Tag Archives: Shea Weber

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.

Preparing For Those Nashville Cats

Montreal doesn’t see the Nashville Predators, who they play Thursday night, all that often. This is a team who mostly toils in the west, and aren’t toiling all that well. The Predators have 43 points. (Habs have 56) and sit 12th of 15 teams in the Western Conference. They have one blue-chipper, defenceman Shea Weber, who was a standout for Canada along with Dion Phaneuf at the World Juniors a few years back.

 

The problem is, they also have Jordin Tootoo, who needs Mike Komisarek to wrap his big hands around his throat a la Marc Savard, and teach the guy to quit wreaking havoc and causing injuries.

 

The Predators are not to be taken lightly. The Canadiens have been known to be absolutely lousy against lesser teams. Think back to the 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning December 11th as a prime example.

 

I also think some of the boys might be nervous about recent trade talks. Will they stay or will they go.

 

HOPE YOU’RE SITTING DOWN DEPARTMENT:

 

The Ottawa Senators have now won two straight games, beating Atlanta 3-2 Wednesday night. That means all those people I know in Ottawa who used to be good Montreal Canadiens fans and changed to Senators fans will be popping champagne and kissing women in the street.