ottawans.

It was only the other day the Canadiens were in twelfth, so seventh is a nice, tidy little spot to be.

Oops. Back To The Drawing Board For A Couple Of Tweaks

It’s ten pm in Ottawa and most citizens have already been in bed for several hours because they’ve worked hard at their government desks all week and are pooped. Except for hockey fans, who stayed up later than normal to watch or listen to the big game, the Senators-Canadiens game. And especially Habs fans in Ottawa, who live life to the fullest, burn the candle at both ends, and walk little old ladies across the street.

I listened on CJAD thanks to Moey and I heard the boos for Alex Kovalev from the many Canadiens fans in the Ottawa stands. But Kovy, like it was scripted, opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal to quiet things.  Booing an ex-Hab is a love-hate thing for me. I understand that they’re now the enemy, but they had played hard trying to help the team win when they were in Montreal. Maybe they should be applauded instead of booed. But then again, they’re now trying to beat the Habs, so maybe they should be booed heartily and told their mother wears army boots.

Scott Gomex, in a pre-recorded interview with Rick Moffat, told how Larry Robinson and other old Habs instilled in the New Jersey dressing room the mindset of winning and the swagger that goes with it. “We’d walk in to a rink with the thought that we’re going to win and there’s nothing you can do about” said Gomez. He and Gionta and the other Devils learned this mostly from Larry Robinson because he’d have them sit around and he’d tell old Canadiens stories, how hard the stars worked, and about all the different Stanley Cup wins. Ah, Robinson. There’s a guy I’d like to see back in the Habs organization.

Jaraslav Spacek scored on the power play, which is a good sign because one of his duties this year is replacing Mathieu Schneider as a scoring threat from the blueline on the power play. And without going into the gruesome details, Montreal fell behind 3-1 in the second. And then, 4-1.

And then 6-1.

Random Notes:

A goal and an assist for Alex Kovalev. His mother wears army boots.

Not great: Carey Price, but even Jacques Plante had off-nights.

Nice to see: Ryan O’Byrne again showing some feistiness. I’ve been saying for two years now that the big guy should play nasty.

Next up, Bruins, Sunday in Quebec! It’s also on RDS.