Dennis Kane’s Excellent Montreal Canadiens Blog

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

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.) 

 

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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?

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montreal Ends It Off In Style. Now Bring On The Playoffs And Prove The Experts Wrong April 5, 2008

Don Cherry thinks the Ottawa Senators will do well in the playoffs but the Habs won’t. Broadcaster Bob Cole threw water on the fire every time sidekick Greg Millen started to say great things about the Habs. “Watch their power play,” Millen would say. “Watch how they never stop moving, how unpredictable they are, how hard they are to stop.”

And Bob Cole would chime in, “yeah, but they haven’t scored yet.” And throughout the game, you could feel him cheering for the Leafs. Cole needs to retire. We’ll keep Cherry around for a chuckle here and there. But he loves the Leafs too.

It’s been like this all year. The so-called elite of the hockey media, Cole, Cherry, McKenzie, McGuire, Hodge et al, just can’t bring themselves to concede that maybe, just maybe, Montreal is a serious contender.

It’s the junior members like Millen and Glen Healy who are the ones who don’t mind offering up superlatives. The old guard won’t do it.

I guess, if the television screen’s right, Montreal meets Boston in the first round after taking out Toronto tonight (April 5) 3-1 in yet another impressive performance by all concerned, including a young buck in his first game, Gregory Stewart, who nearly scored a couple of times, and got the edge in a fight with Brian McCabe at the final siren.

Stewart skated off the ice to the cheers of the faithful and the pats from his new teammates, with this amazingly proud look on his face.

But back to Cherry and Cole and the like. I suppose by the third round, these guys might concede that the Habs look good. But you can be sure that they’ll say Montreal doesn’t stand a chance against the contender from the west.

It’s going to take a Stanley Cup to shut these guys up. Bring on Boston.

 

Game Day Routine. Getting Ready For The Sabres April 3, 2008

GAME DAY and I need to be sure I don’t stray from my regular routine that involves strict discipline as far as getting a good nap in before I eat some high carb concoction like a fettuccine dish with a baked potato. I don’t know about your habits and routines on game day, but I’m sure your way is excellent, albeit slightly different than mine.

Because the game’s on early here on the west coast, at 4:30 pm, I know I need to get my nap in early too. So I’ll head to bed about 11am and sleep until 1:00. This gives me time to have my carbs and several coffees for a quick boost and not feel too bloated by the time the puck drops.

I like to arrive at the couch early, say about 3:30, so I can fiddle with things on the coffee table, give the TV a good warm up, go over game notes such as what good shows I can flick to during commercials, and plan my strategy about how I’m going to get all the household things discussed early with my wife so she won’t be talking too much during the big game. I learned this early in my career with previous females -(mother, first-wife, daughter, sisters, etc.)

All of this takes some serious concentration and is a good example of why I’m such a good team player, and why experience is invaluable.

FINALLY, GAME TIME. It’s what I’ve been preparing myself for all day, as you can see from the routine. Montreal needs this. It’s all about first over-all and the chance to play the eighth place team, which could be Boston, Ottawa, Washington, Philadelphia, and even Buffalo, who the Habs are playing tonight.

This is why it’s a big game. This is an example of why every game for the last two months has been big. And this is why it’s necessary to have a proper pre-game routine.

Me and the boys will take care of business tonight against the Sabres, the ones with the George Jetson/Los Angeles Rams uniforms, then a couple more days and we’ll be going through the same old routines once again as we prepare for the Leafs.

It’s all part of the strict discipline and commitment that goes into being a professional Habs watcher.