Dennis Kane’s Excellent Montreal Canadiens Blog

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

Pittsburgh and Detroit Go For The Cup. This Is Good, I Suppose. May 19, 2008

Two real good teams are going to tangle for the Stanley Cup. I’ve got no complaints about this. It’s not like it’s the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricane, or Tampa Bay Lightening. Or even, dare I say, the Anaheim Ducks.

No, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings are a solid matchup and two good hockey towns to boot. Pittsburgh had an NHL team in 1925, the Pirates, which lasted until 1930, and the city’s had the Penguins since league expansion in 1967.

Detroit’s been in the league since 1926 when they took over the Victoria BC franchise. The city and team like to call itself Hockeytown, which is a little off. If Detroit’s Hockeytown, then Montreal and Toronto must be Hockeycities.

And if the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit doesn’t start getting more fans in the seats, the nickname might have to be changed to ‘Used to Be Hockeytown.’

This leads me to my second complaint. It’s fine that Gordie Howe is called Mr. Hockey, but isn’t that for others to label the man? My personal opinion is, he shouldn’t be signing autographs as “Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey.” Doesn’t that make him just a little bit full of himself?

Gordie Howe is considered by not all, but many, as the greatest ever. Greater than Gretzky, Orr, Richard, and Lemieux. It’s a judgement call. Hall of Fame goalie Glenn Hall told me Howe was the best there was.

He doesn’t need to blow his own horn. Let others do that for him. Let others call him Mr. Hockey.

And I say this with the utmost respect for Mr. Howe.

Am I wrong for thinking this? I’m pretty sure Mario never signed as Mario “The Magnificent One” Lemieux, or Orr as Bobby “The World’s Greatest Defenceman” Orr, or Maurice “Hero of a Province” Richard.

This year’s final is a sexy affair because of so many stars involved. Crosby, Malkin, Hossa, Staal, Malone, Zetterburg, Datsyuk, Franzen, Lidstrom, Draper. And the guy who played on the original 1926 Wings, Chris Chelios.

It’ll be good. I may even watch some of it.

The thing begins Saturday in Detroit.

 

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.

 

 

 

Dwelling On The Kerfuffle In Kanata. Blame It On The Anthem Singer April 2, 2008

If I was better man, a nicer man, a good man, I’d feel differently about the mess the Ottawa Senators find themselves in right now. But I’m a terrible man, a bad man, so I’m quite giddy, thank you very much.

Even though there’s still time to redeem themselves, the Ottawa Senators, and their fans I’m sure, know otherwise. They know this is a team that has never gotten it done, even though there’s always been more than enough talent. Hey, they’ve had so much talent, they didn’t have either room or money for Zdeno Chara, Martin Havlat, and Marian Hossa!

And who can forget number one draft pick Alexander Daigle, who the team threw wheelbarrows of cash at, (5 year, 12.5 million), because he’d been a good junior, but alas, who turned out to be a remarkably lousy pro and even lousier actor.

Alexei Yashin, another young Senators pick, turned out to be a guy with dollar signs in his eyes, and even though talented, became a bum nonetheless. This is a guy who promised to donate a million bucks to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, then changed his mind and said forget it.

And every year they shoot themselves in the foot because they fail to recognize, for some unknown reason, that they don’t have a goalie. That’s what it’s always boiled down to. The goalie.

Patrick Lalime must have needed glasses. Martin Gerber wasn’t good enough in Carolina, so why would he be good enough in Ottawa?  Dominik Hasek would’ve been a good choice but either his head or his body or both were never in the Nation’s Capital and he became just another sad disappointment.

And Ray Emery? He could’ve played himself in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” This is a guy who dresses like a pimp, is late for practices, thinks the Ottawa police have it in for him, seems out of sorts with life itself, and millions of dollars won’t fix it.

It’s like he doesn’t want to play hockey, hates it in fact, but it’s a damn job and woe is me.

When the Senators went 15 and 2 at the start of the season, it looked like they should be handed the Stanley Cup then because it wouldn’t fair to put the other teams through the misery. The big line of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, and Jason Spezza were collecting, it seemed, about eight points a night between the three of them. The media was wondering if this team could be the new 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, who had only lost eight games all year.

People in Ottawa, including a bunch I know, were slapping themselves on the back on a nightly basis. But Ottawa fans should’ve learned after all the playoff implosions that you can’t sit back and get comfortable. Anything can happen. Ray Emery can happen.

And when I think of the Ottawa Senators, I also think of someone else. The smug, silly-smiling, hand-gesturing, thumbs up, winking, singing cop decked out in his finest. The one who sings the national anthem, the one I wish would go away, Lyndon Slewidge.

Senator’s fans now say it’s never over until the fat lady sings.

I say it’s over when Lyndon Slewidge sings. 

 

Pre-Game Rituals Before The Big Game in Buffalo. And Then The Big Win Happens March 1, 2008

It’s 2:20 pm Pacific time and the boys are in Buffalo sharpening their skates, blow-torching sticks and drinking umpteen cups of coffee and a Red Bull or two, while ticket takers and ushers and hot dog vendors slowly drift in to ready themselves for when the Habs trounce the Sabres.slum.jpg         more-slum.jpg

                                            (Here’s a couple of pictures of some of the nicer parts of Buffalo.)

I’ve got my pre-game ritual in motion too. Head over to TC’s pub for some drafts, eat lasagna for energy, and today, as an extra little ritual, laugh my head off because rental Marian Hossa got injured in his first game with the Penguins and will be out a week or longer!

Pittsburgh gave up some crazy talent (Christensen, Armstrong, and Angelo Esposito, AND A FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICK!) for Hossa, who may be gone again in a couple of months because unlike Toe Blake and the boys, it’s all about money. This deal might come back and bite Pittsburgh in the ass.

4:30 Pacific time  – Game time. If all reports are correct, not one Montreal player got mugged on his way to the Buffalo rink.

5:00 Pacific time – Montreal jumps out to 2-0 on goals by Pekanec and Streit. Not sure if Montreal fans who made the trek to Buffalo have started to sing the ‘olay’ song just yet. Many though, are having a riot and drinking lots of beer. 

5:07 Pacific time – Just thinking that Buffalo used to have some good teams in the days of the French Connection line with Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, and Rene Robert. You know, it’s sad that Perreault didn’t play for the Habs. With him and Lafleur together, it would have been historic. People would still be talking about them. It could have been Morenz, Richard, Beliveau, Harvey, Lafleur, and Perreault.

6:08 Pacific time – Tomas Plekanac just scored for the third time tonight as the good guys are beating the bad guys 4-1. The ‘experts’ say there’s too many small guys on Montreal for them to be dangerous. But Plekanek, who’s only 5’10, one of those small guys, looks pretty dangerous to me.

Do you know that TSN guy Pierre McGuire picked the Rangers and Minnesota as two of the five teams he thinks will win the Cup. Montreal didn’t even get a sneeze. But McGuire and his fellow ‘experts’ like Bob McKenzie and Dave Hodge all picked Montreal to finish 14th and so far out of the playoffs you’d need a telescope to see them.

7:01 Pacific time – Holy smokes. 6-2 Montreal over Buffalo. What a big win. It was 5-1 over Atlanta, and now 6-2 in Buffalo since the Habs made Carey Price their number one goalie. And this win catapults them over Ottawa for top spot in the north-east!

I’m sure the team flies back tonight, so guys, get home, have a midnight sandwich, relax, and get ready for another big game Saturday night against the Devils. But leave your wives alone. Eddie Shore, Victor Tikhonov, Punch Imlach and Toe Blake all believed there should be no sex the night before the game. So it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for you.

 

Trade Deadline in Montreal. Please Carey Price, Don’t Lose Your Confidence Again February 26, 2008

Montreal traded Christobal Huet to Washington for a 2009 second round pick?

 And that’s it?

That’s the extent of movement in Montreal as the team’s in a playoff race and maybe just a small piece of the puzzle is needed to complete the picture? 

There’s no Marian Hossa. No Brad Richards. No Alex Tanguay. There’s no one. Only a 2nd round Washington draft choice.  So I’m sitting here trying to figure this out and all I can think is that Bob Gainey is trying to save money and Huet has been quite mediocre lately. Maybe Gainey likes the chemistry with the team and didn’t want to play with fire. It’s all very strange. And I’m very confused.  

Christobal Huet becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, so he may have gone elsewhere, or may have asked for a great big raise from the Habs. But Montreal has extra dollars in their piggybank, and it’s not like the organization’s in trouble as they sell out 21000 plus seats every single night. So they could have afforded Huet next year if they wanted to.

The answer must be that the brass has lost faith in Huet’s ability. He’s been pretty soft lately, that’s for sure.

And then there’s Carey Price. He was sent down to Hamilton recently to get his confidence back, which he seemed to do, and has played pretty well since returning to the big club. But what if he loses his confidence again? Is Jaroslav Halak, the new backup, good enough to pick up the slack?

It’s all a lot of unanswered questions. Maybe Price, now realizing he’s the big guy, will play like Jacques Plante from here on in. Maybe Gainey knows something about Huet that we don’t. Maybe Michel Ryder, on the trade bubble for weeks now, will relax and fill the net. Maybe everyone will relax, get down to business, and go on a tear.

All I know is, I’m confused. And Pittsburgh, with Marian Hossa now in the lineup beside Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin, scares me. 

 

Trade Day On Tuesday: What Will The Habs Do? February 25, 2008

                       habs-logo.jpg           trades1.jpg      trading.jpg    
  star.jpg                                                                              
                                                             

When You Wish Upon A StarNaturally, trade rumours are only just that, rumours, but we can dream, can’t we?

We can dream that the talk in the air about who might be going to Montreal is quite true, thank you very much, and that boss Bob Gainey has pulled the switch that makes Montreal the big-time favourite to go all the way.

This is the latest scuttlebutt in the air about just who might be going to Montreal, although in reality, it’s far-fetched and over the top. But anyway, I’m just the messenger.

Here’s the three names tossed about who could soon wear a Habs jersey. Just keep in mind that the media types who throw these names around are the same ones who predicted Montreal to finish in 14th place this year, well out of the playoffs. So it’s usually just dead air that comes out of their mouths. This time, though, I hope they’re right

Marian Hossa

A real proven sharp-shooter. Holy Smokes, he’d look great in the red, white, and blue. It’d be like having another Kovalev on the team.

Alex Tanguay

A real good French-Canadian guy who wants out of Calgary. (Apparently he’s asked twice this year to be traded).

Brad Richards

This is the one I like best of all. A Canadian boy from PEI who knows how to fill the net and play fire wagon hockey. And who knows, being from PEI, it’s possible he grew up cheering for the Habs. It just seems too good to be true, so I guess I’d better calm down about this one.

But these are just crazy rumours, and who know’s what will happen. There’s a lot of players who don’t want the pressure of playing in Montreal (like Daniel Briere), and so, if they have a no-trade contract, want no part of playing for the best organization in hockey. (I don’t understand it but that’s just me.) 

But just who would Montreal keep as untouchables, and who wouldn’t they mind letting go?

I don’t know. But I can guess.

Michael Ryder is the one most say is gone. But he’s been playing well of late, except for the Columbus game, when he and the rest of the team kept looking at Bob Gainey’s number up in the rafters and forgot about the game down below.

Ryan O’Byrne still has charges pending against him after his big night out in Tampa Bay. I can see him being moved. If there’d be any takers.

Saku Koivu, as great a leader as he is, is now more uneffective than he is effective. His wonderful puck-handling days are a thing of the past.

Patrice Brisebois is probably finished, and would only be a throw-in as part of a large deal.

There’s others of course: Dandenault, Latendresse, Lapierre, Begin, and probably anybody else on the team if the deal suited. But if Montreal let go too many Quebecer’s, the French media would have a field day.

But most intriguing is this: What if a team is willing to part with a Sundin or a Hossa, or even a Brad Richards, but wants either Christobal Huet or Carey Price. What would you do?

Oh yeah, and about Habs untouchables. Kovalev and Markov, with honourable mention going to Mark Streit, Tomas Plekanec, the Kostitsyns, Mike Komisarek, and Chris Higgins. And very likely, Carey Price.