Dennis Kane’s Excellent Montreal Canadiens Blog

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

Mike Bossy Does It Well, Alex Ovechkin Doesn’t May 17, 2008

Watching Henrik Lundqvist get yanked in Sweden’s 5-4 loss to Canada in the World Hockey Championship reminded me of something. Lundqvist speaks English with no accent whatsoever. At least that’s what my ears have heard in the couple of interviews I’ve seen of the Ranger goalie on TV.

Speaking perfect English is an amazing thing when it’s not your mother tongue. It’s very admirable. Some European NHL players have mastered it. For most, of course, it’s impossible.

Detroit’s Swedish star Nick Lidstrom speaks English almost perfectly, but you can detect that Swedish tongue in there just slightly. And it’s a little more so with Mats Sundin and Daniel Alfredsson. You can definitely here the Swedish way of talking in their speech, although their English is excellent.

But not at all with Lundqvist. In those two interviews I heard, he could’ve been the guy in the pool hall, Or the Canadian goalie in the beer league. I need to hear more from Lundqvist. I’m curious about this.

The NHL Russian guys’ English is basically all the same, ranging from pretty good to lousy.  Alex Kovalev speaks English pretty well, with the obvious Russian accent,  but Alex Ovechkin is still a work in progress, and Evgeny Malkin is only beginning. Igor Larionov, on the other hand, spoke excellent English back in the days when Soviet players couldn’t play over here, and so had very little exposure to English. Somehow, though, he got great at it.

Larionov even snuck away from the Russian camp to Wayne Gretzky’s parent’s house in Brantford during the 1987 Canada Cup and partied with all the Canadian guys.

Remember the 1972 Summit Series? We got the odd interview with some of the Russian players including Valeri Kharlamov, and they were interviews using an interpreter. But at the end, the few Russian players managed a meek “thank you” in English, and it was both surprising and wonderful.

The Finnish players pick it up pretty well, like Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne, but you can hear the Finnish accent in there, even though their words and grammar are perfect.

The Czechs, it seems, have a little bit of a harder time of it. Jaromir Jagr’s English is terrrible, after all these years in North America. Tomas Plekanec, however, looks promising as a speaker of English. But the Czechs, like the Russians, use their throats and tongues differently, so there’s many English words they’ll never master properly.

Some of the English guys speak French really well. I can’t learn French, but they speak it with almost no accent. Mike Bossy wins by a landslide on this front.

Henri Richard was so quiet in the early days of his career, that when Toe Blake was once asked if Henri could speak English, Blake replied, “I don’t even know if he can speak French.”

French guys like Daniel Briere, Martin Biron, Vincent Lecavalier, Mario Lemieux, and Canucks’ coach Alain Vigneault speak English with only a trace of an accent. It’s very impressive.

It’s just a good thing there’s no heavy-duty Scotsmen in the NHL. Their accent can be thicker than lumpy gravy. I worked with a Scottish guy in Calgary who had been in Canada for years, but he could talk to me for fifteen minutes and I wouldn’t have a clue what he was saying.

Compared to this guy, Alex Ovechkin sounds perfect.

 

Advertisements
 

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?

 

 

 

 

No One Said It Would Be Easy. But The Montreal Canadiens Will Come Out Flying On Wednesday Night. April 29, 2008

If the Montreal Canadiens can finally solve Martin Biron, they’ll win this series. If they can’t, they’ll be done, and I’ll have to go to plan B for this blog, which, by the way, will be unbelievably interesting so none of you would have to leave me because you’d miss too much good stuff if you did.

But Blog Plan B won’t be coming anytime soon, because Montreal will win this series. Carey Price will rebound, and this year’s playoffs will make an incredibly interesting chapter in the book that will some day be written about young Mr. Price. He’s cool as a cucumber, he’ll be back, and that’s bad news for the Flyers and their fans.

Montreal needs all hands on deck. That means Mike Komisarek, Guillaume Latendresse, Mark Streit, the Kostitsyn’s, Chris Higgins, Roman Hamrlik, me, Mike, der Habinator, Rick the Trucker, Brian, Robert, Danny, the hockey gods, and the amazing bandwagon punkette, Danielleia.

And I have complete faith that Alex Kovalev and Saku Koivu will take the bull by the horns and lead this team to the promised land.

Montreal just needs to continue what they’re doing, which is outshoot the Flyers, storm the net, and make some of the lunkheads on the Flyers like Derian Hatcher and Steve Downey continue to take unnecessary and poorly-timed penalties which will seal their team’s doom once the Habs power play is back on track completely.

Mike Richards, who was a class act with Canada in the World Juniors a couple of years ago, still needs maturing, and Montreal can get him off his game without much problem. He gets upset too easily, will take bad penalties because he’s upset, and we need to take advantage of his habit of losing it.

And maybe Mike Komisarek could punch him in the mouth from time to time for good measure.

And about blog plan B, coming this summer. Of course it’ll stay Habs talk, but because no games will be on, it’ll be more pictures, more old stories, and maybe even a photo tour of Powell River, a place you’d all like to live whether you know it or not.

Until then, though, it’s get rid of the greasy Flyers, roll over the Penguins or Rangers, and take on, with huge confidence, whoever comes out of the west.

But first things first, and that means Wednesday night. Come on, boys, have a couple of good practices, eat your broccoli, go to bed early, focus, meditate, and concentrate on shooting pucks under, over, and through Mr. Biron.

Habs Universe, and Danielleia, are behind you.

 

 

 

Please Don’t Paint Us All With The Same Brush. Those Hooligans Aren’t Habs Fans. April 22, 2008

I woke this morning and saw the news. The news out of Montreal that following the beautiful 5-0 game that rid us of the Bruins, Montrealer’s rioted in the streets, looted, burned police cars, and in general, carried on like mindless fools.

So this is an open letter to everyone, from Habs fans everwhere. Those who carried out such boorish behaviour ARE NOT MONTREAL CANADIENS FANS. I repeat, ARE NOT MONTREAL CANADIENS FANS. They’re a bunch of drunken, idiotic, low IQ’d, stupid, low-class, brain dead, low-life hooligans who can’t get a girl or function in society, who pick their noses and eat it, and who still poop their pants from time to time even though they’re twenty five years old. 

These fools, who wouldn’t know Jean Beliveau if he personally delivered their welfare cheques, saw an opportunity to show off their talent for lighting matches and breaking windows. They are, for lack of a better phrase, quite stupid. The only hooking and holding they know is when they spend twenty bucks to buy the girl of their dreams for half an hour.

These greaseballs have been trying all their lives to be in the papers, to break a window and steal an umbrella, to torch a police car and hope for applause. 

I seriously wish there was a shoot-to-kill edict issued. It would be kind of like bringing down the rat population. 

Think about it, Montreal police force, for after the next round.

Montreal fans, real Montreal fans, sat back last night and reflected. Montreal fans felt relief and satisfaction. They celebrated as mature, normal, hockey-loving adults and young adults. They thought about what went wrong during the series, and what went right. They thought about the next round, about the Rangers and the Flyers.

Montreal fans went to bed proud, happy, and unbelievably relieved.

THEY DIDN’T LOOT, BURN, AND FIGHT.

 

Montreal Remembers Their Game Just In Time And Puts Stake In The Bruins April 21, 2008

 GAME 7

 It wasn’t their best game of the season, but it was certainly their best game of the playoffs. By far their best game. A beautiful 5-0 shutout. It’s like getting rid of a big boil on your nose.

Monday night, game seven, we saw the Montreal Canadiens we had become used to throughout the regular season. They attacked. They skated. They played with poise. And that’s the way they should have being playing all along in this opening round. 

Maybe they’ve learned something from this stressful seven game experience with the Bruins. From now on, we do the attacking, not the other guys. 

So what happened for the Montreal Canadiens, down and out after blowing a three games to one lead, with the Bruins carrying all the confidence and momentum going into this deciding game? How could they come out in game seven, find the game they were desperately looking for, and skate away with a mouth-watering 5-0 shutout to eliminate the pesky Bruins?

Carey Price kept them in it early in the game, and then it was like a lightswitch went on. The Canadiens suddenly remembered how they won the eastern conference. Everyone stepped it up, they attacked, and the Bruins became no match.

Alex Kovalev was flying, so were the guys who had been in a funk – the Kostitsyn’s, Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, Mark Streit, and about ten others.  Carey Price, who went from giving up ten goals in two games to none when it counted the most, in game seven, was fabulous, and showed he doesn’t rattle in a pressure cooker.

Guy Carbonneau was no longer outcoached by Claude Julien, and whatever he did to get the team to open it up like they did, he’s got to bottle it and feed it to his players in the second round.

And what a difference Saku Koivu makes when he’s in the lineup.

The Bruins were good, fought hard, they stressed out me and most Habs fans, and I’m glad they’re out of there. I’ve had enough of Zdeno Chara and his shorter teammates. They were good, but Montreal showed that when they’re firing on all cylinders, they’re better. 

So it becomes this – If Philadelphia eliminates Washington, then Montreal plays Philadelphia in the next round. But if Washington wins, Montreal takes on Sean Avery and the New York Rangers.

I don’t care who it is. Bring em on!

Just play every game like Monday’s game, boys, and you’ll take out either one of them.

 

 

Hold On To Your Hats. Habs Fans Are In For A Joyous Ride April 9, 2008

Most of the hockey world has weighed in on the state of the Montreal Canadiens and how they’ll do in the playoffs. And frankly, most of them are wrong, most of them are overpaid, and most of their mothers wear army boots. And some TSN computer-generated program picked the Habs to go to the finals but lose to San Jose.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Milt Dunnell, Elmer Ferguson, and Jim Proudfoot rose from the ashes to offer their opinions too.

And the common consensus, the recurring theme is this – If you stay out of the penalty box so the Habs don’t get to unleash their fierce power play, and if Carey Price folds because of no playoff experience, then Montreal can be beaten.

Montreal is so much more than what people, other than Habs fans, are giving them credit for. It’s a young team, faster than lightening, with a system that allows for quick breakouts, and with a steady defence that includes the duo that some oppposing players have said recently is the best defence partnership in the league – Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek.

The team has depth, youth, speed, experience, leadership, closeness, passion, a spirited fourth line, a coach-of-the-year candidate, great fans, spiritual guru Jean Beliveau, and a city of hockey ghosts who have been waiting for years for something like this to happen. The team led the league in goals scored, had the best power play, and got stingier as the season wound down when shorthanded. And if something happened to Carey Price, the team can call on Jaroslav Halak, who was the American Hockey League’s top goaltender three years straight before being called up to the big club.

We’re going to take it one series at a time, beginning with Boston. And if Montreal can go all the way this year, I believe this would be the most special Habs team since the 1970’s. More magical than both 1986 and 1993.

Hold on. It’s going to be great!

In games played tonight, Wednesday night:

Pittsburgh shut out Ottawa 4-0, which is really no surprise since Ottawa’s been in a nosedive for awhile now.

The Rangers went to New Jersey and went away with a 4-1 win which is a bit of a surprise because the Devils are usually pretty stingy (and boring) at home. I’m hoping for the Devils. I don’t want to see Sean Avery any more.

Colorado and Minnesota are tied 2-2 late in the third, and Calgary’s beating San Jose 3-1 early in the third.

But I’ve got to get to bed. Sorry.