Pierre Gauthier’s Top Ten Job Possibilities

The man whose nickname is ‘ the ghost ‘ has become transparent in Montreal.

The former General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens has been relieved of his duties and in turn – has relieved millions of Hab fans .

The Ghost

What is next for Pierre Gauthier ? Will he be okay?

Le Forum de Montreal has learned – Mr. Gauthier has received several employment offers and has a few ideas of his own. There is no need for anyone to fret over the well – being of Pierre …

Here now are the top ten job possibilities for ‘the ghost’…

10. Greeter at Wall- mart .

9. President of the music group Mister – Mister’s fan club.

8. Just a rumor yet he is being considered to replace Pee Wee Herman at the Playhouse.(negotiations on hold over his refusal to stay away from porn movie theaters ).

7. Bob Gainey’s neighbor in the re- make of the Home Improvement television show.

6. General Manager of the newly – formed Mime Hockey Club.

5. The lead role of Pythagoras in the upcoming movie adaptation of a play by the same name.

4. P.A announcer at wrestling matches … Let’s get ready to … Oh, never mind …

3. Stand – in for Silent Bob in the upcoming movie ; Jay and Silent Bob meet Sid the Kid.

2. Kid Mercury’s assistant ; you know … The one that gets sawed in half …

And the number one job possibility for Pierre Gauthier … ?

1. Player agent for Scott Gomez !



Rating the Sportscasters in Montreal – Part Two ; The Scribes

Pick up the paper and there they are ! 

They help to start the day or annoy your spouse as he / she prepares an omelette of love . There is no room for opinions and onions at the breakfast table after all …

They scribble . They Jot . They erase and they do not !

These are the men that give their opinions in print – like it or go to a porn site to read about your favourite sporting heroes … Trust me – they are there !

The Montreal Gazette

Mr. Red Fisher

When Fisher started covering sports for a Montreal paper ; men were men , women in Russia were men and everyone else played their roles so. In many ways – Mr. Fisher , the grandfather of hockey sports writers , remains in those days.

His brain maintains the utmost integrity when it comes to how the game is played and Red will not sway . At the ripe age of two hundred and seventy – Mr. Fisher , is the best hockey writer in Montreal and quite possibly – North America.

Like my late Grandfather – Red can be repetitive.Just like my late Grandfather – sometimes it is good to know the dog is a freakin’ nuisance ten times a week. My grandfather and Mr. Fisher keep us grounded by means of hounds and gimmicks.

Mr. Fisher ‘ s first story was covering the Rocket Richard riot. Since riots happen often  in this city – Red is either very bad luck or we are lucky to have him … Take your pick !

Thank you Red – for every sports fan in this city and thank you for not shaking my hand when we met ! The highest compliment …

Pat Hickey

Hickey is one of the few men in this city or anywhere – that dated a Russian woman who was a man ! Hickey covered women’s tennis before the players were pretty in everyone else’s eyes but Pats .

Hickey has been boring …er …. treating us with his writings in the Gazette and the now – defunct Montreal Star since 1965. Okay – boring us once in a while … Pat requires a rest from sports as he has done once in the past when he was deputy national editor at the Toronto Star. An intelligent man needs to soar and now his writing comes across as stagnant and lifeless. Go to Toronto Pat … come back to Montreal with passion and leave Brian Burke behind !

Mr. Hickey also tends to prove his age at times. He infuriated Theo Fleury with his out – dated comments about victims of abuse !

Mike ( no relation to Pat ) Boone

Why ? Why ? Why ?

Never mind who , what and where … why did the Gazette hire Boone to cover hockey and the Habs ?

Two dinosaurs are enough on staff are they not ? Boone was scribing for the paper as a columnist and a great reviewer of entertainment and city life until 2011. He  was then added to the sports pages. Mr. Boone has also been writing on the popular Hockey Inside  / Out web site since 2008.

Unfortunately for the sports fans in this city – Gilligan and Nick Auf der Maur have passed away . We are now stuck with Mr. Boone until a rerun of Gilligan’s Island or a return visit from Auf der Maur ‘s daughter Melissa and her music … Stick to what you know best Mr. Boone !

*Note to self – Comment on how much I like Boone on Inside / Out .

Jack Todd

Jeffrey Loria and David Samson , Jeffrey Loria and David Samson ,Jeffrey Loria and David Samson , Jeffrey Loria and David Samson …

Jack Todd tends to milk things . In the words of Robert DeNiro  – ” Just a little bit … “

The enemy of the state , the righter of all wrongs – Todd is an American Werewolf in Montreal  !

Mr. Todd was hired  to rile people and he does his job well. Most readers despise the guy and would rather see him deported to the country from which he dodged . Personally – I tend to agree with Mr. Todd a lot . Which scares me …

I have always maintained respect for the man until I wrote an article about his Tim Thomas comments . I sent him a copy of my story ( I do not like to put someone down behind their back )  and asked for his opinion to clear things up . I simply inquired  what the difference was between him standing up for his beliefs of the Vietnam War and Thomas’ disenchantment of his government …

Todd had always responded to me in the past and has not since I sent him the story .

Once a coward – always a coward …

*Note to self – check prices of bodyguards …


The End of Gauthier ‘ s Tale …

A vain Pierre Gauthier who cares for nothing but his appearance and attire –  hires two tailors who are really swindlers. They promise him the finest , best suit of clothes . The fabric is invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or ” just hopelessly stupid “.

The ‘ Ghost ‘ cannot see the cloth himself ;  he pretends that he can  – for fear of appearing unfit for his position. His ministers do the same. When the swindlers report the suit is finished ; they mime dressing him and Pierre Gauthier then marches in procession before his subjects. The subjects  play along with the pretense. Suddenly, a child in the crowd ,too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pre tense – blurts out that Gauthier is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others.

Pierre Gauthier cringes –  suspecting the assertion is true, but holds himself up proudly and continues the procession.

Until now …

June 17, 2010: Trades Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.

June 23, 2010: Signs UFA Tomas Plekanec to a six-year, $30-million deal.

June 29, 2010: Trades Sergei Kostitsyn and future considerations to Nashville for Dan Ellis, Dustin Boyd and future considerations.

Sept. 2, 2010: Signs RFA Carey Price to a two-year, $5.5 million deal.

Dec. 28, 2010: Acquires James Wisniewski from the Islanders in exchange for 2011 second-round and 2012 fifth-round picks.

June 24, 2011: Signs Andrei Markov to a three-year, $17.25-million deal.

June 29, 2011: Trades Wisniewski’s rights to Columbus for a 2012 fifth-round pick.

July 1, 2011: Signs Erik Cole to a four-year, $18 million deal.

July 23, 2011: Signs Josh Gorges to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.

Dec. 9, 2011: Traded Jaroslav Spacek to Carolina for Tomas Kaberle.

Jan. 1, 2012: Signs Gorges to a six-year, $23.4 million deal.

Jan. 12, 2012: Traded Michael Cammalleri to Calgary for Rene Bourque.

Feb. 17, 2012: Traded Hal Gill to Nashville for Blake Geoffrion and a 2011 second-round pick.

Feb. 27, 2012: Traded Andrei Kostitsyn to Nashville for a 2013 second-round draft pick and a conditional 2013 fifth-round draft pick.


Tuesday Tid – Bits ( not to be confused with TimBits )

As the post – season nears faster than Chevy Chase on a National Lampoon sled , the teams in Bettman’s wonderful world are jousting for many positions.

Let us take out our binoculars , put on the sun block and get prepared for what should be a wild spring in the NHL … Shall we ?

-The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Hurricanes tonight in a game where winner takes all.
All , in the case of both squads , is having a chance to stay in the playoff hunt . Newly appointed Leaf coach Randy Carlyle gave a ‘ win for pide , win for passion ‘ speech after practice today . Basically a ‘ win one for the Gipper ‘ kind of speech . Once his inspired talk was finished , captain Dion Phaneuf responded ; ” And you are …?”

Ron Wilson - No longer alone ... ?

– In the Wild West ; Detroit has a 65 percent chance of finishing fourth and a 30 percent chance of finishing fifth . Nashville , on the other glove ; has a 31 percent chance of finishing fourth and a 61 percent chance of finishing fifth. What does all this mean ? There is a 100 percent chance Detroit will be facing Nashville in a first round series . It also means that 100 percent of statisticians will be right 1 percent of the time … Speaking in percentages of course …

– The Minnesota Wild’s disappointing season is ending with their fourth leading goal
scorer , Matt Cullen , missing his team’s final games as he is entering hospital to have surgery on a broken finger. Cullen is not sure if he will be able to hold both hands in the air as he screams ; ” We’re number 13! ” He promises to try his best …

– As the Washington Capitals attempt to hold on to eight spot – rookie net minder Braden Holtby gets the start tonight against the red – hot Sabres. “It’s a big game but at the same time it’s just another one,” said Holtby who is 2-1-1 for the Capitals this season, including a 3-0 shutout over Minnesota on Sunday. “It counts as two points, just like all the others do. You’ve got to go into it with that mindset, but there will be a little extra motivation to have the team going and get a win.” You gotta give the guy credit for knowing what time of the year it is . You also have to give his parents credit for letting him be a goaltender and not a neurosurgeon …

-The Vancouver Canucks are being bitten by the concussion bug this year . Daniel Sedin is the recent victim as he joins defenceman Keith Ballard who has been sidelined since Jan . 8th. “I had a lot of different stuff,” Ballard told the Vancouver Sun. “I had dizziness and a lot of headaches during the day. I was sleeping 16-18 hours a day and, when I tried to do some light workouts, I ended up getting real sick and I’d be in bed for four days …” Geez – Ballard ‘s comments sound like a healthy Tomas Kaberle to me ….

– The Colorado Avalanche have slid from great heights and Denver Post columnist Adrian Dater went on to call Stastny’s performance against the Sharks “particularly odious”. When informed of Dater’s comments , Stastny replied ; ” I don’t understand – I use deodorant every day !”

As for the Montreal Canadiens … ?

They are taking on the Panthers tonight in what will be the first game of the season for half the boys … Better late than never !


Monday Morning Q – Tip

Since there are no Stanley Cup rings blocking Hab fans’ ears …

It is time for Montrealers to remove their heads from the sands of Nuns Island. Yes Virginia – there is hockey being played outside of Montreal !

Let us gander around the league and discover the good , the bad , and the ugly in Bettman’s band of merry millionaires …

– In St . Louis , Jaroslav ( the Fairview mall rat ) Halak and Brian ( E.T ) Elliot have broken the Blues ‘ single season shut – out record. Glen Hall and Jacques Plante held the previous highest total of thirteen. Halak and Elliot surpassed the total by posting back to back shut – outs over the weekend. In related news – Gauthier upped his dose of daily anti – anxiety pills to fourteen , matching the Blues ‘ goalies season total.

– The Anaheim Ducks lost to the Bruins in California last night 3 – 2 . A Duck goal was called back in the third period when the refs judged that a Duck was in the crease. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau was incensed with the call .”If people are going to call the ice surface a pond … ” Screamed the Duck coach . ” Then there will be ducks in the crease ! ”

– The Wild have been officially dismissed from the playoffs. They have become the first team in the history of the league to go from first place in December to a post – season golf game. The Toronto Maple Leafs have officially let go of the Wild player’s skates …

– The Jets’ luck seems to have run out as they attempt to make the playoffs. Forward Brian( chicken) Little , was helped off the ice In the third period Saturday during Winnipeg’s loss to the Predators. Little has been red – hot of late while his teammates have cooled in the scoring department. The good news for people from the Peg ? An elimination from playoff contention leaves the team ‘s logo free to be used in curling matches …

– Andrei ( huh ? We are playing hockey today ?) Kostitsyn scored the game winning goal Sunday as the Predators passed Detroit in the standings. Six different players marked for Nashville which prompted the following remark from former Hab and current Predator Hal Gill ” It has been three years since six of my teammates have scored goals !”

– It appears that after two disappointing playoff exits – the Washington Capitals or , more precisely , Alex Ovechkin have finally learned something. Ovechkin has 9 goals in his last five games.Alexander the Great may have realized the regular season does not mean Dick Duff! If this is the case – teams in the east better watch out ! Ovechkin’s only hurdle ? A certain Halak in St. Louis could leave Ovechkin ‘ shakin ‘ …

Congratulations to Erik Cole on scoring the fastest hat trick in Habs ‘ history from the start of a game ! The three goals in under six minutes was the most goals scored by a Montreal Canadien since the entire team netted three in sixty games !

Stay tuned for the playoffs ! Le Forum de Montreal will have a Bruins’ fan giving his analysis of Boston’s demise … ER , I mean … Drive for two Cups ! Should be fun hearing from someone with five Stanley Cup experiences to draw from …


The Curse of Youppi …

The curse of Youppi began when many terrible events occurred after the discovery of Rejean Houle‘s brain.

Legend has it that anyone who dared to open Houle’s head – would suffer the wrath of Youppi . Because mascots have been associated with many magical powers throughout history, some of the mascots found from baseball were ground into a fine powder and sold as mystical mascot powder. It’s believed the powder had magical healing powers and it wasn’t until the discovery of Houle’s brain and the hype of the media that things would change forever.

The hype began when Mario Tremblay , the coach of the Habs , left goalie Patrick Roy in the crease for nine goals against the Red Wings on Dec 2 1995. The Habs – died shortly after.

The path to the team’s demise began in the Fall of 1995 when the team’s President , Ronald Corey , was kissed on the cheek by the Montreal Expos‘ mascot Youppi during an Expos game. In the ensuing days – he further aggravated the ‘ curse ‘ by appointing Rejean Houle as G.M and Mario Tremblay as coach. The team soon became infected and everyone associated with the squad became ill. At the exact moment the Habs died – the lights inside Jean Beliveau‘s house mysteriously went out.

Once the Montreal Canadiens died , the media went wild with stories of their death. They claimed Youppi wanted vengeance and incurred a mascot’s curse, which targeted those who had entered Corey’s office. Not only did the death of the Habs get all the people in an uproar but other stories began to surface as well. Of the stories that surfaced, two remain prominent. One of the stories is that a cobra killed Maurice Richard in 2000. The Rocket discovered Houle’s brain in 1999 and the cobra was a gift from Corey to Richard once Mr.Corey learned of Richard’s discovery. The other story is that Patrick Roy’s dog howled and dropped dead at two in the morning when Rejean Houle was hired as G.M.

What is interesting is that Youppi lived another decade as the Expos’ mascot before joining the Canadiens as their mascot. So what happened to Ronald Corey during all this hype and the years following ?Corey has spent the last years recording every artifact found in the basement of the Pepsi Forum. Why didn’t he suffer the curse of Youppi and die ? He was, after all, the first to open Houle’s brain …

Did Youppi really unleash a curse? New findings are showing that bacteria on the wall of Houle’s brain might have been the cause of the curse. The bacteria would release spores into the air allowing it to be breathed. This in turn caused people who came into contact with Houle to become ill. Could this be what killed The Habs ? It appears this could have contributed to their demise, as well as the fact the team did not draft well.

Whether Youppi’s curse is fact or fiction, this story seems to interest people even today. The myth of the curse has remained with Youppi and continues to make people question as to whether the curse was really unleashed and if Youppi spreads his ‘ magic ‘ at every home game. What is known is that when you mix propaganda, facts, and hype you get a story that can be exciting. It all really comes down to one question. Do you believe in the curse of Youppi ?

You decide …


Scott Gomez has a Twin …?

No need to go into details about Scott Gomez. Bottom line … ? Overpaid !

Is there anyone else on the Habs ‘ roster who gets paid a lot of money for next to nothing ?

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension— a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.

Submitted for your approval ;

This man earns 15, 000 dollars for a minutes work.

This man is seldom seen or spoken to …

The majority of a hockey – mad city know less about him than a B movie actor or actress.

This man spends most of his work time sitting around and watching his teammates work.

Budaj , Weber and Desharnais - No Laughing Matter !

Greeted by empty streets, a man searches a town to find that he is completely and inexplicably alone …

A terrified man stumbles into a psychiatrist’s office, afraid that if he falls asleep a woman from his past will murder him.


The Carey Price Cowboy Code

10. Don’t squat with your spurs still on yer skates.

9. Don’t interfere with a forward that ain’t bothering you none.

8. If you find yourself with a big five hole, the first thing to do is close yer legs.

7. Always drink yer water bottle upstream from the herd.

6. Telling a forward to git and making him do it are two entirely different propositions.

5. When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a forward ,don’t be surprised if they don’t learn their lesson.

4. If you are outside yer crease – take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still back there.

3. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.

2. If you get to thinking you’re a goaltender of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.

1. Never, ever, miss a good opportunity to get a shut out.
©Rick Keene Le Forum de Montreal 2012


Habs Eye on the Prize

There are Stanley Cup Rings Blocking my Ears …

Blah , blah , blah … blah , blah , blah …

These are the words that escape the pages of Montreal Canadien websites , blogs and articles about the team . The same things – over and over and over and …

Yes we know . Gauthier has made such a mess with this team it is a wonder he has not been assassinated by the FLQ . Gomez , on the other hand was assassinated some time last year. His cadaver – skating the perimeter of the Bell Center , haunting every shift and in turn – paling the performances of ‘ the real Hab ghosts ‘ in contrast.

How about Bob Gainey ? Once again – we are quite aware … The current hall of famer and former hockey player is placing red , white and blue post – it notes in Gauthier’s pocket on a daily basis. Gainey is the real villain – Gauthier the figurehead …

Through the past darkly , there have been worse atrocities that have destroyed millions of children , their parents and grandparents before. Everyone is aware of a man named Hitler . While not forgetting these events is a good thing – it is also not a good thing to be pounding on doors every hour to pass this message on. By no means am I comparing the destruction of Jewish people to the destruction of the Canadiens – the latter a far worse obliteration than the former in many skewed French – Canadian eyes.

There skates the problem …

This team is subject of so much scrutiny , the whole atmosphere in Montreal is creating a monster not seen since Steinbrenner and Billy Martin booted the Yankees’ legacy into foul territory on every second pitch in the 1970’s. Like the current Habitants – Mr. Steinbrenner , the Bronx Zoo media , the Bronx Zoo themselves , the Yankee players and their coaches – pressed their pens a little too tight in an attempt to sign a winning agreement.The sole difference between the pair of dynasties ? In the empire known as Canadiensland , once a coach is dismissed – he is dismissed. No Billy Martin – a – Rama in Montreal unless your name is Gainey – then you can play G.M / coach whenever you want .

Really . It is the same thing.

When Gainey was not ‘the ghost G.M ‘ and previous to ‘ the ghost ‘ G.M Gauthier driving the Hab’s Zamboni into the bowels of the NHL basement – Gainey’s game of revolving coaches was the first indication of panic in a hockey dynasty.

Five years without a Stanley Cup ? Bearable … A little painful yet bearable … Five years was but a hiccup in a long drunken party in Montreal. Five years – a rest stop between conquered NHL cities in a seventy – five year trip. Suddenly – the number five doubled to ten . ‘ Mon Dieu !’ Screamed the partisans of the famed club de hockey from Gatineau to Gaston Gingras’ home ! Les Canadiens had never gone seven years without a sip from Stanley. Now it is the number that proudly rode on Lafleur’s sweater that is on the back of Canadien’s fans like a four hundred pound Guy – rilla !

There was still hope …

Reality grabbed the Canadiens’ glove and the two became allies. It was a new age .The dawning of the age of ‘money puck ‘.The excuse to define all excuses . Les Canadiens – victims of a new world , a new sporting world and an opportunity to cash in. Salary caps and selfish players quashed the bird previously known by the name dynasty. Like the DoDo previous , all the dynasties of years gone by became inked history lessons. Generations now poised to read the hockey year books of glorious years skated by.

A two year drink by the Red Wings and Penguins soured by the salary cap juices of the modern era. A championship now judged by a season. The exclamation point between fire sales and free agency. A successful season now defined by merchandising , a playoff birth and consistency. As far as the Habs … ? One and a half of three not bad … Hey , if you can’t beat ’em – may as well out sell ’em !

Everyone associated with Le Club ‘storied’ de Canadien grew fat. Huge in every aspect of life. Bigger cars , fancier suits and even fancier opportunities. A Montreal Canadien employee was held above others . The past and present prancing around like Will and Kate – all expenses paid by the team’s championship royalty. The future ? An after dinner mint never delivered in person or thought …

Now …

As the team nears twenty years of championship drought …

Like a bunch of guys waking up in Vegas after a bachelor party in the year 2012 , reality is setting in. The fog is starting to lift. What have we done has replaced what are we going to do ? The media and fans are now the angry spouses and curious girlfriends. The scrutiny justified by the antics that have taken place.

If Les Canadiens stay in Vegas – a rocky marriage lay on the horizon as a deceased elephant would replace a beautiful landscape. By removing the strippers and the Tyson – esque groupies ,the slate would be removed of all stains that have clouded the team ‘ s guilded plaques. A clearer caption would encrypt the caricatures drawn by the cities’ media muses.

Blah , blah , blah … Blah , blah , blah …

© Rick Keene Le Forum de Montreal 2012


The 2011 – 12 Montreal Canadiens ; Year in Review

Training Camp – No Markov

Pre-Season – Lose

Beginning of Season – Lose

Fire Assistant coach Perry Pearn for no apparent reason

Lose some more …

Trade Spacek for marshmallow

Fire Coach Martin for a reason

Hire a guy who cannot pronounce poutine to coach

Lose some more …

Lose some more …

Trade Cammalleri for nothing

Lose some more …

Trade Hal Gill for a Great White French Canadian hope and a pair of fists

Trade Kostitsyn for nothing …

Cammalleri , Kostitsyn and Gill

Lose some more …

And still … A chance to make the playoffs ?

Text ©Rick Keene Le Forum de Montreal 2012


Some of my Best Friends are Leprechauns

Little people …

More specifically – little green people.

Over the years , there have been many of these tiny little folk that have skated for Les Habitants . Some successful … others ? Not -so-much !

Let’s have a luck …er …look – shall we ?

Oleg Petrov

Petrov was from a little town outside of Dublin named Lilliput , in the county RussianWee. Listed at a generous 5’9 in the hockey annual – Oleg was closer to 5’3 without skates. A fiery competitor whose penchant for green thongs – made him extremely popular in Montreal’s seedy community. Petrov was a water – bug who , more often than not – outskated everyone , including himself.

Mats Naslund

Mats was the most clever of the little people. He disguised himself as a Swede – thus the entire NHL figured him to be soft. Le Petit Viking evolved into the most productive Leprechaun in Habs recent history cumulating with a Stanley Cup in 1986. Naslund is the last Canadien player to surpass the 100 point mark which he accomplished the same year the Habs won the cup. Hmmm….. Maybe the Smurf concept is not so bad after all.

Yvon Cournoyer

Known as the ‘Roadrunner ‘ – Yvon was the captain of the Montreal Canadiens for two seasons , winning the Cup on both occasions. A fire hydrant of a player Who was blessed with impeccable speed – Yvon retired in 1978 with ten Stanley Cups on the mantle above his little green door. Cournoyer ‘s bad back forced an earlier retirement for the native of Drummondville – yet he was the fourth leading scorer in Habs history when he hung up his tiny little skates.

Henri Richard

He commenced his career as The Rocket’s little brother. The 5’7 younger sibling of the most famous player in Habs history , created a legacy that will never be surpassed. He won 11 Stanley Cups as a player – a record that stands alone. As a rookie , Richard fought more often than guys should as he attempted to prove he belonged in the league. In Richard’s first five seasons in the NHL – he won five Stanley Cups …

Brian Gionta

The Habs newest Leprechaun and captain , quickly won hearts with his all – out competitive nature. The 5’7 forward is the tiniest American to play for the club and the first captain to hail from south of the border. Sidelined with a torn bicep muscle , his leadership has been sadly missed as the Habs chances for a playoff birth disappeared along with their captain.


Meet the New Guy … ?

Les Canadiens de Montreal will not finish the season as the worst team in the National Hockey League.  Geez – they can ‘t even get that right … ?

They will however , conclude the current campaign – among the futile four. Thus guaranteeing a top pick in the upcoming draft.

The team , historically ,  opts for talent in the defensive scheme of things . Given the current situation which borders on bad to worse – things should be different this year.

A top offensive guy may be packing his suitcase with a CH sticker as the destination for 2012 – 13 and beyond. Below – in no particular order , are the boyz-to-men that may be suiting up for the Habs in the near future. One of these guys will make Mathieu Darche ‘s job obsolete as number 51 gets pushed from the pecking order .

( Sorry Mathieu – if the Habs had done things right – you would not be here at all. Count your blessings …)

Here now are the players who will take $ 250.00 from your pocket if you want to see them sweat  , close – up !

C, Mikhail Grigorenko6-3. 192 lbs. 

2011-12 Quebec Remparts QMJHL 57 39 45 84 12 36


At 6-foot-3 , 192-pounds – the talented Russian appears to be the real deal and one of the most coveted players in the upcoming draft. The Habs have been lacking a big , skillful centerman for many years and Mikhail , barring a Kovalev mindset , is the player the team can build around. He plays in the same mold as San Jose ‘s Joe Thornton although a little tougher. Most scouts agree – he may be better than Thornton as the years progress . The Habs probably will not land him unless management pulls a Sam Pollock and trades for a number one or two pick.  We can always dream …

 RW, Nail Yakupov, 5-11, 180 lbs.

Clous ! Clous ! Clous !

Sarnia Sting OHL, 65, 49 G, 52 A, 101 PTS

Yakupov is an explosive offensive player. He plays like a Guy Lafleur. He is a right winger like Lafleur. Speed and skill is what he brings to the rink with pure instinct. Given the Habs ‘ poor record of drafting big centermen – Yakupov is probably the best choice. Montreal fans love speedy guys , the type that can pull people from their seats. Russ Courtnall is the perfect example of that and Nail is the prototypical Courtnall with more talent. And seriously – how can a guy named Nail not be popular …?  The Bell Center crowd will chant … Clous ! Clous ! Clous !

 D, Ryan Murray, 6-0, 191 lbs.

Everett Silvertips WHL, 70 GP, 6 G, 40 A, 46 PTS


Okay – if the Habs must choose the best possible player available when it comes time to pick ; Murray is a smooth-skating defenseman who skates with  poise .The 17-year-old already has two solid WHL campaigns under his gloves and is a plus-51. Ryan captained Canada’s entry to a gold medal-winning performance at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka tournament . He is the type of guy who can control a game  and is compared most often to Scott Niedemeyer. If the Habs pick this guy – please someone tell them to stay away from Glen Sather. One Gomez for Ryan McDonagh is enough … thank you very much !


D, Griffin Reinhart, 6-4, 210 lbs. D,

Edmonton Oil Kings WHL, 45 GP, 6 G, 19 A, 25 PTS


Okay – if they must choose a defence man ?! Ugh …. Griffin Reinhart has it all , size and skill. He does so many good things on the ice. He moves incredibly well for a big guy , has a cannon-like shot , makes clean crisp first passes, never panics with the puck, and loves getting physically engaged. Now – will he marry my daughter ? The Habs need offence yet a guy like this can and will replace Markov sooner or later depending on Markov ‘s knee.  If they must choose a defence man – they must …

 C, Alex Galchenyuk, 6-1, 185 lbs.

Sarnia Sting OHL, 68 GP, 31 G, 52 A, 83 PTS


Galchenyuk may be the next power forward of the future. Not flashy like his teammate Nail – Alex is the hammer ! He is an all round player who can score and hit . Think of Andrei Kostitsyn when brother Andrei was not on the moon. Alex is also a very strong skater who is not afraid to use that speed when approaching the corners of the rink . He is beyond his years in defensive responsibility and can see the game with eyes on the back of his head . A player with an attitude to kick Bourques ‘ behind ? We will see …

Happy St . Patrick ‘s Day !


The Five Missing Elements to a Stanley Cup

They are That close … Dem Habs !?

Close to what ?

Close to a golf course …? Close to a top pick in the 2013 draft ? Of course they are close to a course. Of course they are close to a hockey version of a closer !

The Montreal Canadiens are also close to either a championship or a winning season. Once they ditch their G.M., Scott Gomez, their coach and all the little coaches that hang close – by;  the Habs can be very good if they heed the words from the band Simply Red . What is that you say Mick Hucknall ?

‘ Do the right thing … ? ‘

Gomez – ‘ Hair ‘ today …gone tomorrow !

What is the proper process to pimp this red, white and blue ride back to a prime piece of provincial pie ? Five moves. Count them … 1, 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 … Easy eh ? Five steps closer to Stanley Supremecy.  Simple stones in a structure that is strong with a core of youth. The mortar – the one absentee in an anarchy of a season …

Sit down , grab an Oreo cookie and dunk it in a drink . Decipher the decisions that will place les Habitants higher than this season’s disaster …

In order for Les Glorieux to become Glorieux once more ; Monsieur Geoff Molson should do the following ;

1. Place Serge Savard in the position of G.M.

Savard has stated publicly he does not want the job. Geoff Molson stated publicly he would not fire Jacques Martin. So much for publicly…

Serge is absolutely the right man for the job – right now !The organization is in turmoil and there is no one around from the team ‘ s storied past to settle things down. No one except Savard. His nickname is the Senator for a reason.

Savard led his team – this team, to victory as its captain. Serge led his team – this team, to victory as its G. M. Serge Savard accomplished these feats with respect. He was respected by his teammates and his fellow G. M ‘s. Mr. Savard is also a smart business man who has created a very wealthy chair in which to sit while he smokes his Cuban cigars. Who better to repair the cruise ship Canadiens than Captain Savard.

A G.M from another team will think twice before trying to pull the hockey sweater over Savard’s eyes. G.M ‘s did it to Houle ( too many times to count), they did it to Gainey ( Gomez ) and they have done it to Gauthier ( Dustin Boyd for Sergei ). They may try it on Savard yet Serge is no dummy. He may get fooled but his batting average is much better than the men who followed his tenure.

Savard also hold the respect of the current players , something that Gauthier does not. One visit from Savard in the locker room – one of the only things that may make Bourque score again. Savard also has the respect of the man who should coach the team …

2. Patrick Roy

St. Patrick has passion. The hall of fame coach of the Quebec Remparts is a winner. Who better to teach the young kids on the Habs how to sip from Stanley ‘s chalice ? Patrick Roy will instill something behind the bench that has been AWOL since Pat Burns scared referees with his red, white and blue glare. Roy has learned the ropes as a coach in the past five years and although subject to irrational outbursts ; Savard , the G.M will keep him in check . Roy would also need to surround himself with adequate coaches …

3. Larry Robinson.

Big Bird has shown interest in returning to the Habs. His contract is up in New Jersey and a return to his old stomping grounds appears immediate. ROBINSON also has the respect of players , Roy himself and Savard. Robinson is a winner and is also the best available candidate to teach the Habs ‘ young defencemen. Down the line – P. K , Emelin and Diaz would prosper under Robinson’s wise eyes. Larry ‘s presence would alleviate the pressure from the older guys. Markov and Gorges’ souls have more freedom to concentrate on their games . The other assistant coach should be …

4. Chris Nilan

Knuckles is no knucklehead. He has coached in the NHL as an assistant with the Devils for one season . He was also the head coach of the Chesapeake Icebreakers in the ECHL for one season. Nilan’s troubles off the ice were well documented which de – railed his coaching aspirations. Since returning to Montreal – Chris’ passion for the Habs is obvious. The man bleeds bleu , blanc et rouge. Again – like Roy , Serge Savard is the only man who would be able to bridle Nilan ‘s passion. A passion that is sure footed in his knowledge of how to play the game and what it takes to win.

The final piece of the puzzle is so obvious – it may be flying under the radar of everyone including ;

5. Martin Brodeur

The winningest goalie of all time is on his last goal – padded legs. Two seasons are left in this future hall of fame goalie. His contract is up in New Jersey. He was born in Montreal. Finishing his stellar career as a back – up to Price would add a spring to his step and in return – add knowledge to Price. A win – win situation echoed by the French Canadian fans who will have a Bona Fide star to carry the torch. Brodeur has worked with Robinson and again will have the respect of Roy and all the players on the team. Martin would be a ‘ fourth coach ‘ .

There. Easy as 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 …

Five simple signatures on a Stanley Cup note . Dem Habs are dat close …

© Rick Keene Le Forum de Montreal 2012



Top Ten Signs the Habs will Miss the Playoffs

Oh well …

If it were not bad enough , the Canadien’s nemesis – the Boston Bruins, won the Stanley Cup . To add insult to injury , the Montrealers will be missing the post – season dance.

Say it isn’t so Joe Malone … ?

Aside from the lack of points – here are the Top Ten Signs the Habs will miss the playoffs …

10. Youppi’s name has been changed to ‘ Yoplait – the official drink of the 2012 – 13 Canadiens de Montreal ‘.

9. Jean – Guy ; the man who sweeps the ‘ usual route ‘, has had his broom recalled by the city of Montreal.

8. Scott Gomez is on the team.

7. RDS’ motto ; Panic !

6. The Montreal players seen texting Toronto Maple Leaf players to ask ; ” What do we do now …?”

5. Kirk Muller seen running the streets of Carolina shouting ; ” I told ya so …I told ya so … “!

4. Habs’ car flags lowered to half mast.

3. A giant ‘ for rent ‘ sign hanging around Maurice Richard statue outside the Bell Center.

2. The Boston Bruins are breathing a little easier.

And the number one sign the Habs will miss the playoffs ?

1. Someone put Gauthier in charge … !

Forget the Beer – A White Russian Please …?

It has been a long time since the Montreal Canadiens got drunk. 

Sure the team , or rather – the players , are out and about partying. Sure there have been many nights when Les Habitants have been spotted in the city ‘ s clubs. Drinking, carrying on and being ‘ boys ‘. The Canadian Canadiens drink beer, the American Habs drink shots, the Europeans down wine and the Russians drink Vodka.  Following a convincing 4-1 win in Vancouver last night , the team woke up with a hangover . The  benefits of a White Russian

The Habs have had  a few white russians skating the Bell Center since their star defenceman ; Andrei Markov , disappeared into the boards an eternity ago. Kostitsyn – Andrei,  was the main guy yet in the words of ‘ The Dude ” in the Big Lebowski ;  Hey, careful, man, there’s a beverage here! ”

More times than not , brother Andrei – despite his size , skated like prized china in a bull shop. Kostitsyn played like so many Russians once they were given money and cars to play in the NHL. Flashes of skill dotting intermittent flashes of brilliance spawned by special talent. This is where Markov separates himself from the мужчины (muzhchíni).

In a ten year career in Montreal, the good brother Andrei – has seldom taken a shift off. He is the type of player who loves to play hockey and tries to improve with every game. Few players in the history of our glorious sport have skated with a sixth sense. ‘ Eyes in the back of Gretzky’s head ‘ type of guys. The men who skate with NHL boys. The individuals who are above the pettiness of wondering how to skate, pass or shoot. Instead they are thinking what happens if – what happens when – what happens …?

Lemieux of the Mario kind had it. His pal in Pittsburgh – Jaromir ( move like Jagger ) had it. A Concussed Crosby hopefully still has it. The shame with Andrei Markov is that no one save for a few individuals ” got ” what  Markov had over the years in a Habs uniform.

Mr. Markov returned to the mix last night on a team that has played like a bunch of drinking boys at a frat party trying to pick up chicks.  Sometimes they hit , sometimes they got lucky yet more often than not – they went home empty-handed. One hand was what they used on too many evenings as the members of the Habs lay in their beds. Alone. Despondent. Dreams of the playoffs – nightmares of the worse kind.

Is Markov ‘s return to the Canadiens at such a time the proper decision ? Why risk an injury with just over ten games left in a season that is headed nowhere fast ? Another four months of a steady rehabilitation process surly the proper recipe for a tasty white russian ?

According to Markov himself – and any great athlete will concur ; it is time to play or craziness will set in. This is what separates a great player from the Alexandre Daigles of the world. Markov’s itchiness is the same itchiness which had him injured in the first place. Competiveness is the name for Markov’s infliction and it is something that will not go away. It is what got him to the NHL and it is what made him rise to the top echelons of the defensive core in the entire league.

Markov is making more money than an entire continent of Russian militia. Andrei is aware that pundits, fans and general managers across the league believe that Pierre Gauthier is doing crack in his high – rise office. They believe Gauthier erred on the side of crack-tion by signing Andrei to a three year deal . A huge contract signed by a limping Markov.

Markov is not playing to aid Gauthier’s public image. The thirty – four year old from Voskresensk, Russia is not playing because he has grown tired of the Habs head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend. Andrei Markov is playing because he can.

Lets hope the team continues to get drunk …


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Back in Black

In 1989 – the Rolling Stones  were considered dinosaurs as they prepared to embark on their ‘Steel Wheels’ tour. Madonna divorced actor Sean Penn and Grant Fuhr, Eldon (Pokey) Reddick , Tony McKegney and Ray Neufeld were the sole African Americans playing in the NHL.

In 2012, the Rolling Stones are considered dinosaurs as they purportedly arrange for a tour, Madonna is single once more after another failed relationship and there are twenty-four African Americans playing in the NHL. The more things change…la plus ca change…

P.K Subban is the next generation of Willie O’Ree not just entering the league… but showing true signs of dominating at his position. What has changed in twenty-one years? Have more black players enrolled in the sport because of players such as Fuhr and O’Ree before them?

Perhaps the reason African Americans are playing a sport dominated by white people for so many years has nothing to do with Fuhr or Reddick. Does the fact that Tiger Woods not only joined an elite, Caucasian boys club but totally dominated have anything to do with the success of Jerome Iginla, Anson Carter and Mike Grier…?

Woods and Subban are children of their environment. As society goes… so do the people, regardless of race and color.

Tony McKegney

Tony McKegney was the fourth black in NHL history and the first black Canadian player to make an impact in the league when he signed with the Buffalo Sabres in 1978.

McKegney had to suffer the indignities of racial abuse from fans and opposing players as well as suspicious treatment from team management. That was 1978 – a time when you could hurl racist comments and not be out of place in many cities in Canada and the States. Currently, if you harbor such feelings toward any race, black or white – you would be better off to save those judgments to yourself or face becoming an outcast among peers and society in general.

Not considered one of the greats of the game – McKegney ‘s career was a long and productive one and he is probably responsible for an entire generation of young black skaters. He scored over 320 goals over his 13 year career in the NHL and he became the first African-American to net 40 goals in a season. His total of 78 points in the same year was the highest ever recorded by a black player until Jarome Iginla surpassed that number in 2001-2002 with 96 points. Over a space of 900 games in the NHL , Tony produced eight 20-goal seasons and in 1991 –  became the first minority to play on the Canadian National Team.

It was in the course of those 900 games that the world around Tony McKegney changed allowing young blacks more opportunities to play hockey. McKegney exposed his talents to young African Americans  and now they had the resources to practice their craft.

Willie O’Ree

Willie O’ Ree made his NHL debut with the Bruins on January 18, 1958 against the Montreal Canadiens . He became the first black player in league history as he appeared in two games that season.

In 1961 he was called up once more and scored four goals and added 10 assists in 43 games. O’ Ree never played another NHL game but toiled in the minors for another 19 seasons. Mr. O ‘Ree cites several factors in the increase of African Americans in the NHL today.

“You have to be around ice to be an ice hockey player. There are more rinks being constructed, there are more opportunities and there are more programs available for African-Americans to get involved in the sport. There are 30 teams in the National Hockey League; when I played there were only six. When I travel around and go to the inner cities, I’m amazed that a lot of these boys and girls have a lot of natural talent. They need to get on the ice and develop from there.”

Like dominoes, everything has a trickle down effect. At one time because of segregation and racism, black people were not given the opportunities to excel and produce high incomes. Hockey – compared to sports such as soccer, baseball and football was pricier to play and many inner city kids simply did not have the money to purchase skates, sticks and all the equipment necessary to play the game. It was a double edge sword at times – you had ice if you lived in Detroit but not enough money, you had money if you lived in L.A but not enough ice.

In Canada, the African American population has doubled in the past twenty years from one percent when Tony McKegney was a rookie to two percent when Jerome Iginla made a historic pass to Sidney Crosby at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. Although seemingly small, that one percent increase can double the amount of black minor leaguers and in turn – increase the percentage in the NHL.

Now that times have been altered and blacks and whites share the same opportunities, more kids are being introduced to the game in every generation. This means more arenas being built, more equipment is handed down from an older brother or sister, more NHL stars are role models and so it goes.

Tony McKegney was the Tiger Woods of hockey in his day. Unfortunately for Tony and thousands of kids everywhere – the 1970s did not have the television coverage or the endorsement deals that Mr. Woods has benefited from. I am not speaking monetarily – I am speaking in terms of pure exposure. Fortunately, the NHL did expand in that decade and that enabled enough exposure to encourage the Jerome Iginlas and P.K. Subbans of the world and begin a process that will add the best talent of all races into the greatest game on ice.

In 2022 – there will be over a hundred black players in the league and the Rolling Stones will still be considered dinosaurs as the get set for a world tour.

The more things change – the more they do not stay the same …


Two Montrealers Create First Ever Concussion Certification Course . A No – Brainer

Mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion, can be defined as a short-lived loss of brain function due to head trauma that resolves spontaneously. With concussion, function may be interrupted but there is no structural damage to the brain.

Mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion, can be defined as a short-lived loss of brain function due to head trauma that resolves spontaneously. With concussion, function may be interrupted but there is no structural damage to the brain.

I had my first concussion at the age of thirteen – Rugby will do that to a skinny kid with a big head.By repeating the above paragraph – I may be exhibiting a symptom of that injury. This is exactly the reason Chris Costello and Ronny Varga are implementing a concussion certification program in Montreal. A cutting edge organization that Costello and Varga hope will end all second guessing when it comes to recognizing and dealing with the effects of a trauma to the head.

” If you Google concussion …” Says current occupational therapist and future M.D Costello. “There are thousands of sites emitting every fact known about concussions. What is important is the anatomy of the brain and what effects an impact will provoke in each region. Say your child is a mild – mannered athlete and suddenly they become a ‘ daredevil on ice ‘ after a hit to the head . Chances are this change of judgement is due to a damaged frontal lobe . If a parent or coach possesses this knowledge ,treatment can be implemented quicker and the long term prognosis is close to perfect.”

According to Varga, the chief physiotherapist for the Montreal Impact soccer club from 2003 – 2005 ,  there are too many variables involved with head injuries to take any chances. As a soccer Dad, Varga sees no room for error where his kids are concerned and believes every parent should take the same precautions. For this reason – Varga and Costello decided to use their ‘ heads ‘ and create a company named reACT.

” We are giving our concussion recognition and prevention certification program to coaches, referees and phys Ed instructors of different sports associations and schools. Coaches and teachers will be instructed with a manual – a condensed ‘ how to ‘ version of recognizing the symptoms of a concussion.” States Costello whose training as a future doctor included stints with the Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers of the NFL as well as the Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Allouettes..

” Call it a CPR course for the head. Given the spotlight surrounding head trauma, it is about time something like this is made available.We will be giving all of our students USB keys and a power point presentation. Our students ( coaches, parents etc ) must instruct their staffs in order to be certified.”

The brain floats in cerebrospinal fluid and is encased in the skull. These protections allow it to withstand many of the minor injuries that occur in day to day life. However, if there is sufficient force to cause the brain to bounce against the rigid bones of the skull, then there is potential for injury. While temporary loss of consciousness due to injury means that a concussion has taken place, most concussions occur without the patient being knocked out. A fact which makes the certification process that much more important as educators attempt to ensure a safety net around their teams.

Chris Costello has a Bachelor of Science degree in OccupationalTherapy as well as chemistry. Ronny Varga also holds two degrees. A bachelors in Physiology and Physiotherapy respectively. Varga, a devoted husband and father of two – is also the proprietor of Action Sport Physio located in Montreal West. He recently expanded to 5000 sq.feet and has ten medical professionals under his watch.

This dynamic duo’s goals are simple. To be seen as the Canadian leaders and visionaries when it comes to concussion certification and management. Upon completion , the highest protocols would be implemented to protect athletes at every level and every age group. Protocols assembled through a collection of evidence – based research and consultation.

Occupational Therapists , Physiotherapists, Athletic Therapists, Psychologists, Physicians and professional athletes have all been consulted to enable the greatest certification possible.

Max Pacioretty, the Canadiens forward who knows all too well the effects of a concussion – has been approached as a possible spokesman for reACT and according to Costello , there is a great chance ‘Patches’ will be signing on once the Habs’ season is finalized.

Max Pacioretty, Chris Costello and Ronny Varga

If all goes according to plan – this pair of Montreal natives will ensure their certificate program is not only recognized yet legislated at the highest governmental levels.

A heads – up if there ever was one …

If you believe someone you know may be experiencing concussion – like symptoms , contact Chris or Ronny @ 1 438 82 react (73228) reACTcanada.org

If you believe someone you know may be experiencing concussion – like symptoms, contact Chris or Ronny @ 1 438 82 react (73228) reACTcanada.org

This – I do not mind repeating…

Go to their Website REact Canada


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The Best of Le Forum de Montreal

Montreal lost to Toronto …

Not because the Maple Leafs are more talented than the Habs. The Habs lost because Randy Carlyle beat Randy Cunneyworth with experience. When push came to shove in the final period – Carlyle’s decisions proved quicker and more efficient. Another sign the Habs need a coach.

That said …

In the past few months, my readership has doubled on this site. A fact that leaves me grateful as I attempt to discover employment as a writer on the Habs.

I am including links to what I think are the best stories I have written. If you have read them – I appreciate your patience. If not – I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them !

Without further ado …

Here is The Best of Le Forum de Montreal …

Kid Mercury Toots his Own Horn

Ned Braden and the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals

Thank You Mr. Carter

The Thomas – Crown Affair aka the Jack Todd Incident

A Whisper to a Scream

Trade Deadline Update

What do Jeff White and Phil Collns have in Common

Top Ten Places to Send Scott Gomez

Dick Irvin – Not his Father’s Son

Thousands go Shopping for a Halak

Top Ten Signs Rene Bouque is Ready to Rumble !

Where are the now ? Part One 

Where are they now ? Part Two

Where are they now ? Part Three

Where are the now? Part Four

Four Score and Six Years Ago

Top Ten Reasons Hal Gill will be Missed

The Father, the Son and the Holy Grail

Habs Should Give Up

Top Ten Scariest Moments in Montreal Canadiens’ History

A Christmas Gift

Turning French

Yes Francesca – There is a Santa Claus

Top Ten Signs the Habs are in Florida

Habs Trade Spacek for Kaberle – Covering cancer with a Band – aid

Do Not Pull a Boom Boom

Funeral for a Friend

Guy Lafleur’s Brush with Greatness

Keene Sweepings

Top Ten Reasons Plekanec and Subban got into a Fight

The Coach with the Killer Instinct

Craig Ludwig and the Woman with One Boob

Scott Gomez is Hurt ( and Ghaddafi Does not Feel so Good Himself).

Top Ten Reasons Lars Eller ‘s Four Goal Night inflated his Ego

Team 990 Drops the Puck with Marinaro on Board

Should the Habs Retire Koivu’s Number ?

Don Cherry ; Listen to your Grandfather

My Nephew, Chris Nilan and the Truth

Top Ten Signs GM Gauthier is on the Ball.

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Rick Keene

A Whisper to a Scream

They whisper around the NHL . The Canadiens – they say ; were once known as The Flyin’ Frenchmen.

For decades the Montreal Canadiens earned that moniker because of two things ; native Quebecers who flew like the wind on ice. Sure the team was always punctuated with tough guys. Men who could drop their gloves at a moment’s notice to protect ‘ les etoiles sur glace ‘. Yet even some of the biggest scorers on the team were  tough as nails.

Maurice Richard , the icon – the legend , never backed away from hacking his way to victory or pummeling an opponent to blood. Boom  Boom Geoffrion , a two-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy, a piece of hardware handed out  for  leading the league in scoring – dropped his gloves many times as he accumulated six Stanley Cups and a Calder Trophy.

Up until the early nineties – Montreal held the master plan on how to build a successful hockey team. Somewhere, along the way , something changed. Somehow the team swayed from their successful formula and the results are as pretty as Chris Nilan‘s knuckles.

Something Happened Away from the Forum

Rewind to 1993. The year of the team’s final championship season.Take a gander at some of the players who carried the torch. Brian Bellows, Vincent Damphousee and John Leclair come to mind. The former two –  very capable goals scorers. The latter ? A man on the brink of netting fifty in a long and productive career in Philadelphia.

Todd Ewen

These guys, these men, who notched the winning goals and added assists to their mates, were punctuated by tough guys who made space . Skaters who cleared the way for Bellows and Damphousse to do their thing. Names such as Todd Ewen, Mario Roberge, Mathieu Schneider and Lyle Odelein. Kirk Muller and Mike Keane. Tough men who made sure that no one took advantage of their more skillful mates.

Speedsters such as Oleg Petrov, Paul Dipietro and Denis Savard allowed the room to deke their way to freedom. Opponents knew – take a shot a one of the Habs’ little guys, a price was present  –  it was time to pay.

As the non- Stanley Cup seasons passed , the team strayed from the winning formula. Time and  again – the Canadiens built their team for speed. Time and time again – opponents built their team to push the Habs around. In 1997 – Richer and Rucinsky, Turgeon and Koivu , Savage and Bure were asked to do too much. Donald Brashear was the only tough guy to protect them. The only tough guy who had the energy and youth.

Shayne Corson was past his prime. Scott Thornton ? Well past his days of scaring people and Murray Baron was on his final tough-guy legs. Add the thirty, soon-to-be forty year old Dave Manson to the mix and the opposition was correct in offering a seniors discount in the form of passing on a fight. In order for a team to win games and championships – ‘ youth with grit ‘ is the desired recipe for a Stanley Cup supper.

In fifteen years since , the Montreal Canadiens’ name has become synonymous with little blue guys. The Flyin’ Smurfs more fitting than the flying frenchman of days long gone.

Valeri Bure, Saku Koivu, Oleg Petrov, Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez and most recent – David Desharnais.It is okay to have these little guys skating around. It is fine to have Yvon Cournoyers and Pocket Rockets on your club. As long as you have a John Ferguson and Pierre Bouchard baby-sitting them.

 Nilan Back in Town

Chris ‘ Knuckles ‘ Nilan. The last true gladiator of the Montreal Canadiens is back living in Montreal and he is not shy letting people know of his presence – just like when he played.

Knuckles Nilan

Nilan is writing in the West End Times and can be heard on radio with TSN 990. He is barking, he is growling and is one hundred percent correct in his opinions. The man, regardless of his pugilistic skills, knows the game of hockey and how it should be played. Knuckles is old school when it comes time to drop the puck and gloves. Place Nilan behind the bench as an assistant coach ? Scott Gomez’ daze of notching two goals in over a year – a nightmare from the past.

Perhaps G.M Gauthier and President Geoff Molson listen to the radio daily . Knuckles Nilan’s message appears to  have hit them on their bleu, blanc et rouge helmets. One by one, the Habs’ brain trust is filtering the softness from the club and adding toughness and heart. Gone is the tough-every-ten-games Kostisyn. Ciao to Cammalleri – the one-knee diva with the perfect doo.

Say hello to Ryan White who, for all extensive purposes, should  be nicknamed ‘ the Pocket Nilan ‘. Not since Knuckles pitched pucks from the penalty box has there been a guy in Montreal who can rile his team to victory. Pump his pals when things are down and – just like Nilan ; White is a decent hockey player who is young enough to get better.

Suddenly with the addition of Rene Bourque ( the second coming of Shayne Corson), Blake Geoffrion (who has his grandfather Boom Boom’s mean streak) and Brad Staubitz from Minnesota, the Montreal Canadiens are starting to look a lot like their building blocks.

The Pocket Nilan

Pernell Karl Subban, like a certain Chris Chelios before – has the ability to get under an opponents equipment without dropping the gloves. Subban also has Chelios’ skills and energy. Emelin , despite the fact he cannot fight due to a reconstructed orbital bone , is the hardest – hitting Hab since Odelein clocked people by the minute.

Now the skill .Desharnais is a spark plug like Henri Richard .A player who keeps his skates moving , adding points to his totals every game. Let us not forget Carey Price. Playing in almost every game – the young goalie dominates most nights and allows his team an opportunity to win. Sound a bit Roy-ish ? Is there a wink on the horizon ?

As long as these players send messages on the ice. Game ready memos that clearly state ‘ do not mess with our goal scorers ‘ …

The rest of the league will scream ; ‘ They were known as the Flyin’ Smurfs ….’


Call Kid Mercury if you want to be amazed by magic …!

Ned Braden and the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals ( Parental Guidance Suggested ).

It was as a miraculous  a run that would ever be written in the Montreal sports‘ pages …

The Montreal Canadiens defied logic and kept the bars and restaurants deep in prosperity as they dove deeper into the play- offs. They did it with a combination of luck,determination and a mindset not usually heard of when it comes to victory.

As each series progressed ,whether it was Quebec, Buffalo or Les Islanders de New York – the players who skated for les bleu,blanc et rouge,willed their way to overtime and a chance to win.

Overtime is a scary time. One shot – a backhand,a snapshot or perhaps an errant pass,can win the game in a second. It does not matter to the puck who has the edge in the extra time. The vulcanized disc cheers not for Wayne Gretkzy or Patrick Roy. It goes along for the ride, regardless of who is favored or who is wearing the colors of the underdog…

Overtime is relentless …

After coming back from a two game deficit against their Quebec neighbors – les Habitants started a trend that had not been seen before or since. Eleven overtime victories carried the team to their 24th Stanley Cup and made even the most un- superstitious black cat believe in miracles.

Once the Sabres were dispatched in round two – the Canadien players almost to a man,wanted each game decided after sixty minutes. ‘ They were more comfortable’ they would say. ‘Something was in the air’ was the type of words that escaped their mouths just before they yelled victory to the cameras.

Was it Voodoo ? Was it karma ?

It may have been the simple fact the Habs opponents in the finals did not remove their clothes and dance on top of their nets … How could they … ?

Ned Braden was in Montreal

Slapshot 101

Ned Braden was a character in the movie Slapshot.Micheal Ontkean, the actor, portrayed Ned Braden .Ned Braden was a pussy …

Slapshot is on everyone sports fans’ top ten list of best sports movies of all-time. It is a yarn scripted by Nancy O’Dowd .Surprising a woman wrote the screenplay considering the foul language and sexist jokes. O’Dowd followed her brother’s team around and used her notes to write the screenplay for the movie.

The film follows the exploits of the Charleston Chiefs – a hockey team that could not win a game if their skating lives depended on it. Guided by their player-coach, Reg Dunlop ( played by Paul Newman),the team is bankrupt in the goal scoring department, the stands and the pocket-book of  a mysterious owner…

Enter the Hansons

A trio of brothers named Steve, Jeff and Jack . A threesome of terror ! A terrible mixture of ‘ how not to play hockey’ !

The Hanson Brothers

The Hansons , after riding the bench and playing with their toy cars in hotel rooms for the first weeks after joining their new team – are given the opportunity to play by coach Dunlop. It seems , the Hansons have their own idea on how to play hockey …

They fight, they hit people over the head with their sticks and cause havoc in the hockey rink ! All this before the game starts sometimes ! In the words of Chiefs sportscaster Jim Carr ; ” The fans are standing up to them! The security guards are standing up to them! The peanut vendors are standing up to them! And by golly, if I could get down there, I’d be standing up to them! ”

Paul Newman ( aka the coach), decides the Hansons’ way is the right way and the team starts winning with abandon. Suddenly the seats in the arena are filled, the team has its own booster club that follows them on road games and for once – the team is making money. Everyone is happy right ? Nope . Ned Braden, the team’s star forward is miserable and he is causing coach Dunlop to have fits.

Ned Braden is the only guy on the team who went to college. Ned Braden does not believe in fighting or goon tactics. Ned Braden refuses to play dirty and Dunlop decides to bench him on several occasions. Ned Braden is called a pussy by Jim Carr and even his teammates start questioning his sexual orientation because of his non violent nature.

Braden ... A Fag ?

Reggie Dunlop: Well, maybe Braden’s a faggot, you ever think of that?
Denis Lemieux: No way, he got a big c*ck, like horse.

The Chiefs continue their winning ways and end up in the championship game amid all kinds of humor and sub-plots. When their opponents for the top trophy in the Federal League , the Syracuse Bulldogs, stockpile their team with goons to counter the Chiefs’ one-two-three punch – Dunlop decides to play old-time hockey.

Newman’s squad attempts to win by playing Toe Blake’s way. They try to beat their opponents by skating, passing and scoring. Given the nature of their ways – the Bulldogs pummel the Chiefs and the Charleston squad does not fight back. Enter Ned Braden …

The Chiefs’ leading scorer and resident ‘pussy ‘- takes matters into his own hands while his teammates are in the middle of a bench- clearing brawl.

A Victory Lap - dance ...?

Much to the delayed delight of the home crowd – Braden( with the help of the team’s marching band ), commences to remove all of his equipment. Ned Braden commits one of the most bizarre strip teases in sports and cinematic history. Finally – kicking his shin pads in the air from atop the net in his own zone.

The referees , fed up with the nonsense carried on by the Bulldogs – award the Chiefs the championship and Braden ( stripped to a jockstrap) carries the trophy in a victory lap in front of the appreciative, crazy crowd. A memorable conclusion to a memorable movie…

Celebrating the Habs’ Victory

A friend and I were downtown in a Montreal bar celebrating the Habs game two victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the Montreal Forum. A game which included the famous stick measurement call by the Montreal coach Jacques Demers. Marty McSorley was penalized for using an illegal stick and the Habs went on a power play down a goal with under five minutes to play in the third period. The Canadiens tied the game on a goal by Eric Desjardins and eventually won their 9th straight overtime game. A string of improbable victories which concluded with eleven overtime wins and a Stanley Cup championship.

1993 Stanley Cup Champions

The bar was filled to capacity and erupted in pure joy when the home team scored to even the series at one game apiece heading back to L.A. Everyone was having a great time – a terrible feeling lifted as our heroes gave hope once more …

My friend and I were caught up in the moment and the pitchers of beers flowed quite well. We were sitting on two stools next to the dance floor when my friend pointed out a movie star. Forgetting momentarily about the film Slapshot, my friend said ; “Hey ! Look ! It is Micheal Ontkean from the television show Twin Peaks !”

Micheal Ontkean ( Ned Braden ) played sheriff Truman in the David Lynch series Twin Peaks. A favorite show of my friend.

“You mean Ned Braden …?” I countered as a hockey fan .

“Yes …! ” Said my friend. ” It’s Micheal Ontkean !”

They say television adds ten pounds to an individual. If indeed it was Ontkean – that statement was true. He was a lot slimmer than his screen appearances and much older looking. “Slapshot was filmed in 1977 – this was 1993 …” ! I reminded myself …

Sherrif Harry S Truman

We argued for a while whether or not the man on the dance floor – obviously drunk and hitting on a girl half his age,  was Ned Braden / Truman . I concocted a plan. A way to discover once and for all if this guy was a hockey hero …

” When he goes to the bathroom …” I told my friend. ” I’ll find out ! I will ask questions that only Ontkean will know ….!” Several moments later – sure enough, the Chiefs’ leading scorer look-a-like stumbled off  towards the bathroom.

He was swaying to and fro at the urinal when I took up residence to his left . Exiting my own private part and waiting a few seconds – I said in a drunken firmness ;

” Do you have a big c*ck like a horse…? ”

“Excuse me …? ” The man replied with befuddlement.

” My friend thinks you have a big c*ck like a horse – I am not sure so I followed you in here to find out …!? ” I knew my approach was wrong.

” Um…um….?” The man fumbled with his words. Alcohol and confusion the two important factors at the moment.

” Can I see some I. D …? ” I asked.

” My hands are kinda tied up at the moment…” He replied.

” Because you have a big c*ck like a horse …? ” I laughed with curiosity.

The guy tried to laugh yet nervousness was his closest friend. He finished doing his thing and we both walked toward the sink. The man reached into his pocket and withdrew a wallet. His hands shaking with nerves and booze. He handed me a driver’s licence…

Micheal Ontkean was the man’s name and he resided in California. Upon discovering he was Ned Braden – I peppered the poor soul with questions.

He was here to watch the Kings play the Habs. He was playing semi-pro hockey when a casting call went out for the movie Slapshot. Paul Newman could not skate when filming commenced yet learned quite well. The Hansons were crazy in life and he was enjoying his role on Twin Peaks.

Ontkean - Much older

“I gotta get your autograph …!? ” I said with enthusiasm.

We exited the bathroom and asked a barmaid for a pen and paper. Ontkean asked how i would like it signed. I did not care and told him to write what he wanted …

Several moments passed and he handed me the piece of paper …We shook hands and he went back to the dance floor to join his ‘ friend’. I opened the paper …

To Rick – Like a horse … Ned Braden


The Habs try to extend their winless streak to six tonight against the Wild ….

Best wishes to Jean Beliveau as he recovers from a stroke ….

Need a magician ? Contact Kid Mercury – Montreal’s Most dynamic entertainer !


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