You Can’t Do That in Movies ( or hockey games )

If the Montreal Canadiens erected a 2 ‘ x 2 ‘ board in front of their goal during practices – ninety percent of the time , the players would hit that board.

Puck you !

Time and again , opposing net minders arrive in town as ‘ just another goalie ‘ in a waterfrozen league. Time and again they leave, named one of the stars among the three star selections. Coincidence ? In the words of George W. Bush … ” I think not …”

Last night was an exception. The Oilers’ pipe-keeper arrived with incredible numbers in this young season. A goals against average of .099 and an off the plexi-glass save percentage of .970. The thirty-eight year old Russian is on top of his game as he leads a young and talented Oiler team atop the Western Conference. Khabibulin is standing on his mask and the Canadiens helped to both diminish and augment his numbers by shooting at his mask and not his skates.Instead of shooting high – Les Habitants aimed lower than ‘ Snooky ‘ on her knees. A site that left Khabibulin smiling with the results of both outcomes.

At least some things are pretty in Montreal

James Reimer , Ryan Miller , Marc-Andre Fleury , Semyon Varlamov and Nicolai Khabibulin. Five men who came, conquered and left Montreal with better bargaining power over their next contracts. Five men who have won in other towns but whose victories were earned with quick stick-work and cat-like reflexes. Against the skaters from Hab-ville , the wins are as easy as a freshly – divorced woman filled with wine . Bet your Gretzky rookie card , each of these guys have the next Canadiens match-up circled heavily on their calendars. Extra tickets will be required as these goalies invite everyone from their second cousins to their very first stick boys from Pee-Wee teams gone -by. Everyone is invited to come and witness their future victories against the not-so-mighty Canadiens de Montreal.

Right Turn Clyde

Clint Eastwood co-starred with an orangutan named Clyde in a 1978 movie titled ‘ Any Which Way but Loose ‘. That movie was followed by a sequel in 1980. The name of the follow -up was ‘ Any Which Way You Can ‘. Unless the Habs are willing to inject their resident orangutan ( Scott Gomez ) into the line-up and hope he starts beating the opposition with his hairy-fists , the team would best be suited to heed the second title as their motto. Don`t do it for the Gipper – do it for Clyde !

Tight is not working as the players hold onto their sticks like a trucker without brakes. If

Clint and Clyde - Box Office Success !

they ( the team ) relax their grips and realize what the critics learned about the two Eastwood films ( Clint was having fun ), maybe the pucks will start filling the net with a little more fluency. The fans and team will enjoy the nightly spectacle and the Canadiens will go on to win Oscars ( Stanley Cups ) for best picture and director. Like Eastwood , the Habs should not rest their laurels with a lifetime achievement award. Spaghetti westerns and Toe Blake have run their course. Modern day hockey is `Unforgiven` with it`s million dollar babies.

Sergio Leone ,Eastwood`s former director, could not provide a script to help solve the Habs problems. Mr. Leone did not do funerals. The best choice would be Bernard Herrmann. The orchestrater behind the music of the majority of Alfred Hitchcock films. Herrmann would be the wise decision because , like Hitchcock , the Canadiens keep everyone in suspense each game. Will the team score is as pressing a question as`Will Tippi Hedren be devoured by birds ` or `Will Janet Leigh be diced into tiny pieces by Norman’s mother.`

 Alfred Hitchcock adored killing off his blonde leading ladies and Habs management loves murdering defensive coaches. ‘ To Catch a Thief ‘ must be  Montreal`s Hitchcock movie of choice. Every goaltender around the league ‘ steals’ two points from them. Unfortunately , the Canadiens do not have Grace Kelly to console them and Cary Grant has passed to the studio in the sky.  Sadly, Mr. Grant cannot take to the ice and score.

Here a Sniper – there a sniper …

Mike Cammalleri arrived in town on one knee as a sniper. A goal scorer. Ditto for Brian Gionta and recently,Erik Cole. Entering their third seasons with the Habs – Gionta and Cammalleri ‘s productivity is heading downhill faster than Sonny Bono. Be sure , Cole’s output will be felled by a defensive tree and Cammalleri will start putting two knees down in the form of prayer. One can only hope that God is a Montreal Canadien fan as he listens to Cammalleri`s plea for goal-scoring help.

There is so much emphasis on defense in Montreal , the players play scared. Afraid of making a ‘ faux pas ‘ in their zone. Scared silly of being too creative in the offensive zone for fear of getting caught and instilling the wrath of the Elfin Martin. Is this Jacques fault ? Not much more than Carbonneau , Julien , Vigneault and Therrien`s before. The sickness comes from above and with each passing President or owner – the organization with twenty-four Cup rings preaches defense. It is what won them many championships and that is the `history` they are sticking with. Through merchandising thick and winless thin. It does not matter if Jacques Martin and his team `never get a dinner`!

This team earns more money than Brian Mulroney on a good day. They are fast becoming the Toronto Maple Leafs (everyone started to make fun of the Leafs when they had gone eighteen years without a Cup ). Every season there are highs and lows. When the team wins – they are worthy of the banners that fly above them . When they lose – Oleg Petrov is the last great skater to sport the colors and logo of the famous Club de Hockey. Whatever the outcome – the team seldom scores more than three goals and perennially allows  two. For three seasons or more – Doug Harvey`s former squad plays the same hockey game . Over and over …

Ninety percent of the time – it’s like hitting your head against a board. It’s starting to be painful ! 


See what Kevin has to say at Habs – Eye on the Prize.

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