Tag Archives: Sidney Crosby

Cream Of The Crop

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Howe

Gretzky

The best ever? It’s been written and talked about forever.

I don’t care. I want to talk about it too. It’s cold and I don’t want to go out.

There’s no real definitive answer I think, but it can be broken down in stages.

Howie Morenz in the 20s and 30s. Maurice Richard’s name was added in the 40s. Gordie Howe and the Rocket in the 50s.

It was all Howe in the 1960s, although Bobby Hull’s name was tossed around by some, and Bobby Orr showed up in the latter part of the 1960s and into the 70s.

Then Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky came along and ruled the 80s and 90s.

Gretzky’s name comes up much more than Mario’s, but Mario, before he got sick, would take a back seat to no one and ended with 1723 points in 915 regular season games, including an 85-goal season in ’88-89.

Maybe Mario is underrated when it comes time to talk about the best ever. He was big and smart with hands of gold.

Sidney Crosby is great of course, but he’s not in this stratosphere. Not yet at least. I wonder if some would disagree about that.

Usually, it boils down to three guys when this topic comes up – Howe, Orr, and Gretzky.

My choice is Bobby Orr.

Although I would see Gordie Howe play a number of times over the years on television (once live at Maple Leaf Gardens in the mid-’60s), he never seemed to completely control the flow of the game the way Orr did, although I know Howe was in a league of his own in almost every department.

Orr’s two years older than me and comes from the same area of Ontario. We were worlds apart as players of course, but at least I can say I  played in many of the same barns as him, maybe against some of the same guys he played against in town like Midland and Huntsville and Gravenhurst. I feel some sort of Central/Northern Ontario connection in a way.

Bobby Orr was a minor league phenom and we were talking about him with envy when we were kids. We knew about him. We heard about his exploits. Parry Sound kids my age came down to Orillia to play and I think our teams played there too. And we watched his brother Ron when his Junior C Parry Sound team played in Orillia.

I saw Orr a few times in Orillia over the years, including a night at the Atherley Arms Hotel when he was at a table with friends and a guy with a few too many drinks in his belly came up to Bobby and was rude and vulgar, which wasn’t cool.

I also by chance walked by him and his wife Peggy in the Orillia park one day and said hi, and they both smiled and said hi back.

I saw him play when he was 16 in an exhibition game in Bracebridge. He was with the Oshawa Generals at the time, but on this night he suited up with the Orillia Terriors senior team against a Muskoka all-star senior team. Orr had the puck all night, and we could see other players – talented, grown men – laughing and shaking their heads at how good this teenager was.

Orr skated like no other defenceman, he had different bursts of speed, he charged the net and racked up points like no other defenceman, and he controlled the play like no other player on the ice. He was also strong and smart, and when it came time to drop the gloves, he could be nasty.

That’s a complete player to me. He did it all and cruelly it didn’t last long because of his bad knees (10 seasons in Boston and a short stint in Chicago). But what a player he was before his knees did him in.

Orr himself says Gordie Howe was the best ever. He played against Howe and watched Gretzky throughout 99′s career. But it’s Howe he chooses, as do many.

Howe wasn’t flashy like the Rocket, Orr and Gretzky, but every pass from him was on the tape, his shot was as hard or harder than any player in the league, he was as good or better a goal scorer as there was, and he was a mean hombre, the toughest player in the league. Punches that crushed noses.

No one dared fight him. He struck fear into the hearts of others, but they respected him. To go into the corners with him was never a good thing. His elbows were legendary.

And of course Wayne Gretzky. You need a fancy calculator and about an hour to tally his records. There’s a legion of players and fans who insist he’s the greatest ever. It’s been said often that in the heat of battle, he thought two or three plays ahead. It was ridiculous how he could rack up the points.

But I go with Bobby Orr. Orr had it figured out ahead of time like Gretzky did. It’s some sort of miraculous instinct. He was a better skater than Gretzky, there’s no comparison in toughness, and he collected reams of points even though he was a defenceman.

He also comes from my neck of the woods and from the same era, which is important to me.

The only Boston Bruin I was ever a fan of.

 

 

Canadiens Win In A Shootout

Surprisingly, the Habs downed the Pens 6-5 in a shootout at the flightless bird barn, thanks to David Desharnais solving Marc-Andre Fleury and Peter Budaj stopping James Neal, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeny Malkin.

That’s what it came down to after an odd game that saw Montreal win even though Budaj, before the shootout, was often shaky and visions of Carey Price danced through my head.

Lots of scoring from both sides, the boys replied whenever the Pens took the lead, and I’ll take these two points in a New York minute, even though once again, it wasn’t the most impressive display.

Weird and mildly entertaining, but not overly impressive.

Brendan Gallagher broke the ice in the first period following early pressure by the Canadiens, but James Neal tied it when the puck trickled by Mr. Budaj.

Then, when a shot sailed over Budaj’s shoulder for a 2-1 Pens lead, the future didn’t look bright. In fact, I was wondering if backup Dustin Tokarski would be up to the task.

But Budaj stayed in and the game unfolded.

In the second frame, Daniel Briere, playing on the fourth line with Moen and Parros, tied things at two, but the seesaw battle would continue.

Pittsburgh went ahead with Lars Eller was in the box, but Max on the power play evened it again. It was going good. Then P.K. found himself in Michel Therrien’s bad books for about the tenth time this year it seems.

Of course, P.K. screwed up magnificently.
A Habs power play.
P.K. dangling with the puck.
P.K. getting stripped of said puck by Brandon Sutter..
Sutter scoring a shorthanded breakaway goal to put his team ahead 4-3 and PK in the doghouse.

Fodder for Michel Therrien to sit P.K. down for the rest of the game.

But all was not lose. Alexei Emelin, with his second goal of the year, sent a wrist shot from the blueline to tie the thing at four apiece.

And the weirdness kept on coming.

With Emelin in the box on a truly borderline call, the Pens went ahead 5-4, but then Tanner Glass was sent off for five minutes for elbowing Emelin, and Daniel Briere, with his second goal of the night, tied it at five.

After a scoreless overtime, it took DD to end it and give his team two big points.

Was it a good game? It had more stuff, the scoring was there, and they pulled it out. So I suppose, after my whining about lack of effort and no shots or goals, this was a stunning success.

Only seven more tough games in a row to go.

Random Notes.

The Pens outshot the Habs 32-29.

Throughout the five minute overtime, P.K. watched from the sidelines. I think Galchenyuk and Briere too. Galchenyuk was hustling and Briere had two goals and an assist, so the coach’s reasoning is a head-scratcher.

I hate all the freaking so-called lessons Therrien likes to teach different players. In fact, I’m sick of it. Especially when they’re trying to win a big game and these guys have the tools to do it.

In other news, Lars Eller was not Jean Beliveau on this night.

Jarred Tinordi hasn’t made the impact so far that Nathan Beaulieu did in his pre-Olympic stint.

Leafs in town on Saturday. No predictions here. Predictions are for gypsies.

 

 

Red, White, And GOLD

Team Canada was just too much for the Swedish team on a warm winter day in Sochi.

Too strong, too workmanlike, too solid on all fronts in blanking Tre Kronor 3-0 and ending this 2014 Olympics with gold and an astounding three goals allowed in six games.

What a sixty minute job by the Canadians and what a feather in Carey Price’s cap with his second straight shutout and just three total goals behind him in his three other appearances.

Carey was great, but this wasn’t a one-man show like it was with the Latvian goalie in Canada’s fourth game. It was Price and an unreal defence and an amazing group of forwards, all there to win gold, and they came through in spades.

There was no way the Swedes were going to win this game. The Canadians owned the ice at both ends, and goals by Jonathon Toews in the first, Sidney Crosby on a breakaway in the second, and Chris Kunitz with a great shot in the third was more than enough to put smiles on fans from sea to shining sea.

Great to see P.K. get his medal with the group. What a sensational smile he has, and his turn will come in four years when he and Price will lead the charge for another gold.

This Canadian win can only help Price and Subban with the Habs. They’ve seen what it takes, and it’ll translate into bigger and better things for them while wearing the CH.

Yes, I’m choked up now. I’m proud to be a Canadian. Proud of Team Canada. Proud of Carey Price.

Gold for Canada in men and women’s hockey.

It’s a moment for Canadians to cherish.

Thank you, Team Canada.

 

 

Canada Sends Americans Packing

Team Canada played a tremendously solid game against a good U.S. and now move on to meet the Swedes on Sunday for the gold medal.

As a proud Canadian, it’s been a good two days, with first the women winning it all and now the men moving a big step closer.

I don’t care that the weather up here leaves a lot to be desired. Sometimes the weather’s great. Anyway, we’re a tough bunch, and If we didn’t have bad weather, we’d have a lot less to talk about at parties.

Canada’s an exceptionally wonderful country and anyone who hasn’t been here needs to smarten up.

But back to the game.

Many said leading up to today that it could be a high scoring affair. It wasn’t.

Many said throughout the tournament, and long before, that Carey Price in nets would be a mistake. It was no mistake.

Price has been solid as a rock. He’s come through. And his calm demeanor has probably helped not only himself but his teammates too.

The pressure of winning in the Olympics is intense, but Price is used to it. He plays for the Montreal Canadiens.

Just a great showing by the Habs goaltender in Sochi, and maybe the critics will take a few days off now.

Jamie Benn scored Canada’s lone goal, a nice redirection of a Jay Bouwmeester pass, and that was it. The lone goal and the winner. It was all that was needed with Price holding the fort.

Benn’s been good.  And I thought Crosby and Kunitz had their best showing of the tournament and swarmed the American end often. Kunitz especially had about a half dozen good chances.

Now it’s Sweden at 7 am ET on Sunday for all the marbles. One more big game needed. One more game where everyone has to play like it’s game seven of the Stanley Cup finals, which is bigger than you think, Rene Fasel.

Proud of the two Canadian teams, proud of my country. But I can’t get carried away. I’ll have nothing to write on Sunday.

“Did you like the game, Elmer?”
“Sure did, Red. Did somebody say the weather’s good in Canada?”

Press box

 

 

 

Leo The Really Good

The little boy you see in these two videos scoring all these goals is Leo, the son of a co-worker of mine.

Every time I ask how Leo did in any of his games, it’s always that he scored seven or ten etc.

Leo only just recently turned 5, and in the first video, you see him get twelve points in a game, and in the second, he notches his 100th goal of the season. He reached 103 that game.

This kid is going to be the new Gretzky or Lafleur or  Crosby.

Keep the video and check it out again in about fifteen years, when Leo Brodeur is in the NHL

Okay, Who’s The Bastard?

Whoever it was who didn’t eat his vegetables and then probably got drunk one night and walked home without his pants on and ended up getting a cold and flu which immediately spread throughout Montreal and hit the Habs’ David Desharnais and Raphael Diaz and probably other players too and then made its way to me and knocked me flat on my back and on a diet of tomato soup and ginger ale and now that I’m feeling somewhat better has my kind and loving wife shivering and coughing and wrapped in blankets as her nose runs, should feel very ashamed of himself and it’s just too bad he doesn’t live in Pittsburgh where the Canadiens play the Pens who have eleven more points than the Habs and where Crosby and Malkin and the rest are probably perfectly healthy but it might not matter anyway because as Marjo points out, if the boys continue their win, lose, win, lose, then they’ll win in Pittsburgh regardless of the fact the germ-spreading bastard doesn’t live there.

 

Ready For Tonight

All set to go with no lingering beer effects, the TV will be nicely warmed-up, and I’m ready to say all kinds of nice things about the Canadiens after they wallop the Florida Panthers tonight at the Bell Centre.

It might prove tough for the gang though, considering they flew back from New York in a snowstorm in the wee hours of Sunday, with the Panthers not having played in a few days and winning their last two games in shootouts against good teams – the Caps on Friday and Wings last Tuesday.

With the Canadiens, all we’re asking for is a win and more scoring from different guys. Two goals in three games isn’t exactly fire-wagon hockey.

But they’ll turn it around because that’s what they do.

The question on everyone’s lips – Will Scott Gomez be in the Florida lineup? It’s a concern. The sniper, who has scored one goal this year and was on track for possibly a two-goal season, hasn’t dressed since Nov. 30 when he was a minus-2.

Fans pay big money for tickets and when Pittsburgh comes to town, they want to see Sidney Crosby. Same with Washington and Ovechkin.

Same with Florida and Gomez.

 

 

Canadiens Get ‘Er Done

Canadiens win their third straight game by edging the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 at the Bell, the team’s third straight win, and the second time in two nights they held a 3-0 margin and managed to hold on and win 3-2.

Excellent. And as a coup de grace, I watched it in Punjabi. My brother’s TV only showed lesser, unimportant affairs, like the Leafs and such.

I had no problem watching it in Punjabi. In fact, I welcome the time I get to do it again. I thought Harnarayan Singh and his buddy Bhola Chauhan were excellent, even though the only words I recognized were “power play” and “million dollars”.

Harnarayan and Bhola – the Dick and Danny of Punjabi broadcasting.

Max Pacioretty scored twice to lead his team, and it’s fine thing to see Max getting it done, firing seeing-eye shots, being the productive power forward we all know and love. Good things happen when Max is on his game.

Sidney Crosby has seen better nights. He seemed out of sorts, had disagreements with P.K. and Pleks, and with his helmet off looked like he was suffering from a hangover.

His buddy Evgeni Malkin was dangerous though, and his rush in the third period that led to James Neals’s second goal reminded me of Malkin when he played in the World Juniors seven or eight years ago. Malkin was unstoppable back then, and he was unstoppable on that rush.

Although having said that, some defencemen might have stopped him. Just not ours at that time.

But whatever. That’s too much nice stuff about the enemy.

Carey Price was once again solid, stopping 29 of 31 shots. The guy at the other end, Fleury, wasn’t so hot.

Tomas Plekanec also lit the lamp. And Brian Gionta was often a force to be reckoned with.

Brendan Gallagher once again got the old nose dirty, created havoc, crashed the net, riled up Kris Letang, and continues to transfer distinct energy to teammates. He did all this, even with a lousy moustache.

Three straight wins, with Max scoring five times in that stretch. The team now jumps ahead of Detroit in the wild card position, and are closing in on Toronto and Tampa Bay in conference standings. Surely they can handle Buffalo on Wednesday to keep this thing going.

Goodnight. Sweet dreams. Or as they say in Punjabi – nitinkurangale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruins Sweep Penguins

Pens gone in four.

Two goals scored in the four games.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin held pointless in the series.

For 48 games in the regular season, Pittsburgh was the powerhouse, not Boston. But the Bruins played great from top to bottom, the goalie stopped every puck but two, and Gregory Campbell personified what his team was made of when he stayed out for his shift with a broken leg in game three and then was helped to the dressing room, gone for the playoffs.

I thought it was an awesome moment. A true playoff moment. Sort of a Bobby Baun moment.

Can you see either of the Kostitsyn brothers doing this?

I hate the Bruins, but they’ve been pretty darn impressive. Would the Habs have had a chance against this team if they would’ve met up at some point?  Not with the way the Beantowners have played, which is tough and smart and almost mistake-free. And of course the goalie, who could have gone for an extended coffee break because our guys can never hit the net anyway.

Maybe Jarome Iginla should have chosen Boston after all, like everyone thought, including Boston. Instead, Pittsburgh gave Calgary a 2013 first-round draft pick and two college players to corral the former star, and maybe it wasn’t the shrewdest move by both Pens G.M. Ray Shero or Iginla.

Iginla thought the Pens had the best chance to win it all. Oops!

It also shows loud and clear that a stacked team isn’t always the best team. And is it possible that the addition of Iginla, Brenden Morrow, and defenceman Douglas Murray somehow tampered with delicate team chemistry?

Oh, well. Live and learn for all concerned. And because I’m a terrible person, I think it’s quite a classic and fun moment when this team, that was expected to steamroll to the Cup, falls flat on their face and bows out in such embarrassing fashion.

It’s the spice of life. It’s what makes the hockey world go round.

 

 

 

 

Arrgg, Grrrrrrr

Maybe Sidney should be careful about the way he’s been talking to the big lug lately.

Thanks to Hobo for sending this pic along. Imagine how funny it would be if we actually saw this?

IMG_9074

It’s kind of like Andre the Giant throwing some poor mortal around. Andre lived in Montreal at one time, wrestled at the Forum, and I like to think he was a Habs fan. So no way am I comparing this gentle giant to the guy in Boston.

Anyway, Chara’s a mere 6’9″, 255 lbs. Andre the Giant was 7’4″, 424 lbs and would have crushed the wee lad.

Andre was 46 when he passed away due to heart failure in 1993.

2455647-andre_rumble