Tag Archives: Scott Hartnell

Late PP Goal Wins It

winning-md

All it took was an idiotic penalty by the always obnoxious Scott Hartnell to give the Canadiens a late 2-1 win on home ice.

The veteran Hartnell (15 years and more than 1000 games) decided to take out P.K. Subban’s legs with the scored tied and just 2:34 left on the clock, and now he owes his teammates some serious Buttery Nipples.

Such a perfect penalty, because just 25 seconds later, Max Pacioretty sent home a Dale Weise feed to end things.

Canadiens 2, Blue Jackets 1. And the air is thin up there in the standings.

Montreal opened the scoring early in the first period when Paul Byron converted a perfect pass from Christian Thomas, but with just over two minutes left in the frame, Nick Foligno was too quick for Mike Condon on a wraparound and the score was tied.

And it remained so until Scott Hartnell’s brain went into some sort of deep freeze. Or maybe it’s always been in some sort of deep freeze. Don’t forget, he made his mark in Philly.

Fans at the Bell sat through some serious minutes of nothingness, but they saw the boys come alive from time to time and ultimately win their first December game, with only another 20 or so before Carey Price possibly returns.

But in the meantime, Mike Condon, win or lose, just isn’t letting all that many pucks get by him. The guy’s allowed just 30 goals in15 games, and how can you ask for anything more?

Random Notes:

Montreal had three mediocre power plays, but their fourth won the game.

Alexei Emelin was given five minutes and a game misconduct for interference, which seemed harsh.

Nathan Beaulieu and Foligno battled after the Jackets forward took out Tomas Fleischmann’s legs in dangerous fashion. Beaulieu got a couple of early ones in, but Foligno nailed our guy with a late one. But the point is, Beaulieu fought for his teammate, and it’s not the first time he’s done that.

Shots on goal – Habs 26, BJs 23.

Next up – the very dangerous Washington Capitals pay a visit on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

 

Seen In Passing

I spotted Gary Bettman and Bill Daly the other day on the Sunset Strip, and I asked if they wouldn’t mind if I took their photo. They were gracious and true gentlemen, and I don’t know why everyone is so hard on them right now.

And it was just an incredible stroke of luck that later in the day, I also ran into NHLPA big shot Donald Fehr and two player reps – Philadephia’s Scott Hartnell and Vancouver’s Manny Malholtra. Wow! Who would’ve thought?

What are the odds of meeting so many important NHL people in just one afternoon? Sometimes I think Lady Luck follows me around.

Ghoul Raises Its Grotesque Halloween Head

I’m not going to let the fact that he got a haircut and now looks almost normal ruin my Halloween edition.

So I’ll just carry on.

I don’t care if it’s Halloween, please don’t let your kids see this. You either. Turn your head. Send the little ones out of the room. It’s an image way too ghastly and hideous, and could cause nightmares and screw everyone up for years to come.

For the sake of yourself and the young ones, please, none of you look at the following picture.

I’d Have Cleghorn On My Team Anyday

 

I’d like to see the Steve Downie’s and Colton Orr’s of the world go head to head with Sprague Cleghorn. Bring ’em on, any of the league’s tough guys. They’d lose, and blood would be spilled.

Tiger Williams and Chris Nilan and Tie Domi would lose too. Because Sprague Cleghorn, Montreal great rushing defenseman from 1921 to 1925, was one of the meanest and nastiest players to ever play the game. Probably only a small handful of others, like Newsy Lalonde and Joe Hall, would give the guy a run for his money in the savage department.

Guys nowadays would scramble for cover if they went up against Cleghorn. He played in an era when the sport was excessively brutal, and many a player would crash into him and like magic would drop to the ice unconscious after Cleghorn had performed a deadly operation on them. Often a player might do Mr. Cleghorn wrong early in a game and Sprague would bide his time until later on, and in the end, the other guy would skate gingerly off the ice with a large and gruesome gash across his face, courtesy of our hero.

Red Dutton was quoted in Trent Frayne’s The Mad Men of Hockey, saying, “If some of the longhairs I see on the ice these days met Sprague Cleghorn, he’d shave them to the skull. Jesus he was mean. If you fell in front of Cleg he’d kick your balls off.”

King Clancy pulled the old trick of pretending to be a teammate and calling for the puck when Cleghorn was rushing, and Cleghorn fell for it. When the game ended Clancy was walking to the dressing room to the cheers of fans and heard a friendly voice saying “King.” Clancy turned and Cleghorn turned out Clancy’s lights. “Jesus did he hit me a beauty,” said King.

The Toronto St. Pats called up a tough guy, Bill Brydge, who was going to add muscle, and he gave it to Cleghorn – the knee, elbows, stick. Cleghorn didn’t pay any attention and waited. The time came and Brydge ended up with fifty stitches.

After Ace Bailey taunted Cleghorn one night about an offside, the big fellow unloaded on Bailey and down the St. Pats player went. Bailey struggled to get up and the now-aware Bill Brydge grabbed Bailey and said, “Stay down, you crazy bastard. Do you want to get killed?”

He speared, butt-ended, punctured a spleen or two, carved up faces, and pounded players over the head with his fist and stick. Scott Hartnell and Milan Lucic and these guys wouldn’t have a prayer. This was a guy who had Gordie Howe elbows and lethal stick long before Gordie Howe.

Imagine what he’d do to Dan Carcillo?

Cleghorn by all accounts possessed lots of skill, loved to take the puck end to end, and he’s a Hall of Famer, having been inducted in 1958. He was also a dapper gentleman off the ice who liked to wear fine clothes like he was dressing for the opera, and didn’t resemble at all the vicious son of a bitch he was when he had skates on.

Our man Sprague Cleghorn died at age 66 from complications after being hit by a car. He and his brother Odie, who also played for the Canadiens (1918-25), were close all their lives and after Sprague died, Odie also passed away, on the day of Sprague’s funeral.

Paul Mara Would Have Helped In The Playoffs

Things didn’t go all that well for Paul Mara in a Montreal Canadiens uniform. But it’s not his fault that he was hurt for the last half of the season and the jersey never came on again.

Now he’s cut adrift and it’s too bad because Mara, a seasoned pro with perfect size (6’4, 210) would have helped Montreal so much in the playoffs last season. Maybe more than we know. With a big, experienced 13-year veteran throwing the Scott Hartnell’s of the world out of the crease, Montreal may have had less trouble with the Flyers and catapulted themselves into the twilight zone.

Paul Mara might still be a Habs defenceman today if he really had a chance to prove how important he was in the post-season, especially after Andrei Markov was gone, but a shoulder injury and surgery kept him in street clothes, and it’s all a bunch of  “what if’s” now.

Why isn’t this guy still a Habs defenceman? Did he not heal properly? He made $1,675,000. last year with the Canadiens and maybe if he didn’t expect much of a raise, he could have been squeezed in.  A large and experienced defenceman is a good thing, a great thing.

Blockbuster Sizzled Then Fizzled

It wasn’t working out for Marian Hossa. And some cruel bastards even thought it was funny.

He was a Pittsburgh Penguin in the finals against Detroit when the Wings won it all so he decided to abandon the Pens and go to Detroit where he thought he had a better chance. But alas, in a cruel twist of fate, his former team, the Pens, won it instead and Hossa probably didn’t think it was funny at all.

I thought it was fairly funny, though.

What a bummer for the guy. So he said to his agent, “Find me a winner” and his agent landed him a nice gig in Chicago.

In Hollywood it could have gone like this; Hossa signs just a one-year contract with Chicago (in reality it’s a 12- year deal), and then Philadelphia wins it all. Then Hossa signs with Philadelphia because he feels he has a better chance of winning, and out of the blue, Montreal captures the prize.  Hossa finally decides to quit the NHL because he’s a jinx and also realizes Montreal is too strong and there’s no room for him there. So he joins St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL and they lose to Omsk and he moves to Omsk because he thought he would win there and they lose to St. Petersburg and the circle continues until he finds himself tormented and in a rehab facility and spends his remaining bitter years sitting in darkened rooms of his mansion on the banks of the Danube shooting out television screens with his pistol whenever hockey is mentioned.

Gary Busey could play Hossa. Pee Wee Herman would be Gary Bettman. A couple of those backwoods hillbillies in “Deliverance” would make an excellent Scott Hartnell and Dan Carcillo.

It was going to be sensational. Red carpets, starlet cleavage, poolside margaritas, paparazzi, flashbulbs, courtside seats beside Jack Nicholson at Lakers games.

 But Chicago won, Hossa celebrates, and it’s all down the drain now.

This is a major setback.

Help For Habs Is Out There – Wearing Different Helmets

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. The Habs might still be playing if I did.

We’ve all seen how Dustin Byfuglien, all 6′, 4″, 257 lbs of him, is so important to the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s a force to be reckoned with, especially close in and along the boards where he’s a big, strong hombre who gives Chris Pronger and the rest of the Flyers fits. And he knows how to play the game on top of everything else.

Of course Montreal needs a guy like him, and I happen to believe they’re out there. More than one.

In the Canadian Football League.

Search the CFL far and wide and find a gigantic linebacker who played some sort of serious hockey in college, and sign him up. He’ll leave football in a heartbeat. It’s a matter of $60,000 there, or half a million to put skates on. Tell him to crash the net, take no prisoners, and score the odd goal. Nothing pretty. Everything Georges Laraque was supposed to do but didn’t.

He’s not expected to be Guy Lafleur. Just crush Scott Hartnell’s bones into powder, that’s all.

Many Canadian football players are known to have been hockey players at some point in their lives. We hear it all the time. “My first love is hockey” some say, “but I was never going to make a living at it and the Alouettes came calling.” So they’re already good skaters and can shoot the puck.  

And as an extra point of reference to reinforce my argument, in the late 1950’s, Gerry James played for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at basically the same time.

So just grab the best ex-college hockey-playing footballer who’s at least the size of Big Buff, buy out his CFL contract, teach him the system, and unleash his power.

I didn’t realize until now how simple it is.

Habs Don’t Do It In Philly

For most of Friday’s game in Philadelphia, (there’s no way I’m calling it the City of Brotherly Love), the Canadiens ran around like kids at recess, with no pressure, no flow, and passes they should be ashamed of. And because of all that and more, they lost 3-2 to the unlikable Flyers.

Sure the team came back in the third period and made it close with two quick goals, one by newcomer Dominic Moore and the other by Glen Metropolit, but overall, it was painful to watch, at least for me. Maybe I’m just expecting too much. It’s such a roller coaster ride with this team, and tonight, the Habs made Philly look like world beaters, which is certainly not the case. They allowed Flyers goalie Michael Leighton to enjoy several extended coffee breaks. In fact, often enough, Leighton could’ve hustled out of the building, ran down the street for doughnuts, and made his way back before Montreal got near the net.

And they made Scott Hartnell look good even though he’s a homely son of a bitch.

However, one positive emerged from this sad state of affairs. I thought I was seeing Paul Coffey out there, going coast to coast at a mile-a-minute. Instead, it was young PK Subban, the Habs blue chipper, playing like he belonged. It’s a little ironic, isn’t it? We go all year with mostly slow, trudging defensemen, and we’ve got a jackrabbit down on the farm waiting patiently for his turn.

On this night, Subban was the only bright light I could find. Everyone else was reasonably mediocre. And Carey Price continues to make me nervous.

Hope you have a restless sleep, boys. Run it through your head how you were outworked and outperformed by the Flyers. Keep that anger you had at the end of the game. In fact, if you had shown emotion like that throughout, you could have won the thing. You’ve got a chance to redeem yourself in 24 hours.

Random Notes:

Good night

Habs Win Biggest Game Of Their Year

  Past and present members of the Philadelphia Flyers pose in this recent photo. From left to right, Dave Schultz (in white dress), Bobby Clarke, Scott Hartnell, and little Beaver Briere (injured), smile for the camera.

 

And now – About the game!

See what happens when the referee doesn’t call 11 straight penalties and you play some firewagon hockey?

 

If the Habs would’ve lost in poor fashion tonight (see Tampa Bay and Washington games), their slump would have gone from bad to Ottawa Senators bad. And that’s bad. But instead, the team came out tonight against a strong Philadelphia Flyers club and skated away with a good and tremendously important 5-2 win.

 

Alex Kovalev scored again for his second in two nights, young Matt D’Agostini notched his fifth, and Sergei Kostitsyn, recently in purgatory, also scored.

 

So it was a huge game in many ways.

 

And even though I’m quietly celebrating this big win, I’m also doing a slow burn about commentator Mike Milbury. It’s one thing if he doesn’t like Alex Kovalev. But it’s another to personally slander him, to say he only tries 15% of the time, that he doesn’t work hard, is selfish etc. Milbury just went on and on and finally play-by-play guy Jim Hughson stepped in and started defending the Russian, saying how much he liked his play.

 

I think Alex Kovalev always works hard. Maybe he hasn’t scored a lot lately but he’s consistently grabbing assists. And if you’re asissting on goals, you can’t be considered selfish, can you?

I also thinks Kovalev cares and that he carries about him a typical stoic Russian manner, that’s all.

 

Mike Milbury’s always been a mouthpiece. A lot of what he says I like but he shouldn’t get personal like that if he’s not in the dressing room and on the ice with the guy and doesn’t really know how Kovalev is.

 

Game Notes:

 

Buffalo on Saturday and Carolina on Sunday make the trek to Montreal to take on the new and revived powerhouse Habs. That’s the way it’s gonna be from now on – powerhouse Habs.