Tag Archives: Rick Nash

Canadiens Drop Game 2

It began with such promise. The Canadiens came out flying, they were a team on a mission, a team that looked like they wanted it in a big way.

All four lines were motoring. The DD, Max, Gally combo especially was on fire, and after some great work during that first frame, Max slipped it by Henrik Lundqvist and the building was alive.

Happy days were here again. Strike up the band.

The joy lasted 17 seconds.

A puck off Josh Gorges, the score was tied just like that, and in the last minute of play Rick Nash beat Dustin Tokarski on his glove side, it became a 2-1 contest, and all that flying around and buzzing in the Rangers’ end was sucked down the drain.

The killer came in the second when Alex Galchenyuk was sent to the box for sort of tripping Carl Hagelin, who should have no problem getting a job as stuntman in Hollywood when his playing days are over. And with the man advantage, Martin St. Louis converted a nice passing play and it became a very discouraging 3-1 score for the visitors.

Montreal just couldn’t solve Lundqvist, no matter how well they were playing. And there was a young and inexperienced goaltender down at the other end who would need more than just one feeble goal from his guys to help matters.

That was that. A 3-1 win by New York, the Canadiens are now in a huge hole, and although Dustin Tokarski played well, he didn’t provide miracles, which we were relying on him to do in storybook fashion.

The fact is, although the Canadiens outshot the Rangers 41-30, they also flubbed way too many chances, chances that didn’t hit the net, pucks over the net, pucks shot wide, and of course far too many pucks that Lundqvist saw.

And then there’s Thomas Vanek, who can soon go to Minnesota and live happily after. If they still want him.

This guy isn’t close to what we saw in the regular season. You remember – the guy who revitalized Max and helped create a sensational big line, who made smart pinpoint passes, who hit the back of the net when the opportunity arose.

The guy who was turning out to be our best player. Who helped lead the charge in the final month. The guy we wanted management to shower with money. The one who was going to love Montreal’s hockey atmosphere so much. We had a sliver of hope that he’d stay and become a full-time Hab.

Now, for lack of a better description, he’s become a bum.

He’s making horrible decisions. His passes are well off. He looks lazy and not terribly interested. He’s a guy showing that when things get going, he doesn’t.

As far as the goaltending situation goes, maybe Peter Budaj should’ve played. Maybe Michel Therrien, in one surprising hunch to use Toker, ripped the guts out of Budaj. Maybe Budaj would’ve grabbed that Rick Nash shot and the teams gone to intermission tied 1-1.

It’s all hindsight now. It’s also very depressing.

Next game – Thursday in Manhattan. It’s desperate times.

Let’s Go Habs!

The Rangers have their share of guns. Brad Richards (4 goals, 5 assists), Martin St. Louis (3 goals, 5 assists), and yes indeed, Benoit Pouliot with 3 goals and 5 assists.

There are others as well, including a quiet Rick Nash who has no goals and 5 assists and seems to be one of these guys, like Joe Thornton, who oozes talent but doesn’t have what it takes when things get truly serious.

We need Nash to continue his sleepy ways.

Benoit Pouliot played for the Canadiens in 2009-10 and 2010-11, coming over from Minnesota in a swap for Guillaume Latendresse, and we were excited because he’d been the 4th pick overall in the 2005 Entry Draft. We thought we were getting a big, long-legged, smooth and budding superstar.

Kind of like Max.

Instead he was a huge disappointment who often seemed lazy, often gave the puck away, never seemed to like the rough going, often took truly stupid penalties, and soon he was gone to Boston, then Tampa Bay, and this season New York where, weirdly enough, he’s emerged as one of the Rangers’ big guns.

Pouliot’s going to want to make a big impression in this series. He’s got things to prove. Which makes it all the more beautiful when we shut him down completely.

We also need big Rick Nash to stay quiet. He’s a big talent who’s been snoring while St. Louis, Richards, Pouliot, Brassard, Hagland and others go about their business.

Let’s go Habs. It’s a beautiful time right now. The streets of St. Hubert are alive!

 

Price And P.K. Lead Team

On one hand it was a very solid 3-0 win over the New York Rangers. On the other it wasn’t, because Carey Price simply shone in goal and came up with a handful of amazing stops to stop any flow or momentum the visiting Rangers tried to muster. But all in all, it was full marks for the Habs in their win, and although New York would come close from time to time, the game seemed under control throughout.

I kind of had this calm and relaxed inner peace from the first drop of the puck. Somehow I knew they’d win and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because this team is SO FREAKING GOOD THIS YEAR.

Michael Ryder scored his team’s first of the night, Tomas Plekanec made it 2-0 after one period, and Brendan Gallagher scored the third on the power play in the second. Ryder, Plekanec, and Gallagher – three guys getting it done. And P.K. Subban notching three assists and continuing to be the best defenceman in the world.

Several guys going good, and Price holding the fort. Now if only Max, Desharnais, and Gionta can step it up somewhat. And they will. Max needs another one of those bouncers from centre ice to go in. He started scoring every night, it seemed, after the last one happened, and now it’s time for another springboard. And with Max going, Desharnais will find himself on the scoresheet more often and he’ll quickly find a nice groove. Things snowball and before we know it, another set of guys are winning games for us when Ryder and Gallagher and the others aren’t.

Although Gallagher especially seems to be a terror pretty well every night.

The Rangers have such high-priced talent with the likes of Brad Richards, Rick Nash, and Marian Gaborik, and when teams struggle when they shouldn’t, it’s usually the coach who meets the firing line. Maybe John Tortorella might want to update his resume. And it only goes to show that having a list of big stars on one team doesn’t always guarantee a powerhouse. Often it does, but not always. The Rangers fit the “not always” part.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Rangers 34, Montreal 26. Price was sensational on several of those 34.

Carolina’s in town on Monday. Of course the Canadiens need this win. Have I ever said this before?

Brandon Prust was still finding his legs tonight, and at one point, took a puck off one of them and he hobbled to the bench. Thankfully he was back soon after, but he might be a bit sore tomorrow morning. I believe, for the sake of the team, Prust needs his gorgeous girlfriend to massage the painful area.

Nathan Beaulieu, in his first NHL game, saw action on the power play and showed he can skate and make smart plays. I’m sure his parents are very proud and Michel Therrien and Marc Bergevin are very pleased.

 

Habs Blank New Yorkers

The line of Erik Cole, Lars Eller, and Alex Galchenyuk did major damage, each racking up a goal and an assist, and Carey Price earned his second shutout of the season as the Canadiens rebounded after a dismal collapse on Thursday against the Islanders to hand the New York Rangers a big 3-0 skunk at the Bell Centre.

But you already know that and I really don’t have to repeat it. I’m just trying to fill space, that’s all.

Six points from the above mentioned trio, and Lars Eller in particular enjoyed a terrific night. But the team in general played well and took care of a battered Rangers team who were without a bunch of guys, including Rick Nash and Michael Del Zotto. But who cares if they’re battered? Most people never seem to mind when the Canadiens have injuries so the heck with New York’s problems. Looks good on Fonzie Tortorella.

Montreal had Brendan Gallagher back in uniform after his slight concussion, but Rene Bourque was out with the flu, which he probably caught from Carey Price or PK Subban, who went through it a few days back. Hopefully Bourque, a guy who has been reincarnated this season, will be fine by Monday when the team travels up the 417 to Ottawa to meet the beat-up Senators. But again, who cares if Ottawa is beat-up?

Random Notes:

The fourth line of Travis Moen, Colby Armstrong, and Ryan White earned their money in fine fashion, and I feel every guy on the roster showed up on this night, even though they managed just three shots in the first period, which happened to be the number of shots the boys got in the first period the last time they played the Rangers. The question now lingers – Will Tortorella say anything nice about the team that beat his?

Shots on goal – Montreal 18, NY 17.

Habs in Ottawa Monday and Toronto on Wednesday. Really need these games. The Sens are hurting and the Leafs are as despicable as they’ve ever been. Maybe more so.

Max Pacioretty was hit hard by Ryan McDonagh and for a few minutes looked to be snake bitten again, but he was fine and shortly after got payback with a nasty check to McDonagh. The Rangers D-man, who went to NY as part of the Scott Gomez deal in 2009, might be eating ice cream for awhile.

 

 

Rangers Tonight

Rangers

The Canadiens hit Broadway tonight for a meeting with the Rangers, and to keep their win streak alive, they know they’ll have to contain the big five – Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Andy Bathgate, and little Camille Henry. They also know they must be aware of the Ranger’s tight defence, with stalwarts such as Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto, Harry Howell, and Bill Gadsby patrolling the back end.

The Rangers sit eight in the east with 17 points, four points behind the second-place Habs, and at this point, N.Y. coach John Tortorella hasn’t announced whether he’s starting Henrik Lundqvist or Gump Worsley in goal.

A big game for the Habs, as they look to blast those Blueshirts and keep us happy.

Did It

I’m back. That’s a freaking long walk, 11.2 kilometers (6.959 miles).

It took two and a half hours, including buying water at the gas station, talking to my friend there about Rick Nash and Scott Gomez, peeing behind a tree, and sitting at a bus stop having slight hallucinations.

I don’t think I’ve walked that far since I was a teenager and my friends and I would walk from our houses to downtown to the pool hall, down to the park, back to the pool hall, maybe back to the park, sometimes up to the arena, and then home. No wonder I was 140 pounds.

Can I do something like this tomorrow? I’m working on it.

 

Canada Firing On All Cylinders As They Send Russia Back To The Homeland

Canada’s Olympic hockey team began the tournament dazed and confused, but look at them now.

It began with an 8-2 thrashing of the Germans, and the snowball grew even bigger tonight against the Russians as Team Canada steamrolled 7-3 over Alex Ovechkin and his teammates, making the gap-toothed superstar look very ordinary, and for that matter, making all of the Russian squad look ordinary.

Russia was outmatched in all aspects of the game, starting with less-than-strong goaltending from Evgeni Nabokov, and ending with a lacklustre performance from a lineup we looked at two weeks ago and decided it was as formidable as it could possibly get. Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Datsyuk, Semin, Markov, Gonchar. Could they be beaten?

Canada must thank the Americans for waking them up, and the idea that Canada needed that extra game by losing to the US holds water completely. They needed a jolt, got it, and are now playing like they absolutely want gold. For the rest of the teams left, you just saw what you’re in for if you manage to get far enough to meet the maple leaf.

I hope Ryan O’Byrne was paying attention tonight, wherever he may be. I hope he watched closely the play of Shea Weber. Both are big, young defensemen, and if O’Byrne learns to use his strength like Weber, intimidate, and fire a big shot the way Weber can, then Montreal will have a blue-chip defenceman in number 20. That’s the way a big, strong, mobile defenceman should play, and I now understand why Weber was chosen for Team Canada. What a force to be reckoned with.

Shea Weber and Drew Doughty wearing the bleu, blanc, rough of Les Canadiens. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

I watched this beauty with two Russian ladies and a little Russian girl, and it was very interesting. One lady, a good friend, brought her Russian flag and cheered loudly, at least until Canada had scored three goals. The other Russian lady, my wife, confessed that her heart said Russia.  After Canada had scored about their fifth goal, the Russian friend phoned her son and asked if they should start cheering for Canada and he said no. The little Russian girl said she didn’t want either team to lose. I said I hoped Canada destroyed Russia and I needed more goals.

Canada got two goals from Corey Perry and singles from Ryan Getzlaf, Dan Boyle, Rick Nash, Brenden Morrow, and Shea Weber. It was a strong, dominant, surprising game, with pretty passing plays and chemistry oozing out of every pore. The Americans are now thinking about asking Brian Burke if they can go home early.

Canada plays Friday against the winner of Sweden-Slovakia, who don’t start play until later tonight.

Canadians Crash Through German Lines

The Russian team, wherever they were at the time, watched Canada play their best game of the Olympics on this night, pummelling the Germans 8-2, and I’m sure Alex Ovechkin and company are now understanding the Games have begun for real. 

At this very moment, there will be Russian fingernails being bitten. This extra game, caused by the Canadians losing to the Americans on Sunday, very well could be the turning point for a Canadian team so scrutinized, so criticized, almost since the Games begun.

You saw a different team tonight, Russians. You saw a team finally playing as a team against the German squad. You saw Crosby step up, and you know your Ovechkin isn’t the only king of the hill in big-time hockey. You saw Joe Thornton come through and score, and you don’t know if he’s about to prove naysayers wrong about his ability to come through in big games. But he just might and you don’t like it. You saw Jerome Iginla score a couple, and you know he’s going to give you trouble. You realize your players are going to have to get in front of Shea Weber’s big shot, and you’re not crazy about that. And you understand now that Mike Richards and Scott Niedermayer love the sound of the puck hitting the back of the net, and it’s clear now that Canada has some underachievers making noise who have been quiet in the past.

It doesn’t make you happy.

And last but not least, you saw a big bear of a man, Rick Nash, with moves that befit a smaller player, finally score a huge goal, and you know he’s going to be trouble because you watched him dominate in the 2007 World Championships, you’ve noticed him come close recently, and it worries you to see him playing now like you hoped he wouldn’t. And you saw Roberto Luongo in nets and you know he’s on his home turf and will be brilliant.

You’re in trouble, Russia. Canada has a new sense of confidence, and it seems chemistry has reared its lovely head.

Wednesday night – Canada and Russia. For all of us armchair quarterbacks, get the TV warmed up.

Vancouver Games Open With Some Less-Than-Great Moments

The dust (rain) has settled on the opening day of the Vancouver Olympic Games, and several things jumped out as I watched it late at night with the help of a remote control.

There was the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili earlier in the day at Whistler, and what struck me, as I’m sure it did many others, was why were there steel beams so close to the track. The Georgian was out of control, flew through the air, and crashed into one of those steel beams that in my eye should’ve been placed back about ten feet. But I’m not a luge track architect so what do I know?

The chiefs of the native bands were late getting to their seats at BC Place and so while the festivities began to unfold, only Stephen Harper, wife Laureen, Governor-General Michaelle Jean, and few others had taken their places;  some were in the process of removing their coats and shuffling about, and most of the seats in the box remained empty. To me it looked amateurish and unorganized. How come the chiefs and others were late?

One of the four hydraulic structures failed to rise as Wayne Gretzky, Rick Nash and the others waited impatiently and appeared slightly embarrassed while holding their torches. We all waited impatiently and were slightly embarrassed. How come the hydraulics didn’t work? And reading CBC comments later on, someone mentioned that now the jokes about Canada “not being able to get it up’ have started.

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, who was also late getting to his seat, looked like he’d had a couple of extra glasses of wine as he swayed back and forth and waved his flag in his front of Laureen Harper’s face. I think he just wanted to be noticed. He’s like that.

“Oh, Canada” was sung extremely slow and jazzed up by Montrealer Nikki Yanofsky, and judging by comments on CBC, pretty well everyone is in agreement that they hated it. I wasn’t crazy about it either. Why do people want to tamper with anthems?

Wayne Gretzky got into the back of a police pickup truck and rode through downtown Vancouver in the rain to light the final stage. Imagine if the truck didn’t start?


Let’s Start Fresh And Clobber The Columbus Blue Jackets…..Plus…..Habs Ink Future Star

Imagine. It’s almost time for the Habs – Columbus Blue Jackets game. And I’m thinking that I should fill you in on the Blue Jackets a little.

 

RJ Umberger.

 

That’s it. That’s all there is to talk about. RJ Umberger, the rotten bastard who almost single-handedly eliminated the Canadiens last year in the playoffs when he played for the Philadelphia Flyers.

 

That’s it. RJ Umberger. And I suppose Rick Nash.

 

Never been to Columbus. Have no intention of going, unless they want me to judge a Miss America pageant or something. Wikipedia says it’s a city of two million, is the home of Miracle Gro plant fertilizer, Similac baby formula, and the Bruce Lee Legends of Martial Art Hall of Fame Museum. Oh, and also a Jazz and Rib festival.

 

As far as the Canadiens go, they’re making sure they haven’t grown out of their skates since they last played, and are re-introducing themselves to their teammates.

 

They need these two points, as usual. Keep the ball rolling, play better than they have lately because they can only dodge so many bullets, and then roll into Toronto the next night and bring those Leafs back to earth where they belong.

 

Maybe the long break is good for the team. Like I said, they haven’t been playing well lately. They’ve been winning, but they’ve looked confused and out-of-sorts at times. Sometimes good, hard practices are just what the doctor ordered.

 

IN OTHER NEWS:

 

Montreal has signed their high-scoring prospect David Desharnais. Desharnais has posted nine points in eleven games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, and led the ECHL in scoring last year while with the Cincinnati Cyclone with 29 goals and 106 points. He was also the league MVP and Rookie of the Year.