Tag Archives: Ryan O’Byrne

Way To Go, Bournival And Shawinigan!

Habs prospect Michael Bournival set up Anton Zlobin in overtime as the Shawinigan Cataractes beat the London Knights 2-1 to win the 2012 Memorial Cup.

Good for Shawinigan, and for Bournival, who came to the Canadiens via the Colorado system, with Ryan O’Byrne going the other way. We want our young guys to come through in the clutch, and to me it’s just more good news on the Habs newly-paved road to respectibility.

I don’t see enough junior hockey, although I’ve always loved and appreciated the talent and enthusiasm these young guys bring. Powell River has an elite BCHL team and I rarely go. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. Is not having enough time a good enough excuse? At least I follow the World juniors closely every year.

Way to go, Shawinigan. They were only there because they were the host city, and they won it all. Hip, hip, hooray!!!

 

Ryan O’Byrne Heads To The Mountains Of Colorado

I’ve been out of the loop for the last 12 hours and you’ve probably already heard that Ryan O’Byrne has been dealt to Colorado for 18 year forward Michael Bournival.

Finally, hopefully, O’Byrne just might get a chance to become a regular and important player in the NHL, something that wasn’t happening in Montreal.

Good luck, Ryan. You were well liked by many Habs fans and we hope you enjoy a long and fruitful career wherever else you suit up.

More details can be found here. Canadiens Trade O’Byrne

Ryan O’Byrne Seems Like A Fine Fellow

Ryan O’Byrne’s days with the Montreal Canadiens may or may not be numbered, and it seems it’s leaning quickly towards “may be.” There’s just no room for the big, strapping, 26 year old defenceman.

Alexandre Picard has come in and done the job that O’Byrne needed to do every night. Picard has a more natural ability in handling the puck and is a physical presence on the ice. O’Byrne has mostly been unsure with the puck, getting rid of it quickly, and as big as he is (6’5, 234 lbs), he has never really cast a menacing shadow on the ice. I’ve whined often on these pages that this big fellow would be a lot more effective both for himself and his team if he played in a much nastier mood.

But this angry style just doesn’t seem to fit O’Byrne’s likeable demeanor.

And of course, although very little is expected of O’Byrne in the offence department, he’s only scored two goals since his arrival in the league in 2007 and a few more here and there would have helped his cause greatly.

It hasn’t been been smooth sailing for O’Byrne as a Hab. There’s been a couple of things, one in Tampa a few years back, and a goal he scored on his own net, that have been very unfortunate and something I’m not going to dwell on. In the Tampa incident in particular, I believe O’Byrne was a victim of misunderstanding for all concerned, and it’s very unfortunate.

I think O’Byrne is a fine man, a gentleman, well-spoken, and comes from good upbringing in Victoria which, if you’ve never been, is a lovely city.

And whether or not it was his or the team’s decision for O’Byrne to pull off his number 3 jersey and hand it to Emile Bouchard, it was still a noble and emotional gesture and I was very proud of him that night.

Whatever jersey O’Byrne dons in the future, I hope he does well and enjoys a long NHL career. I think he’s one of the good guys.

Jacques Martin Is A Defensive Coach?

When Jacques Martin signed with the Montreal Canadiens, he said he’s a defensive coach.
A defensive coach whose team allows a blitzkrieg of shots and inexcusable loose play almost on a nightly basis.

It’s enough to confuse Confucius. This is a team that needs to tighten up.

And yes, as they say, his post-game interviews could make drivers fall asleep at the wheel.

Add to it the fact that if it wasn’t for Jaroslav Halak and his legendary three rounds of sparkling playoff performance last year, as reader Mathman points out, Jacques Martin’s showing as coach of the Montreal Canadiens has been no better than dismal and mediocre. The team barely squeaked into those magical playoffs in the first place.

But regardless of a coach not doing a good job, the fact remains that he can’t go out on the ice and do the job for the players.
Opposing players are left wide open in front of the net and should be cleared away like a snowplow plowing. Hal Gill and Ryan O’Byrne especially should be playing the role of extremely angry young men who take no prisoners. The crease should be where men fear to tread. Instead, all too frequently, players on other teams just keep pounding away looking for loose pucks which often find their way to the back of the net.

Martin can’t control it when one of his players shoots the puck over the glass and gets the team in penalty trouble. He’s not on the ice when a phantom penalty is called in the last two minutes of the game and an infraction to the other team isn’t in overtime, who then quickly skate away with a win that sends daggers through our hearts.
 
And it’s not his fault when important players are felled by injury.
 
What Martin can do is not use players who don’t deserve to be used – and there’s a few in this category, and demand that tougher players like Travis Moen charge the net like a wounded animal. We don’t want a team of sweethearts, we want a combination of sweethearts and rough tough rotten bastards.
 
I don’t think there’s a team in the league that is intimated by the Habs. Others might be wary of the Habs’ speed and trickiness, but when it comes to the physical stuff, it’s a non-issue. Say what you want about Maxim Lapierre being what he is, but at least he plays with an edge.
There’s also a delicate line to be walked between trying to curb some of PK Subbans exhuberance while allowing the kid to also play the only way he knows how.
 
Martin’s been coach for not just three games but a previous 82 games and playoffs, and we’re still waiting to see a brilliant stategist arise from behind the bench. But the wait might be a long one.
I don’t know. Can we wait?

Canadiens Buffaloed By Sabres

Sabres 5, Habs 3.

The Canadiens failed to score on a five-on-three power play in the first period and also should be ashamed of themselves for such boring hockey that left me with glazed eyes staring at the wall during this opening frame.

The only interesting thing about the Habs-Sabres first period was the intermission that followed. And even that was only mildly interesting. Bob McKenzie said the Canadiens could slide right out of the top eight teams in the east. “I like Carey Price,” said McKenzie, “but I don’t think he can duplicate what Halak did last year.”

Matthew Barnaby disagreed. “These guys are for real,” he said.

Thank you, Matthew. You were slightly nuts as a player but you’ve become a fine human being as an analyst.

In the second period, Ryan O’Byrne gave a nice little puck away to the enemy and the team fell behind 2-0. But they would somehow, in their slumber, tie it up before they fell into the penalty-taking routine. Buffalo, unlike Montreal, made the most of their own five-on-three, scored again, and presto, it’s 4-2 in the second.

Basically, it boils down to a lousy power play (0 for 5) and mediocre penalty killing ( 2 PPG against) for the boys in red.

So far, after two periods, the Canadiens have failed to punch the clock. C’mon Captain Gionta, stand up in the room and give them a pep talk.

During the second intermission we saw a new Alex Ovechkin commercial in which he’s a talking head stuck in a guy’s school locker and he gives off a laugh he must have learned from watching dubbed scary movies back in the old country.  Without really giving my opinion of this commercial, I’ll just say I think it’s………….stupid.

It’s now the third period and a 5-2 Buffalo lead just got narrowed to 5-3 when Tom Pyatt scored.

And then…. Kostitsyn scored…or did he? Yes? No?

No.

Random Notes;

Maxim Lapierre looked fine in his little fight with Mike Weber. Both stand at 6’2.

Ryan White showed some jam and continues to not look out of place.

Saturday it’s the Habs and Islanders at Le Colisee in Quebec City.

Habs Slowly But Surely Get Down To Business

What does a guy do when he has a Habs blog and is 3000 miles from Montreal with training camp now picking up steam, and he can’t be there to go to the rink and look at the prospects and keep an eye on the regulars and watch carefully as Carey Price stops pucks?

He reads stories from those who are there, from the mainstream guys. And what is he reading? Pretty darn postive stuff, that’s what.

Carey Price is stopping pucks left and right, looking confident and happy in his new role as the go-to-guy, and slowly I’m beginning to feel slightly more relaxed about our number one guy.

Ian Schultz is banging everyone in sight, and although the young fellow probably won’t crack this year’s lineup, he surely will in the near future. And who knows, maybe he’ll force the coaching staff to keep him if he continues to impress. As we all understand, a thumping power forward who can put the puck in the net is a magical and spiritual being.

Ryan O’Byrne scored a goal in scrimmage the other day, and it would be nice if he could pop about eight this season.

The usual suspects, like Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec, show that their hands remain soft and dangerous, like a scorned woman threatening to strangle her husband.

We need to watch or read carefully how things unfold. The Canadiens, by all accounts, are a nice-looking team, but several things need to be tweaked, like toughness and a few select players being all they can be. Players like Benoit Pouliot and Andre Kostitsyn need to pick it up by a country mile, as we all know. Travis Moen and O’Byrne could stand to be much nastier. I’m hoping to read soon that Jeff Halpern, Dustin Boyd, and Lars Eller are making a huge impact.

And I’ll take fights on the ice from young guys lobbying for jobs, any day of the week.

Naturally, of course, as the real season unfolds, Scott Gomez could score a few more goals and Andre Markov must get back soon and never get injured again. Is that asking too much?

Once again, and most importantly, Carey Price needs to be, and will be, a great goaltender this year. I feel it. It’s in the air. Maybe it’s that smile on his face that tells me.

Also, it seems by looking around at the usual prediction stories, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are once again considered the darlings of the east, and that’s fine because we’ve seen how the Habs can shove the darlings off the cliff. Bring ’em on. Bring ’em all on. We’ll just keep pushing them off.

Sept. 22nd, pre-season games open with the Bruins in town and then it’s Ottawa with a home and home, and then Guillaume Latendresse  (if he plays) and his Minnesota Wild come to Montreal, followed by Florida, Buffalo, and ending with what should be an interesting evening in Quebec at the Colisee with the Habs taking on the Islanders.

Let’s go, Habs. Fight, hit, score, stop pucks, laugh, get angry, have fun, sweat, smell, win jobs, and get ready. We’re expecting everything..

Defending The Defence

Are the Canadiens fairly set on defence?

Seems like it. Sort of.

The boys on the blueline – Andrei Markov, Hal Gill, Josh Gorges, PK Subban, Roman Hamrlik, Ryan O’Byrne, and Jaroslav Spacek, are a fine group indeed, as long as everyone remains healthy for most of the season.

We assume that Markov and Subban will provide the offensive thrust, and we expect Hal Gill, Jaroslav Spacek, and Josh Gorges to do their jobs in workmanlike fashion.

But we might want to ponder, when we’re sitting in our easy chairs smoking pipes and waiting for the dog to bring the paper, if Roman Hamrlik may have lost yet another step after slowing down considerably last year. How many times will the veteran, who plays with smarts, not speed, get burned by some speedy forward who smells the net not far away?

But we know of course that Jacques Martin will use him properly.

Ryan O’Byrne has yet to become the player he hasn’t become yet. This is not a puckhandler, not a rusher, doesn’t seem to be overly anxious to crush bones into powder, and is an ordinary skater. But he’s still quite young (26), has great size, (6’5, 234lbs) and although it’s been three years with 125 games under his belt, we still wait patiently. Maybe impatiently. We see a bright upside, but it doesn’t want to break out, like a chick stuck in an partial egg.

We could look at Stanley Cup champs from the past few years to see what their defence was made up of, and Montreal stacks up, but only if Subban has a Calder Cup kind of year and Markov is a Norris Trophy candidate.

Chicago, in winning the Cup last year, had two great D’s in Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, along with Brian Campbell, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Cam Barker.

Pittsburgh, winning two years ago, enjoyed Sergei Gonchar, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, and our own Hal Gill.

In 2007-08, Detroit had Niklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall, and Brett Lebda.

And in 2006-2007, Anaheim defencemen included Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin, and Sean O’Donnell.

All four teams, all Cup winners, had defencemen who were offensive threats – Keith and Seabrook, Gonchar, Lidstrom, Rafalski, and Niedermayer, followed by a cast who did jobs that put lovely smiles on their coaches’ faces.

Montreal, possibly, has the same sort of army. Markov and Subban provide the punch in enemy territory along with Spacek. And Gill, Gorges, Hamrlik and O’Byrne play a tough, no-nonsense game, although as mentioned, O’Byrne could step it up a little. Maybe fight more. Put the big hurt on. Make the enemy say ouch.

On paper the blueliners look fine enough. But it’s injuries that put players on the sidelines for months on end that spell disaster. It’s also taking into consideration that PK Subban will be a regular and blossom into a star as well.

It seems the defence is in good shape. Just don’t put Hamrlik out against too many speedsters, and maybe show Ryan O’Byrne old clips of Larry Robinson taking care of business.

Game Day Gazing. I Know What’s Going To Happen

Once again, while you’re snuggled in your beds tonight, I’ll be at work, giving 110%, working for the man, bringing home the bacon.  The complete opposite of a famous hobo in the Dirty Thirties who said no hobo should ever work until everyone else has found employment.

It’s just a roundabout way of saying I won’t be seeing the game until after it’s been over for a few hours.

But it’s no problem. I know what will transpire. I looked within myself and saw how it’s all going to go down in game one of the Habs-Flyers series.

“In the end, as the buzzer sounded at the Wachovia Center, Flyers VP Bobby Clarke was so incensed he slashed a popcorn vendor across the ankles with a broom stick. And retired goon Dave Schultz threatened to cause havoc in the press box until Larry Robinson, sitting not far from him, told him to settle or down he’d once again pulverize him.

Montreal appeared rested, and although playing with vim and vigour, managed just one goal in the first period. However, they did blast several shots off Dan Carcillo’s face, which more than made up for the lack of goal production. Dominic Moore took advantage of a Flyers ‘too many men on the ice’ penalty, and the Canadiens struck first.

Jaroslav Halak was fine but didn’t appear quite as sharp as in previous games. But he was still better than Michael Leighton, Ron Hextall, and Bernie Parent combined.

Carcillo, althout outwardly feisty, refused to fight Travis Moen, Hal Gill, and Ryan O’Byrne on different occasions, and said later he would have clobbered them if he didn’t have that nagging paper cut problem and if there had been more teammates in the vicinity. 

Canadiens continued their strong play well into the second, but a roughing penalty to Brian Gionta for pulling Carcillo’s pants down allowed the Flyers to set it up, and big Chris Pronger fired one that deflected off Carcillo’s face to tie the game.

For the next while, Philly took it to the Canadiens, momentum was on the Flyers side, but they couldn’t solve Halak. Scott Hartnell was also given two minutes for being such an ugly son a bitch but the Habs couldn’t capitalize.

In the third, with the Flyers still forcing things, Marc-Andre Bergeron shot a low shot that went through everyone’s legs and over Daniel Briere’s head, right onto the stick of red hot Mike Cammalleri, who made no mistake.

Late in the game, Maxim Lapierre, who has had a fine playoff thus far, scored the insurance marker after Dan Carcillo took a penalty for diving while he was still on the players bench, and the Habs win 3-1 to take game one.”

This, I’m sure, is what will happen. Late tonight, when I get home after giving 110% working for the man, I’ll watch the real game and report back.

The Day After The Night Before

If you don’t think the Habs doing well is good for hockey, then you’re not a hockey fan. Heck, I’ll even go as far as saying that the Leafs doing well is good for hockey. As an example, after Montreal won game seven, I received emails and phone calls from people telling me where they were and how they were dealing with it. Excitement is through the roof.

But I read a comment in a CBC online writeup which I found very disturbing and if it would have come to my site, I would’ve spammed it within seconds. It went something like, “I hate the Habs. I want all 29 teams to beat them. I despise everything they represent and I despise the culture they stand for.”

I wonder what that means? “I despise the culture they stand for.” Is it the culture of success he relates to, or smug Habs fans that people complain about, or is it, and I hope not, about the French/English thing? Because if this is what this person meant, then I, as an Englishman who has never met this piece of shit, am apologizing for him. There’s boors in every language and I wish the CBC would have deleted this nasty comment.

However, if he means “a winning culture, a culture of success and a truckload of Stanley Cups, then great. Bring it on. Keep the jealousy coming. 

In the last two minutes of the game, when Ryan O’Byrne took his penalty, my wife couldn’t bear to watch. She went out on the deck and listened for me to make some kind of happy or sad sound. She peeked in once and all I said was “24 seconds left” and she went back out again. And when I finally told her it was over and they won, she came back in and watched it on recording.

New Habs fan (and up until recently, Bruins fan) Bostonian Diane and her sister were on pins and needles as the game wore down. This is sister Nancy’s email:

“WOW!  I was out climbing last night and at the pub could not get the “game” on the TV as the bar had all 12 TVs trained on the Red Sox.  One TV way out of my eyes was on the game and the waiter kept me abreast of the score 1 – 0 for the longest time.  I was in my car and finally found the game on only to hear 2 -0 through the static of the poor reception. Then stuck in traffic it was 2- 1 with 3 minutes 30 seconds left. I was in a tizzy!  A panic if you will. Praying the longest 3 minutes of my life would go quickly with no more scoring on the capitals part (note no capital on their name).  Then the bloody radio got really fuzzy and I frantically searched for the game elsewhere.  Finally l found through the snow a muffled Montréal and I called up sis who I knew would have the game on.  Imagine the joy to my ears when I heard the team won!  I could have been stuck in traffic for the rest of the night and I would not be in a bad mood, unreal! 

Now the Boston radios are all saying good for Boston and the Canadiens don’t stand a chance etc…. Time to pray some more to the Forum Gods.”

A couple of years ago a friend of mine was in Montreal and brought me back a Habs car flag which I promptly put in a trunk. After the game I dug it out and it’s going where it should be going – on my car.

I really have changed my tune about Alex Ovechkin. I realize he’s not a complete player, just very dangerous as he storms up the ice. Sidney Crosby has more bullets in his holster and is more of a shifty, smart team player.

JW in Ottawa, who is a big Senators fan, says the Sens only lost to Pittsburgh because they didn’t have a full squad (Kovalev, Michalek, Alfredsson playing hurt etc.) He says the Habs can win this series, something Habs fans already know. But I’m sure Montreal will continue to get absolutely no respect from the media and won’t be given much of a chance. I’ve already heard a prediction of Pittsburgh four straight.

We really need Jaroslav Spacek back. And I’ve got great faith that Jaro Halak is in such a zone now that he and his team (and ours) can go extremely deep into these playoffs.

The Penguins have had a nice little rest and watched the Canadiens on TV. The Canadiens have had no rest and are filled with adrenaline and momentum. I kind of like the adrenaline and momentum better than the little rest.

2010 EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
SERIES I  

#4 vs. #8
Network
Friday, April 30 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m. CBC, RDS, VERSUS
Sunday, May 2 at Pittsburgh, 2:00 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Tuesday, May 4 at Montreal, 7:00 p.m. CBC, RDS, VERSUS
Thursday, May 6 at Montreal, 7:00 p.m. CBC, RDS, VERSUS
*Saturday, May 8 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m. CBC, RDS, VERSUS
*Monday, May 10 at Montreal, 7:00 p.m. CBC, RDS, VERSUS
*Wednesday, May 12 at Pittsburgh, TBD CBC, RDS, VERSUS

Halak Stingy Again And Lesser-Lights Shine

There were no boos raining down from the Bell Centre rafters on this night. Because the home team was good. Really good.

It was Jaroslav Halak once again blanking the enemy, the Buffalo Sabres 3-0, after his 1-0 shutout the night before in Philadelphia.

It was Ryan O’Byrne almost deking out Halak and scoring on his own net, and then a few minutes later actually getting his first of the season against Ryan Miller.

It was a big game for the unheralded – Maxim Lapierre, Dominic Moore, S. Kostitsyn, O’Byrne, Tom Pyatt. These guys, the non-stars, stepped it up and did the job while the big guys took a bit of a back seat. It was not an overwheming performance by Scott Gomez, Tomas Plekanec, Benoit Pouliot and Brian Gionta, although Mike Cammalleri is usually very steady and was once again tonight.

But it’s okay if the big guns don’t have a big game, as long as the grinders do. And that’s what happened tonight.

It was payback time after the Sabres had broken the Canadiens’ backs in Buffalo last Wednesday with last minute heroics and shocking the Canadiens and the rest of us after being down 2-0 late in the game. The Habs were not going to let that happen again. Once was enough.

Random Notes:

Tom Pyatt and Sergei Kostitsyn also scored big goals..

Habs are now three points up on the 9th place Thrashers.

Next up: Canadiens on Long Island Tuesday. Needless to say, another win here is a good thing.

With O’Byrne’s goal, he’s now just 47 short of Paul Coffey’s defenceman record for goals scored. It’s just too bad there’s only three games left or he might have had a shot.