Dennis Kane’s Excellent Montreal Canadiens Blog

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

Would Dave Nonis Really Like Cabbagetown? May 16, 2008

Dave Nonis might want to think twice about accepting the General Manager position from the Toronto Maple Leafs Leafs. And the Toronto Maple Leafs might want to think twice about offering the General Manager position to Dave Nonis.

Nonis has had about three interviews now with Leafs brass, so all concerned is definitely interested. But if one were curious, one would ask, “why would Dave Nonis be an upgrade from John Ferguson Jr?”

Dave Nonis is fine, intelligent man. I was at a talk he gave a few years back in Powell River, and he came across as a genuine, smart, young up-and-comer in the hockey world. He even gave away a bunch of primo Canucks luxury box tickets to lucky people. I wasn’t one of them.

But Dave Nonis’ downfall in Vancouver was that he believed the team there was basically a contender, with only a few minor moves needed to complete the package. And because he believed that in Vancouver, he’ll lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to nowhere fast.

Nonis couldn’t see at all that the Sedin twins are not fabulous stars, but only good, solid, non-stars who will probably never become anything more than that. Guys like Luc Bourdon and Nolan Baumgartner haven’t panned out for him and became more Manitoba Moose than Vancouver Canucks.

 He was a guy who seemed almost shy to make any kind of move at trade deadline. His biggest feat, landing Roberto Luongo, happened only because Mike Keenan in Florida didn’t like the all-star goalie and gambled on Todd Bertuzzi becoming a force with the Panthers, which he didn’t do, and Alex Ault doing a fine job between the pipes in place of Luongo, which he didn’t do either.

Nonis came out smelling like a rose for this trade, but indeed, he has never been the second coming of Sam Pollock. Now Sam Pollock! There’s a guy the Leafs could’ve used at some point over the years.

Nonis may have believed the Canucks were a contender, but newly-hired GM Mike Gillis doesn’t. And therein lies the difference between Nonis and the new guy.

So why would the Leafs want Nonis? After firing Ferguson, this would be a lateral move, not an upgrade.

TSN bigshot experts figure it’s a way to lure Brian Burke out of Anaheim. But for Chairman of the Board Larry Tanenbaum and President and CEO Richard Peddie, it could be better to get a less-than-crusty guy like Nonis or Ferguson, as it would be less a headache for them. Brian Burke or Scotty Bowman wouldn’t stand for the shit that would be hurled their way. 

And anyway, are the Leafs about winning, or just about making large wheelbarrows full of money for all concerned, especially the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the majority owners of the Leafs?

Nonis is a smart guy, so he probably already knows all this. But he wants to stay in hockey, and he’s out of work right now.

But if he was the top guy, he’d be fed to the lions in Toronto, which basically means his bosses, who like to play a hands-on role in Toronto.

 He, like Ferguson before him, is too nice a guy for this job.

Note:

Canucks fans might cry foul at the criticism of their Canucks here, and I know what they’re going to say. Injuries, they’ll explain. The Canucks were decimated with injuries. Otherwise, they would’ve been a contender this year.

BC has always grown really good pot.

 

 

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Sure There’s Interest In The NHL Playoffs. You just Have To Go Looking. May 8, 2008

The NHL conference finals begin tonight when Dallas clashes with Detroit, and tomorrow, when Pittsburgh and Philadelphia get at it. I’m sure there are still a few fans left who care.

Folks on the Canada’s west coast stopped watching hockey more than a month ago, when their Vancouver Canucks imploded and missed the post season.

Folks in Alberta got a few games of excitement in before the Flames bowed out to San Jose, but Edmonton fans could’ve cared less about that anyway.

Folks in Ontario started checking out cricket and full-contact knitting a long time ago, when the Leafs and Senators did what they do best, and that is look feeble when spring rolls around.

And Habs fans in Quebec and elsewhere are still recovering from the disappointment of not seeing their team march on toward the big prize. (me, for example).

A few people in Nova Scotia will continue to watch because local boy Sidney Crosby is still at it.

Fans in Russia will have to work hard to see their boys Evgeny Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk perform because if you’ve ever been to Russia, you’ll know what I’m talking about when it comes to getting games on TV.

Fans in Sweden will see Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterburg, but only if they set their alarm clocks for the middle of the night.

Probably, though, hockey fans in Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Finland are more excited about the World Championships than they are about round three of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

And people in the US don’t like hockey, or at least that’s what I keep hearing. You know, on the popularity lists we hear about from time time based on TV ratings, hockey is just after badmonton, bowling, ping pong, tiddly winks, and marbles in most states.

However, Philadelphia has their big-time fans. I know this because I heard from most of them during the Montreal series. Pittsburgh fans will also like what they’re seeing, as do folks in Detroit and Dallas.

Detroit is a big-time hockey city, and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have a long and healthy history of the game.

Dallas is a curious one, though. This is football and basketball country. And barrel racing. But somehow, a couple of hundred thousand Texans embraced the game of hockey.

Of course, hockey’s been around for years in Texas, mostly in the form of minor league teams like the Dallas Blackhawks and Austin Ice Bats, or the Houston Aeros of the long-defunct World Hockey Association. So love of the game is there, but how much?

I suppose, when you think about it, when you have a state with a population of 22 million, you’re bound to find a couple of hundred thousand hockey fans, many of whom go to actual games.

Even when the rodeo’s on.

FOOTNOTE:

I know exactly that’s there’s rabid fans in New York state. Faithful reader (which I appreciate so much)Danielleia in Buffalo, for example, loves her Sabres. And years ago, I mentioned the Rangers on a subway in New York City, and some guy who thought I was saying bad things about his team wanted to punch me out.

( I wasn’t saying bad things about the Rangers. I only said I wouldn’t mind going to a game. You have to be careful on New York subways.) 

 

 

Other Habs May Be Resting In The Off-Season, But I Can’t. Also, Sean Avery Gets A Little More Light-Headed. May 5, 2008

  Although the players will be saying their goodbyes and heading back to the cottages in Sainte Leonard and Sault Ste. Marie, or the dachas in Novopolotsk and Togliatti, I, however, will be continuing my workouts and strict discipline in preparation for when I’m called up as flag guy next season at the Bell Centre.

One thing I don’t need is an injury, so I’ve decided to sit when I’m drinking beer, and also to do as little as possible at work. Can you imagine when they call me to be flag guy and I have to tell them I pulled a muscle while dancing at the Moose Hall, or I’m too exhausted from doing too much for the Man at work?

Also, the photo above isn’t really me. But it kind of gives you an idea of what I’ll look like in my Habs uniform on flag night. In real life, I have legs and a neck.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Sean Avery spent his last playoff chances of the year in the hospital, and missed his team’s (New York Rangers) elimination.

There’s no truth to the rumour that the reason he was hospitalized was for the removal of his ego, which was growing at a dangerous rate.  There might be, however, some truth to the rumour that Avery was the least popular patient in the New York hospital.

TEAMS I HATE THE MOST IN THE NHL:

That would be the Flyers, Bruins, Devils, Leafs, Senators, Panthers, Hurricane, Lightening, Islanders, Rangers, Avalanche, Canucks, Wild, Stars, Sharks, Kings, Blues, Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Blackhawks, Oilers, Thrashers, Capitals, Penguins, Flames, Ducks, Predators, and Coyotes.

I like the rest, though.

WHO WILL WIN THE STANLEY CUP?

Oh, is hockey still going on?

 

 

 

 

Fascinating Facts Are Back! Will Your Heart Handle It? April 27, 2008

Fascinating Fact #1  I saw Bobby Orr twice in my home town of Orillia. Once, when I was sitting in the park down by the lake, he and his wife strolled by. He had a hockey school with Mike Walton in Orillia at this time.  The other was out at one of the local beverage rooms, and he and a bunch of people I knew a lttle, sat near us. There’s a strong chance my table drank more beer than their table.

Fascinating Fact #2  Gary Lupul, a great ex-Canuck and a good friend of mine who passed away last year, introduced me once to goaltender Richard Brodeur. Gary told Brodeur I was a Habs fan, and Brodeur said “Oh, I don’t want to talk to you.”

Fascinating Fact #3  I was once introduced to the Hanson Brothers’ manager. I held out my hand and he asked “Do you wash your hands when you take a crap?” I said of course, and it was only then that he shook my hand.

Fascinating Fact #4  A kid I played minor hockey with for four or five years, John French, ended up getting drafted by the Montreal Canadiens and played a couple of years with the club’s farm team, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs. But it was the early 1970’s and to crack the Habs line up, you pretty well had to be a Guy Lafleur, so French decided to sign with the New England Whalers of the newly-formed World Hockey Association instead. He played with Gordie Howe and another good Orillia boy, his old friend Rick Ley, who had played for the Leafs before jumping to the WHA.

Fascinating Fact #5  Rick Ley lived around the corner from me growing up. We sometimes skated on the big outdoor rink near us, before school. Ley also pitched a ball to me one summer which the batter fouled off into my mouth and knocked my front tooth out. 

Fascinating Fact #6  The best seat I ever had at a game was in the first row at the Montreal Forum, behind the net, just to the right of the goal judge. This was in the late 1970’s.

The worst seat I ever had was at Edmonton’s Northland Coliseum for a game between the Habs and Oilers, and we were in the very first row behind the Oilers bench. John Muckler and his two assistant coaches stood right in front of us, so the only time we could see was when the play was down at one end. 

Most games I’ve gone to, however, were usually way, way up. 

Fascinating Fact #7  Canada’s greatest pool player, Cliff Thorburn, is a long-time Habs fan.

Fascinating Fact #8  Gary Lupul told me once that the guy he made sure he didn’t piss off on the ice because the guy was simply too big and scary,  was Clark Gillies of the Islanders.

 

 

 

Rick The Trucker Is Back, With More News From His 18 Wheeler April 16, 2008

Sorry about the small print. I don’t have a clue why this happened. Please read anyway, because Rick the Trucker is back. Just get closer to the screen, that’s all.

 

Rick the Trucker, who spends are a large portion of his life truckin Highway 417 between Ottawa and Montreal, is back with more on the what’s happening on the front. Rick’s been on these pages before, he’s like my roving reporter, and he’s always got this great perpective because while he’s truckin, he’s got the late night sports talk radio blasting in his 18 wheeler.

Rick’s a Senators fan, but he’s still a great guy anyway.

Here’s more from life on Highway 417:

“So I’m driving back from Montreal tonite and get into Ottawa radio range just at the end of the second,,tie game, announcer says Ottawa held their own, killed off some penalties blah blah blah,,so I got the hammer down to try and get home and maybe catch some OT on the tube or something and then BAM, game over in the first 90 seconds of the third, back off the pedal, cruise home while listening to the remainder and dream about watching cricket with my Habs friends by the end of the week,,JUST KIDDING bout the habs fans.I,unlike some other people,do not pick on people for the teams they cheer for,unless it’s the blue team of course,,jab jab!!!

Anyways,heard some good stuff on Montreal radio 2day,,,Lot’s of calls from people who made the trek to Boston for game 3,,some rough stuff in the stands but sad to say,tickets were very easy to obtain, it wasn’t a sellout. It’s sad to see the glorious Bruins tradition slowly sliding down, it wasn’t a sellout and a good percentage were Habs fans. Funny thing,when the Habs fans sang oley oley, Bruins fans sang back “your gay, your gay.”

Chris ‘knuckles’ Nilan has been on the radio everynite in Montreal during this series,always a good chat,was real happy to see fans from his old team showing a presence in his home town,,,forgot to tell you,,that ignorant prick on that 110% show who made that Kostfuckupolis comment was fired after that comment last month.

Don’t know if you get Vancouver radio where you are or even if you do, are the Van.fans as commited to hockey as much as Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal fans?  I’ll tell you, spending all my time between here and Montreal is hockey overload. Same stories,same predictions,same excuses, just different cities but it’s still a blast,,,,,,I’m ordering tickets for cricket matches,,when are you available??????

ENJOY the ride!!!”

 

Other Thoughts Because Everything’s Already Been Written April 11, 2008

It’s Friday, the day before the big game at the Bell Centre, and for now, all’s quiet on the eastern front. There’s nothing I can say about this series that hasn’t already been said.

But I have to keep things interesting, so I’ll talk about………

I live in an area jam-packed with Vancouver Canucks fans. But I’ve noticed lately that not person  brings up the subject. It’s like the Canucks don’t exist.

At this very moment, Ottawa is losing 2-0 to Pittsburgh in game 2. My only suggestion to Ottawa fans is that cricket might be a fun sport to switch to.

Pittsburgh is now leading 3-0. Ottawa fans might consider moving to Sri Lanka where the cricket is top notch.

The mayor of Montreal doesn’t want Montreal firefighters to display any kind of support for the Habs outside on the station walls. This mayor is either a commy bastard traitor, or a relative of Powell River’s mayor, who wants to sue three Powell River citizens, including one who’s 86 years old, because they criticized him in some letters to the editor.

It’s now 3-1 Pittsburgh. Ottawa fans are holding off packing for Sri Lanka in case a comeback is in the works.

I phoned in sick for today and tomorrow.

It’s 4-2 Philadelphia over Washington. Pretty well the entire hockey world is picking Washington because they can’t stop salivating over Alex Ovechkin. But one man does not make a team.

Can you imagine what Ovenchkin’s two-week paycheque would be? I’m no mathematician so I’m not even going to try, but he probably brings home a couple of hundred grand every two weeks. If anyone’s figured it out, please let me know.  Isn’t it something like 140 million over 13 years? 

Pittsburgh is now only winning 3-2 over Ottawa. Can Ottawa complete a comeback? Can they get their shit together, win this game, wake up the city, make it a series, and even win this series?

Let me think. Stranger things have happened. A 135 pound Japanese guy can eat about 50 hot dogs in an hour, for example.

We’ll know soon whether Pittsburgh made a big mistake by giving up on three good young players for notorious lousy playoff performer Marian Hossa.

Boston coach Claude Julien says that for some reason, Boston doesn’t play their best games against Montreal, and for some reason, Montreal plays their best games against Boston. Hey, whatever works.

It’s now Ottawa 3, Pittsburgh 3. Ottawa fans are scampering back in from outside and turning their TV’s back on.

Philly and Washington are tied 4-4, and the Rangers are beating the Devils again, 2-0.

Oh, the game’s over in Washington. Ovechkin scored with a little over four minutes left to win the game, 5-4. The guy’s got the world by the tail, that’s for sure. See what happens when you get a little nooky?

Pittsburgh just scored with a only a minute left, and with an empty netter, beat Ottawa 5-3. It’s karma, you know, for Senators fans, that they’re going through such misery. Many of these fans used to be good, faithful Habs fans. See what happens?

I barbequed some steaks and burned them because I was writing all this interesting information.

 

 

 

Kovalev Should Take His Show To Vegas. And The Bruins Probably Prefer The Dentist To The Bell Centre Saturday Night March 21, 2008

I’m still trying to wrap my head around Alex Kovalev’s tricks with a stick and puck he does on his new dvd. Honestly, I’ve never seen this before, where someone can fire pucks from a good distance away, with good velocity, into little pockets set up on the top corners of the net, one after another, with only one hand.

And then he moved out to centre ice, got down on one knee, and his first shot landed on top of the net, and his second, lordy, lordy, went right into the pocket he was aiming for.

Speaking as a smallish yet speedy right winger for Byers Bulldozers circa 1965, I can honestly say this is practically impossible what the shifty Russian did. But I saw it, along with many others, so he did it. It was there in living colour. Holy Mackinaw!

I remember hearing years ago that Gordie Howe could stand at his own goal line and shoot a wrist shot over the glass at the other end. Until now, this has been the big feat for me. But Kovalev has taken showcase skill to a new level.

Or am I wrong? Is it possible that many pros can shoot from far out with accuracy with one hand, or shoot from centre ice on one knee with accuracy? Or is it just Kovalev. I’m really interested in finding out.

Saturday night the Bruins come to Montreal, hoping to put an end to the misery they’ve experienced against the Habs, beginning with last year. If Boston loses on Saturday, they’d better start seeing some serious shrinks. And if Boston finds out they’ll meet Montreal in the playoffs, someone better watch the players and coaches carefully that they don’t do anything drastic.

I’m also pretty sure the Bruins better not watch Kovalev’s dvd.

In a quick recap of Friday’s games, several little delicious surprises happened, some benefitting Montreal. New Jersey lost 3-1 to the Islanders, which is a surprise. Toronto beat Buffalo 4-1, which is also a surprise. And Philadelphia beat the surging Rangers, which concludes the surprises.

This keeps the Devils off Montreal’s back, and slows down the Rangers, who are quickly nipping at Montreal’s heels. So this was a good night. 

Vancouver also plays tonight but nobody cares about that.