Tag Archives: Shea Weber

Saturday Night Stinker

Daniel Briere said after the first period that the boys found themselves on their heels because of early penalties. Unfortunately, they decided to stay on their heels for the entire game.

The amazing thing is, the Canadiens had a chance to win the thing, as bad as they were and as good as Nashville was, because nearing the end of the third period, with the score tied 1-1, Nashville took a penalty for delay of the game, and the Habs power play sprung into action.

Non-action.

Not even a shot on goal, and a minute later, with just 1:27 left, the Preds made it 2-1 and as far as the Canadiens win streak goes, that’s all she wrote. The couldn’t even grab a point out of it, but they didn’t deserve to anyway.

When Nashville scored their second goal, Luci let loose with a bunch of Russian words I’ll bet Google can’t translate.

The visitors were in control for most of the night, and only Carey Price and the kids were fine for the good guys. Even P.K. was ordinary, and the Preds’ two stud D-men, Shea Weber and young Seth Jones, unfortunately outplayed our Norris candidate. Most of the team looked dazed and confused throughout, whether it was even-strength or with the man-advantage, but at least the Eller, Galchenyuk and Gallagher trio crashed the net from time to time, with Gallagher in the second period being the lone Habs marksman.

Just one of those nights. I’m thinking about driving over to Brossard to those mansions off Rome Boulevard where I think some of them live and wait till they get home so I can give them shit.

Random Notes:

Two more injuries to report – Daniel Briere taking a head shot and Brandon Prust hurting his shoulder crashing into the boards. Do you think Louis Leblanc is waiting by the phone?

Shots on goal, Nashville 37, Montreal 29.

Eller and Bournival assisted on Gallagher’s goal.

Some of the penalty calls were questionable at best, but the gang stunk regardless.

Next up – Edmonton at the Bell on Tuesday.

 

 

 

One Writer’s Trophy Candidates

Because there’s been talk of certain Canadiens possibly grabbing hardware at season’s end, I’ve wondered who else around the league might be in the thick of things in different categories, and how professional writers might view some of the Habs who have a shot.

So it was interesting to see how Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province rates players he says are in the running, with him, and maybe some cohorts at the Province, coming up with some personal picks.

The Hart Trophy (MVP)

Jamieson’s three finalists are Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Alex Ovechkin (Washington), and Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim), and he decides on Crosby, although he mentions that Ovechkin is pushing hard.

James Norris Memorial Trophy (top defenceman)

Shea Weber (Nashville), Ryan Suter Minnesota, and P.K. Subban and Jamieson chooses Suter. About Subban, he says P.K. has finally decided to let his play do the talking, and the results confirm he’ll win this trophy soon enough. (just not this year). I disagree. Subban has been brilliant and deserves to win.

Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)

Tuukka Rask (Boston), Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus), and Cory Schneider (Vancouver), and Jamieson apologizes to Canucks fans because he chooses Rask.

Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie)

Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida), and Jonas Brodin (Minnesota) are the three finalists, and although Huberdeau leads rookies in scoring, the writer picks Gallagher, which of course I agree with.

Frank J. Selke (best defensive forward)

Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), David Backes (St. Louis).  The choice is Toews, with his league leading plus-33.

Lady Byng – (sportsmanship/high standard of play)

Datsyuk, Jordan Eberle (Edmonton), and Loui Eriksson (Dallas).  Who wins? Flip a coin, says Jamieson. He then chooses Eberle.

Jack Adams Award (coach of the year)

Joel Quenneville (Chicago), Bruce Boudreau (Anaheim), and Michel Therrien, and Jamieson picks Therrien. He says Anaheim and Montreal have been the season’s surprise teams, and he gives the nod to Therrien for a better storyline – about a guy who’s been frozen out by the NHL since his firing from Pittsburgh in 2009.

Awards Night On The Strip

 

What rivals the Academy Awards, Grammys, Emmys, and Golden Globe Awards?

Not the NHL Awards Show, that’s for sure.

Tonight’s the night we see players wearing uncomfortable tuxedos and their women beaming proudly. We see awkward speeches, hopefully some seriously low cleavage in the audience, and no Scott Gomez anywhere. We’ve also seen Ron McLean completely out of his element as a stand-up comedian, a cringe-inducing time in space if there ever was one, and maybe he’s been told to stay home.

And for those of you who gag at the thought of Nickelback performing, please keep in mind that Robin Thicke sang a couple of years back and I ask you, what’s worse?

I don’t know exactly what it is about Nickelback. Everybody dumps on this Canadian band, but I don’t mind them. Is that uncool to say? Do you like Robin Thicke better?

When I was a truck driver working out of Calgary, I would sometimes deliver cases of food to various stores in Hanna, Alberta, home of the Nickelback guys and Lanny McDonald. I’ve never ever delivered groceries in Robin Thicke’s hometown of Los Angeles.

In the recent past, the Awards show has been at the Palms in Vegas, which must have been uncomfortable for the players, wives, and executives because the Palms is about three blocks from the Strip, which is way too far. Tonight they’ve moved to the Wynn, one of the nicest hotels in the city, right on Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip, and where, if rumours are correct, sex has taken place in hotels rooms at various times, although I heard that several years ago and I don’t know if it’s still the case.

The big ones are on the line.

Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, and Steven Stamkos are up for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the most valuable to his team. I say give it to Malkin and hopefully cameras pan in on his girlfriend jiggling as she claps.

The Vezina, judged by general managers as top goalie, have Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, and Jonathan Quick battling it out. Tim Thomas couldn’t make it because he’s committed to doing a song and dance at the White House.

The Norris sees Zdeno Chara, Erik Karlsson, and Shea Weber on the short list. Give it to Karlsson. He’s already been partly ruined by getting a big seven-year contract from the Ottawa Senators which will zap much of the hunger out of the kid, and now a Norris, which will zap even more. Sens owner Eugene Melnyk predicted that Karlsson will become one of the greatest defensemen in the history of the game, so load the money and awards on him now and we’ll see how this prediction stands up.

And the Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award goes to the league for coming up with the stupidest name for an award.

Other awards handed out tonight include player with the hottest wife or girlfriend, best stick boy, the Bridgestone Gomez Getting The Job Done Award, the Sean Avery For The Love Of The Game Award, and the Nickelback Courage Award for showing up when everyone hates them except me.

The one award that should be a lock, even if I am biased? Max Pacioretty taking home the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication. Max came back from a broken neck to blossom into a star power forward, and he’s done it with grace and style, never losing a beat after such a tragic event. What a nice touch it would be to see Zdeno Chara present this award.

Excellent Hockey On An Excellent Day

Luciena and I went for a long walk on Sunday afternoon, it was sunny and my beer gut needs exercise, and we ended up at the arena to see the BCHL Powell River Kings and Victoria Grizzlies do battle in a lively tilt that saw Victoria score in overtime to win 4-3.

These kids are awesome. There’s some huge guys out there, 6’5 and such, and in general, everybody skates like the wind and some of them can rifle a shot like almost anyone in the bigs. They’re not quite up to Shea Weber and a few others maybe, but you know what I mean.

These teenagers are serious hockey players, some, from time to time will end up in the NHL, and many are offered great hockey scholarships to Canadian and US schools.

I don’t go to these games enough and I should. It’s very enjoyable, it’s 15 bucks, and you get a birds-eye view.

I do have one complaint though. The Powell River Paper Kings, as they were called ten or twenty years ago, wore Habs uniforms, with a “P” instead of the CH. It was kind of like seeing the Baby Habs out there. But alas, ten years ago or so they switched to green, white, and gold, the same colours as the senior Regals, and that was it for the beautiful Habs uniform.

Here’s what they looked like. It was glorious.

At the rink, I also noticed these signs on the steps. It’s one of the last reminders of the little sports bar my friend and I once owned here in this great little town. It hasn’t been ours in more than a decade but it’s still slightly bittersweet to see these little signs and to know that the place closed its doors, probably permanently, a couple of months ago.

Max And His Habs Make Music In Music City

It was one of the Canadiens best games in some time as the team swept their little two-game road trip, and inch by inch are clawing their way back into respectability. There’s still three too many teams between them and a playoff spot, but that’s fine. If they can play like this on a more regular basis, they’ll reach the promised land in no time flat.

It was Max Pacioretty firing one over Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne’s shoulder that gave the Habs their big win in Music City, and a hearty thanks to P.K.Subban, who swooped around with the puck and gave it to Max who surprised Rinne. I wish I had a wrist shot like that.

David Desharnais opened the scoring after converting an Erik Cole pass, and Cole has definitely solidified himself as one of the team’s best forwards. He can really motor, and he’s smart. I wasn’t sure in the beginning about Cole but I am now.

The situation declined slightly in the second when Montreal allowed a shorthanded goal, their fourth of the season which is four too many, as Brian Gionta lost the faceoff cleanly, the puck got back to Shea Weber who sent a missile past Peter Budaj. The goalie had no chance. Jacques Plante wouldn’t have stopped that either.

Didn’t Weber win the hardest shot contest at the All-Star game last year?

But Montreal, to their credit, dug in, put their nose to the grindstone, and didn’t give up a lot of their hard-earned momentum as they continued to play well after this faux-pas on their power play.

Peter Budaj, in nets with Carey Price getting a well-deserved rest, was as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar, and it’s a beautiful thing when the backup goalie instills confidence in everyone, including us.

The Habs failed to score on their three power plays, and if they can only get that going they could be a true force to reckoned with. Maybe once it starts, it’ll snowball.

Habs lace ’em up again on Monday when the Sabres come to town. The last time these two teams went at it, Ryan Miller stoned the Canadiens as his team won 3-1. That was right in the middle of the Habs’ six-game losing streak in October. Remember that losing streak? Remember how it sucked?

Once again, in my eyes at least, the Canadiens play a fine game. Their passes were sharper than they’ve been lately, they earned their good chances, and the guys in general were skating well. But they’ve got to stop this shorthanded goal nonsense, and they’ve got to get that power play going. All in all, though, it was a fine win.

Now they need another on Monday.

Buffalo Burgers On The Menu

I won’t be seeing the Habs-Sabres game until nearly midnight, so there’ll be no live blogging or recapping right after. It’s a work thing, and it’s going to happen again on Thursday. But it’s only a few games a month that I’ll be late getting to and it sucks but I’m just going to put my head down, get through it, and in a few days it’ll be just a distant and dark memory.

Anyway, I know what’s going to happen. The Canadiens will come out fired up after their embarrassing 6-5 shootout loss to the Avalanche the other night, and will score early. The Bell Centre will be loud, and the team will have all this meth amphetamine-type adrenaline running through their veins.

Late in the first, Buffalo will score after skating in on a four-on-nothing breakaway and tie the game on a shot through Price’s legs. Soon after we notice the Canadiens are starting to crash from their meth high.

Buffalo will score again early in the second and boos will start to be heard around the rink. The Canadiens are jittery as J-Mart juggles, but suddenly and without warning, David Desharnais finds the back of the net. The momentum swings back to the Canadiens, and with Carey Price suddenly reborn and legs together, the Canadiens take charge.

P.K.Subban on the power play puts the Habs in the lead midway through the third and does a sensational fist and leg pump that would have seized me up for a week if I tried it, and with the goalie pulled, Scott Gomez scores on the empty net for the insurance marker, although he was really trying to pass and it went in off somebody’s helmet.

3-2 Habs, but it was dicey for awhile. Fans at the Bell Centre go home with full hearts and empty wallets.

In the meantime, I came up with these numbers from a neat site called SmartSportsFan.com, a place where you can compare players in various categories using coloured graphs.

In the 2010-11 season, the shooting percentage (goals from number of shots) for Tomas Plekanec was 9.7%, Scott Gomez 4.5%, Andrei Kostitsyn 10.2, Brian Gionta 9.7, and Mike Cammalleri 9.8.

In contrast, C0rey Perry was 17.2%, Steven Stamkos 16.5, and Daniel Sedin 15.4.

Shots on goal – Tomas Plekanec had 227, Brian Gionta 298, Andrei Kostitsyn 196, and Mike Cammalleri 193.

Alex Ovechkin had 367.

Hal Gill had 151 hits, PK Subban 106, and Jaroslav Spacek 90. Nicklas Lidstrom finished with 92, Shea Weber 113, and Brent Seabrook 154.

Go Habs. Slice those Sabres.

Let’s See, Who’s Left

I’ts very hard for me to talk about the remaining teams in the playoff race. Because I don’t give much of a rat’s ass about any of them.

Washington losing four straight to Tampa Bay is just silly. How can a team so good in the regular season be so ordinary in the playoffs, and every year? A team with Alex Ovechkin (who, by the way, makes commercials that make me cringe), and a team the experts rave about. But the Caps, as good as they are, always seem to blow up in the end.

Boston doing well is awkward and uncomfortable. Imagine, Habs fans, if the Bruins go all the way. The fans, the Boston play-by-play guys, Boston media, Bruins bloggers, Don Cherry, PJ Stock, Mike Milbury, all will be unbearable until the Canadiens win it next year.

Philadelphia losing is great because the Flyers are the Flyers. Unacceptable human beings.

I’ve read that San Jose has one of the loudest rinks in the league and that’s impressive, and Nashville boasts not only a loud rink but also Shea Weber, as fine a defenceman as there is right now. These two teams are certainly more likeable than the Bruins and Flyers. Although it doesn’t take much to be more likeable than the Bruins and Flyers. 

The Red Wings have Pavel Datsyuk and are lucky they do. And Nicklas Lidstrom is Nicklas Lidstrom. But it doesn’t matter if they have a young Gordie Howe. They’re down three games to none and are about to say sayonara.

I suppose Vancouver is the team I’d like to see go all the way. I live in Canucks country. They’re a Canadian team, of course, and they’ve been good all year. But I say all this very hesitantly because I really don’t feel comfortable cheering for another team. Maybe I’m a lousy hockey fan, but it’s only the Habs. Everyone else doesn’t matter.

Have I forgotten anybody? I don’t care. I miss the Expos.

The Ones That Got Away

Unfortunately, Andrei Kostitsyn won’t be winning the scoring championship this year as he only has a measly ten goals and thirteen assists so far.

There’s just no denying he’s one of the culprits not helping “The Team That Scoring Forgot.”

He may, however, be the best player to ever come out of Belarus, although kid brother Sergei has eleven goals in Nashville, so even that’s debatable.

The depressing facts are:

Andrei Kostitsyn was selected 10th in the 2003 draft.

After him came Jeff Carter at 11th, Zach Parise – 17th, Ryan Getzlaf – 19th, Mike Richards – 24th, Patrice Bergeron – 45th, and Shea Weber – 49th, all of whom show character whether they’re scoring or not, as opposed to Kostitsyn who is just a body who goes on the ice, skates around for a minute, and then goes off again.

This shows that scouting is not an exact science, which Bob Davidson and John McLellan could vouch for after they travelled to Russia before the 1972 Summit Series and came back saying the Russians can’t shoot and have a very weak goaltender named Vladislav Tretiak.

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.