Tag Archives: Raphael Diaz

Habs To Crush Canucks – Hopefully

Aside from the Price/Luongo Olympics-related storyline, the Diaz/Weise swap, and the game being huge for both teams, this is a night when the Canadiens really have to win on top of all that.

I just spent the last 17 years among smug Canucks fans. I don’t know why they’re smug, but I suspect it has something to do with their team being better during the regular season than the Habs over the past couple of decades.

Not that the Canucks have been any good in the playoffs, but that’s beside the point. Canucks fans I know never failed to remind me of the superiority of their team.

Yes, I know, Habs fans have been accused of being the same thing at times. But the accusers have been wrong. We’re misunderstood salt of the earth fans.

If we were a tad smug, it was years ago. It doesn’t count

And one last thing to mention. I miss many of these smug Canucks fans. Great people, great friends. I’ll be thinking of you when the game’s on.

 

 

 

 

Habs Blank Cowtowners

It wasn’t a barnburner, the crowd was in something slightly less than a frenzy, and the boys didn’t fill the net, but they beat the Calgary Flames 2-0 on Tuesday, and that’s plenty good enough.

Especially with Toronto losing and the Rangers winning. Results that tie the Canadiens with the Leafs and keeps them one point up on New York.

It’s a slippery slope out there.

They also end their two-game losing skid. Yessiree, it’s all good news tonight.

We also saw something quite startling. A Habs fourth line that rocked, a Bournival, White, Weise combo that skated miles, checked hard, and earned a few good chances.

Good to see Ryan White back. He adds character, except for those times when he loses his mind. White suffered an upper body injury during the Jan. 2 game against Dallas and has only just returned now.

Newcomer Dale Weise can really skate, seems to know what to do out there, and likes to get down and dirty. It was great to see his fine first contribution.

And Raphael Diaz in a Canucks uniform potted one in his first outing with his new team.

Fine debuts for both of them. Although we want Weise to sparkle and Diaz to fizzle on Thursday when the Canucks pay a visit.

I’m not going to get overly excited just yet about Weise – it’s just one game from the ex-Canuck, but it was a fine outing with his brand new team, and he, White, and Bournival seemed to truly compliment each other.

Having a solid fourth line can prove very important.

Not the greatest game ever played on Tuesday night. Not when the shots on goal were 5-4 Habs after the first period.

But in the second, after the puck came within a whisker of going completely over the line behind Carey Price, the Canadiens then killed a full two minute five on three when Lars Eller and Tomas Plekanec were resting uncomfortably in the box.

It was a huge kill, and soon after, none other than Rene Bourque scored a bit of flukey goal, and the boys held on until David Desharnais found the empty net to salt it away.

A fine win, even though Bell Centre employees are still finding a small scattering of people asleep in their seats.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal 26-26

Canucks in town on Thursday, then it’s a flight to Raleigh to meet the Hurricanes on Saturday night. After that, the Olympics to watch and enjoy.

Diaz For Weise

Weise

With Ralphael Diaz the odd-man out recently on the blueline, the time had come for the Swiss-born fellow to be shipped out, and so Raphael is now a brand new member of the Vancouver Canucks.

In return, the Canadiens receive 25-year old Dale Weise, a 6’02″, 201-pounder who spend most of the past three season with the Canucks, and with 162 games-played in the NHL totaling 10 goals and 16 assists, along with 185 PIM.

We’ll see what this does. Maybe Weise is Hamilton-bound. Maybe not.

The one knock about Diaz, who was  a smart player with a good shot, was that he wasn’t physical enough. And Nathan Beaulieu has definitely picked it up several notches after being brought up from Hamilton.

So we just got a bit bigger and a bit tougher. No complaints there. I just hope Weise can contribute.

Habs And Home News

At the World Championships in Sweden, P.K. Subban ended up joining Team Canada for a game, Raphael Diaz’ Swiss team captured silver, and Alex Galchenyuk copped a bronze with the Americans.

On the home front, Michel Therrien was snubbed as a coach of the year candidate, which I disagree with, and Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski has admitted he bit Max Pacioretty on the arm during the Feb. 9 Habs-Leafs tilt.

Good thing it was the arm and not Max’s hand, Grabovski. Pretty sure I saw Max reach down into his pants, adjust his jock strap, and scratch himself, just seconds before the bite.

And yesterday I gave B.C. Ferries a letter informing them I’m retiring on June 8.

 

 

 

 

On The Verge Of Game Three

Now where were we.

When we last left off, the Canadiens had kicked some ass. Senators ass.

Now, in this upcoming Sunday evening game 3, they need to do it again.

Kevin Weekes on HNIC’s Hotstove Tonight mentioned that Brian Gionta has an upper body injury, may require surgery, and may be gone for the season. P.J. Stock informed us that he (Stock) is a great ball hockey player.

I can’t wait for the game to begin so we can watch the linesman kick guys out of the faceoff circle. It’s just great to see. Exciting. Riveting. OUT!, he says with authority. Fantastic.

Hoping Carey Price’s sore mouth isn’t sore anymore. The question is – is the knocked out tooth back in his mouth, and if it is, does he realize it might turn black at some point? Or has he considered selling it on eBay and raising money for his favourite charity?

I haven’t heard of any celebrity teeth collectors, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t any. There’s a guy who collects navel fluff, and one who collects ketchup bottles. Heck, I’ve even heard of the odd person who collects Toronto Maple Leaf memorabilia, if you can believe that.

So of course teeth isn’t out of the question.

I’ve read that the medical term for a knocked out tooth is “avulsed,” if you’re interested.

Looking for a good game from number 61. Number 61 began the season as one of the team’s key blueliners, and we need number 61 to regain that form he showed back then. So c’mon number 61.

Hey Paul MacLean, who’s that number 61? And who’s that number 11 and number 8 and number 76?

The first time I ever spent time on the West Coast, many years ago, I found it extremely odd to watch hockey games that began at four in the afternoon. But I like it now. It’s comfortable to watch the game and still have the evening left. But for a long time I felt that these early games missed the magic of later on. What do you think?

Watched much of the Leafs-Bruins game two. It’s pretty bad, I guess, when you hope the zamboni runs over about 18 players from both sides.

 

 

Game Day, With The Caps In Town

It’s game number 45 tonight for the Canadiens, with the Washington Capitals paying a visit to the Bell Centre, and of course the team needs to continue to build off their decent if unspectacular last-minute win over the Lightning on Thursday.

A lousy game for the Habs will mean the slump isn’t ended, and it’s imperative that it has.

The last time these two teams met, on April 9th in Montreal, the Capitals squeezed out a 3-2 win, and it was the line of Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brandon Prust who stood tall, with Eller scoring both Habs goals, Galchenyuk adding two assists and Prust one. It was also Rene Bourque’s first game back after his concussion situation, and he surprised all of us with his six solid hits.

It might also have been the beginning of Carey Price’s recent shakiness, as I mentioned in my game post from that night:

Maybe Carey Price wasn’t sensational. A couple of long shots with seeing eyes found their way past him. A puck in close bounced up and probably hit Andrei Markov’s stick before going in. But aside from the first period when he was getting it done in fine fashion, he wasn’t tremendously sharp, even though the goals might not have been his fault.

A netminder on top of his game will come up with the impossible in situations like these. Leave fans gasping and the other team pulling their hair out. Price fell slightly short of this on this night.

Random Notes:

Looks like Raphael Diaz is finally back, which is such great news. Now, if some slimy Caps player goes after Diaz’s head, the guy should be suspended for the entire playoffs.

The game plan is this – frustrate Alex Ovechkin, and wipe that annoying grin off Mike Ribeiro’s face.

 

Three’s Plenty

For the third straight game, the Canadiens looked tremendously ordinary and the starting goalie was pulled.

So much for my previous pep talk.

A total of eighteen pucks have found their way behind our two netminders during this three-game stretch, with last night being a 6-4 loss at the hands of the home town Pittsburgh Penguins, and the team in general is in disarray. It’s time to stop this nonsense.

Let’s write these three games off and forget they ever happened. It’s better this way.

Peter Budaj relieved Carey Price against Toronto and Philly, and last night in Pittsburgh, Price came on in relief of Budaj. It’s just an overall depressing time. But it’s not all on the goalies. Many of the forwards are stuck in neutral and the defence, aside from our Norris Trophy guy, is less than formidable.

Visions of Alexei Emelin crashing and blasting dance in my head.

A huge dimension is missing with the big Russian on the sidelines. Toughness and scaring the bejeesus out of puck carriers won’t be found in the likes of Davis Drewicke and Yannick Weber and most of the blueline corps, but we could always rely on Emelin to rattle some bones.

Guys are floundering and sloppy with the puck. They’re being outmuscled and outskated, and when you combine all of that with less than stellar goaltending, it’s a recipe for hockey fan depression.

Raphael Diaz is apparently close to returning, which should help, and maybe even recreate some of the old Diaz/Markov power play magic we saw in the beginning. Diaz will be a sight for sore eyes, but he’s missed the last 24 games so it might be tough in the beginning.

As long as he gets back.

It’s also weird to treat Diaz like the coming Messiah. But it’s grasping at straws and hoping he makes a big difference, whenever he shows up.

Pittsburgh beat Budaj three time on nine shots in the first period, and that was it for our backup who has been fine up until recently. Carey Price in relief allowed the other three goals on twenty shots over two periods, and at times looked shaky and other times not bad. He seemed a tad better than the past two games, if that’s any consolation.

P.K. Subban found himself in a scrap with Brenden Morrow, and if I can throw my two cents in, I’d say to P.K. that this summer, instead of being a weatherman and a media darling, take some boxing lessons instead. It’s the one thing lacking in his game. He’s a lousy fighter.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot Pittsburgh 35-29.

Gabriel Dumont notched his first NHL goal, and other scorers included Brian Gionta, (which I don’t get to say very often); Alex Galchenyuk; and Andrei Markov. Galchenyuk has such a great wrist shot, and he fired a beauty into the top corner past Marc-Andre Fleury.

So there were a couple of good things about tonight. Not many, but it’s better than none.

Now it’s back home for a meeting tonight against Tampa Bay.

Habs Sliced By Sabres

Ryan Miller stopped 38 of the 39 shots the Habs sent his way, with the end result being a 2-1 Sabres win at the Bell Centre, and I suppose if the boys are going to lose, they might as well do it before they play the Penguins on Tuesday and Bruins on Wednesday.

I’m sure P.K. Subban would just as soon not see the Buffalo Sabres again this year, although he’ll have to once more, on April 11th. Again tonight he was in the box when the Sabres scored an important goal, this time after the puck had found its way over the glass for a delay of game penalty and which was the goal that broke the ice after a scoreless first frame.

P.K. was also sitting in the sin bin when the Sabres won it last Tuesday, and I think the best thing our guy can do now is offer to wash Michel Therrien’s car and maybe send Madam Therrien a nice flower arrangement.

But please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not blaming P.K. for anything. He’s The Man. He having a terrific season. I’m just saying that going for a few brownie points can often be a good thing.

P.K. reminds me of me. We both have a knack for getting into trouble without even trying. Oh, the stories I could tell about the times I’d sneak into the drive-in theater.

On Vanek’s goal, which came with just 38 seconds left in the second frame, Brendan Gallagher broke his stick outside the blueline which opened things up for the dangerous forward. Just one of those things. Buffalo took advantage of a couple of breaks, one literally, and Montreal – not so much.

All in all, the sky isn’t falling, and I know you might be getting sick of hearing this from me, but we really need our injured guys back. Imagine the difference with Brandon Prust shaking things up, the revitalized Rene Bourque being the power forward he’s proven he can be, and Raphael Diaz doing the job in a big way from the back end, especially in power play situations. But we’ve been an absolutely fine team through this adversity, and it’s positive vibrations all round, even with a low-scoring loss to dwell on.

Random Notes:

Montreal’s lone marker came from Michael Ryder when he converted an Andrei Markov shot, and if you’re interested in petty comparisons, Ryder has four goals and seven assists in 11 games with the Habs, while his trade counterpart Erik Cole in Dallas has managed just two goals and zero assists in ten games. Most everyone in hockey universe agreed at the time it went down that Montreal won this trade, and it’s appearing that everyone was right.

Canadiens outshot Buffalo 39-18.

Toronto beat the Bruins 3-2 tonight and are just a hair from being in a position to play Montreal in the opening round if the season ended now. I’m torn about this. I’d hate to see the Leafs make the playoffs, but I’d love to see the Habs kick their ass. It’s a real dilemma.

Yannick Weber and Ryan White are presently on the shelf too, and I feel bad for not including them with Bourque, Prust, and Diaz as guys we need back soon. Yes, we need everyone healthy. And I’m sure even Weber and White would freely admit that the above-mentioned trio are the most important in the scheme of things.

 

 

 

 

Has To Be A Win Tonight

A quick little jaunt down the road to Uniondale to meet the Islanders tonight, then back home Saturday for a chance at redemption when the Buffalo Sabres are back for another round.

These are two games the Habs must win. As a fan, I’m ordering this to happen.

I have a phobia. A constant worry whenever the Canadiens lose one game, as they did on Tuesday to Buffalo. My phobia is that they’ll somehow lose the next game too, and then drop the one after that, and all of a sudden the boys are mired in a dreadful slump and all merriment and joy experienced lately will fly out the window faster than we can say theleafssuckporcupinesneedlesthroughtheirassholes.

Beating the Islanders and Sabres is not only important to avoid a depressing slide, but these are the two games left before it’s on to Pittsburgh and Boston for the big message-sending clashes we’ve all been waiting for. A little momentum going into these would be good. Real good.

Montreal hasn’t found themselves in any sort of trouble this year except for the three straight losses against Boston, Buffalo, and Toronto in early February. They been a model of consistency. It’s one of the big reasons we’re so proud of them.

So once again – it’s crucial they beat the Islanders tonight.

Random Notes:

We need our wounded back and it seems Rene Bourque is just around the corner. Maybe Prust too. Diaz? No idea.

Francis Bouillon, pictured below, has signed a $1.5 million contract extension. Bouillon’s been a nice, solid addition, and whenever someone talks about this fellow, his abnormal strength is mentioned. Kind of reminds me of me.

8

Tonight It’s The Devils

The Canadiens tackle the Devils in Newark tonight and will be without Michael Ryder (lower body injury), along with the usual guys, Rene Bourque, Raphael Diaz, and Brandon Prust.

Big Jarred Tinordi will play his first-ever NHL game, which must be an awesome feeling. In my next life, I want this feeling.

As has been the case so many times this year, someone else, maybe even someone we least expect, will hopefully get in some sort of magical groove and help carry the team to another win, which would make it five straight, which of course is what we expect because we’re spoiled bastards now.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say David Desharnais will be the one tonight. He’s happy, healthy, and rich.

The Devils sit in sixth spot in the east, eight points behind Montreal, and apparently are without Martin Brodeur, which is good news for Habs fans considering the sleepless nights and mental anguish he’s caused us over the years. So the task at hand is this: Take advantage of no Brodeur, beat the Devils and make it five straight; it’s somebody else’s turn to light the fire; and nobody get hurt.

I’ve been close to Newark but never actually been in the heart of it, and I’m sure it’s a fine place. Although at one time this city of 277,500 (the 67th largest in the U.S), and just eight miles west of Manhattan, was ranked by Time magazine as the most dangerous city in the nation, and according to Wikipedia, every mayor except one, since 1962, has been indicted for crimes committed while in office. Newark is also the home of the nasty Northern State Prison, and is just ten short miles from the Rahway prison where Rubin “Hurricane” Carter did his time.

But aside from these little hiccups, Newark has probably been cleaned up considerably and is a great place to live. It’s also a great place for the Habs to grab two big points.