Tag Archives: Vincent Lecavalier

Briere A Hab

5’10”, 181 pound free agent Daniel Briere has signed a two-year deal with the Habs and I suppose it’s possible this could be fine as he’s been a bit of thorn in the Habs’ side over the years. Scored the odd big goal against my team. Made me curse at my T.V. screen several times.

Now he’s on our side. I hope I won’t be cursing him for completely different reasons.

He had a chance to become a Canadien a few years back but wasn’t interested, even though he’s a good Quebec boy. And since he was recently unemployed and hoping a team would have him, now he’s happy to be coming to Montreal. It kinds of burns my ass slightly.

Does he have much of a downside? Not really, other than he’s a shrimp and the team needs to get bigger, not smaller. And he’s almost 36 years old. And he’s not the player he once was.

But other than these few things, it’s all upside.

Prime Time Sports talk show host Bob McCown wrote in his book “100 Greatest Hockey Arguments” that hockey is probably the only sport where three fans can watch the same game at the same time and all three can disagree with what they saw. And the same holds true for speculation involving players coming to teams.

You can disagree with me completely on this, but I don’t like this signing. The same as I wasn’t crazy about the prospect of Vincent Lecavalier coming to Montreal. I don’t want guys on their way out, even if they did burn the Habs in a big way over the years. Because much of their former burning has been snuffed out with a wet blanket owned by Mother Nature’s old man, Father Time.

Of course I hope I’m wrong and you call me on it seven or eight months from now when Briere shows he’s the perfect fit and Marc Bergevin once again looks like Sam Pollock. But for now, I feel the Canadiens already have their quota of small forwards, and adding another, who happens to be almost 36 years old, isn’t going to make me run down the streets of St. Hubert whooping and hollering.

Non, Maybe Oui

Chalk me up as one guy who’s not crazy about the idea of Vincent Lecavalier in Montreal.

Five years ago, when he was 28 or so and a bonafide French-Canadian star who wore number four because his granddad loved Jean Beliveau, I wanted very much to see the big centre wearing the CH.

But he was on the decline in Tampa Bay in the last couple of years, not nearly as effective as he was, he’s on the cusp of being old, and the Lightning decided to move on without him. He’s not the 52- goal and 40-goal scorer he was a handful of years ago.

Martin St. Louis knows how to grow old and play. Maybe not Vincent.

However, I say all this without seeing him in action much, so I have no idea. I’m just babbling before we go out in Montreal traffic and get lost again.

Having said that, if the Habs did decide to bring him aboard and he became an important guy with his size down the middle and his experience, was somehow revitalized and helped out in a big way, and the province of Quebec and Habs fans everywhere embraced him, then I’m all for it.

This is a fine example of fence-sitting.

And his wife Caroline is lovely and I would work hard to make her comfortable when the team is on the road.

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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.

Canucks Wait As Boston And Tampa Head To Game 7

It’ll be Friday night in Boston to decide all the eastern marbles as Tampa wins 5-4 in game six, and the Vancouver Canucks and their fans wait with grins on their faces as the Bruins and Lightning battle, sweat, bleed, swear, chew gum, smell, and wear themselves out as the series goes the max.

It just seems that the stars are aligned for the Canucks as they march their way toward the promised land. The goaltending is great, the Sedin’s are greater, and Ryan Kesler is great as he grates. A goal with only seconds remaining, a bounce off a glass partition to begin the Kevin Bieksa overtime marker, and now a nice rest as the future opposition can’t find time for a coffee break.

I’ve asked a few Canucks fans I know in Powell River who they’d rather see their team play – Boston or Tampa, and Boston seems to be the favourite choice. Fans here like the idea of taking on the Bruins, the Canucks are big enough not to take any bullshit from the Marchand’s and Lucic’s of the world, and maybe they’re a little leery of Tampa’s Martin St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, and Steven Stamkos, who combined for seven points in this game six victory.

Plus, Zdeno Chara is now a household name for any hockey fan after his nasty involvement with Max Pacioretty.

So they wouldn’t mind Boston, but whoever it is the team will meet, Canucks fans are talking Cup.

More and more I’m believing.

 

Habs Take Down Tampa

It took a shootout, but the Canadiens edge Tampa 3-2 in a great game, and in my opinion, the bleu, blance et rouge played far better than they did against Washington two nights ago.

This was a night of fast skating, scoring chances from both sides, stellar goaltending from Carey Price and his counterpart Dwayne Roloson, and finally, after a see-saw affair, newcomer Nigel Dawes and then Mike Cammalleri solved Roloson in the shootout to cap off a night when we see once again that regardless of injuries and lack of scorers in the big picture, this team is for real.

Hamilton call-ups Dawes and Aaron Palushaj looked just fine in their Montreal debut, and Palushaj especially had several great chances to score. Seeing these guys step in and do the job when players go down, like Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Halpern, is another fine example of the Canadiens surprising depth, and the team just keeps rolling along.

Is it smoke and mirrors? Is Jacque Martin a coaching genius? Is it Kirk Muller and Perry Pearn? Are the players better than so many think? How can this no-name team, which is far too small, with problems scoring, with three regular defenceman sidelined and three forwards also in civvies, continue to be one of the best teams in the east?

I think the naysayers owe a retraction.

I’m very proud of Montreal.

Random Notes:

Vincent Lecavalier got kicked out of the game in the first period for trying to chop PK Subban in half with his stick.

Andrei Kostitsyn finished off a nice David Desharnais pass in the first, and in the second, Brian Gionta scored a beautiful shorthanded goal when he skated in alone on a breakaway.

Scott Gomez drove a puck into Roloson’s upper neck or lower face mask to come close to notching a big one, (and almost putting Roloson’s lights out in the process). But the goalie was just fine, and four inches to the left or right and Gomez would have had his eighth goal of the season. That’s eight.

Gionta’s goal was his 25th which is a fine total. Better than eight.

Next up – tonight (Friday) when the boys are in Manhattan to tackle the Rangers.

Shots on goal – 37-29 Tampa.

Hoping To Rain On Boucher’s Parade

Guy Boucher practices the famous New Yorker move in preparation for next season's Dancing With The Stars

Ex-Hab Dominic Moore is a Tampa Bay Lightning, Steven Stamkos is a young superstar, Martin St. Louis continues down his stellar Hall of Fame path, and Montreal fans no longer talk about how close the Habs are to getting Vincent Lecavalier.

Things have changed. Maybe we can begin rumours about St. Louis becoming a Montreal Canadien now that the Lecavalier madness has come to a close.

Regardless, this Lightning team appears to be a vibrant bunch, with a new General Manager- Steve Yzerman, a new coach – ex-Hamilton Bulldog head honcho Guy Boucher, and a host of players including the above-mentioned Stamkos and company along with Simon Gagne, Ryan Malone, Victor Hedman, Steve Downie and others who hope to be nasty to the good guys on Wednesday night.

It would be a real nice thing to ruin Boucher’s party. Yes, he did a great job as the Bulldog’s coach and he’s a smart and classy bench boss. But we want him to lose big on this big night and endure a sleepless few hours back in his hotel room, wondering what went wrong.

It’s our way of saying hello and thank you from the Montreal Canadiens.

Victor Hedman has mentioned that this is one of his favourite books

Hearing The Boos

 

Before the game, Bobby Clarke said the problem with the Montreal Canadiens is that they have no front-line star, something I’ve whined about for years. There’s no Rocket, no Jean Beliveau, no Guy Lafleur. (I originally put my name in here as a joke but after this thing turned serious, I deleted it.) Just a lot of good, smallish, second-line players. That’s why Vincent Lecavalier would have been a good fit. Not just for added talent, but for aura and chemistry and leadership. And until they find that big, bonafide star, I’m sorry folks, but the struggles will continue. 

If you’re a welder and you’re paid a king’s ransom to weld two widgets together with 20,000 people watching and a couple of million others tuned in on television, you’re probably going to bear down and weld those widgets like nobody’s business.

Maybe the Montreal Canadiens should become welders. Because there’s definitely something missing as hockey players. Habs fall 2-1 to the Caroline Hurricanes in the biggest game of the year with a playoff spot still not secured.

And forget about all the shots on Cam Ward in the first part of this thing. The Canadiens were mostly mediocre, have forgotten how to score, and I’m in no mood to write a lot of words about this.

Random Notes:

Marc-Andre Bergeron scored a power play goal and Roman Hamrlik, although he was wearing a Habs jersey, scored the tying goal for Carolina.

Carey Price, in goal again when his team forgets how to put the puck in the net, must be thinking that maybe he should have gone into welding.

Is it the coach? In a big game like that, the players played with no jam, no intensity. A bunch of guys sitting around the factory having a smoke and talking about last night when they should be working will have the boss kick them in the ass and make them get down to business whether they feel like it or not. That’s his job. Jacques Martin doesn’t seem to know how to do this. This is not a great motivator, this guy. He would’ve made a lousy general in the army.

That was the beauty of the six-team league. Either you perform like you’ve never performed before, or you’re sent down where there were dozens of guys chomping at the bit for that one chance. It was steak vs. hamburger, buses vs. sleepers on trains or plane rides. Heroes or chumps. Just ask Don Cherry. He knows the difference. 

And don’t tell me that things are different now and players have to be treated differently, with kid gloves, and a strong union behind them and all that. A job’s a job and pride is pride, whether it was then or now.

Random Notes:

I had quesadilla’s a couple of hours ago.

Habs in Philly on Friday.

Youppi’s a lousy mascot.

I’m Liking LeBrun’s Guess

For me, Ilya Kovalchuk is as talented as Alex Ovechkin, and during a question and answer thing at ESPN.com with Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside, LeBrun threw this out:

What jersey will Ilya Kovalchuk be wearing at the end of the regular season?

Burnside: We’re guessing now it won’t be an Atlanta Thrashers jersey, so we’ll go with a dark horse, the Philadelphia Flyers. Second choice? Chicago Blackhawks.

 LeBrun: Just for kicks, how about the Montreal Canadiens? They’re a surprising eighth in the East at the midway point, and GM Bob Gainey was ready to sell the farm for Vincent Lecavalier last season. Why not Kovalchuk?


Habs And Lightning Play A Beauty

Montreal may have given us a few stinkers this year, but tonight wasn’t one of them. That was a real hockey game that was played in Tampa on the night before New Year’s Eve; a great game that had everything. If fans ever wonder what games were like when there were only six teams, they were like this one.

And the Habs pulled it out in overtime when Tomas Plekanec used Mike Cammalleri as a decoy, picked a hole, and  fired home the winner, and joy reigns supreme throughout Habland.

The guys who are suppose to wheel, wheeled. From both sides. Plekanec was flying. So was Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez and Andre Kostitsyn. On the other side, if Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier played like this every night, their names would’ve been called for the new Canadian Olympic team. Tampa’s dynamic duo were dangerous all night, just as they’ve been in years past.

Carey Price was stellar, as was Tampa’s Mike Smith, and it’s like it was written that each would face 35 shots. Price looked like he hasn’t missed a beat after sitting for the past five games while teammate Jaroslav Halak did everything including garnering NHL first star of the week last week, and Price was especially solid in the third when Tampa poured it on.  If Montreal doesn’t trade Halak, this could be the finest goaltending duo in the league.

Tomas Plekanec not only notched the winner but also assisted on Brian Gionta’s goal, and Plekanec, as we all know by now, is a bonafide star in this league. Finally, we have a guy up there with the other big boys. It feels good. It looks good. And Brian Gionta now has a chance to send this team up yet another notch, like Andrei Markov has just done, and what Plekanec has done all year.

Just a few more little tweaks. We’re still waiting for Sergei Kostitsyn, Maxim Lapierre, and Matt D’Agostini to pick it up. Look how Andrei Kostityn has turned a bummer year into a glittering year. Get those three going the way Andrei has and we’ll see the Habs climb fast and the oddsmakers in Vegas will suddenly be hard at work.

For me, this was a satisfying win. A great game, and the Habs win five out of their last six.

Like Jim Hughson says, “That’s hockey!!!”

Random Notes:

Tomorrow night I work afternoon shift, and both the Habs and Panthers, and Team Canada juniors against the US. are being played. I’m going to have to tape both and watch when I get home around 11pm. So after I watch and then attempt to write something worth reading, it’s going to be about four in the morning.

Maybe I should quit work.


What Could Be More Habs-Related Than Vincent Lecavalier?

 

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Below is an article from a 1997 Hockey News. I’ve borrowed it and I don’t care. I’m a rebel. And sometimes I’m lazy. And the picture above has nothing to do with the article, except that this is Vinny posing with someone many of you wouldn’t mind posing with.

Now quit looking at the picture and read the story for gawds sakes:

Rimouski Oceanic centre Vincent Lecavalier will be the most-watched player in the Quebec League this season, but Hull Olympics’ coach Claude Julien already had a sneak preview of what fans can expect.

Lecavalier, the pre-season favourite to be the No. 1 pick at next year’s NHL entry draft, was part of the Canadian under-18 team that won the Tri-Nations tournament in the Czech Republic in August. Lecavalier scored the winning goal in Canada’s 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic in the final and finished the tournament with three goals and six points in three games.

“He was by far the best player there,” Julien said. “He was dominant. He plays hard at both ends of the ice. He has great hands and skills like Mario Lemieux. His work ethic is extraordinary. Any time you talk he’s so attentive. He listens and wants to learn and most of all he wants the puck.

“At this moment, I can’t see anyone else going first overall. You can’t go wrong picking Lecavalier.”