Tag Archives: Stanley Cup

Mystery Solved

The pictures below are of my program from 1925-26 when the defending Stanley Cup champion Victoria Cougars of the old WHL pro league played the NHL Ottawa Senators at the Auditorium in Ottawa.

The thing is, there’s no record of the Cougars playing the Senators in 1925-26, and even though several of us searched high and low, it remained a head scratcher.

Until now.

Not long ago I was at the home of hockey historian and author Jean-Patrice Martel, and after telling him about this program, he asked me to send him photos. I did, and not even half an hour or so later, he wrote back and said he’d found it, which surprised the heck out of me and left me feeling tremendously inadequate.

The Cougars played two exhibition games in Ottawa in November of 1925, with the money going to the Humane Society. The Sens won both games, 6-2 and 2-0.

Mystery solved by an amazing fellow, and I’m very grateful.

Here’s the link Jean-Patrice sent me, from a writeup in the Montreal Gazette after the second game – Cougars and Senators in November of 1925

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It’s About This

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I know they’re only halfway, but it’s a heck of lot better than no way.

For this guy, it’s not so much about the Canadiens having won the Cup since 1993. Although that’s still pretty bad.

It’s about the Canadiens winning it again pretty darn soon.

I was born in 1950 which means I have grey hair and wrinkled hands. And I’ve been alive for 18 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cups so I guess I’m a greedy bastard.

You say I have lots of time left? Tell that to Leafs fans who watch the years go by.

I’d like a parade while I can still stand near the curb. Not that I’m panicking but people my age are dropping like flies.

This is a direct order from me and all of us who find ourselves having to go to the bathroom about eight times in the middle of the night now.

Wondrous things are happening but they’re only halfway. C’mon boys, take out the Rangers and keep the hopes and dreams alive.

 

Danno’s Thermos

Danno sent me an email the other day, and hey……I’ll just let this fine fellow explain….

“Hi Dennis!

I have this thermos which I bring to work with me. It has a nice big Habs sticker on it.

I was washing it along with some other dishes and noticed this little mixing bowl looked really good on top of it.

My thermos is trying to tell me something.

Check it out…”

Danno's thermos

 

Big Canadian Day, Eh!

For those of you in other countries, today, Sunday, is a big day in Canada. Grey Cup Day. The 100th Grey Cup. When Canadians from coast to coast gather to eat meatballs, dips and chili. They also drink a lot of beer on this day, which is never a good idea because most have to work the next day, and if they haven’t learned in 100 years, they probably never will. But Canadians are Canadians. Just a wild and crazy bunch.

This Grey Cup will feature the Toronto Argonauts hosting the Calgary Stampeders, and I don’t really have a favourite. Maybe the team with the best-looking cheerleaders. Maybe I’ll root for the Argos because Torontonians have the Leafs and I feel sorry for them.

This was a trophy donated by Earl Grey in 1909. He originally had wanted to give away silverware that represented the best amateur hockey team in the country, but that rascal Sir Montagu Allan beat him to it, so Earl had to make it football because all the good hockey trophies had already been taken. I’ll bet he was pissed when he found out Monty got there first.

Habs great Doug Harvey was a huge fan, and once played against the Argos as a member of the Quebec Rugby Football Union, which in the 1940s was part of the CFL. He said that if he had to choose between hockey and football, he’d choose football. The Canadiens would often find themselves playing in Toronto on Grey Cup night, and coach Dick Irvin warned the guys not to go to the big game in the afternoon because he didn’t want any of them getting colds and sore throats and all that. The fine was $500, and every year Doug would go to the game and then pay the fine.

Cure for the hangover? Okay.

This is a sure thing, and it’s taken most of my life to figure it out. Put your coat on and walk about nine kilometers (5.5 miles), or more. I don’t know why this works. Maybe it’s something about getting the blood flowing. Or crisp air getting into your lungs. But it’s the best hangover cure I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried a lot.

Random Note:

If your math doesn’t add up, that this is the 100th Grey Cup even though the trophy was donated in 1909, it’s because the game wasn’t played during the First World War years. At least I think that’s how it works.

 

 

 

 

Better For Bettman

The original Stanley Cup, from 1892. Even Gary Bettman could have lifted it. Maybe.

If only it hadn’t gotten bigger over the years. The darn thing’s 36 inches high now, whereas the original was just over 7 inches. It’s too much for little Gary. And of course he wouldn’t lift the modern one above his head even if he could – that’s reserved for the winning team. If he tried, he might go from five foot five to four foot five.

I’m surprised he doesn’t put his back out just looking at it.

When the L.A. Kings won the prize recently, GM Dean Lombardi was offered the Cup during the on-ice celebrations, and after hedging on it for a few seconds, finally agreed to take it. But he struggled to lift it high, and if Lombardi had trouble with it, imagine Bettman. It would have crushed him like Tim Thomas stomping a 98-pound, long-haired Democrat. Like Wile E. Coyote having an Acme safe dropped on him.

If only the Stanley Cup had stayed the size of the original. Bettman could have lifted it like crazy. For a few seconds at least.

But alas, the Cup is too big now.

Maybe it should be made of styrofoam. For the President’s sake.

Makers Of Fine Hockey Stuff

I worked way too hard one Orillia summer, a 15 year old with my buddy Ron Clarke, hauling creosote-soaked railway ties a hundred feet to the shoreline so these evil things could be pounded into place to make some sort of breakwater. The job paid $1.75 an hour, and by the end of August I’d saved enough money to buy a pair of C.C.M. Tackaberrys, the skate, along with Bauer Supreme, that the pros wore.

I remember taking a bus to Toronto to the C.C.M factory because I’d heard that if you went to the factory, they would sell skates fitted to your feet. And I was disappointed when the man simply pulled out a normal box and found me a normal pair, which could’ve been done in Orillia. But I still felt like a million bucks as I swooped and swirved with my shiny new blades. And eventually the creosote burns would heal.

The Habs and Leafs used C.C.M Custom Pro sticks, while players from the four American teams went with Northland. My main weapon of choice wasn’t C.C.M., it was Hespeler Green Flash, although I would use C.C.M. sticks often along the way. Unfortunately, there was no stick from any company that would improve my shot.

And no matter how great any of the C.C.M. (from “Canada Cycle and Motor Co.”) equipment was, it didn’t help, and I wound up a truck driver instead of the new Ralph Backstrom.

Habs Win Stanley (Park). Oh, What A Night!

Before I get into this, I just want to mention that it was Tom Cruise you may have seen on the sports news watching the game from a private box at the Vancouver game and not me.

Montreal 3, Canucks 2. Yes, it’s true. The first Habs win in Vancouver since 2000. Not that Vancouver has been better than the Habs every game since 2000, but they’ve managed to win anyway.

In 2000, players didn’t wear helmets and goalies didn’t wear masks. (yes they did, I’m just being silly after drinking four big pints in celebration of one of the most amazing nights I’ve experienced in as long as I can remember).

Of the 20,000 or so at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, I’m guessing 9,000 were Habs fans. In bars and restaurants and on streets throughout, Habs fans were everywhere. At the rink, cheers were as loud for the Habs as they were for the Canucks. They sang Ole, Ole. They wore new and vintage Habs sweaters. They chanted Go Habs Go and drowned out lesser Canucks chants.

It made my heart soar like all the birds that can really soar.

Surely the whole thing must piss off Canucks fans.

And the game?

We jumped out in the beginning, outshooting Vancouver at one point about 15 to 2 or so. But penalties, as they do, changed momentum and the Canucks, a fine-looking team for sure, especially those Sedins, climbed back in and took over the shot tally from the second period on. It was stressful, Habs fans were louder than loud, our seats were wonderful – just eight rows up from David Desharnais and Brian Gionta scoring only 30 feet in front of us, and it became one of the best evenings Luciena and I have spent in years except for…..never mind.

Tonight was magical. Mystical. Like a script written. In the pre-game warm-up, we went down to ice level at Montreal’s end and watched PK and Carey and the boys get ready and I looked over often at my wife and she, being a fine Habs fan at her first Habs game, had eyeballs as big as saucers and I knew at this point that I’m a good, solid husband.

Montreal played well in this game, as least I thought so considering the penalties that needed to be killed. The flow and rhythm was lost for a great part as the boys trooped to the sin bin, but it didn’t stop the noise and atmosphere from the crazy and delightful Habs fans who traveled from all corners of the province and beyond to see their team knock off the first-overall Canucks and make my day like it’s rarely made.

What a night. Beating the Canucks after losing in Edmonton and Calgary. Back on the winning track. Celebrating with thousands of Habs fans three thousand miles from Montreal. Wishing I could kick the fish mascot in the ass.

What a night. Thank you Habs, for the magic. And for just being you.

Random Notes:

Montreal goal scorers were David Desharnais on a beautiful breakaway, Brian Gionta, and Andrei Kostitsyn with the winner.

Shots on goal – 39-25 Canucks

Next up – Home to destroy the Leafs.

Stanley Park, in the title of this story, was named after Lord Stanley of Preston, the man who donated the Stanley Cup. Stanley Park opened in Vancouver in 1888.

We Had Our Own Heritage Classics

That’s me in my own Heritage Classic, a long time ago. It’s what these outdoor games are supposed to represent – the millions of us who skated outdoors, froze our feet, scored winning goals in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup, and came in when mom called because supper was getting cold or it was just getting too dark to see.

We all had our Heritage Classic, although maybe only the dog and sister were there to witness it instead of thousands, and twenty-five cents allowance was slightly different than eight million dollars. We lost pucks in snowbanks, practiced turning left and right, worked on raising the puck, and fell and got back up and fell again.

The feet and toes tingled and prickled, wet socks hung by the heater, snot dripped into the soup, and sticks and pucks waited in the porch for the next Heritage Classic, when once again we’d score the winning goal of the Stanley Cup final.

Part Two Of A Glimpse Into The KHL

St. Petersburg SKA, sitting high in the standings, boasts several players who had careers in the NHL. Alexei Yashin, Maxim Afinogenov, Sergei Zubov, Evgeny Artyukhin, Sergei Brylin, and Evgeny Nabokov, all seasoned ex-NHLers, play here, although no Canadians are on the squad.

I think for most North Americans, living and playing in Russia can be a trying experience, but Vityaz Chekhov has five Canadians on their roster – Darcy Verot, Josh Gratton, Kevin Lalande, Chris Simon, and Brandon Sugden. (An interesting story about Brandon Sugden can be found here –  Brandon Sugden)

Vityaz Chekhov are also considered the Broad St. Bullies of the KHL, a tough, scrapping bunch, although on the night Denis went, they behaved themselves and won.

The Kontinental Hockey League clubs play for the Gagarin Cup, named after a true Russian hero Yuri Gagarin, a cosmonaut who became the first human in outer space and who is, according to my wife, possibly Russia’s most beloved hero of all time. Lord Stanley was Canada’s Governor General and donated the Stanley Cup, but Yuri Gagarin was a pioneer cosmonaut during the Cold War. For Russians, there’s no comparison.