Tag Archives: Steven Stamkos

Moving On From The Non-Goal

Not that I want to, but I suppose the thing to do is mention more about the goal/non-goal from Sunday’s game at the Bell Centre.

I’d prefer to move on and think about the guys getting it done in four games and continue to work on the power play during practice.

Frankly, it’s not the first or last time a disputed goal decision will be made. We’ll probably see several other instances in other series as we move along. Maybe as early as tonight.

The fact is, as mentioned by TSN’s Darren Dreger, the idea was put forth at one the general managers’ meetings, held in some palm tree-laden resort with a golf course, that monitors should be set up at the timekeepers bench where referees could have a look and see exactly what went down.

But the GMs dismissed the idea. It was probably getting close to tee time.

Tampa’s fans can complain but I’ll bet Jon Cooper and his players are now only concerned with game four. And this non/goal shouldn’t turn into the distorted opinion that it was a big turning point in the series. The Canadiens have outplayed Tampa in all three games for the most part, and Tampa should never have allowed Rene Bourque to bulge the twine after just eleven seconds (which is the fastest goal to start a playoff game at the Bell Centre).

But I expect the whining because it’s what I’d be doing if it had happened to the Canadiens.

The other chatter that just won’t quit is the hit to the head of Steven Stamkos by Alexei Emelin as Emelin was hurtling past him.  I’ve watched it several times, it happened quickly, seemed absolutely unintentional, and we’ve seen Emelin enough to know that it’s not his style to hurt, except for those thunderous bodychecks that rattle bones but are clean as a whistle.

Emelin’s not Matt Cooke or Raffi Torres or any of these dudes who have a reputation for such nastiness. He’s a punishing checker who caught Stamkos’ head by accident as he was flying through. Very unfortunate and I hope the Lightning star is 100%.

Hopefully this series ends soon so the only ones left to talk about all of this will be Tampa Bay folks. The Canadiens will have other fish to fry.

Weise Ends It

Dale Weise would score at 19:08 of of the first overtime frame to give his and our Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 win and and a nice one-game lead in what should be an outstanding series.

Fast paced, close, tense, some bad blood, and the right team winning. Now that’s hockey!

The Canadiens easily could have lost though, especially after allowing four goals on just fourteen shots. But thanks to some timely goals and Weise pulling the trigger, all’s well in Habsland.

Carey Price wasn’t particularly sharp, but the Canadiens were still able to get it done, even with him being slightly shaky, and the boys on this night outplayed Tampa for most of the first period, much of the second and third, and most of the overtime.

It was one of those nights that whenever play moved into Montreal’s end, the possibility was there that things could go south quickly. And four times it did.

But the Canadiens never let things get out of hand, they scored some timely goals, and that big first game is won by the team that should have and did.

Tampa had opened the scoring in the first period but just nineteen seconds later, Tomas Plekanec wired it home and the teams went to their rooms all even, although Montreal had outshot the Floridians 14-4.

In the second frame, not long after Brendan Gallagher took a puck in the throat from an Alexei Emelin shot from the blueline, Steven Stamkos would notch his first of two on the night and put his team ahead 2-1. Gallagher would return thankfully. But he might not be happy with Emelin.

Back and forth it went, playoff hockey at its finest, fans everywhere on the edge of their seats and couches I’m sure, and in the midst of scrums and battles, Brian Gionta would take a nice pass from Lars Eller and score a big shorthanded marker that caused Luci and I to yell and once again scare the cat that has happened far too often this year.

It’s going to be a long series for the cat.

The Canadiens would take the lead in the third period after Brian Gionta had corralled the puck at his blueline and got it to Lars Eller who danced up the ice and found the back of the net. A beautiful goal, and the Eller, Gionta and Bourque line skated well and created chances all evening. Hell, all the lines skated well I thought.

Sidenote: P.K. Stock said we have one good line and the other three suck. Just so you know.

One of my big dreams is to be rich enough so I could have spare TVs and whenever Stock comes on, I shoot the TV out the way Elvis used to.

Again the pesky Lightning would reply after a turnover, and the way Price was looking in nets, I experienced one of those strong sinking feelings that I’m really not crazy about.

Things would perk up though after Thomas Vanek converted a great pass from David Desharnais, but Steven Stamkos wasn’t through on the night as his second goal would even things at four apiece. Tampa’s captain is dangerous. Therrien’s gonna have to come up with a plan to calm this guy down down.

Sadly, Montreal’s power play continues to shoot blanks, and when they were given a power play with just 2:01 left in the third, the chance to win it was there on a silver platter. But again…..

Montreal’s man advantage at this stage of the year is confused and non-threatening. Throw out the power play drills they recently did in practice and come up with some new ones. Ask PJ Stock. Maybe he can help.

Overtime almost ended quickly when Max rang one off the post, and usually after something like that happens, the other teams scores. But Tampa didn’t, Dale Weise did, and at that point, I breathed a sigh of relief and now my heart is soaring like a Tawny-Headed Mountain-Finch.

Game two on Friday. Without sounding like a greedy bastard, another win would be good.

Habs outshot Tampa 44-25 on the night.

Toppled In Tampa Bay

Not great this one. Blatant giveaways, a rash of penalties, a Lightning shorthanded goal.

3-1 Tampa Bay, ending the Canadiens five game winning streak. A solid game by them and far from solid from the visitors.

Except for one guy, Carey Price, who was unreal all night, diving and sprawling and throwing his glove and pads out and taking sure goals from the likes of Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell and a host of others.

Price kept it close and made it deceiving. The Canadiens were out of sorts and the score could’ve been embarrassing. So maybe we should close the book on this one and throw it in the fireplace.

More than anything it was the parade to the penalty box, with some deserved and some not, which is what you get when Chris Lee is working and the Habs are involved.

Lee’s dad is or must’ve been a hardcore Bruins or Leafs fan. Can there be any other explanation?

And those giveaways. Every period we saw loosey goosey puck handling that ended up with Price coming to the rescue. Except the time when David Deshanais gave the puck away on a power play, which ultimately was the winning goal for the Bolts.

Now we’re faced with a suspension, compliments of Douglas Murray landing a vicious elbow into the face of Michael Kostka, which brought the stretcher out but thankfully wasn’t needed.

Just one of those games where the Canadiens were often outplayed, they shot themselves in the foot a bunch of times, and the one saving grace from this is that the Lightning are probably slightly spooked by Price and he’ll be in their heads come playoff time.

The Habs are now officially in the playoffs, thanks to Washington and New Jersey losing, but it was only a matter of time anyway so no need to shout or sing ole.

Random Notes:

Habs lone goal was scored by Brendan Gallagher, his 19th of the season. Sure wish he would’ve slipped the puck over to Galchenyuk on that two-on-one late in the game though.

Tampa outshot the Canadiens 33-26, but it didn’t seem like a 33-26 game to me. Ben Bishop could’ve read The Hockey News for long stretches when his team was peppering Price.

Andrei Markov was hurt in the third and went to the room.

Next up – Friday in Ottawa to meet a team that still has a faint chance of making the postseason. So they’ll be hungry and the gang can’t let up because home ice advantage against the Lightning is still in question.

 

Canada 2 Finland 1 In Overtime

Two goals by Drew Doughty, one in the first period and another in overtime, gave Team Canada a 2-1 win over the Finns, and now Canada plays the winner of Tuesday’s Switzerland and Latvia contest in a quarterfinals contest to be held on Wednesday.

The Swiss beat Latvia 1-0 in an Olympic opener last week.

What a fine player Doughty is. Drafted number 2 overall in 2008 behind Steven Stamkos, this is a great skater, is smart with a nice tough of flair, has a good shot, and is a big reason why the Los Angeles Kings are a threat.

A young hockey star living in Tinseltown. I’m sure life is good for Drew Doughty. I wonder if Justin Bieber has his autograph.

The Finns were outplayed for the most part, but they lined themselves up as the Canadians attacked, and it made for a close, tight checking, hardworking affair.

Definitely not the barnburner the U.S. – Russia game was the other day, but it still allowed Canada to go 3-0 in the tournament and keep momentum flowing the right way.

The boys could have easily lost, but a late save by Carey Price kept things at one apiece and set the stage for Doughty’s heroics. I hope the coaches keep that in mind.

Price came through when called upon and everyone should be satisfied with they saw from him. Although Habs haters will have found several chinks in his armour of course.

But two goals allowed in two starts is pretty darn decent in my book.

Tuukka Rask at the other end was also excellent, and if he didn’t play for the Bruins, I’d say more nice things about him.

Martin St. Louis and P.K. Subban were healthy scratches, and P.K. especially might have made a difference. Big shots getting through that wall of players. His skating that might have opened things up somewhat.

“Whatcha think of Canada’s win today, Elmer?”
Subban shudda been there, Red.”

Press box

Markov And Price Babblings

Andrei Markov has been announced as Montreal’s nomination for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given each year to a player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication.

This means that the cabinet space the Vezina was going to take up could now be used for the Masterton! You see how things work out!

Hopefully Markov, who came back this year from a couple of knee injuries that forced him to miss all but twenty games over the past two seasons, can capture this important award. And even though he’s older and slower now, and sometimes gets caught out of position, he’s still one of our key blueliners, played every game this year, and I believe was the best thing that ever happened to Alex Emelin (except for Emelin getting married and having a baby, I suppose).

Pittsburgh has nominated Matt Cooke, which kind of tarnishes the whole thing. I wonder if Ottawa writers will be scrambling to vote for him.

It’s another off-day for the Canadiens, another day to rest and regroup and try to figure out why they’ve been so incredibly mediocre lately, and there’s lots to think about. Like how they got themselves in this mess in the first place. A mess where fans are mad at them after a three month love-in. We had the parade route planned. Now players discuss which alley to escape down.

We worry if they’ll ever play an excellent game again. Can anything be more depressing?

I know what the problem is, and if you consider me a Price-basher, you’re as wrong as can be. I’m a Price-believer. All along I’ve considered him and Pernell Karl as our true superstars. He’s the guy my wife wants to have her picture taken with. She loves him. He looks a lot like her son.

But when a team goes out every night with a solid game plan, is playing as well or better than the other team, and suddenly finds themselves down 2-0 or 3-0 midway through the first period after a couple of weak goals, the solid game plan flies out the window. It becomes a worry whenever the puck is in their end, because they realize their backstopper isn’t sharp once again.

And because there’s no sharpshooter like Steven Stamkos to rely on to begin a dramatic comeback, the game is basically over before twenty minutes has been played.

I was shocked when I read the other day that Price’s average (2.59) has dropped to 29th in the league, and his .905 save percentage sits at 33rd. What the heck is that? I’m feeling bad about this, and my wife has gone silent.

We can look at our lack of production from forwards, and our defence that needs work, but until Price comes up big at crucial times, like the first or second shot of the game for example, we’re gonna be screwed. He’s not getting help from guys in front, but we ask that at least he keeps us in the game until a way can be found at the other end.

It’s what good goalies do. It’s what Price used to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penguins Waddle In

Saturday, and it’s wet out. There’s a reason why Powell River is so clean. Old Ma Nature likes to wash it.

It’s also game day for the Habs, with the Penguins in town and no Evgeny Malkin to contend with. But of course there’s the kid from Cole Harbour who needs to be corralled.

Sidney Crosby is tied with Steven Stamkos at the head of the class with 31 points, and seeing this, without seeing much of him, I’m assuming he’s at the top of his game. As a comparison, Montreal’s top guy, Max Pacioretty, is 49th in the league with 16 points. Micheal Ryder has 14, but all with Dallas. Tomas Plekanec, third in Habs points, sits in 86th spot with 13.

It’s a chance to widen the gap to five points over a team breathing down our necks, which should happen because I see no reason for it not to. Keep the momentum going and feel good because 24 hours later, it doesn’t get any easier. It’s the Bruins who make me nervous, mostly because they’ve had their best start in 26 years or something like that, and they’re up on Sunday.

The Bruins have also only played 17 games to Montreal’s 20, so it goes without saying that this is a team that needs to be crushed.

But first things first. Take out the Penguins, who are missing Malkin, a guy currently experiencing the same problems as Montreal’s Raphael Diaz and Rene Bourque – the dreaded concussion. I thought things were supposed to get better in this department after all the trouble so many players, including Crosby of course, have had over the last few years with head injuries. Maybe there’s no real answer. Maybe as long as hockey will be played, heads will get knocked and brains scrambled.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the other thing that makes me nervous. Matt Cooke plays for Pittsburgh.

I’ll be back later. Like the Habs, I’ve also got a big task at hand right now.

 

Pool Shot

I’m in an annual hockey pool here in Powell River but because I was at work when the picks were picked, my buddy Jordy did the choosing for me. Jordy picked for me last year too and I came in third and won fifty bucks. He’s good at it. Way better than me.

I find there’s nothing more boring than reading one’s personal pool picks and I swore I’d never show mine. So having said that, here’s mine.

Notice I have Carey Price and PK Subban, and actually, when I look at this, I feel I’m in the money again this year!

1. Steven Stamkos
2. Jonathan Toews
3. Carey Price (G)
4. Drew Doughty (D)
5. Zach Parise
6. Patrick Kane
7. Ryan Sutter (D)
8. Mikka Kiprusoff (G)
9. Mike Richards
10. PK Subban (D)
11. Evander Kane
12. Jeff Carter
13. Shane Doan
14. Jack Johnson (D)
15. Jordan Staal
16. Sean Couturier

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.

Habs’ Big Line Big

Tampa Bay was given an overdose of MEDs tonight – Max, Erik, and David, as Montreal’s top line scored four of the team’s five goals on their way to a 5-2 romp over a fairly lousy Lightning team, a team which has allowed more goals than any other in the league. (TB has allowed a whopping 275 goals. Montreal, as an example, has given up 223).

This is slightly unusual. I’m so used to being disappointed about the Habs that it’s like a breath of fresh air to dump on another for a change.

It just goes to show that although a team can have some dynamite in their lineup, like Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, and Martin St. Louis, you need so much more than a few stars to be a contender. But that’s all they have, and I’m not feeling bad about this.

Montreal was simply the better bunch on this night. Their passes were sharp, especially Peter Budaj’s nice set-up to Lecavalier, who, unfortunately, was on the other team. But regardless, it was a beautiful pass, right on the tape. Very impressive.

Alexei Emelin, with his third of the season, opened the scoring, and Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty would notch two apiece, giving these two 34 and 32 goals respectively, which is nothing to sneeze at. And David Desharnais once again kept the line moving at a splendid pace and now has himself a nice 60 point season (16 goals, 44 assists), after setting up Emelin and then Cole’s first marker.

Frankly, I can’t wait for next season to see these three sparkle. If only Tomas Plekanec can find the elusive chemistry potion to form a formidable second line. Rene Bourque was supposed to be a piece of this second line puzzle, but alas……

I watched the game with my Russian son-in-law and he exclaimed in his thick Russian accent that it’s too bad the team couldn’t play like this all season. It’s a good point but frankly, to bring things back to reality, it was only Tampa Bay.

But still, I agree with him.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Montreal 25, TB 16

Did you notice the extremely lovely lady behind the Tampa bench?

Stamkos came into the game with 58 goals and left with 58 goals. He’s going to have to get his 60th against Toronto, which seems right to me.

Canadiens travel to Raleigh to take on the Hurricanes Thursday night.

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.