Tag Archives: Roman Hamrlik

Caps Capped

The Washington Capitals are done after losing to the Rangers 2-1 in the seventh game, and you have to think that Alex Ovechkin will probably go his whole career without winning a Stanley Cup. He’s won just about every award a forward could win, but there might never be the Big One. That’s because the Caps, like the Vancouver Canucks, just can’t seem to get it done after enjoying fine regular seasons. Why is that?

But it’s not something I need to dwell on. I’m not feeling bad for folks in Washington. Maybe if they send the Nationals back to Montreal and the team becomes the Expos again, I might have more compassion.

Now it’s the Rangers and Devils, which should save on plane tickets. Were talking bus rides here. The Bus Series. Two teams, separated by the Hudson River and a cement light standard somewhere nearby that’s the longtime home of Jimmy Hoffa.

Only two more rounds to go.

Go whoever.

 

 

 

 

Defending The Team

I turned on my television and listened to journalist Steve Simmons and ex-GM Craig Button on TSN say why the Habs will take the biggest step backward in the east.

The biggest step backward in the east? Really?

Craig Button – They can’t rely on just Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov, who are coming off such major injuries. They lost Roman Hamrlik and James Wisniewski, and it’s just too much to ask. There are also questions marks. Can Scott Gomez rebound, and will Andrei Kostitsyn continue to be streaky?

Steve Simmons – Two big things – losing Wisniewski…. and Andrei Markov WILL NOT play.  He won’t play. You’re taking two major parts out of the team, and they’re relying too heavily on goaltending and I don’t see where they get better. You’re asking Price to be the best in the league and that is too much to ask.

My little rebuttal. Wiz was good but not great. He made a lot of mistakes last year handling the puck and finding himself out of position, and Chris Campoli could prove to be a fine addition. Montreal came within a goal of going on to big things last year, without Gorges, Markov, and of course Max Pacioretty. And Hamrlik, as solid and smart as he’s been, has been slowing down and will be even slower this year.

To Steve Simmons, maybe you’re right that Markov won’t be back. But how do you know this? Did you go to same medical school as Mark Recchi? And Price will be the best in the league regardless of if we ask him or not.

Did either of you consider that P.K. Subban, with a year under his belt, will be even better? Did you forget about Erik Cole adding size and scoring up front, along with a healthy Max Pacioretty? And maybe young Raphael Diaz and Alexei Yemelin, groomed in the KHL, will stick and be more than enough to replace Wiz and Hammer.

At the end of the show, a tweet was read that said the Leafs have as good a chance of making the playoffs as the Habs. Grrrrr.

Roman Leaves And Erik Cole Enters

Roman Hamrlik is on his way to Washington with a brand new 2 year, 7 million dollar contract in his pocket, and left winger Erik Cole is coming to Montreal after signing today for four years (18 million).

Cole, 32, adds nice size, he’s 6’2″, 205, and has given the Habs and the rest of us fits over the years with his knack of finding the back of Montreal’s net. Last season in Carolina, Cole managed 26 goals and 26 assists, and we expect him to produce this much at the very least. In fact, 36 goals would be more like it.

So long Roman and welcome Erik. I’ll take a big, goal-scoring forward any day of the week.

Arpon Basu has a nice rundown on Cole right here

Markov, Hamrlik, Rocket, And A Dead Deer

I had a close encounter with a deer today on my way to work at 4:30 a.m. We both lost.

The deer is now in deer heaven. My car is a write-off. The entire front end is crunched beyond repair.

If you ever need to wake up in a hurry when you’re going to work, just hit a deer.

So now is not the time to get into anything that takes a while. I see that Andrei Markov and Roman Hamrlik are getting their pens ready to sign on the dotted line, and after this happens, we can only hope that when the new season unfolds, Roman will have found some new zip, and Andrei will suffer nothing more than the odd hangnail. 

I have to go out and try to find a car, but I’ll leave you with this:

Hall of Famer Tom Johnson, who toiled on the blueline for the Canadiens from the late 1940’s to the early 1960’s, told the Montreal Gazette back in 1996 about the time a group of Habs shaved Rocket Richard’s chest during a train trip. “He was a strong guy and it took eight of us to hold him down,” Johnson said. “But he got his revenge while we were sleeping the next night. He took one shoe from each of us and threw it off the train. We arrived in Montreal and it was snowing – and here we were walking through the station with one shoe each.”

Hal’s Back!

Hal Gill has signed a brand new, one-year contract worth 2.25 million, and I’m glad about this. Hal’s a steady, likeable veteran, a mentor to young PK Subban, and apparently a guy the rest of the team can’t get to shut up. But that’s great. He’s a character and we need characters.

Now the Canadiens have to decide about Andre Markov, Roman Hamrlik, James Wisniewski, Brent Sopel, and Paul Mara. But Hal’s an excellent start.

Wow, Habs news. Imagine.

Canadiens Reverse The Tide

After three dismal games in which the Habs were shut down with zeros across the board, they came out Tuesday night against the Atlanta Thrashers and finally scored not once but three times, beating the visitors 3-1 and ending for now, misery of extreme proportions in Habsland.

One thing that has always remained constant for me over the years is that as long as the Habs win, I don’t care how they do it. I don’t care if they didn’t deserve it, or if the goalie kept them in it, or if the puck played pinball with five noses before going in. 

As long as they win. Which they did.

It’s another inch closer to clinching a playoff spot, and soon, when the boys begin their post season surprises, being shutout in three straight games will be long forgotten

Many of you know I’m preoccupied at the moment, in Ottawa with other matters at hand, and so I didn’t see the game. I didn’t see the Hal Gill controversy, and I didn’t see how the team looked. All I saw was the score, and that’s good enough for me.

I know the game was and is analyzed on several dozen sites and Twitter and in newspapers throughout the land, and you can’t get the same sort of thing from me now. All I can tell you that I spent several fine hours in a restaurant in Gatineau with friends of 40 years, eating and drinking and telling old stories, and missing the game in the meantime.

A 3-1 win? I’m happy. Just imagine if they would have been shut out again. Holy smokes.

Random Notes:

Roman Hamrlik, Mathieu Darche, and Andre Kostitsyn were the Habs scorers on this night. I know because I read it at Canadiens.com.

Next – Montreal plays Wednesday night in Carolina and this is not only a big night for the Habs but also a big night for me. Because this is the night when some of us gather at Liam Maguire’s in Ottawa to enjoy the game and meet for the first time after chatting on this site for so long. Join us if you can. You’re surely welcome.

The Hurricanes are three points out of a playoff spot and so Montreal will face a desperate team. Canadiens remain in sixth and are still in a situation where they’ll meet Boston in the opening round.

Habs Bust Loose In St. Paul

Habs 8, Wild 1. Yessiree

Is it too late to apologize to Alex Auld for saying several times in the past that he wasn’t a good enough back-up goalie?

And do you think people like myself who haven’t been paying a lot of attention to Ryan White should maybe start doing so?

Auld has just played five straight periods of excellent backstopping. He’s been more than solid, allowing just two goals in these five periods (one, a penalty shot to Mikko Koivu), looking poised and confident, and I’m more than happy to give him his due and admit I had counted him out before he really had a chance to prove himself.

Ryan White showed again that he’s no pushover with the knuckle sandwiches as he took on big Clayton Stoner and gave and received several good licks. White also scored a goal and added two assists which means, as was mentioned about ten times during the CBC broadcast, that White achieved the coveted Gordie Howe hat trick, meaning a goal, assist, and a fight.

It’s a great thing, and if you feel so inclined, you could also call it a Rocket Richard hat trick. At least I think so. Because not only did Rocket get his points, but he could also fight with the best of them. Don’t forget, he took boxing lessons and entered Golden Gloves tournaments as a junior. But I suppose I shouldn’t ruffle feathers so I guess we’ll just go with Gordie Howe hat trick.

No offence, Howe fans. I just prefer the Rocket.

The third shining light of the night’s big three was of course PK Subban, who scored three great goals and played with vim and vigour throughout. I’m thinking now that there should probably be at least a day or two of rave reviews for our young phenom before they start whining and wailing again about how he cheats.  

Our young stud’s star now shines even brighter, and may cause even his biggest detractors to watch the highlights from wherever they are and nod their heads in appreciation before they get back to their video games.

The Canadiens were a focused bunch in Minnesota and it wasn’t just the big triumvirate who caused the eruption. Benoit Pouliot assisted on Montreal’s first three goals and redeemed himself after being in Jacques Martin’s doghouse recently for a few ill-timed penalties. The Wiz notched a goal and an assist. David Desharnais had a couple of helpers, as did Mike Cammalleri. And Scott Gomez assisted on Travis Moen’s goal.

This team isn’t supposed to behave like this. They too small and banged up, aren’t they?

Jacques Martin and his gashouse gang has fooled them all.

Random Notes:

Next up – Buffalo on Tuesday. Thursday it’s Boston. And Thursday is also the day Luciena and I fly the big silver bird to Ottawa.

Did you see Carey Price on the bench drying Roman Hamrlik’s face with a towel?

One of PK’s three goals came when he took the puck on the right side, skated along the top, nearly going offside in the process, and then veering down the left side and banking it in off a Wild defender. There’s not a lot of defencemen in the league who would even think about attempting this sort of play.

Habs Look Good In Southern Florida

Nice, juicy, 4-0 blanking of the home team Florida Panthers by the Habs this fine Thursday evening as Carey Price recorded his seventh shutout of the season, the Canadiens won their third straight, and…….how many times does one get to say this……Hal Gill opened the scoring with what proved to be the game winner!

Best of all, Andrei Kostitsyn and his linemates Lars Eller and Travis Moen combined for six points to do much of the damage up front and the threesome is oozing chemistry at the moment. Eller is getting better and better. Kostitsyn is playing like we’d hoped. And Moen is chipping in with the odd set-up and some nastiness in heavy traffic.

As trigger-happy as coach Martin has been this year in breaking up lines, surely he can keep these three together, at least for the time being. They’ve really added some new-found pizazz to what has mostly been a very lacklustre offence this season. 

In nets, picking up the slack when things got dangerous, was Price, again as solid as can be, stopping 30 shots to notch his 30th win of the season.

Geez, all these great things! It’s just so much nicer when things go well for a change.

Roman Hamrlik on this night played with poise found only with experience, and several times set his forwards loose with heads-ups passes. James Wisniewski had a strong game. And late in the third period, Max Pacioretty and Kostitsyn both rang pucks off the post about ten seconds apart. If the game had been close, we would have moaned in agony. Instead, at least for me, it put a smile on my face.

What a contrast between this three-game southern road trip and the three-game western trip the boys made recently. In Edmonton they stunk, and in Calgary they stunk and also froze. This trip began with a 3-1 win in the land of magnolias – Atlanta, and then Thursday’s 4-0 shut out in Sunrise with palm trees swaying outside.

Oh, I hope Gary Bettman doesn’t read this. He’ll think we like hockey in the deep south.

Random Notes:

Montreal scorers on this night were Gill, Kostitsyn, David Desharnais, and Lars Eller. Nope, none from Scott Gomez.

Shots on goal – 31-30 Montreal.

Maybe Jacques Martin read the riot act about penalty-taking as the boys only skated slowly to the penalty box three times. That’s more like it.

Next up – Saturday against a good team, Tampa Bay. But Montreal doesn’t need to take a back seat to anyone and is perfectly capable of enjoying some fine southern hospitality by blitzing the Lightning and keeping their somewhat modest win streak alive.

Habs Hold On For Dear Life

I’d first like to address any Habs fans who happened to be at the Bell Centre to see the Canadiens’ 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

You lucky bastards and bastardettes.

You saw it all in living colour, and you got your money’s worth. You saw a big win in a deafening barn. You watched Andrei Kostitsyn fire one home in dramatic fashion. You cheered as Travis Moen got his licks in against Kris Newbury. You laughed to see NY coach John Tortorella jaw it out with a spectator behind the bench. You yelled and booed as Henrik Lundqvist jumped Max Pacioretty. You were there for two big power play goals and you witnessed a dominant Habs team.

Yep, you saw real good stuff. FOR TWO FREAKIN’ PERIODS ONLY.

Montreal owned the Rangers after forty minutes, outshooting them 29-12, blasting away at a fatigued Lundqvist who barely had time to catch his breath before another onslaught would arise. It was beautiful, passionate, a big relief over what we’ve seen lately.

Then it all fell apart. Almost.

As been the case lately with the boys making it way too hard on themselves, I’ll bet we almost expected what would happen next. The Canadiens let the other team back in, and early domination evaporated as the Rangers controlled, scored again, hit the post, were all over the Habs, outshot them 21-12 in the final frame, and almost came all the way back to shock those lucky folks who happened to be at the Bell Centre, not to mention the rest of us.

A game we had in our back pocket.

That was way too close for comfort. Whew! With my wife in Vancouver and just me and the cat hanging out, maybe I should walk down to the corner pub.  I need something to calm the nerves.

Random Notes:

There was one delicious little incident that made me glow all over. Brandon Dubinsky was speaking yesterday about the apparent PK Subban slew foot, and he said that he hoped Subban might do something in tonight’s game so they could take advantage of it and score. But in fine and poetic fashion, Dubinsky let things get the best of him, went after Subban for no real reason, took a penalty of his own, and voila, Habs scored!

It was just one of those things that makes my day. It also must have been tough to take for Dubinsky.

Shots on goal – 41-33 Habs.

Wiz had assists on the Roman Hamrlik and Tomas Plekanec power play goals.

Next up – Calgary in town Monday.

Habs Get The Win With A Classic Move

Benoit Pouliot, whom I accused of being an underachiever just hours ago, scored the tying goal and then the sparkling shootout winner as the Habs edge the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 and grab two big points.

They won the game, but they took the gravel road instead of the smooth and freshly paved one, and it appeared they were also going to make Pens goalie Brent Johnson look like every other goalie who plays the Habs. Full of shit.

The Canadiens had several ideal chances throughout and couldn’t finish, and they blew a big chance when Pittsburgh ran into a rash of penalties in the third, creating an extended two-man advantage for the Habs. But Mike Cammalleri especially couldn’t hit the net, no one found the fortitude to bury it, and it took Pouliot’s shootout stylings later on to ice it.

And what a shootout goal it was. Reminiscent of Peter Forsberg against Canada’s Corey Hirsch in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. A puck that just sort of crept in. They put the image of the ’94 goal on a Swedish stamp and we have the image of Pouliot winning a big game for us.

Thank you, Pouliot. Sorry I said you were an underchiever and you’re officially off the hook until Saturday when you and the boys play Boston.

Random Notes:

Pittsburgh outshot the Canadiens 32-23 and Carey Price came up big several times.

It looked for a few minutes that Jaroslav Spacek had hurt his hand but he was back out shortly after. Imagine if we lost Spacek? Maybe Chris Chelios is available.

With Markov, Gorges, and Hamrlik out, PK Subban has moved way up in seniority, with Picard, Weber and Wiz coming after.

Here’s the videos of Forsberg fooling Hirsch in 1994, and Pouliot doing the same against Brent Johnson Thursday night.