Dennis Kane’s Excellent Montreal Canadiens Blog

Changing Daily, And Full of Stuff You May Or May Not Remember

Waiting For Jarkko Ruutu’s Smile To Be Erased January 20, 2008

Montreal lost 2-0 to Pittsburgh last night. It’s no wonder I drink. 

At least I didn’t have to hear that Olay song being sung.

But anyway:

You know when you’ve been with a couple of your really tough buddies, and some guy, who could normally kick your ass, gives you a hard time and you get really brave because you’re with your buddies. You’ve got this grin on your face that you wouldn’t have if you weren’t with your friends. It’s like you’re saying, “I’d kick your ass so easily, but I’ll let my friends do it this time.”

It’s all bullshit. The guy would kill you. But you’ve got this smug grin anyway because you’re protected. It’s called false bravado.

Certain hockey players are like this too.

Sean Avery is this way. So is Mike Rebeiro. And so is this player-actor Jarkko Ruutu, who plays for Pittsburgh and used to play for Vancouver. I’m not crazy about players of this sort. Shit disturbers. Cry babies. Moderately talented hockey players. Divers. Big smiles on their faces. Tough only because they rarely have to answer the bell.

John Ferguson would have destroyed these fellows.


Fergie Was One of the Best. A Real Montreal Canadien January 8, 2008

John Ferguson was a lot of things.

He was one of the most popular players to ever wear the Montreal sweater, according to one who would know, Dick Irvin. He was a serious lacrosse player, mostly in Nanaimo, BC. He was assistant coach on Team Canada during the 1972 Summit Series. He was deeply involved in horse racing. He was coach and GM of the New York Rangers, and GM of the Winnipeg Jets. But most of all, he was a great fighter for the Habs in the 1960’s, who could also score goals. Twelve seconds into his very first NHL game with the Habs, Fergie got into a fight with Boston tough guy Ted Green, and won. He was a coach’s dream.

Fergie was one those guys who would cross the street if members of the opposing team were walking his way. He avoided playing in golf tournaments if players from other teams were participating.  And he would only be involved in hockey schools if all the other instructors were Montreal players.

“We played for the sweater,” John Ferguson once said, and because he said that, he’s one of my all-time favourite Montreal Canadiens. I even saw him and Eddie Shack go at it once when I was at a game at Maple Leaf Gardens, and it brought down the house. It was one of those great, delicious bench-clearing brawls, and Shack and Fergie were the headliners, two rival gladiators with a glorious dislike for each other. They went punch for punch, Leaf fans screamed for his blood, and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, right up there with Brigitte Bardot standing by the fence in “And God Created Women.”

John Ferguson Sr. was one of the best. He died on July 14, 2007, at only 68. His son is the GM now for the Toronto Maple Leafs.