Tag Archives: Randy Ladouceur

The BIG Story Of 2012

There goes 2012. Maybe it’s a good thing.

The Habs were disturbingly mediocre in 2012, finishing 15/15 in the Eastern Division, one point behind 14th place Islanders and two behind the Leafs. I still feel nauseous.

Along the way, Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitysn were shipped to Nashville and I miss Hal. The other guy – not so much. Mike Cammalleri was given a one-way ticket to Calgary after saying publicly that his team was quite pitiful, and that was all well and good except for the fact that the Canadiens got Rene Bourque in return. We’re still not sure if Bourque is dead or alive or just really stoned on valium.

Habs’ brass Pierre Gauthier and Bob Gainey were dismissed after doing quite a lousy job for way too long, and interim coach Randy Cunneyworth and assistant Randy Ladouceur were let go when the season ended, with Michel Therrien announced later on as Cunneyworth’s replacement. It wouldn’t have mattered if Cunneyworth learned to speak French without a trace of an accent. He was on his way out and he and everyone else knew it. Finishing in the basement didn’t help matters either.

Alex Galchenyuk was chosen third overall by the Habs in the 2012 entry draft, thus allowing us to dream that the young fellow will blossom into a Guy Lafleur-type superstar. If we’re going to dream, we might as well dream big, don’t you think?

The Summer Olympics took place in London and I’m still regretting not training to be a gymnast for these games. Judging by the more than 150,000 condoms that organizers gave out to athletes, it seems like I missed an excellent party. And September of 2012 marked the 45th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, a series which catapulted Paul Henderson from normal, everyday NHL player to monumental icon, and a series which allows me tell everyone how I was a bartender in Sudbury at the time.

And of course 2012 saw the L.A. Kings win the Stanley Cup, once again the Vancouver Canucks collapsed when it counted, a lockout began, and the world didn’t end like it was supposed to.

But none of this can match the BIG story of the year. The story destined to become a movie, a story to tell grandkids and at parties and around the supper table for years to come.

February 9, 2012. The night, while playing against the New York Islanders, when Scott Gomez scored a goal.

It was a mighty feat, his first in more than a year, and it was the winner to boot in the Habs’ 4-2 decision over the Isles. The puck came out to him and although it seems impossible, he shot it right into the net. He did. It’s in the video below if you don’t believe me.

Yes, the biggest story of 2012. Can it get any better than that?

Oh, and Happy New Year. May great things happen to you over the next 12 months.

Cunneyworth And Ladouceur Get Their Walking Papers

Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur are now on the bread lines.

Newly-hired Habs coach Michel Therrien has decided to bring in his own people, and so the two Randys are no longer part of the best and craziest hockey organization on the planet.

Cunneyworth, as we all know, stepped into a very difficult situation, not speaking French, and trying to get a bunch of underacheivers to play some decent hockey for a change. He wasn’t able to get it done. How could he when he was saddled with such players as Scott Gomez and Andrei Kostitsyn, to name two of many?

Ladouceur became a big hero of mine when his thundering voice blasted Scott Gomez during practice. My appreciation of the guy went through the roof when that happened.

Here’s hoping Randy and Randy move on to other big-time hockey jobs and enjoy lengthy and successful careers elsewhere. I liked both of them, and it’s sad to see them go.

 

Inexcusable Mess In Montreal

Dallas 3, Montreal 0. There you go. Not even a goal. The fat lady is gargling.

It just doesn’t get any more depressing, this whole season, and when you look at the words of the assistant coach, you see a problem that can’t be fixed with the flick of a switch.

It was Randy Ladouceur explaining in just a few sentences, exactly what’s wrong with the Montreal Canadiens. Ladouceur, in speaking with RDS’s Marc Denis, said the team was outworked by Dallas, and weren’t getting to pucks first.

Outworked – in a crucial game, when a loss cannot happen. Dallas needed the game to move closer to a playoff spot in the west. Montreal needed the game to move closer to a playoff spot in the east. And Dallas outworked them.

How is that the Montreal Canadiens allow other teams to outwork them? How can it be? With so much on the line, with points and pride at stake, they come out and play as they have on so many nights this year, without drive and passion. Outworked.

To me it’s more than a flawed system, or underachieving, or weaknesses on the blueline. It’s more than Scott Gomez doing nothing, although that’s what he does on most nights. It’s more than overpaid floaters and ill-timed penalties and a pathetic power play. If a team is outworked, it’s because of lack of leadership, lack of hunger, and lack of will. So it has to be the failure of the coach, and the alternate captains, and Brian Gionta in civvies being in the room with them. There’s no real leader, and if you dispute that, then tell me why they are outworked by others.

This team being outworked is probably the worst thing we can hear. It means they don’t care as much as they should, don’t want to bust their balls and play like they’ve never played before to give it one big shot to try and reach a playoff spot. But they’ve been outworked, and this word is an obscenity to me and should be to all good Habs fans.

We’ve invested our hearts and souls and dollar bills in them, and they can’t even outwork the other team.

What a disgrace to see this, what a reminder from the mouth of Ladouceur that this team should be ashamed of themselves, because along with letting us down, they’ve let themselves down. And there’s nothing worse than a team wearing the CH to give up, go through the motions, and play like pussies.

What a sorry lot. Outworked. Imagine.

 

Slight Difference In Power Rankings

As you’re well aware, the Canadiens host the Detroit Red Wings tonight at the Bell Centre, and of course a home team win is a must. It’s sort of stating the obvious, don’t you think?

And just so you’re clear what we’re up against, the NHL power rankings for week 17 are out, and Detroit sits in first place, with the mention that they’ve won 7 in a row, and Montreal is way down at 26th, with the mention that PK got in a spat with Randy Ladouceur at practice.

So yes, a Habs’ win would be such a beautiful thing. And yes, I hate power rankings. (Unless we’re way up in the penthouse, like Detroit).

Maybe PK Needs A Few More Birthdays

PK Subban has been fined $2500 for slew-footing Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz during the third period of Friday’s game against the Pens.

Between slew-footing, embellishing, turtling, making costly mistakes, and acting like a two-year old on the bench last night during his exchange with Habs assistant coach Randy Ladouceur, many of us aren’t all that happy with our PK at the moment.

But we can’t lose sight of the fact that if the young fellow can ever mature and stop the nonsense, we’ll truly have a bonafide star on our hands. He’s got what it takes.

But at the moment, there’s a bundle of issues he needs to work out.

Who’s That In The Shootout?

It’s a dark and stormy night. The power went out on this part of the Coast about half an hour after the game ended, thus the later-than-usual post, and the Habs screw it up again, losing 5-4 in beautiful downtown Pittsburgh.

We had them. And then we didn’t.

We had them 1-0, when Lars Eller scored just 34 seconds into the game. We had them 2-1, when Erik Cole converted an Andrei Kostitsyn pass.

Then, most magnificently, we had them 3-1 when Kostitsyn scored a power play goal. Yes, a power play goal.

Then we had them 4-2, when Cole sent a beautiful pass to Max Pacioretty.

Then it all went down the dirty, stinking outhouse hole..

The Penguins chipped away, closed the gap to 4-3, and Evgeni Malkin, a player better than just about anybody in the league, tied it with just 2:43 remaining. And after both teams went scoreless in overtime, the Montreal guys failed to get it done in the shootout, including Andrei Kostitsyn, whose stick broke in half as he was shooting, David Desharnais, and Scott Gomez, who of course didn’t score because he’s Scott Gomez.

Yes, Scott Gomez. Not Erik Cole, who skated miles tonight and was far and away the Canadiens’ best player. Not Max, or Eller or Rene Bourque or any of a half-dozen others. Scott Gomez was one of the chosen three. The guy who……you know.

It’s a blackout here and maybe one in Randy Cunneyworth’s head too.

Peter Budaj was in nets for the Habs tonight, and this could be considered a bit of a surprise, and yet not. Budaj was solid in nets in the Habs 4-1 win over New York a few games back, and Carey Price hasn’t been overly majestic lately.

Might as well go with Budaj. Nothing else is working.

PK Subban has seen better nights. With his team on the power play, for instance, he sent a nice soft no-look pass off the boards, right to a Pens player, which resulted in Pittsburgh’s second goal. Then it became quite interesting as PK stated his case on the bench to Randy Ladouceur, almost like he was putting the blame on Gomez for not being over on that side.

I can just hear the conversation. “He’s supposed to be over there, that’s what we work on”, cries PK. “Doesn’t matter,” replies Ladouceur, “you have to look before you pass.” “Yeah sure, blame it on PK,” yells PK as he suddenly remember that “Blame Subban” Twitter thing.

I’m typing this on Word, with three candles and a flashlight nearby because of this power blackout, and it kind of sucks if I do say so myself. I can’t post it until the Internet comes back.

It’s a real nasty night out there, and what could it mean? Are the hockey gods not happy for some reason? Are they surprised that Gomez didn’t score?

Random Notes:

Habs in Toronto Saturday night. Then it’s up to Orillia after that to see if any of them can make the Byers Bulldozer midget all-stars.

2011 – The Year Of Gomez’s Promise And Other Fine Moments

Another year older and deeper in debt. Etc.

2011 had some fine moments for Habs fans, and unfortunately, some not-so-fine moments. So let’s have a glimpse at what happened in this Year of the Rabbit. And please keep in mind, things aren’t in order here. That would be way too normal.

Carey Price posed with his arms crossed after a win, which upset some and I don’t know why. I thought it was quite creative. Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury mimicked Price a week later but alas, it all ended there.

Saku Koivu returned for the first time after being traded to Anaheim, and that was nice. Unfortunately, Saku’s new team won 4-3 in a shootout.

P.K. Subban was selected for the All-Rookie team at the All-Star game in Raleigh. PK’s smile made us smile, and when he put on Jeff Skinner’s jersey in the shootout competition he made us smile even more. At least I smiled. I don’t know about you.

I held half a dozen or so contests in 2011, with people far and wide winning some good shit.

James Wisniewski took a puck in the face in Edmonton, looked like we’d lose him for months, but he was back for the Heritage Classic in Calgary just a few days later. We would eventually lose Wiz anyways when Columbus gave him a zillion dollars. And speaking of the Heritage Classic, Carey Price put on his new facemask that was so weird that little kids were put to bed early so they wouldn’t see it and have nightmares.

Rearguard Brent Sopel played one year with the Habs, and when he was cut loose at the end and not picked up, ended up going to the KHL and is probably slurping borscht as we speak.

My grandson Adam entered the world on February 3rd and will almost certainly play for the Habs in twenty years.

Also in February, Luci and I went to Vancouver to see the Habs beat the Canucks in a terrific game where we had great seats and a wonderful time. And speaking of Vancouver, Gilbert Brule of the Edmonton Oilers was driving in his car with his girlfriend, near the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay, and stopped to pick up a hitchhiker who happened to be Bono from the band U2. I just find that as weird as can be.

Boston won the Cup, as you know, and thousands rioted in the Vancouver downtown area. Several dozen are just now on the verge of having their big court appearances and most say they feel bad. I feel bad too. Because the Bruins won the Cup.

We lost assistant coach Kirk Muller to Nashville affiliate Milwaukee Admirals, Boston Pizza changed their name to Montreal Pizza during the playoffs, Bruin Andrew Ference gave the finger to the Bell Centre crowd after scoring a goal, a tortoise named Gerry La Tortue tried to predict games in the Habs-Bruins series and often failed miserably, and Hal Gill signed a one year, 2.25 million dollar contract.

A woman in Vancouver flashed her boobs at San Jose’s Ben Eager while he sat in the penalty box, Winnipeg got an NHL team again – the ex-Atlanta Thrashers, and Luci and I went to Ontario where we hooked up with some great new and old friends and co-workers in both Ottawa and Orillia, enjoyed a luncheon with NHL oldtimers in Toronto, visited my dad in his new old folks home, stayed with my brother, and went to see the old arena in Orillia where the doors were locked.

2011 was the year of the big Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty, which fractured Max’s neck which in turn caused many Bruins fans to laugh and jump with glee. It also allowed Mark Recchi to use his medical knowledge to diagnose the situation and conclude it wasn’t as bad as we were led to believe.

Jean Beliveau turned 80 in 2011, Wayne Gretzky 50, Carey Price 24, and Don Cherry 119.

I had an interview in Puck Daddy and Bruins fans accused me of sounding like a Hab fan.

Andrei Kostitsyn slammed Jacques Martin for playing him improperly, Josh Gorges signed for one year, 2.5 million, Erik Cole also inked for 4 years, 18 million, and Roman Hamrlik went to Washington.

Assistant coach Perry Pearn was let go, and the two Randy’s – Cunneyworth and Ladouceur, joined Martin behind the bench.

Vancouver Giant sensation Brendan Gallagher had a great camp and almost made the Habs, Chris Campoli was added to the blueline corps, and Scott Gomez told us he was embarrassed by his previous season, was sorry, and things would be different this year.

Longtime Canadiens trainer and equipment guy Eddie Palchak passed away, Andrei Markov almost played on the Habs’ California trip but didn’t, Jacques Martin was out and Cunneyworth in, Rocket’s star was stolen from the sidewalk at the Forum, the bilingual coach issue has raised it’s ugly head, and I mistakingly ate some toxic maple syrup and lived to tell about it.

So there you have it. I know I’ve missed a lot, but enough’s enough.

And of course, I wish you all a very splendid New Year. May it be your best year ever.

 

 

 

Habs Dull And Sloppy Against The Blue-Jacketed Ones

There goes the winning streak.

It ended at one.

Canadiens lose 3-2 to Columbus in a shootout, and the beat goes on.

For the umpteenth time this year, the Canadiens were out of sorts for most of the game, and although they got a point out of the deal, they didn’t deserve it. The team with the least points in the league deserved it instead. Come to think of it, a lot of teams, whether they’re good or not, seem to look good when they play the Habs.

For the first five minutes of the game, the Habs barely touched the puck, and after that, for the most part, when they did touch it, they gave it away or tripped on it. PK Subban found himself in trouble on numerous occasions, and all in all, Montreal was way too ordinary against a very ordinary Blue Jackets team.

Assistant coach Randy Ladouceur admitted that they’re their own worst enemy, and they are. I also think Henri Richard needs to give them a good talking to.

It’s remarkable that the Canadiens still hover near a playoff spot. The way they’ve played for much of this season, they should have been buried by now. I suppose all that says is that there are a number of teams in the Eastern Conference as mediocre as Montreal.

There were some good things to be found on this night though:

Carey Price made some outstanding saves, and kept his team in it throughout.

Alexei Emelin dished out a handful of bone-rattling checks and is moving up the charts with a bullet. He even had an assist.

Andrei Kostitsyn tied the game at one in the first period with just 1.5 seconds to go, so we had something to cheer about for a short while at least. And late in the game, with 1:21 minutes left, Brian Gionta lit the lamp to send it into overtime, giving the team an unexpected chance to win.

After a scoreless overtime, neither David Desharnais, nor Max Pacioretty, nor Brian Gionta could get it done in the shootout, and that’s all she wrote.

The win streak had to end sometime.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Columbus – 28, the home team – 20.

Next game – Thursday when the Canucks come to town. A deckhand at work asked me if I wanted to bet on the game and I declined.

The Two On The Bread Lines

Would you want either of the recently canned coaches, Paul Maurice or Bruce Boudreau, coaching the Habs?

Because when you look at them, it’s not exactly like bringing in Scotty Bowman or Jacques Lemaire.

Boudreau can’t even be considered an experienced NHL bench boss. Four and a half years behind the bench for the Washington Capitals. Before that, it was 15 years riding buses in the minors and eating Teenburgers, which probably helped make him the round ball of jelly he is today.

He also can’t be considered a winner, although his regular season record is excellent. It’s in the playoffs where he falls short. Four years with the Caps, losing twice in round one and twice in round two. Not spectacular showings considering he had a team many felt to be the best in the east and maybe in all of hockey.

Boudreau of course is a world-class swearer, as we witnessed on HBO’s 24/7. I haven’t heard cursing like that since the days when I would wander into Orillia’s Top Hat billiard room as a young teenager and mingle among some of Central Ontario’s finest thugs and future convicts. But swearing is a non-issue. Toe Blake was banned from the Forum pool hall for his salty language. So if Toe could let loose with expletives, then Bruce can too. (Although maybe some of those scenes on 24/7 could have been sliced for the younger viewing audience).

Anyway, I’m pretty sure there aren’t many coaches out there slated for future sainthood.

Boudreau’s problem, which Montreal doesn’t have, was Alex Ovechkin, who became, like the big star on a peewee team, a sulking child when the coach decided not to play him at certain times, like 60 minutes a game, every game. Ovechkin stopped playing, stopped being one of the two best in the world, felt hard done by and persecuted, and hopefully he still lives with his mom so she can whip up some borscht and dumplings and make him feel better.

The end came fast when Boudreau lost Ovechkin.

It’s also interesting to note that I saw it explained yesterday that it was Kirk Muller, as assistant coach of the Montreal Canadiens at the time, who figured out how to stop this flashy Russian by mostly keeping him to the outside, and other teams quickly followed suit. He became predictable and remains predictable now. Ovechkin’s star is fading while Sidney Crosby’s is glistening.

Oh, and maybe I should mention – this Russian, so hard done by, is in the middle of a 13 year, 124 million dollar contract.

Paul Maurice is a much more experienced coach than Boudreau, with 14 plus years under his belt in Hartford, Toronto, and Carolina. He sniffed success just once, taking Carolina to the Cup finals in 2002 before losing 4 games to 1 to Detroit. But again, like Boudreau, there hasn’t been a lot of glorious moments in this coaching career.

He’s a likeable enough fellow, it seems, but his players, like Boudreau’s, stopped playing, even though these guys are paid a king’s ransom for half a year’s work, plus all the free meals they can eat in their home city. It’s a good job. I don’t know about yours but it’s better than mine.

My feeling is the Habs don’t need either of these guys. Get rid of Jacques Martin and promote one of the Randy’s. Or entice a winning coach from elsewhere, using Scott Gomez-like money. We know Molsons has lots of cash. My friends and I have spent a vast fortune on their beer over the years.

And maybe old and retired Sovietski Viktor Tikhonov should go to Washington to help Dale Hunter. Put the fear of the gulag in Ovechkin.

Josh Gorges On Dotted Line

Finally, Josh Gorges has signed a new contract. It’s a one-year deal worth 2.5 million, and it finally puts to bed the pressing issue of getting this reliable defenceman inked and filed. Now there’s no arbitration, no nastiness, no squabbling or stomping of feet. All Josh has to do is have a great year, help the team in a big way, and then set himself up for some serious security. Maybe even buy himself another Dairy Queen.

Many were nervous, I think, when Gorges and Pierre Gauthier took their time agreeing on something. The thing I didn’t want to see was a nasty arbitration hearing. But it got done prior, just after the two Randy’s were hired to help JM, so Gauthier can now take off to the cottage for a few days with some big business attended to. 

Details can be found right here – Josh signs

Now we all can get down to the business of a Stanley Cup.