Tag Archives: Pierre McGuire

Canadians Get By Yanks

Way to go, Canadian ladies, for the confidence-boosting 3-2 win over the Americans on Wednesday.

I watched the evening replay even though I knew the score, and I wanted to see that disputed goal that Pierre McGuire was talking about on the radio when I was waiting to go through the car wash.

The puck slid on or over the line as the whistle was blowing, and the replay wasn’t conclusive. But the referee went upstairs and deemed it a good goal for Canada, which put them ahead 2-1 at the time.

Pierre said it was a goal, it wasn’t even reviewable, and then he slammed the lady in stripes for being in over her head.

He gets very serious about his hockey, and even went as far as saying she won’t be working many more games. But from my couch I didn’t think she was all that bad.

In my mind, the ladies (players) have really picked it up several notches in recent years. In the past they were good, but they reminded me more of good midget hockey. And their shots for the most part left a lot to be desired.

Not now though. These ladies can not only motor, but most of them, it seems, can really fire that biscuit. It’s very impressive.

Also impressive is the job everyone, including new coach Kevin Dineen is doing, after recent head coach Dan Church suddenly quit just a couple of months ago.

What timing for a coach to quit. Close to Olympic time. But apparently players or management didn’t believe in him and he felt the vibes.

“In the end, I just decided if I’m getting in the way of where the team needs to go, I need to step aside and let them continue on in the process,” said Church, and now it’s ex-NHLer Kevin Dineen behind the bench.

And they carry on nicely, blanking both the Swiss and the Finns,  and now winning a big game against the Yanks.

Kinda feel bad for Dan Church. I wonder if he’s been watching.

 

 

Habs Rebound Nicely

The Canadiens once again showed what they’re made of, rebounding from a sub-par showing in Philadelphia, and winning 4-1 Thursday night against the Jets in front of a happy crowd at the Bell Centre.

And such splendid feel good moments to go along with this important and satisfying win.

Peter Budaj played in front of his dad and brother from Slovakia, (and an uncle I think), and was solid as can be in winning his sixth-straight. It was a nice classy gesture on Michel Therrien’s part to start Budaj, and there’s respect all-round.

If someone from the old days, like Jack Adams or Punch Imlach, had been coaching this game, they might have played Price regardless of Budaj’s family being there. Those men weren’t big on sentiment.

Marc Bergevin made a good choice in Therrien. Remember when all those names were being tossed about? Patrick Roy, Guy Carbonneau, Pierre McGuire etc. This year might have been a lot different with someone other than Therrien at the helm.

Michael Ryder had another big night, racking up two goals and two assists, and what can you say about this guy who’s become such a key component. One thing we can say – Marc Bergevin did it again.

Maybe the biggest story for me was the play of Alex Galchenyuk. On this night he freed himself from those invisible ties and not only scored a beauty after eighteen games, but shortly before came up a little dipsy-doodle magic and burst in but was foiled. If he would have scored on this, we’d be enjoying replays of it all week.

Galchenyuk had new life last night, and gave us more glimpses of what to expect in the coming years. He’s going to rise us out of our seats and be the toast of the town. He’s going to be a big star. I believe this. It was great when he came alive tonight.

Lars Eller had two assists and has been good lately. He’s been a presence. Opponents seem to get upset with him, and that’s okay. They get upset with P.K. Subban too. The guy who’s going to win the Norris.

Random Notes:

Winnipeg outshot Montreal 34-24, but the Habs had plenty of quality chances.

Next up (and can’t wait) – The Bruins come to town Saturday. Lock up your daughters.

Finally….A New GM

The Canadiens took their time, talked to more than a few, including the high-profile Patrick Roy and Pierre McGuire, and finally made their choice. Marc Bergevin, a Montrealer, just 46 years old, former assistant general manager in Chicago, and a guy who most certainly watched the turmoil unfold in Montreal and decided that he can do the job and do it well.

Bergevin was a player, as many NHL executives once were, and he wasn’t exactly a game-breaker. Thirty-six goals in 1191 games won’t see him in the Hall of Fame anytime soon, but who knows, maybe he’ll be inducted another way – as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, as the man who led the team out of the depths of hell, back to where they belong, as an elite winner, a team that pushes for a Cup every year, a team that racks up number 25 and 26 and then beyond.

That’s Bergevin’s mandate and he’s fully aware of it. Bring the team back to the winner’s circle. Shape them into a force to be reckoned with. Get them out of the humiliating basement and onwards and upwards. See how Pierre Gauthier and Bob Gainey did it and do the opposite.

The new guy has to get Carey Price and PK Subban signed, and if he needs money, I’ll work overtime and send him what I can. These two need to be on the dotted line. As far as Scott Gomez is concerned, I’m sure general managers around the league have tossed ideas around during the regular season while sitting in the hotel rooms watching Sports Centre and the name Gomez came up on the screen. Bergevin probably has it already figured out and has for some time now.

He needs to select the best possible youngster with the 3rd pick in the June draft, and it’s in his hands to do the absolute right thing here, for the team and for the fans. There can be no mistake made in choosing. He needs to make sure the kid knows what it means to put the sweater on, to wear the CH, and to have some sort of idea of the history of the franchise. There can be no player picked who floats for four games, plays for one. No player who longs the old country when his ice time decreases. No player who wishes he played in a city where nobody knows him.

A high and mighty draft pick, one who will become a star in Montreal, has to be the end result of the crapshoot. But maybe, like the Gomez situation, Bergevin also has this figured out too.

And of course we need a coach. Now a whole new set of names will be flying around.

I’m excited about our new guy. The pin was pulled on Pierre Gauthier, and now we go to Act 2 with new blood in place. It’s the second big step on the road to recovery.

I can’t wait to see how he handles the job. And until he does something nutty, which hopefully will never occur, I’m as optimistic as anyone on the Habs planet. We’ve hit rock bottom and we’re working our way back out, beginning now.

Candidates

In reading various columns this morning, I see the field has narrowed down to a measly 15 or so candidates for the GM job in Montreal.

Names mentioned include Pierre McGuire and Jacques Martin, who need no introduction; ex-Habs Vincent Damphousse, Guy Carbonneau, and Patrick Roy; player agent Pat Brisson; along with Marc Bergevin, Julien Brisebois, Claude Loiselle, Andre Savard, Larry Carriere, Trevor Timmins, Jim Nill, Blair Mackasey, and Francois Giguere.

I’m sure another dozen names will crop up over the weeks to come, but for now, a few have been left off that leave me speechless.

Mike Milbury. This is a guy who bleeds bleu, blanc, et rouge. He’s smart, never says anything outlandish, and is loved by Habs fans around the world.

PJ Stock. Bilingual and knows more about hockey than you, me, and just about everybody, dead and alive.

Glen Sather. Knew how to get rid of Scott Gomez. Doesn’t that count for a lot?

Don Cherry. Don isn’t bilingual, though. And unfortunately, he also doesn’t speak English. But he’d be a beauty, eh? And there would be no more talk of tanking except when the team played Boston and Toronto.

Donald Trump. Knows the business side, and would be able to bring Scott Gomez, Tomas Kaberle, and Rene Bourque into the board room and say to them – “Scott, Tomas, and Rene, you’re fired.”

Jillian Barbarie. Fox Sports reporter. I’m sure she’s qualified in many ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is a Trade? Plus…..Cole, The Coach, And Other Meanderings

Canadiens have sent Brock Trotter and a 7th round draft pick to Phoenix in exchange for forward Petteri Nokelainen and defenceman Garret Stafford.

I can hear you now whooping and hollering and planning the new parade route.

This is such an inconsequential deal and one that addresses none of the woes of team aside from the fact that we now have another defenceman, although he has a ticket to Hamilton waiting for him.

Rumours have been swirling that Pierre Gauthier is trying to shop Andrei Kostitsyn around – Habs GM On Hunt For Blue Line Help, and if Garret Stafford is the new blue line help, then I wave the white flag and start paying attention to cricket and maybe take a cooking course to stay busy.

If Gauthier wants to rid himself of Kostitsyn, fine, but Kostitsyn hasn’t been the biggest problem, not by a country mile. The biggest problem is the coach and the way he’s ruining Erik Cole, for example. Cole and his wife must hate what’s going on, as it hasn’t been a happy time so far for the new guy. One assist in seven games, and it seems he’s being handled wrong by this bench boss who handles many wrong.

He sees small minutes, has said that Martin doesn’t speak to him, is bounced around from line to line, and sits on the bench as Mathieu Darche plays the power play, as pointed out by Darth, Danno, and Number 31 in fine fashion.

In fact, I think I’ll include their comments here and now. These are smart folks.

Darth –  Cole is in JM’s doghouse now for some reason and it’s believed that it’s because Cole didn’t show up in proper game shape at the beginning of training camp. I find it very odd that a no-good putz like Gomez gets treated like a superstar no matter what shit he pulls yet Cole is the bad one.

If this is true (about Cole) I can understand being upset about him but to do this to him when Gomez is given a free-pass? What the hell is going on?

Danno – Some say Jacques Martin was condescending, disrespectful and patronizing towards Montreal TSN radio reporter Jessica Rusnak when she asked him why he played Darche instead of Cole on the power play.

Seems like a fair question given that Cole was hired to score goals and has 43 career power-play goals to Darche’s three. So why would he openly criticize the woman’s credibility as a reporter by questioning her “research”.

Number 31 – Cole actually had the inklings of his breakout game for this team and…gets benched. That’s grounds for firing the coach right there.

Actually if I remember correctly…I think it was Pierre McGuire who suggested she (Jessica Rusnak) ask that question. Too bad but I don’t think she had the stats to throw back in his face (Cole 43 pp goals, Darche 3 pp goals). Would have been great to see him work his way out of that one. And frankly referencing Carolina stats from last year is crap anyway. Eric Staal is currently the leader with the worst +/- in the League, would you cut his ice time?

Oh and Cammy’s 4 pp goals from his first season here doesn’t remove him from the powerplay does it?

PRESS RELEASE

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens general manager, Pierre Gauthier, announced today the acquisition of forward Petteri Nokelainen and defenseman Garrett Stafford from the Phoenix Coyotes, in return for forward Brock Trotter and a 7th-round draft pick in 2012.

Nokelainen will join the Canadiens in Montreal, while Stafford will report to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs. Forward Michael Blunden has been recalled from the Bulldogs, while forwards Andreas Engqvist and Aaron Palushaj have been assigned to Hamilton.

Nokelainen, 25, registered one assist in five games with the Coyotes this season. He recorded three shots on goal, five hits and one blocked shot. The 6’01’’, 202 lbs centreman averaged 10 minutes, 58 seconds of ice time per game. In 194 NHL career games, Nokelainen has tallied 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists), with the New York Islanders, the Boston Bruins, the Anaheim Ducks and the Coyotes.

A native of Imatra, Finland, Nokelainen was drafted in the first round, 16th overall by the Islanders at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

In six games this season with the AHL Portland Pirates, Stafford, 31, collected four points (1 goal, 3 assists). In seven NHL career games with the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars and Coyotes, the 6’01’’, 207 lbs defenseman tallied two assists.

A native of Los Angeles, Stafford joined the Coyotes as a free agent on July 3, 2010. In 562 career games in the AHL, he has registered 317 points (83 goals, 234 assists) and served 452 penalty minutes.

Trotter played five games with the Bulldogs this season and registered seven points (2 goals, 5 assists). One of his goals was tallied on the powerplay. He served four penalty minutes and collected 10 shots on goal. Trotter played two games in his career with the Canadiens in the NHL.

In five games with the Bulldogs this season Blunden collected three assists. The 24-year old right winger maintained a +1 plus/minus differential and recorded three shots on goal. He suited up in 51 career regular season games in the NHL with Chicago and Columbus, registering four points (2-2-4). A native of Toronto, Blunden was drafted in the second round, 43rd overall by the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired from the Blue Jackets on July 7, 2011 in return for Ryan Russell.

Engqvist suited up in seven games with the Canadiens this season. The 23-year old centreman maintained a +1 plus/minus differential, recorded one shot on goal, three hits and four blocked shots, while averaging 6:55 of ice time per game. Hailing from Stockholm, Engqvist signed with the Canadiens as a free agent on July 13, 2009.

Palushaj played four games with the Canadiens this season. The 22-year old right winger recorded two shots on goal and four hits, while averaging 5:47 of ice time per game. A native of Livonia, Wisconsin, Palushaj was acquired from the St. Louis Blues in return for Matt D’Agostini.

Habs And Bruins Agree To Disagree

Montreal, normally a low-scoring team, scored six big ones against the Boston Bruins Wednesday night.

Unfortunately, the Boston Bruins scored eight.

That wasn’t a 2011 hockey game, it was a Habs-Bruins tilt from the 1970’s, a Habs-Nordiques battle from the 1980’s, a senior game from small-town Canada. It was scoring, hitting, and fighting throughout, including a weird goaltending disagreement between Carey Price and Tim Thomas and a lovely smack in David Krejci’s mug compliments of Benoit Pouliot.

It was old-time hockey with blood spilt. But the Habs lost a game which would have seen them catch the Bruins for the Northeast division lead and they didn’t get it done. With absolutely no help from Scott Gomez and Andre Kostitsyn who just couldn’t find it within themselves to play hard and give all they could give. I know what I’d like to give them. 

These two slugs were on the ice for four Boston goals before they rode the pine for most of the second half.

For some reason, and it wasn’t a full moon on this night, the goalies couldn’t stop the puck. And because it was a big game between two old rivals, with standings on the line and with Boston having lost the last five straight to the Habs, bad blood was the order of the day. Just like the old days.

If only the boys could’ve won this, I would have said it was an excellent night. But it wasn’t to be.

Have I mentioned that I despise the Boston Bruins?

Random Notes:

Finally it was heard out loud – Pierre McGuire said before the game that PK Subban has become a legitimate contender for Rookie of the Year.

Max Pacioretty had two goals, and the Wiz two assists.

Shots on goal – 34-33 Boston.

Next up – Thursday when the Islanders visit the Bell.

Gut-Wrenching Loss At The Bell

It was going to be such a night of sheer joy for Canadiens fans throughout the land. A comeback against a big and solid Flyers team. A tie late in the third after being down 3-1. Everything in place and the roof poised to blow off.

And then, like a bad dream, two late goals by Philadelphia in just over a minute and the wind got sucked out of us like a punch in the gut from Mike Tyson.

Habs fall 5-3, their third straight loss. And it was going so well too.

It began horribly enough as we had to suffer through Pierre McGuire say, in describing the Flyers, that “size matters” not once, not twice, but five times in the first period. He was obviously very proud of himself for coming up with this little catchphrase.

And even worse, PK Subban, working on a confidence problem, turned the puck over with just 18 seconds left in the first and just like that, the home team was forced to play catch-up. Falling behind is bad enough. Falling behind with 18 seconds remaining after a PK mistake has a taste similar to the grotesque moonshine my friends and I used to make.

Subban made up for it however, in the second period, when he blasted one home with the Canadiens enjoying a two-man advantage, and I suppose the old confidence thermometer rose again.

In the third, Philadelphia took a stranglehold 3-1 lead before Tomas Plekanec, in what has been a sad rarity lately, scored and the gap was narrowed to 3-2. Brian Gionta finally tied it, the Bell Centre went wild, and my living room was like having the Beatles play live in front of me.

A magical and dramatic comeback win was in the works and it reminded me at this stage how hockey can be so beautiful when the favourite team is doing the job.

Unfortunately, the cold rains came. PK  was too soft with the puck in clearing, a goal resulted from this lackadaisical faux pas, and the old confidence thermometer dipped again I’m sure. And with the Flyers scoring another shortly after, it didn’t even give us a chance to pull Carey Price and continue the dramatics.

This loss is about as heartbreaking as it can get.

Random Notes:

Max Pacioretty was a force in his first game this season, and he should be a great addition. I’d like to add here that although David Desharnais in Hamilton may be a solid point-getter and is probably a fine person, do we really need another little forward in the lineup? Desharnais, bless his heart, is 5’7, like Brian Gionta.

Shots on goal – 41-30 Montreal. It’s somewhat similar to the Detroit game in that the Habs show they can compete with the big teams, but lose anyway.

Next up – Boston visits on Thursday night. There’s no need to mention how a win is crucial here.

Canadiens Too Much For The Ottawa Underwoods

After the Ottawa Senators had tied the game at one with just eight seconds left in the first period, I began to get this sinking feeling that the Canadiens might let this one slip away.

And when the score was still tied at one after two periods, the feeling remained.

But three goals in the third and a big 4-1 win by the Habs showed that my sinking feeling didn’t sink and maybe sinking feelings are overrated.

Jeff Halpern, Brian Gionta, and Roman Hamrlik broke it wide-open for the Habs, Carey Price once again was a rock between the pipes, and PK Subban watched it all from his perch high up in the Bell Centre.

And even though the Habs aren’t a huge scoring team, they look like the 1976 gang compared to Ottawa. Montreal is 75 goals for and 54 against, while Ottawa sits at 62 for and 85 against. And because Ottawa is having such trouble putting the puck in the net, they gave the Canadiens ample time to find their punch and put the thing away.

Thank you, Ottawa.

What would a season be in Montreal without at least some controversy. It wouldn’t seem right. Now we get PK Subban sitting in the press box while the power play, although better than it was, still remains in first gear, and we knew the youngster was taking care of business in this department after Andrei Markov was lost for the year.

So on one hand the point can be made that yes, PK has some bad habits and needs a spanking and fixing of some things. But on the other hand, he’s the straw that stirs the drink on the power play.

And when Pierre McGuire says PK will be back soon because of the ineptness of the man-advantage, I have to agree with him. But neither you, me, or Pierre McGuire are Jacques Martin, so we’ll wait and see how this plays out.

There’s also the side plot of a security guard following PK around the Bell Centre and I have no idea what this is about. But it’s more to add to what we can only hope isn’t some kind of growing soap opera. Although like I said, if we didn’t have any controversy, I don’t know if I could take it.

But the end result is all that matters, it was a nice win, a nice two points, and a nice two points the Senators didn’t get.

Random Notes:

Maybe Carrie Underwood should write a country tune about the dog dying, love on the range, and her team not scoring.

Lars Eller is picking up steam more and more every game now. Keep it up Lars. Habs fans and Danes everywhere are rooting for you.

Montreal looked reasonably sad on the five minute power play with just two shots on goal, and this is when McGuire began his rant about how we’ll see PK back quickly.

Scott Gomez has some kind of lower body injury.

Shots on goal – 35-28 Montreal.

Next up – Friday in Detroit. This should be a beauty, and a good test for the Habs against one of the league’s best teams. But I see no problem for the boys.

Young Guys With Nice Suits And A Bright Future

Before I start I’d like to convey my deepest sympathies to Gary Bettman for having a cold right now. I feel terrible about this.

By trading their 27th and 57th pick to the Phoenix Coyotes for the 22nd and 113th picks, Montreal grabbed a big, physical 6’3 plus defenceman named Jarred Tinordi, son of former NHL’er Mark Tinordi who played most of his career in Minnesota and Washington. Young Jarred captained the US National Team Program and will play in Notre Dame this coming season.

A big strapping defenceman in the Habs future playing alongside PK Subban is a beautiful thing.

The young thoroughbreds were picked by their NHL teams today, and there’s not much I can say because if you really want to know all about these young hockey-playing perfect physical specimens with good hair and nice suits, you should talk to a scout or pay attention to what Bob McKenzie or Pierre McGuire says about them.

They know. I can tell you about the Beatles or the Rocket or old TV shows or driving a semi, but not so much about these juniors other than they obviously have good genes and have a harder shot than me. And if we’re comparing suits, forget it.

But a couple of things did stand out on this first of two evenings.

Florida, picking 3rd, chose big Erik Gudbranson, whose dad is a huge Habs fan and said he’d wear Eric’s NHL jersey over top of his Habs jersey because the only one that will touch his skin is a Montreal one.

Tampa Bay took Brett Connelly, and Connelly looked so intense chewing his gum that he seemed like he was ready to drop his gloves and pound TSN’s James Duthie.

Chosen 7th by Carolina was ex-figure skater Jeff Skinner whose parents are both lawyers, and he has sisters going to Cornell and Harvard and a couple of other siblings in university also. This isn’t Eddie Shack up there.

Minnesota picked Finish skater Mikhael Granlund and what stood out for me about this was seeing old Hab and notorious practical joker Guy Lapointe up there with the Wild group. Wouldn’t it have been great if Pointu pulled another practical joke, like changing the name on the jersey the kid puts on so it says ‘Lapointe’ instead.

Jaden Schwartz, chosen by the St. Louis Blues, has an older sister fighting cancer and the story was talked about, and Jaden said hi to her back home when he was interviewed. It’s gotta be tough for all concerned.

Metropolit Adds Pizzazz To The Lineup

If Glen Metropolit’s shoulder separation is fine now and he’s back in the lineup for game three at the Bell Centre, then things just got slightly more back-breaking for the fancies on the Washington Capitals. Metro’s a blue collar guy, a guy who makes life lousy for others around the league by digging deep, working hard, and being a bit of a tough hombre as well.

With Metropolit punching the clock, maybe Nicklas Backstrom will be so ordinary he’ll barely make Pierre McGuire salivate. And on top of Metro’s fine work ethic, he’s also been a surprise on the power play, notching ten big ones for his Habs with the man-advantage. It’s like having a goalie who can play defence on a delayed penalty. (Which really did happen – Don Head Plays The Blueline ).

I know about shoulder separations. I had one once, when I had the longest hair on the Byers Bulldozers Orillia Midgets, and I remember that it seemed to take forever to heal.  But of course, I didn’t have the great Habs physio staff working on me. All I remember is, when summer rolled around, I couldn’t get my curve to break.

But Metro’s healed, and if you don’t know the story of his unusual and difficult upbringing, you can always click here Metro’s On The Team Too and find out.

Big game number three coming up. Keep doing what you’re doing, boys. Except for the part about blowing late-game leads.