Monday Q – Tip


Are you howling yet? Is your aphotic basement illuminated only by the brightness caused by Bettman’s smile?

Ladies and gentlemen … It’s Coyote time!

The series between the Coyotes and the Predators is a bit like David and Goliath.

Ask the average hockey fan to name three guys who skate for Pheonix. Most will say – Shane Doan, Mike Smith and Shane Doan. If pressed, they may explore their memories until the name Shane Doan appears.

The Coyotes are a team that skate in an orphanage, looking for someone – anyone to love them and take them home. For now, the NHL and Gary Bettman are their caregivers. Much like a Disney cartoon, the Coyotes are being raised by the cruelest of parents. Arrogance and greed – the greatest attributes to a league that toils in a league of their own.

Predator Hockey?

If les Cotoyes continue to dominate players such as Radulov, Kostitsyn and Rinne – the Predators, will be listening to Glen Campbell quicker than a jilted country boy gets his truck back. Can the Preds get their Stanley Cup goal back? That is the question?

Fixed?

If the players from Pheonix keep their groove on and advance to the finals and win Lord Stanley’s Coupe, the questions of conspiracy will be floating around on a thawed rink in Bettman’s backyard.

– Did the Coyotes win to increase the distance of the NHL’s brass’ vacation destinations? More money in the pockets of everyone?

– If the Coyotes win, it would increase interest for a potential buyer in and around the Arizona area. It would also increase interest of a potential buyer in Anywhere, U.S.A. Hockey hotbeds such as Hawaii or Arkansas. For Bettman’s boys – a coyote anywhere than Canada is not ugly.

Better Team?

The Nashville Predators are a far superior team to Doan’s howlin’ boyz from the hood. The Preds totally dominated game one of the series and if not for the courage of net minder Smith in the coyote crease, game two would have seen the Coyotes holding their sticks a little tighter.

Instead, game two flipped the tables. It was the Predators that deked instead of shooting. Taking wrist shots when they should have been eluding. By right – in their little hockey minds, the Preds won the series before it commenced. The Coyotes but little pucks on the hides of the mighty Preds. Little black specks on the yellow sweaters of the Nashville six.

As the series returns to the land of Loretta Lynn, a raucous home crowd will attempt to raise their team from the aphotic abyss into which the Predators have fallen.

The Predators will be in their dressing room previous to game three and they will wonder. They will tape their sticks and tie their skates and they will wonder. What fate awaits them as they take to the ice down two games to none?

They will wonder;

Are you howlin’ yet … ?

——————

The Late Great Warren Zevon January 24, 1947 – September 7, 2003


He was born in Big Beaver by the borderline
He started playing hockey by the time he was nine
His dad took the hose and froze the back yard
And Little Buddy dreamed he was Rocket Richard
He grew up big and he grew up tough
He saw himself scoring for the Wings or Canucks
But he wasn’t that good with a puck

Buddy’s real talent was beating people up
His heart wasn’t in it but the crowd ate it up
Through pee-wee’s and juniors, midgets and mites
He must have racked up more than six hundred fights
A scout from the flames came down from Saskatoon
Said, “There’s always room on our team for a goon
Son, we’ve always got room for a goon”

There were Swedes to the left of him
Russians to the right
A Czech at the blue line looking for a fight
Brains over brawn-that might work for you
But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
What else can a farm boy from Canada to do
But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
What else can a farm boy from Canada to do

Hit somebody! was what the crowd roared
When Buddy the goon came over the boards
“Coach,” he’d say, “I wanna score goals”
The coach said, “Buddy, remember your role
The fast guys get paid, they shoot, they score
Protect them, Buddy, that’s what you’re here for

Protection is what you’re here for
Protection-it’s the stars that score
Protection-kick somebody’s ass
Protection-don’t put the biscuit in the basket just
Hit some, Buddy! it rang in his ears
Blood on the ice ran down through the years
The king of the goons with a box for a throne
A thousand stitches and broken bones
He never lost a fight on his icy patrol
But deep inside, Buddy only dreamed of a goal
He just wanted one damn goal

There were Swedes at the the blue line
Finns at the red
A Russian with a stick heading straight for his head
Brains over brawn-that might work for you
But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
What else can a farm boy from Canada to do
But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
What else can a farm boy from Canada to do

In his final season, on his final night
Buddy and a Finn goon were pegged for a fight
Thirty seconds left, the puck took a roll
And suddenly Buddy had a shot on goal

The goalie committed, Buddy picked his spot
Twenty years of waiting went into that shot
The fans jumped up, the Finn jumped too
And coldcocked Buddy on his follow through
The big man crumbled but he felt all right
‘Cause the last thing he saw
was the flashing red light
He saw that heavenly light

There were Swedes to the left of him
Russians to the right
A Czech at the blue line looking for a fight
Take care of your teeth-that might work for you
But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
What else can a farm boy from Canada to do
But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
What else can a farm boy from Canada to do

WARREN ZEVON
“Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)”

There’s No Place for Hockey in Racism


Pistols shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out “My God they killed them all”
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For something that he never done
Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Bob Dylan – Hurricane

Growing up in Lasalle, Qc – helped me a lot.

It was part of a city. It was filled with people from many different cultures. It was a sentence completed with punctuation marks from around the globe. Racism was unknown to me until I started playing hockey years later.

My best friends in Lasalle were – as formerly known; black. My first crush and subsequent kiss was on the lips of a what she is now referred to as; a young African – American girl.

Funny or Racism?

Terms change – human nature does not.

Terry Jones, my best friend and an African – American / Black / human being, was a guest at my home many times. He sat at my dinner table, he used my washroom and he slept in my bed. My Mom said so. Terry was our guest so I was assigned the couch – no questions asked.

Terry and I laughed at the same stuff and we complained of the same stuff. Once – he cut himself, the blood was red…

The first eleven years of my existence was in this atmosphere. It was normal to me. Racism was not in my vocabulary when it came to black and white, yellow or white or brown and white. The only hatred I saw was between white people. French and English …

Kids in my school would walk a concrete block to the French school during lunch to fight with French kids. The French were extremely courteous. They would return the favor a few times a week and fight in our ‘ backyard ‘. Political tensions were high in the early 70’s in Quebec as sovereign factions increased tensions among Francophone and Anglophone parents. The kids – following their families advice. Minds being formed for them

As a hockey fan, the entire situation was baffling. The Montreal Canadiens were the most successful franchise in hockey. They won Stanley Cups with a mixture of French and English.

French and English - In line ...

Maurice Richard passed to Elmer Lach. Jean Beliveau? More than happy to pass the puck to Dickie Moore or Doug Harvey. A united cause brings people together. A divided cause brings people to schoolyards…

I wondered:” If Frank Mahovolich, a former Toronto Maple Leaf, could play with the Canadiens de Montreal and win a championship – surely a boy named Greg could play ball hockey at Gaston’s schoolyard “?

The Suburbs – The Insulated

In 1976, I was lifted from my ‘ roots’ and placed into an affluent, predominately ‘white’ neighborhood – west of the city. Kirkland was my new home and Kirkland did not have very many black people.The few that were there; appearing much less happy than the ones in Lasalle. In 1976, buses in the west island were scarce and the kids did not integrate with one another like the city. The suburbs insulated people into clicks and more or less – races rested among their own kind.

During this period of my adolescence, I commenced my sojourn into minor hockey. Thanks to my desire and good coaching – I was able to play high caliber hockey,thus enabling trips to the United States to play the game I loved.

One of the first excursions was to Boston, Massachusetts.

On these trips, it was common for the road team to be billeted with the home team. I stayed with a family rich in pride with their American ancestry and they were very kind to me. They did everything possible to make my stay pleasurable, including sight- seeing tours around their history – rich city.

In Boston, there is a park across the street from the famous Cheers bar. The name of the park is the Boston Common. It is the oldest park in the U.S.A and it is the beginning of the Freedom Trail. An ironic start to a tale that commenced my journey into racism. A hockey trip that started in Boston and continued in Philadelphia the following year.

I was with my hosts and we were walking in the park. I could not help noticing there were several ‘ black people ‘ standing about. What made this band of buddies unusual – everyone had a cast on either their arms or forearms. I do not recall which arm, left or right, yet the casts were all on the same side. An observation which brought the inevitable;’ What the …?’ from my tourist lips …

According to my American hosts – these people were suspected drug dealers or general bad asses. They had been arrested and without enough evidence to convict them to long sentences, they were released and free to ply their trade. My adopted family informed me – the police would break their arms so it was easier to keep tabs on them and in turn, make life hard for the dealers themselves.

” They are all black guys …!?” I asked. ” Don’t tell me that white guys don’t deal drugs!”
My hosts laughed. ” Of course there are. Look around … there are white guys here.”
” So why no casts …?” I wondered.
” Do you have to ask ?” they replied.

The City of Brotherly Love

The following season, a trip to Philadelphia and another eye – opening trip.

Once again, billeted with a wonderful American family – bristling with American pride, I discovered another opportunity to explore another city stoked in history. One evening, my host, my opponent on the ice, brought me with his friends for a night in the city.

His buddy picked us up in an old Chevy Impala and off we went to pick up ‘chicks ‘ and for all intensive purposes – be teenage boys. Following a few minutes driving around, the kid who was sitting in the front passenger seat, a kid I just met – asked me to pass him the broom that lay at my feet. I was in the rear of the car. With no reason not to – I handed him the broom as he commenced rolling down his window.

” What’s going on … ? ” I innocently asked my billet who was sitting beside me.
” We are playing ‘ broom the coon ‘ ! He replied as everyone laughed.
” Broom the coon … ? What’s that … ? ” I wondered.

The three boys looked at me as if I had just landed from the moon.

” You take a broom and when you see a black guy walking on the sidewalk … You hit him! You guys don’t do that in Canada?”
Silence and anticipation awaited my response.
” Um … no … ?!” I responded.

These two examples were an introduction into the realities of life. Racism exists in every culture and in every country. If my excursions had been to Norway or Sweden – the same type of thing may have happened. If I had remained in Lasalle, age and the eventual vanishing of innocence would have been inevitable.

Racism was quite common in the Suburbs and Kirkland – Canadians are just more polite than our neighbors to the South. More sneaky in their racial views. More cowardly …?


A History Lesson

Years later, in my mid – thirties, I was sitting with my Mom who was in the twi – light of her years. Our thoughts, going back in time to the days of Lasalle and in turn – the days when my Father still breathed.

It was at my Mom’s table, twenty – five years after Terry Jones was a frequent guest at another table, I learned a valuable lesson.

It seemed that all the occasions that Terry and others sat at my kitchen table with my Dad was not pleasant for David Keene. According to my Mom, my Dad could not stand black people. In fact every time Terry was there, my Dad would secretly kick my Mom’s leg under the table to make sure my Mom did her best to ensure a quick visit and not a sleepover.

The times that Terry slept over would inevitably bring a house search the following morning. My Dad convinced at one time or another, something would be stolen.

” Mom …? ” I asked somewhat flabbergasted. ” If Dad felt that way, why didn’t he tell me how he felt? ”

My Mom smiled.

” It was not his place to inflict his beliefs unto you …”

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell
That’s the story of the Hurricane
But it won’t be over till they clear his name
And give him back the time he’s done
Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Bob Dylan – Hurricane

—————————————–

Why the New York Rangers won’t win the Cup and Rick’s Picks – Round Two


Require sound advice …? Need a shoulder to cry on …?

Rick Keene is the wrong guy!

Two wins and six losses with picks in the first round is a statistic normally reserved for a baseball pitcher with a bad defence behind him. ‘ The only way out is up ‘ to quote a hibernating bear.

Round One was filled with a couple of upsets, a lot of fights, more goals than an ambitious banker and an unpaid hooker ( oops was that out loud)?

How will round two play out and will Rick Keene redeem his integrity coupons …?

Eastern Conference Round Two

 Rangers          Capitals

Two teams playing the same type of hockey from polar opposite positions. The Rangers finished first – the Capitals seventh. The Rangers are not known for putting the puck in the net and rely on a four line sweep. Everyone is contributing and when there is a weakness – goalie Lundqvist shuts the Swedish door. Caps’ net minder Holtby is playing above his years and the rookie has enabled his squad to advance to round two.

Holtby cracking or Ovechkin awakening are the two factors that matter most. Ovechkin is a dormant animal and he will come alive if the fire in his eyes stays lit from his post – game interview after ousting the Bruins. The Caps have the edge with their superior scoring power. This ain’t Alfredsson’s team.

Capitals in seven.

   Devils                  Flyers

The Flyers will struggle to gain emotion after a spiritually draining victory over the Penguins. Philly goalie Bryzgalov will need to be on the top of his game early  as the Devils will be in top gear. If Bryzgalov cannot hold them off and the series heads to N. J. with the Devils up by a couple of games – the Flyers’ dream could end.

The Flyers have Claude Giroux and the forward appears on a mission to be included in the elite Crosby – Malkin club. Giroux will not let the Flyers sag too low and he can turn a game around with one shift as he did against Pittsburgh. The Flyers have too much depth and talent for the Devils to handle and Brodeur is not twenty years old anymore .

Flyers in Five

Western Conference

  Coyotes                  Predators

Can two teams with similar logos compete in the NHL? The answer is yes and no. One will be eliminated and in this case it will be the team with teeth in it’s logo that lives to bite another day. Unless …

Gary Bettman and his cronies own the Coyotes. H’owns …h’owns …

( Slapshot officiandos – you are welcome). If the Coyotes advance all the way to the .. gulp .. finals – Bettman will be howling all the way to the bank. Say it ain’t so Joe Murphy!

The Preds have the edge hockey-wise and goalie – wise, especially if ex – Hab Hal Gill is playing. The defencman’s experience in the playoffs is a gem in the treasure chest of Nashville‘s hunt for the Cup. A younger troupe also tilts the ice in Nashville favour and Pekka Rinne is that much better than Mike Smith. Rinne also has a much cooler name …! Uma – Pekka, Pekka – Uma …

Predators in Six

     Kings                        Blues

Once again – a regal battle between two squads that are equally – matched. Great coaching balanced by four great lines will get results. Both teams are long suffering Stanley – less skaters and their home crowds will attempt to hex the opposing teams.

Advantage to St. Louis for having Elliot and Halak in goals. Elliot will start and if he falters, Halak will be healthy enough to stop the Quick – need Kings.

St . Louis in Six

As I said; Rick Keene is the wrong guy …

—————————————————-

 

Thomas in the Crease


The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Beantown six that day:
The series stood three to three, with but overtime to play.
And then when Marchand died in the crease, and Chara did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest –
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Thomas could get down and set  –
We’d put up even money, now, with Thomas in the net.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the muck,
For Thomas, mighty Thomas, was going to stop the puck.

There was ease in Thomas’ manner as he stood in his place;
There was pride in Thomas’  bearing and a smile on Thomas’ face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed a sign,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Thomas in front of the twine.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with hurt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing Ovechkin ground the stick into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Thomas’ eye, a sneer curled Thomas’ lip.

And now the vulcanized – covered disc came hurtling through the air,
And Thomas  stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy stickman gave Thomas a shove –
“That ain’t my style,” said Thomas. ” Careful,” said the ref while tapping the goalie’s glove.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the referee!” shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Thomas raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Thomas’ visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to Hendricks, who thought he saw a hole;
But Thomas still missed it, and the scorekeeper said, “That’s  a goal.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Thomas and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Thomas wouldn’t let that puck go by again.

The sneer is gone from Thomas’  lip, his teeth are clenched in vice;
He pounds with cruel violence his stick upon the ice.
And now Ward holds the puck, and shoots it so mad,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Thomas’ pad.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children yuck;
But there is no joy in Beantown – mighty Thomas has missed the puck.

Black Guys Haunt Tim Thomas ...Don't They?

*A ‘ few ‘ minor adjustments were made to Casey at the Bat

by Ernest Lawrence Thayer ©

Mr. Elmer Lach


Mr. Elmer Lach recently dropped the puck at the Pointe Claire Oldtimer’s Tournament.

At ninety – four years young, Elmer is the oldest remaining person to have played for the Canadiens and the last surviving member of the famous Punch Line. That line consisted of himself, Toe Blake and Maurice ( the Rocket ) Richard.

Please enjoy these photos of an icon … How many people do you know can say they passed to and received a puck from the Rocket!

Rick Keene and Elmer Lach

All photos property of Rick Keene

except the final one which is linked to the photographer.

Rick Keene’s Top Ten Montreal Canadiens’ Goals


I am forty – six. My memory is somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty – five.

In the time I have been a Montreal Canadiens’ fan – there have been at least ten goals the team has scored that stand out in the archives of my mind.

Thanks to Kevin from Habs Eye on the Prize for asking me for the list.

Please visit his outstanding site. In the near future – lists and memories from many sports personalities in Montreal will be added to his site …

Without further ado; here are my top ten Montreal Canadien goals!

10. Alexei Kovalev – February 19, 2008

After surrendering five straight goals to the Rangers, the Habs seemed to have dug a hole that promised to get bigger. The match was half over and a five goal deficit equaled disaster and embarrassment. Then something happened. One goal led to another and as quick as a startled bird departs a telephone wire – the Habs tied the game. To add dramatic effect for upcoming highlight reels; Kovalev netted the winner and ended up on his backside, legs in the air, as the Canadiens capped off the biggest comeback in the team’s history.

9. Chris Nilan – 1989 Flyers – Habs

Nilan’s goal was not a game winner. Nilan’s goal was not important in a game the Habs led 3 – 1 in the third period. What made Knuckles goal a notch in my memory was the way he did it. A fighter – not known for his scoring prowess, Chris took a Larry Robinson pass and skated alone on a breakaway. Channeling Guy Lafleur, Knuckles deked the Flyers’ goalie and easily placed the puck in the net. It was a defining moment. It was Chris Nilan sending a statement; ” I can play hockey too … Ya know !”

8. Eric Desjardins – 1993 Stanley Cup finals against L.A.

The game will be remembered for two things; Marty McSorley‘s illegal stick and Eric Desjardins. The Habs’ defenceman scored probably the Habs’ most important goal in their improbable run to the Cup. The Kings and McSorley were penalized with under two minutes to go in the third period. A Los Angeles victory would have sent them home with a 2-0 series lead. Habs’ coach Jacques Demers pulled goalie Roy and Desjardins scored the equalizer from atop the face-off circle. The Forum went absolutely nuts as the teams headed to overtime. Desjardins scored the winner in the extra period to become the only defenceman in NHL history to net a hat trick in the playoffs as the Habs won 3 – 2!

7. Jean Beliveau – His 500th goal.

On February 11, 1971 – M. Beliveau netted the 500th goal of his career. I was six years old and I remember it like yesterday. There was not a televised Habs’ game that I missed on television – before the days of five games a night on any given channel. Beliveau’s goal was my first recollection of feeling proud. He was my Montreal Canadien and the numbers ‘ 5-0-0 ‘ flashed on my t.v. screen in ( at the time ) ‘ state of the art ‘ graphics. His feat re – enforced my idea of becoming a hockey player and the next 500 goal scorer for the Habs.

6. John Leclair – 1993 Stanley Cup finals against L.A.

The teams were in Los Angeles tied at one game apiece. The series and Cup could have gone both ways. Once again – the pair of finalists headed to overtime, a domain ‘ owned ‘ by the Canadiens in this playoff year. John Leclair, the Vermont native with the French name – took matters onto his own stick and scored the winner just :34 into the extra time.Another miracle in the Habs’ miraculous run!

5. John Leclair – 1993 Stanley Cup finals against L.A.

Following his heroics in game three – Leclair once more scored the winner in overtime in game four. This feat made him the second player in history ( aside from Rocket Richard )to score two overtime goals in the finals. Leclair left his mark in Montreal forever …

4. Claude Lemieux – 1986 Adams Division finals against Hartford

Overtime game seven. The teams displayed the prowess of two heavyweights battling for a title fight. Back and forth the series went. No team gathering control. The Habs were filled with rookies and did not seem quite sure of their identity. Lemieux grabbed the puck behind the net and headed to the hash marks. Turning, he seemingly ‘willed’ the puck with a backhand over goalie Mike Liut’s left shoulder. The goal not only sending the Habs to the next round ( and eventual Cup ), it was the goal that instilled confidence in the young team. A turning point for many Habs’ rookies like Roy and Lemieux.

3. Brian Skrudland1986 Stanley Cup finals against Calgary

Mike McPhee and Brian Skrudland were the modern day Mario Tremblay and Doug Riseborough on the Habs in the mid to late eighties. No two players worked harder at checking the other team’s top lines while adding an offensive punch. All that hard work paid off as McPhee and Skrudland headed into the Calgary zone on a two- on- one. A play that sent Skrudland into the history books. It was game two in Calgary. The Habs startled the Flames by competing after being dominated 5- 2 in game one. McPhee poked – checked the puck at center, sending him and Skrudland toward Mike Vernon, the Flames’ goalie. McPhee orchestrated a perfect pass to Skrudland and Brian tapped the puck in just nine seconds into overtime. The fastest overtime goal in NHL history and the Habs won the next three games to bring home their twenty – third  Stanley Cup.

2. Scott Gomez – February 9, 2012

I remember where I was when John Lennon was shot and killed. I will always remember where I was when Scott Gomez scored his first goal in over a year. Why is this number two on the list? Because the goal, contrary to all the other goals – is a symbol in my mind to the lowest point in my memories of the Canadiens’ franchise. Any moment in history is defined by good and bad. Gomez’ goal the most famous of the infamous. A story that will be told to generations to come. The day Scott Gomez earned his seven million dollar salary.

And the number one Montreal Canadiens’ goal?

1. Guy Lafleur – ‘ Too many men on the ice goal ‘ May 10, 1979

The Bruins were playing the Habs in another chapter of their long and bitter rivalry. The Bruins were on the verge of upsetting the Habs in the semi- finals. Up 4 – 3 with just over two minutes left in the third period; Boston got called for too many men on the ice. The Canadiens desperate for a goal and it showed. One of the most feared offences fumbled the first few shifts. Sticks were pressed a little too tight until Larry Robinson grabbed the puck and headed into the zone. Just inside the blue line, ‘ Big Bird ‘ dropped a pass to Lafleur who was skating just behind. Seventy – four seconds remained on the clock. An eight inch opening lay to Bruin goalie Gilbert’s right. Lafleur unleashed his patented slapshot. The rest … History as they say as the teams headed to overtime and a 5 – 4 Canadien victory. Lafleur’s goal the base for an Yvon Lambert overtime winner and an eventual Stanley Cup against the Rangers …

Please – send me your top ten list!

If you need a magician and an outstanding entertainer – give Kid Mercury a call! Not only will he entertain your kids or corporate party – his memories from the Forum as the Canadiens’ unofficial mascot from 1985 – 1995 will blow your mind!

Monday Q-Tip ( or how I learned to stop worrying and love Gary Bettman)


Spent the weekend shopping?

Perhaps weaving in and out of alleys ….? Looking for your dog? Cat? Drunken hamster?

Maybe – the lusty music of Barry White played in the background as your fingers explored and caressed. Every vibration from the tune’s bass sending impulses through your fingertips and onto the keyboard as porn was being browsed.

Not to worry … Here is what you missed in the National Hockey League.

East is East – West is West

( and Raffi Torres will never forget ).

Raffia Torres will appeal his suspension of twenty- five games or won’t he? This is the question and have his chances increased since Chris Neal leveled Brian Boyle on Saturday night?

The Senator hit the Rangers’ Boyle with a very similar hit albeit not as bad as Torres’ on Hossa. Neal’s hit was the same as Max Pacioretty nailing the Penguins‘ Chris Letang … Max received a two game suspension and since Neil is a somewhat repeat offender ( was fined before ), Mr. Neal should receive five games if Shanahan and the league wish to be taken serious …

Whatever the outcome, a suspension or slap on the hockey glove – the decision will give Torres some leverage if he decides to appeal. The problem? Torres has been a bad, bad boy too often. He may have used all his ‘ get out of jail for free ‘ cards and cannot collect 200 million for passing go … Not this time.

Pittsburgh – Flyers Series

See what happens when a team does not listen to their Moms? Recall the saying: ‘ walk away … count to ten … ‘? How about the phrase; ‘ if your friend jumps off a bridge will you too …’?

The Malkin – led, Crosby – wannabe Penguins played hockey the Flyers’ way and lost. No ifs, ands or Bryzgalov’s about it. Following an inspiring attemp to come back from a 3 – 0 deficit, the Pens were too banged up emotionally and physically to beat their cross – state rivals. Penguin goalie Fleury was as bad as a goalie could get in the series and why his coach played him so often – is a mystery as deep as Scott Gomez’ stay in Montreal.

This series was a lot of fun and a dreaded sense could be felt throughout the Flyers’ home in the final moments even though the home team was eliminating their rivals. Nobody likes to see a good thing end. Whoever the Flyers’ opponents will be in the next round – it will take Philadelphia a few games to get pumped.

Bruins – Caps

If this series was named after a toy; a yo – yo would be suffice. These two teams trade goals and games like a hooker on a good night. The Bruins are resilient which makes Hab fans cringe and Bostonian’s nervous. For some reason, Boston excels when their backs are against the boards. A Washington upset seems unlikely as game seven plays out in the land of Bobby Orr. If ever was a time for Ovechkin to dispel the ‘ Crosby is king ‘ rumors – it is now or maybe never for Alexander the Great. Rookie Washington net minder Holtby has played with so much poise, Tomas Vokoun may find himself on yet another team come spring 2012.

Vancouver – L.A

The Canucks along with the Sedin Sisters won the Presidents Trophy. If the trophy had been named after John F. Kennedy – an assassination was carried out true to form. Goalie Robert Luongo was killed off as the starting net minder, Alain Vigneault may have been ‘ iced ‘ as the head coach and the entire city was left without a reason to riot.

Are the Canucks quickly becoming the Buffalo Bills or the Atlanta Braves of hockey? It appears an off – season shake up will be the task at hand. Just don’t say ‘ Quick ‘ too quickly to a Canuck right now …

Detroit – Nashville

Is it a surprise the Predators dismissed the Wings faster than a bouncer dissed a minor at a nightclub? Not really … Is it a surprise the high – powered Wings scored less than a pedophile millionaire in Thailand? How do you say yes in Swedish?

Datsyuk, Franzen and Zetterburg – three guys who every team would love to have. Trios amigos who were stopped in their tracks by an outstanding goalie named Rinne. The Predators are a good team yet their net minder threw everything aside when it counted most. The Wings are in transition, much like the Canadiens of 1980 inclusively … The veterans are aging and the youth are filling their baby bottles with experience.

Time will tell if the Wings will keep their fans equipped with octopi or if they will fade into Hab or Islanders land. Jimmy Howard is no Terry Sawchuk and has Mike Babcock’s act run old in the city of Motown…

San Jose – St. Louis

Another year, another team aside from San Jose will hoist La Coupe Stanley. Why is it – season after non – festive season, do the Sharks exit from the playoffs quicker than a patron at a fire – engulfed movie theatre?

The Boston Red Sox had the curse of the Bambino. The Cubs – the curse of the Billy goat. The Sharks? The curse of Doug Wilson …

Mr. Wilson was appointed the G.M of the Sharks in 2003. Mr. Wilson once played in Chicago as a defenceman. Mr. Wilson left for San Jose and the Blackhawks have since won the Cup. San Jose… ? Not so much … The city of San Jose should blow up a puck at center ice. Exorcise the demons that reside in Wilson’s office. Re – name the squad the San Jose Goats … Anything to keep San Josians coming back to the rink. After all, before Larionov – hockey was as transparent in Wilson’s land as Pierre Gauthier was in Montreal.

That’s it hockey fans from coast to coast …

Keep your sticks on the ice, lock up your cats and dogs and remember – don’t let your hamsters drive drunk!

————————

Torres Suspended for Twenty – Five Games; “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”


Raffi Torres of the Pheonix Coyotes has been suspended by Brendan Shanahan for 25 games. Shea Weber was fined $2500 for thinking and then bashing Detroit’s Zetterburg’s head into the glass. At least Shanahan’s distorted and presumably multi – colored glass is half – full …

The Coyote’s Torres, pulled a Coyote Ugly and leveled the Hawks’ Marian Hossa with a questionable hit. Interference? You bet … Charging? You bet … Twenty – five games? Ummmm …

Torres left his feet, which is bad.

Depending on which angle is viewed of the play; it looks either horrendous or hard. The question is; would Torres be suspended if Hossa had gotten right back up? Like last season when Nathan Horton not only heard, yet probably saw several Whos after Vancouver’s Rome hit him with a similar hit – would Rome have been suspended if Horton sprung up like a Weeble. In reality, most hockey players wobble but they don’t fall down…

Suddenly, regardless of how anyone feels regarding both of the above incidents – the league and Shanahan have done the right thing. Something they should have done when the Bruins’ behemoth, Zdeno Chara, attempted to send the Canadien’s Max Pacioretty to visit his great- great Grandfather.

A questionable hit, regardless of the player’s health issues afterwards – should be given a certain amount of games suspension … Period! If the league alters the instigator rule ( I.e removes it ), they will be on the right track. Too bad the NHL does not operate like a persistent prosecutor. That way, the league can return to Chara’s crime scene and determine the Bruins’ giant defenceman deserves twenty- five games as well.


Never have the words of Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland rang so true …

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”

“Why it’s simply impassible!
Alice: Why, don’t you mean impossible?
Door: No, I do mean impassible. (chuckles) Nothing’s impossible!”

“If you drink much from a bottle marked ‘poison’ it is certain to disagree with you sooner or later.”

“Contrariwise,’ continued Tweedledee, ‘if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t …

“If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”

“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings”

“Speak in French when you can’t think of the English for a thing–
turn your toes out when you walk—
And remember who you are!”

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ says the White Queen to Alice.”

“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”

“Only a few find the way, some don’t recognize it when they do – some… don’t ever want to.”

“Where should I go?” -Alice. “That depends on where you want to end up.” – The Cheshire Cat.”

“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”

“You just go where your high-top sneakers sneak, and don’t forget to use your head.”

——————-

 

Why the New York Rangers won’t Win the Cup and Rick’ s Picks – Update


Listening to ‘ the Voice ‘ instead of Don Cherry? Christina Aguilera much prettier than Ron Maclean?

Not to worry …

Here is an update as to what has been happening on the ice in the first round of the NHL playoffs;

Eastern Conference

Philadelphia                     Pittsburgh 

In the words of former Chicago Cub broadcaster Harry Caray … Holy Cow!  Who would have saw this coming? Not only are the Flyers up 3 – 1 in the series; the two team have combined for more goals than the production of the Montreal Canadiens in an entire season! They are fighting – they are scoring – the only people not having fun in this series are the referees, Brendan Shanahan and the goalies.

After four games ( if we can call them that ), the Pennsylvania based teams have combined for forty – five goals. That total has beaten the record for the most goals by two teams in a series first four games. The two rivals have accumulated an average of 11.25 goals and 70.50 penalty minutes per game, as well as nine misconduct infractions and three eight-plus-goal explosions.

Starting goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Ilya Bryzgalov may want to stay home tonight for game five. The pair of padded ones have each faced 109 shots and possess save percentages of .817 (20 goals allowed) and .844 (17 goals allowed) and GAAs of 5.43 and 4.95. The back-ups? Even worse.

The Pens’ Brent Johnson and the Flyers’ Sergei Bobrovsky have allowed two goals on six shots (.667, 6.00) and five goals on 18 shots (.722, 8.11).

Grab some popcorn, forget Christina ( except for your dreams ) and sit back. What will happen next?

Only Fred Shero, Bob Johnson and God knows…

Washington                        Boston       

The defending Stanley Cup champions are in tight against the Capitals. What else is new? The Bruins commenced last year’s Cup winning drive by going the limit against the Canadiens in the first round and requiring overtime in game seven. Guess what? Expect more of the same thing as the two squads see-saw until someone falls into the sand (vacation time) of Florida. A defence – oriented series from a defence -oriented conference. Aside from a couple of minor altercations ( Backstrom – Peverley ), a relative tame series with Tim Thomas and a surprising Washington rookie net minder  ( Holtby ) – holding the twine.  Series is tied 2 – 2 and should be tied 3 – 3 in a couple of days.

Florida                               Jersey       

Outside of Florida and New Jersey … Does anyone care what happens to these two teams? The only compelling stories emerging from this first – round series is Martin Brodeur“s continual climb up the record books and the return of plastic rats on Florida ice. The series is even at two – heading back to Newark, New Jersey on Saturday. Martin Brodeur surpassed Patrick Roy with his 24th playoff shutout in a 4 – 0 win in Florida last night. A sign of the Panthers demise? Maybe if Brodeur was twenty … Expect a flip – flop on Saturday and a close Florida win.

Ottawa         New York   

Didn’t anyone tell the Rangers to not wake sleeping giants? Or – in this case, sleeping Senators ..? Tortorella’s skaters gave the Sens’ iconic captain; Alfredsson – a headshot. The iconic captain is nearing the end of an illustrious career. Do his teammates know this? Are they aware this may be a final attempt for their captain to hoist the Cup? Yes, yes and yes – an upset is underway as the teams head to the Big Apple tied at two games. Are the Rangers shaking in their skates? Do the eighth place Senators have anything to lose? Are they looser than their opponents …? Where is Sean Avery when the Rangers  need him …!

Stay tuned for the West ….gringos!

It’s All Campbell’s Fault !


Players almost killing players.

In turn – players almost killing players with retaliation.

Which – in turn, causes more retaliation.

Hockey has always been played by these rules. Sometimes, the retaliation happened the following shift. Other times – twenty minutes later and often; the next time the two teams played one another. It is and was – the nature of the beast.

Hockey; A Tough game

In the first round of the 2012 playoffs, what we are witnessing is an alarming trend of disrespect. An arm for a head. There is no respect for opponents, for star players and most importantly – no respect for the officiating.

Much like the Montreal Canadiens‘ treatment of Randy Cunneyworth, the NHL’s disciplinary committee has placed their referees in a no-win situation. It is not Brendan Shanahan‘s fault. It is the fault of the greedy owners that are running the ‘show’ and in contrast – ruining the great game of hockey. In effect – the current situation; the head-shots, the elbows, the blindsided hits – can all be placed directly into the lap of Colin Campbell.

Campbell ( and his advisors; aka the owners ), had the opportunity in 2010-11 to put an end to the madness. Mr. ( and I use the term loosely ) Campbell as the head of discipline in that season – had a gift placed under his Christmas tree. A present he not only overlooked – a beautifully – wrapped occasion to alter hockey as we know it.

Zdeno Chara committed so many fouls on Max Pacioretty; leaving the Canadiens’ forward unconscious and death – like on the ice was the least of Campbell and the league’s problem. Chara, in one 6’9 ” play – committed interference , roughing, boarding and hitting-from-behind. A fierce ‘ hockey play ‘ that stunned the viewing audience from ‘coast to coast’. For ten minutes or more, Max Pacioretty lay motionless on the ice and to many children, parents and grandparents – ‘Patches’ had passed on to the great rink in the sky.

An event that shook hockey. More than most of the infamous scandals of the past twenty – years inside the rink. Even Bertuzzi’s destruction of Steve Moore‘s career ( and neck ) was able to be categorized. Retribution between two teams; an age-old tradition reaching back to the days of the Rocket, Milt Schmidt and Conn Smythe. Bertuzzi’s act was not proper. The consequences as improper as anyone has seen on the rink. Yet it was something that  has happened in the game of hockey too many times to count.The difference? Moore’s state of health since …

Chara, in strong contrast, potentially placed Pacioretty into  a coffin because the Hab forward passed him by. Add that to a little shove Pacioretty had given Chara the year before – it was a type of retribution yet Chara crossed the line. In a very BIG way …

Campbell et al should have suspended the Bruin player twenty games for pushing Pacioretty’s head into the stanchion. Evidence of the defence man’s hand clearly doing the nasty deed – all over Youtube, the papers and the internet in many forms. So obvious was Chara’s irrational behaviour – a monkey watching hockey for the first time would cringe and reach for his Mom’s hand.

It was an opportunity for the NHL to curb the enthusiasm of the new generation of hockey players. Face it. These new guys have been raised on violent video games, violent movies and UFC fighting. They are a new breed of hockey warriors that have grown from milk bottles to Red Bull. They live in an era where ‘ no responsibility ‘ is required or awarded. On top of that – they are dressed like characters from the film;  Mad Max.

Colin Campbell’s negligence only re-enforced those ideas. His negligence allowing the players, the coaches and the suits upstairs to see how far they can go.

The Richard Family

In the old days, the Rocket and all the players that went to war on the ice surface – arrived home to a different world. The Simpsons were not telling Eddie Shore‘s kids that it was cool to be rebellious. Rap music was not insulting Red Kelly’s offspring because they did not have ‘ bling’. In the old days – another Campbell , as in Clarence – stood his ground and suspended Maurice Richard for striking an official.

A decision that affected the way the players behaved  toward officials to this day. Since that decision;

Players do not kill officials!

Everybody’s going Way Out !


And a-one and a-two!
There’s a place where I can go
And that’s where I wanna be
I’m sayin’ good-bye to you, good people,
For I’ve found a place for me!
(Yeah yeah yeaaaaaaah…)

Gonna go way out…WAY OUT!
That’s where the fun is, way out…WAY OUT!
That’s where the sun is, way out…
WAY OUT!

– The Way Outs

If Fred Flinstone could fast – forward to 2012 in a time car; one – his legs would be very sore and two – he would discover the NHL is filled with aliens.

Entire hockey teams behaving like men behaving badly and badly at that. Unlike anything hockey fans have witnessed since Kate Smith rallied the city of brotherly love to not love anyone in the mid – seventies. Bettman’s boys are losing it and losing it big!

Sidney Crosby fighting? Tossing his purse aside and demonstrating his frustration? Hey Sid! Remember the concussion that sidelined your industrious sideline career? If you keep this up – a Crosby coffin will be the most popular Penguin merchandise on sale at EBay.

Even former Penguin, Jaromir ( you gotta move like ) Jägr – has a few thoughts on the person who captains his old squad;

There is a lot of talk now about Sidney Crosby and what he’s been doing on the ice. Some give it a lot of thought, others less. And I am a guy who does not care at all, I take no notice. He does harm only to himself. But every man is different, perhaps this helps him get into the game and play better.

And why not?

The Penguins appear deader than an adolescence’s dream of pulling in Jessica Alba for a night. The Pens’ problems stem from a schizophrenic point of view. One Penguin team was successful – this one is not!

M&M ‘s Rule !

If Pittsburgh followed the rule of the M and M’s – they may have had a chance. They would not melt in any glove as they compete for the Candy … er … Stanley Cup.

Taking two candies between thumb and forefinger. Apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of them cracks like Bryzgalov’s ideas. That one is the loser. Eat the inferior one as soon as possible and the winner gets to go another round.

The black and gold and the red M&Ms are tougher. The newer blue ones from Winnipeg are genetically inferior.The blue M&Ms as a race – cannot survive long in the intense theatre of competition that is the modern candy and – Bettman’s world.

Occasionally, a mutation appears. A candy that is misshapen or pointier. Flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness, but on very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength. In this way, the Maple Leafs continue to adapt to their environment.

At the end of the pack, there remains one M&M, the strongest of the herd. Since it would make no sense to eat this one as well, I pack it neatly in an envelope and send it to: M&M Mars, A Division of Bettman’s NHL, New York, New York 17840-1503 U.S.A.

Along with the strong M & M – I attach a note;

“Please use this M&M for breeding purposes.”

Theres a town I know where the hipsters go they call it Philadelphia
Twitch! Twitch!
And when you get an itch to do the Twitch in Philadelphia
it’s a twitchin’ town so I’ll see you down in Philadelphia
Twitch! Twitch!

-The Way Outs

—————————-

Elmer Lach; The Legend that Time almost Forgot


Have your buddies gone golfing without you?

No worries – ignite your IPad!

What’s that? Not up on Steve Jobs’ legacy? Then do it the old – fashioned way! Grab a piece of paper and your favorite Robert Picard pen. Sit down on your Carey Price – signed couch and relax!

It is time for a Montreal Canadiens quiz! Ready?

What player celebrated the fifty – ninth anniversary of scoring a Stanley Cup winning goal on April 16, 2012? Who was the all – time leading scorer in NHL history when he hung up his skates for good in 1954? Which former Hab retains the record for most assists (six) in one game by a Montreal Canadien?

If any of your answers include Maurice Richard, Boom Boom Geoffrion or Jean Beliveau – sorry, an excursion to Montreal Canadien summer school is on your agenda. No holiday to visit Howe or Harry Howell. No trip to Toronto to see Gretzky’s jersey and no lunch at Guy Lafleur’s restaurant!

The correct response to all three questions is Elmer James Lach. The funny thing …? The last person to give you the proper answer – Lach himself …

Maurice Richard, Elmer Lach and Toe Blake

On hand yesterday to drop the ceremonial first puck for the 43th annual Pointe Claire Old- Timer’s hockey tournament, the ninety- four year old and longest living Montreal Canadien – was all smiles as he took his place at center ice. His rightful place!

Hard to believe – almost sixty years ago, Lach was on another ice surface and another era – celebrating his very own Stanley Cup winning goal against the Boston Bruins in a 1 – 0 overtime victory. A goal just 1:23 into the opening extra period. A goal that gave the Saskatchawan- born Lach a broken nose!

” Me and Maurice ( Richard ) were so excited that we won, we jumped into each other ‘s arms to celebrate! Rocket’s stick caught my nose a little to the side and that was the way I started my summer!” Lach laughs while he signs a miniature Stanley Cup. ” It didn’t bother me that much – I had been though worse.”

Worse is an understatement as Mr. Lach dealt with a fractured skull, a badly broken arm, two broken jaws ( which he played through ), a fractured leg, the same cheekbone shattered twice, a sliced foot, hundreds of stitches and 7 broken noses; including the one delivered by The Rocket. Of all the injuries – the one that bothered him the most however, was the broken hip he suffered on February 25, 2011.

” I was shoveling the snow off my deck and before you knew it – I was on my back! Luckily my wife looked out and saw me laying there. If not, I would have been covered in snow!” Lach laughs. ” This bothered me most because of my age – it took a while to heal and I can’t stand sitting around!”

Lach played through all his injuries, mostly on the famous Punch Line with Rocket Richard and Toe Blake. Two men – according to Lach, that shared the same sentiments as himself; they hated to lose!

In the 1944–45 season, Lach played in all fifty games, picking up a league-leading eighty points ( 26 goals – 54 assists). The same season, linemate Maurice Richard became the first player in the NHL to score 50 goals in 50 games. The Punch line amassed 220 points in total, a NHL record until the 1960s. Lach earned the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player. He was also named to the First All-Star team.

” That was the reason our line was so successful! All three of us did not agree with a defeat. When we travelled to Toronto – to play the Leafs, the three of us would go to the same bar. We had a few drinks and all we talked about was hockey, hockey, hockey! Because of these talks, we knew exactly where each other would be on the ice at all times!”

Elmer Lach won three Stanley Cups with the Habs and won two scoring titles. He retired as the league’s all-time leading scorer in 1954 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame 12 years later.

His number 16 was retired on December 4, 2009 during the Montreal Canadiens Centennial celebrations on the same night as Emile Bouchard. The latter passing away on Saturday morning – two days before the anniversary of Lach’s winner.

Mr. Lach remembers his former teammate fondly as he recalls the time the team elected Bouchard as captain. ” Butch was our leader! There was no doubt about it! We all had to write down our vote and I was probably the first to give my vote ( Bouchard ) to our coach – Dick Irvin Sr.

Lach also recalls Irvin Sr. as the guy who pulled the most practical jokes on the team. The coach – of all people !

” I came out of the shower after a game and my clothes were missing. I looked at Rocket – I knew by his expression, he had no idea where they were. Same thing with Toe. Then, I see Mr. Irvin standing in the corner. His hand trying to cover his mouth but his laughter got louder and louder!”

Elmer does not watch a lot of hockey yet enough to give his take on the current woes of the club de hockey Canadien. Lach believes Geoff Molson does not know enough about hockey and that is the biggest problem.

” It all starts at the top and falls down. If management is off – the rest of the team will suffer.” He says as he signs yet another souvenir for a fan(free of charge).

Mr. Lach utilizes a cane and a walker to get around. Dave Stubbs, one of the best sports writers in North America and writer at the Montreal Gazette- has become Lach’s unofficial ‘ keeper ‘ in recent years. Stubbs cannot understand why Lach does not receive the same accolades as Richard and Blake. Part of the reason, says Stubbs, is Lach’s humble nature.

” He’s not one for the public eye – it took a while, as usual, for me to convince him to drop the puck today!” Stubbs continues. ” This guy played on one of the greatest lines in the history of hockey. There was no one tougher or more dedicated to the Canadiens than him.”

So what will Lach do to celebrate the anniversary of his Stanley Cup winning goal?

” If the weather is nice tomorrow – I’m going golfing!” States Lach as he finishes his Budweiser …

Paul Graif – Time Waits for No One !


Doing the news and sports on the K103 morning show, working for Larry King on CNN or anchoring the sports on CTV – Paul Graif’s life is run by time.

So what? Isn’t everyone’s?

Ted Bird, Java Jacobs and Graif

Yes, the world works and operates by the clock. In Graif’s case – fifteen seconds late deciphers into a public embarrassment. An error that can decide his fate.

” When I anchor sports on CTV, the supper edition – I have a little over five minutes to get all the important sports news of the day into that time period. ” Says Graif as his eyes wander between the Bruins – Capitals’ playoff game and his computer. ” The later edition at 11pm gives me ten minutes, not a lot to give a concise round – up of the day’s sporting headlines!”

If the Hampstead – born Graif screws up, an entire city witnesses the gaff. A mistake that could send him to the unemployment line in a hurry. Which is why, according to Graif – it is important to be prepared and to love what you do.

Before each shift, Graif enters his workplace with an idea in his head of what he will write for his upcoming newscast. The biggest news on this day was the passing of former Habs’ captain; Emile ‘ Butch ‘ Bouchard. Sometimes, a little luck goes a long way …

Emile Bouchard

” I was fortunate in this case to know Emile’s son ( and former Hab ) Pierre Bouchard. I gave Pierre a call on this difficult day to get his reaction on his Father’s death.” Graif says.

Pierre Bouchard;

My Dad called the doctor around four o’ clock this morning and told him that he thinks he is going. He passed away at five.

It was the Rocket who brought attention to my Dad to the newer generation. When asked by Ron Fournier who was one of the older guys that was underrated – Maurice replied it was Butch Bouchard who needs more respect!

When they retired my Dad’s number, it added seven years to his life. I knew it meant a lot ( to my Father ) when I saw him blowing kisses to the fans! It affected him!

Paul was working for Global TV in 2003 – 04 when he was assigned to cover an up and coming hockey player by the name of Sidney Crosby. It was the future superstars’ first year in junior hockey with the Rimouski Oceanics and Graif headed to Drummondville. Emile Bouchard ( Butch’s son ) was there and Paul spent the afternoon meeting and hanging out with the Bouchard family. A few hours well spent and one of the things he loves about his job as a sportscaster as he recalls the night of Ken Dryden’s jersey retirement.

” During the first intermission of the game, myself and a few reporters were standing around listening to Dryden. Someone asked;’ Mr. Dryden, you are considered one of the best goalies who ever played the game, how do you respond to that? ‘”

Dryden, in his usual analytical way – responded;

” I don’t know if that is true. I may be that way for a certain generation of fans who were 8,9,10 years old when the Caanadiens teams I played on were great. At that age, you form the opinions and choose your heroes;they have the most lasting impression on you!”

” I thought to myself: Yes ! Exactly! It was moments like this that made me appreciate not only my job – my own way of seeing things!”

The Roots

Although Paul adores this city’s teams and the personalities that make them up – it is the New York Islanders and John Tonelli that remain close to the forty – one year old’s heart. A love affair that began in 1977 – a couple of years previous to New York’s dynasty.

” I had a friend named Judd Feldman when I was seven years of age. Judd received an authentic contract from the Islanders, an agreement that was given to him through connections. I thought it was the coolest thing and I became a big fan of the organization.”

Along with the team from Long Island, Graif lists the National Football League’s Cincinnati Bengals, baseball’s Baltimore Orioles and basketball’s Boston Celtics as his favorite sports teams.

Baseball is very close to the Dollard residents’ heart as he recalls watching Andre Dawson play his first game as an Expo in 1976. Graif was six years old. Recently – deceased Gary Carter was among one of his heroes as was Cal Ripken Jr. Not only did Paul play baseball ( third, first base and catcher ) – his father, Irving Graif was a very talented baseball player and athlete in general. So talented – the elder Graif received a try – out with the Montreal Royals in the early fifties, taking the field with the likes of Rocky Nelson and a young Tommy Lasorda; the Royals’ all – time winningest pitcher.

” My Dad, an engineer who is still working at the age of 75 – instilled a great work ethic into my brother ( a lawyer in Toronto ) and I. If I had to choose role models for my life – it is my Mom ( an art historian ) and my Father.”

On a professional level, Brian Williams, Brent Musberger and Ron McLean ( yes Ron McLean of coaches corner ) are people he looks up to. ” McLean is always so calm and composed – I really admire that in the man! Any person ..!” Says Graif as he jots down the time of the Capitals goal as they even the score against the Bruins. Dave Van Horne and Duke Snyder … ? ” Do you have to ask? ” Says Graif.

The Beginning

Paul commenced his sportscasting career half- accidently. He was attending Concordia University in political science and was kind of lost – wondering what to do with his life. He volunteered to work on the school newspaper – ‘The Link ‘. One of his first assignments was to cover the men’s basketball team. Says Graif; ” John Dore was the coach. We did not like each other from an earlier date. Suddenly,I was travelling with the team all the time!” Graif chuckles. ” Following a few games – Dore started respecting me and we remain friends to this day!”

That experience led to an on-air radio position as Graif produced and called the play-by-play of the football broadcast at McGill University. Just after – CKRK (now K103) radio station in Kahnawake, brought Paul on board as a roving reporter for the Expos, a position that gave the listeners a ‘ Graif ‘ perspective on the ball game every morning. He was also writing for The Suburban newspaper in Montreal.

While at university – Mr. And Mrs. Graif’s second offspring applied for a summer internship with CNN and in 1992 – off he went to Washington to work for the legendary Larry King at CNN. King – says Graif, is exactly as you see him. Rough and gruff with a real soft place in his heart.

“It was the experience of a lifetime,” he says. “I met everyone. They actually offered me a job but I still had a semester of school left. It was a tough decision. I wanted to finish school and it was going to lead to something behind the camera and that’s not what I wanted. It was production, being a producer. I knew I was already geared towards on-air.”

Graif returned to Montreal, collected his degree and joined K103 radio as the afternoon newscaster and volunteered as Mitch Melnick’s producer at CIQC ( am 600 ). It was with Melnick where doors starting opening for Graif as he scooped one of the biggest sports stories in 1994.

” I broke the end of the NHL referees strike about 3 hours before it ended. It was a whirlwind for me after that! For the next 48 hours all kinds of job offers came in. It was really nice. I think that summer I worked something like 72 of 75 days. Some days I actually would work four jobs.”

On his way to the ‘ dressing area ‘ to apply his make – up as the time nears for his on- screen appearance, Graif pauses outside of the editing room. He politely asks his editor Shannon to call him if anyone scores. The Capitals and Bruins are still tied at one goal and it is Shannon’s job to find the footage Paul will use in his sportscast. If something changes while Paul is on – air.

” I need the time of the goal and the name of the players involved!” Says Graif as he meticulously adds a blue and white tie to his wardrobe. ” It’s all about time!The rest falls into place …!”

Running from his duties at K103 and anchoring the sports occasionally at CTV – does not leave much time for the single Graif to do things for himself. When he does have a few moments, it is spent with his five year old daughter.

The sole occasion he would like time to stand still …

————————————-

Little Johnny Goes Shopping


If the Montreal Canadiens were steering the Titanic – a lot of lives would have been lost. In other words – the organization cannot see the obvious even if it were erected on the side of it’s home – Le Centre Bell.

Amazing is it not? Sell ten dollar hot – dogs? Not a problem. Sign Tomas ( marshmallow ) Kaberle to a multi- year deal while everyone around the league snickers at his every shift? Once again, for Le Club de Hockey Canadien – as easy as an Eric Weinrich hair cut! Try to sign a General Manager for the storied club? Suddenly it is like pulling teeth from a rabid squirrel – difficult, dirty and dangerous!

In any business, a properly – run business, a list of candidates should be made for the open position. Check. The Habs have done that or are in the process of doing so. Like the old guy in the red suit that comes each year; les Canadiens are making a list and hopefully – checking it twice.

The list with the names of potential G.M’s should be a piece of perfection. Not a dollar – store run. Not the type of list that a young Mom sends her eight- year- old to accomplish. If little Johnny was sent shopping for peanut butter, a jar with a picture of an elephant holding a toy car would fill the shelves at his home.The good stuff? Still at Wall mart being man – handled by Wall martians presumably.

Little Johnny should not be allowed to purchase a G.M. for les Canadiens de Montreal. If Molson allows such a thing, little Johnny will come home to the Bell Center and place some odd items on the shelf. Items such as …

Luc Robitaille.

Lucky Luke comes in an attractive package. Young enough to be hip and old enough to place square pegs in square holes. His label arrives in two languages yet his off – ice skills are delivered in one. The type of product our grandmothers displayed when visitors arrived. The good stuff? Hidden away for personal pleasure when the guests have left.

Ron Hextall

Little Johnny loves psychos! What little boy does not? Hextall is akin to a father of three buying a sportscar with two seats. A sportscar that ran over the family dog a few years back!Hextall may be quick to pull a punch with his competitive juices yet the unilingual sock-it- to-me will only do damage in the Montreal media. An enemy remains an enemy!

Guy Carbonneau

Like any child left unpunished, the same mistakes will be made over and over until the same result results in a bad result. Little Johnny requires guidance – or punishment if Guy is his guy! Carbonneau is too closely removed from the bitterness some feel towards Bob ( as in Gainey).

Larry Carriere

See above

If Serge Savard and Geoff Molson are serious,covering all the bases is a crash course for Serge. An intro to the free – spending, cap – induced league of Bettman’s nations. In the course of the next few weeks, Savard must re – acquaint himself with the league and sort through the sheep and the wolves.

Savard and his intelligence, may be using his ‘quest for a G.M.’ job as a cover. A costume which allows an insight into the inner – working of the NHL circa 2012. A NHL that Savard is out of touch with.A new type of Hallowe’en parity.

If that is the case – is it any wonder Savard won a few Cups before the Titanic grabbed a few Oscars? It is obvious …

" Here's the plan! I become G.M. And you coach ...! "

Former Habs’ captain Butch Bouchard passed away this morning, April 14 – 2012. He was 92. Stay tuned in the course of the next few days for more information.

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Rick’s Pick of a Chick’s Pick of The Week Picks and Pic


The lovely Jennifer believes the Canucks will win the Cup! Are you gonna disagree? Send me a pic along with your pick if you want to be Rick’s Pick of a Chick’s Pick of the Week Pick and Pic !

If you are a dude – send your pick but your pic better be funny to beat out the Chick’s pick of the week pick and pic!

Send your info to keenerick@hotmail.com

Who’s in Goals ?


“Who’s in Goals … ?”

Patrick Roy is considering becoming the coach of the Canadiens. Serge Savard wants to make sure he knows what he’s getting into …

 
Savard: Strange as it may seem, they give hockey players nowadays very peculiar names.

Roy: Funny names?

Savard: Nicknames, nicknames. Now, on the St. Louis team – we have Who’s in goals, What’s on left wing and I Don’t Know is the center …

Roy: That’s what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.

Savard: I’m telling you. Who’s in goals, What’s on left wing and I Don’t Know is the center.

Roy: You know the fellows’ names?

Savard: Yes.

Roy: Well, then who’s in goals?

Savard: Yes.

Roy: I mean the fellow’s name in goals.

Savard: Who.

Roy: The fellow playin’ goals …

Savard: Who.

Roy: The guy in goals.

Savard: Who is in goals.

Roy: Well, what are you askin’ me for?

Savard: I’m not asking you–I’m telling you. Who is in goals.

Roy: I’m asking you–who’s in goals?

Savard: That’s the man’s name.

Roy: That’s who’s name?

Savard: Yes.

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Roy: When you pay off the goalie every month, who gets the money?

Savard: Every dollar of it. And why not, the man’s entitled to it.

Roy: Who is?

Savard: Yes.

Roy: So who gets it?

Savard: Why shouldn’t he? Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

Roy: Who’s wife?

Savard: Yes. After all, the man earns it.

Roy: Who does?

Savard: Absolutely.

Roy: Well, all I’m trying to find out is what’s the guy’s name in goals?

Savard: Oh, no, no. What is on left wing.

Roy: I’m not asking you who’s on left wing !

Savard: Who’s in goals!

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Roy: St. Louis has a good second line?

Savard: Oh, absolutely.

Roy: The right winger’s name?

Savard: Why.

Roy: I don’t know, I just thought I’d ask.

Savard: Well, I just thought I’d tell you.

Roy: Then tell me who’s playing right wing ?

Savard: Who’s playing goals.

Roy: Stay out of the crease. The right winger’s name?

Savard: Why?

Roy: Because.

Savard Oh, he’s the back – up goalie.

Roy: Wait a minute. You got a second centerman on this team?

Savard: Wouldn’t this be a fine team w i t h o u t a second center man?

Roy: Tell me the centerman’s name.

Savard: Tomorrow.

Something says it will be a very long summer …

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Boom Boom Geoffrion’s Final Interview


Bernard ‘ Boom Boom ‘ Geoffrion is a legend in Montreal.

The former Montreal Canadien player passed away on the morning of March 11, 2006. Later that evening, the Canadiens’ organization raised his sweater to the rafters – retiring the famous number five in his honor. It was a dark moment in Habs’ history and a bright one for the Geoffrion family.

It was a day that normally would bring joy to the fans, the players, the organization and the family of a special player. A day which enables a celebration of a hockey player’s career. The rise of a young boy through the ranks, the trials and tribulations and the glory of becoming a man in life and on the rink. A day that reminds all of us how  passion and hard work can lead to a life filled with respect, honor and opportunity. A day that was not supposed to end like this.

Tears filled the cheeks of thousands of spectators during a heart wrenching ceremony at Le Centre Bell as Geoffrion’s number took it’s rightful place next to the Rocket and Boom Boom’s father-in- law; Howie Morenz.

The ceremony was too late.

The fans knew it, the retired players knew it and the current day Canadiens knew it. The red – faced Montreal Canadien organization knew it all too much …

Geoffrion retired in 1968 after a sixteen year career that contained a Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, two Art Ross trophies as the top scorer, one Hart trophy as league MVP, six Stanley Cups and was the second player in the history of the NHL to score fifty goals in a season. In 883 games, he netted 822 points – 393 of them being goals and received over four hundred stitches while breaking his nose six times. Elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972, a player with all these accomplishments should not have had to wait thirty – eight years to have his number retired.

Just days prior to his death, Ron Fournier of CKAC radio in Montreal – contacted ‘ the Boomer ‘ by telephone at Geoffrion’s home in Atlanta. Bernard Geoffrion was weak as the stomach cancer slowly and painfully stole his breath. The following is known as Geoffrion’s final interview;

” Mr Geoffrion it’s Ron Fournier at CKAC in Montreal … How are you?”

Geoffrion: ” … Not so good Ron …!”

” Mr Geoffrion will you be at the Bell Center for your sweater ceremony next week? ”

Geoffrion: ” Ron if I’m still kicking I swear I will be there …!”

” Great… ! Mr Geoffrion, do you follow hockey and the Canadiens?”

Geoffrion: ” Ron I don’t watch hockey anymore. I watch baseball and football…”

” Mr. Geoffrion … Why don’t you follow the Canadiens? ”

Geoffrion: ” Ron seeing that I don’t have much time left on this earth so I can’t get into trouble I’m going to tell you …I ‘m talking for me but most of my teammates share the same opinion. J’aurais jouer gratuitement juste pour porter le chandail!!!! I would have played for free just to wear the jersey!!!!!”


* Thanks to Mr. Phillipe Ouimet for the transcript. Mr. Ouimet is a former resident of NDG, a newly – retired hockey coach at the young age of 70 and a friend of Mr. Fournier . Phillipe is also a former teammate of Robin Burns ( Pat Burns’ cousin and President of Itech ) and Andre Boudrias – the Habs’ former assistant G.M. and director of scouting. On behalf of all your former players and hockey – thank you Mr. Ouimet !

The Montreal Canadiens’ Top Ten Excuses for a Dismal Season


What is happening with the Habs?

Why have they made everyone cry? What is their problem?

Who is responsible for the mess and what will be done to diminish the despair drowning the denizens of downtown Montreal?

Time will tell if the third pick of the 2012 draft in June will be the savior to this sorry franchise. Months will dictate if a quick turnaround is possible or a long, drawn- out process is required to de – capsize the sinking ship.

Les jokers … er … Jouers de les Canadiens de Montreal, cleaned out their lockers and are preparing to say ‘adieu’ for a few months.

Some – gone for good from Gainey’s former good ship.

Here now are the Top Ten Excuses explaining why the team had a dismal season; according to some of the team’s personnel…

10. The skate sharpening machine does not take 100 dollar bills.

9. According to P.K Subban; things would have been much different if he was ‘Spanish’.

8. Pierre Gauthier refused to speak English to coach Cunneyworth causing all sorts of communication problems.

7. Scott Gomez had a difficult time downloading George Laraque’s book to his IPhone. The result? Really … Do you need to ask?

6. The curse of Youppi!

5. Markov’s disappearance after Christmas? A distraction as the players had IPads on the bench and in their own words; “Spent way too much time Googling Canada 411!”

4. According to a source close to the team; Peter Budaj, upset with his limited ice- time, made it ‘difficult’ for Carey Price to watch the Country Music Awards. A sad cowboy is an unproductive goalie – so the song goes …

3. The kids holding the Habs’ flags at the player’s entrance? Kept trying to trip everyone!

2. ‘ Ever try playing hockey with all this crap going on? ‘

And the number one excuse for a terrible season?

1. PERRY PEARN was not around to give hugs …

And the Cup that will kill the Rangers’ chances of winning … ? Voila!

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Why the New York Rangers will not Win the Cup and Rick’s Picks


There will be a twenty – one foot cup erected in Times Square before the playoffs start. No, it is not Shaquille O’Neal’s jock- strap! The NHL, is placing a giant Stanley Cup on the streets of the Big Apple.

Karma beats the Rangers! Read all about it! Kharma beats the Rangers!

The field of 16 is set and all the first-round matchups have been made.

Just like George of the Jungle – I will go on a shaky limb and …

Rick’s picks

Western Conference

1. Vancouver (1) and Los Angeles (8)

The Canucks are a good team and mad! Angry for losing the Stanley Cup to Boston last year. These two elements will leave the Kings booking a beach vacation sooner than later. Vancouver should take six games to shake the Kings’ sand from their skates. Allow the Luongo factor to deposit two wins to L.A lore … Vancouver in six.

2. St.Louis (2) and San Jose (7)

The best first round match- up in the west.San Jose, following years of being expected to win – suddenly are the underdogs. This may work in their favor. They have more experience than the Blues and veterans like Thornton are aware of their mortality on a good team. If Blues’ goalie Elliot starts and fails – they have Halak. If Halak starts and fails – they have Elliot. Expect the limit here. The Blues are in foreign territory and have nothing to lose… St.Louis in seven.

3. Pheonix (3) and Chicago (6)

Les Coyotes are always skating on their final legs in Pheonix. The out- pouring of love the fans demonstrated last year goes a long way. Captain Shane Doan‘s heart and legs cannot carry the team past the Hawks. Unless … Never mind. Hawks in six.

4. Nashville (4) and Detroit (5)

Did I say the best series was St.Louis and San Jose ? Ok – Maybe not. The Predators are ready to pounce and the Wings are aware their time is limited to grab a Cup with the veterans in tow. This alone should propel the Wings higher unless Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne stands on his guitar case … Red Wings in seven

Eastern Conference

1 New York Rangers(1) and Ottawa Senators(8)

Aside from Kharma, the Rangers are not high in the goal scoring department which may be their biggest opponent. The Sens have nothing to lose and may ride the Alfredsson – train all the way (at least past New York). Ranger goalie Lundvquist is a factor as is Tortorella’s temper. The play- offs are a different animal as the Rangers will discover. Senators in seven.

2 Boston Bruins(2) and Washington Capitals(7)

The defending Stanley Cup champs should commence their defence of the title easily. The Caps and their captain, Ovechkin , played tag all year with success. If Tim Thomas can avoid the CIA snipers but not the Capitals’ shots – an easy series for the Bad Bruins. Boston in six

3 Florida Panthers(3) and New Jersey Devils (6)

A strange match – up. The upcoming Panthers may be thwarted by their happiness. The final time the Cats were on the dance floor, the thought of a black President was as rare as a plastic rat on Panther ice. Martin Brodeur, the Devils’ legendary goalie may utilize this ‘end of a career’ series as one final kick at the puck. The Devils also have Kovalchuck. New Jersey in six.

4 Pittsburgh Penguins(4)and Philadelphia Flyers (5)

Let’s get ready to rumble …! An opening round series that is tailor made for everyone to be happy! The NHL brass will be smiling, the television networks and hockey fans ‘coast to coast’ will all be pumped in Pennsylvania! The teams hate each other and Mike Milbury did his job well in applying fuel to a Flyers’ fire. Unfortunately for Philly fans, coach Laviolette and his team’s ability to be undisciplined will cede the series to Pittsburgh. Pens in six

There you have it ! Enjoy the first round and remember to …

Watch out for that tree …!

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