We Are Not In Montreal Anymore Toto …


It’s a strange feeling.

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For the past ‘what seems like ever’ – the city of Montreal has not had very many grey areas when it comes to Le Club de Hockey Canadien. Or – as they have become know; the eHabs …. ( as in commerce ).

In the media, in the streets, in the pubs and in living rooms all across the world, it has either been ranting over the fact they are good or ( more times than the latter) very, very bad …

Suddenly, it is calm in Montreal. No one really knows what to do. No one really understands this club that takes to la glace these days. They (the team) are looking for an identity. The fans are looking also. What team do they cheer for? Who are these guys that take our money?

Is it the team which appeared almost too easily to beat the New Jersey Devils? A squad which is first in the Eastern Conference. Or – is it the silly bunch of skaters who appeared like deer in the headlights when those noted champions – The Toronto Maple Leafs arrived at Le Centre Bell for what turned into a game of shinny …?

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Marc Bergevin don’t know. Michel Therrien don’t know. The dude who waved hello to Eddy Palchak for sixteen years every morning on his way to work don’t know. They are a team which seem sound. For now …

Something will happen.

What? A betting man who loves the underdog won’t bet on the team winning a Stanley Cup nor will the same man’s hooker girlfriend allow him to bet the other way. An implosion is due. An explosion imminent.

Will the eHabs skate out against The Mighty Bruins and spank the Bostonian’s monkeys with goals and fists? Perhaps the destruction will take place as Michel ( aka Rodney Dangerfield) Therrien loses control of his ‘I have a second chance demeanor’ and tosses P.K Subban into the penalty box with his non – ringed hands. Any hockey man knows a Therrien meltdown is coming. It’s a matter of time.

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Will it be just as the eHabs discover themselves on the crease of victory or will it be just before Tomas Kaberle flings a four million dollar water bottle at Madame Therrien’s son’s French Canadian head? Pressing questions for serious Montreal hockey questions.

The eHabs will find out who they are. The fans will find out as well. Therrien?

Guy Carbonneau can let him in on things once the eHabs stop playing hockey in 2013.

With or without a Stanley Cup ring blocking  his ears …

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The Habs; Same Old Song and Dance …


Everyone remembers Rodney Dangerfield?

That bombastic comedian who utilized all of his off-color remarks to their utmost potential. Gaining him a spot not just in Hollywood – in the comedic recesses of the comedy fan’s mind …

Well – he’s back!ffff

After all, have you ever seen Montreal Canadien coach Michel Therrien and Mr. Dangerfield together? Of course not. They are – one in the same …

Michel Therrien is ‘ Back to School‘. A return behind the bench with hockey’s most storied franchise ( unless you live in San Jose – the stories they have …).  Therrien is back and  pretty is not the proper description …

Saturday night, the first game of a season shortened by a lock -out which presumably made the rich richer and the hot-dog stand employees search for work –  a great sign of things to come. Status quo should be the numbers on the back of the bleu,blanc et rouge. La plus ça change – la plus c’est la meme esti colis de … never mind.

If the league gave championships for championship ceremonies, the Habs would win every year as they did when the league provided a silver cup along with French Canadians to this French Canadian team. Once again, the marketing boys proved behind the bench is the place for them . If the on – ice performances and the coaching staff could offer spine – tingling moments like Jean Beliveau holding a torch at the house that Corey built, banner makers in this city would be living on the beach four months a year. Instead, the assemblers of banners past, reside in dingy apartments in Park Extension. Holding material in their hands like a bride would hold her dress following a ditching at the altar.

The home team, Les Canadiens – amid pomp (ous?) and ceremony, played the game as if it were they – the visitors. Opposing teams, in the day of the Rocket, Lafleur and even Naslund, would arrive in this city with their respective two points already deposited in the Canadiens’ bank account on Atwater. A trip to Montreal for a visiting team was not about hockey. It was about the strip joints and the bars. Opposing players took the opportunity to play off – ice since the on-ice battle –  completed (and lost) once they stepped on the plane in their home town.

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Presumably, with a new slogan for this shortened hockey season, Habs’ management are attempting to get the ghosts to move from their cozy movie seats at the Forum. Unfortunately, the ghosts enjoy Tarantino’s flick much more than Therrien / Dangerfield’s  ‘Easy Money‘. Ironic? You betcha.  Because the current players begin a season ‘haunted’  with easy money in the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Easy money because the Habs roster –  filled with guys who will collect their paychecks amid Therrien’s antics. Shenanigans which will lead to more and more bizarre decisions on the part of the new / old coach. Decisions which will enable the players to skate around in a fog like last year. A fact which is none of Therrien’s fault.  He is the French patsy. A ‘how to you say goat in french’?

He is the French coach required to place a revolt in submission. Therrien’s face upon his introduction Saturday night –  a perfect imitation of Mario Tremblay circa la beginning of the ‘run the franchise into the ground’ era. Aka – the money years. Aka – WTF? Damphousse among the legends in the ceremonial ‘wake the ghosts’ ceremony?

Whether or not newly named General Manager Bergevin will see the errors of the team’s ways and avoid the old system as best he can – remains to be seen.

If he can bring a more modern approach to a team which has believed that the defensive style of 1968 is the way to go, the Canadiens will have a chance to compete.   Yet, at the same time,  if he ‘kills all the golfers’ – there will be no one around to play hockey.

Yup – he’s back! Now we know for certain – why tigers eat their young!

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Petr Svoboda and the Pizza Man!


One hundred and fifty pounds soaken wet …

That was Petr Svoboda when he arrived in Montreal. A defected Czech. Not defective.

Thrown onto the ice and into play barely able to stand against a stiff wind; weight-wise. Teams around the league took advantage of his skinny – ness. They hit him. They hit him hard. Time after time, Svoboda got up and skated away. Boy could he skate …

A ballerina on ice if their ever was one. Beautiful to watch for a Habs fan – a nightmare for forecheckers with grit and weak skating skills. Svoboda would spin, Svoboda would seemingly skate on one foot and lay elegant crisp passes onto a streaking mate’s stick. Svoboda learned to read the play and avoid the hits.

Petr Svoboda was here to stay.

It was a Friday night. An evening commonly reserved for the Montreal Canadiens to charter a short trip to Buffalo, N.Y. If it was the end of the week with Saturday nearer than a snowflake to the tip of a tongue in a bitter snowstorm – the Habs, more times than not – in the land of Perreault’s old club.

On one particular Friday, a delivery was ordered to a house in the suburbs of Montreal. A wealthy area by the name of Kirkland, Qc.

The order? Two large pizzas. One all dressed – the other; pepperoni with extra cheese. The delivery driver recognized the name on the bill. It was the name of a Czech defenceman. One of two brothers raised by a certain Mr. And Mrs. Svoboda. Petr was hungry, the delivery guy had a Honda and the pizzas were hot!

Svoboda of the Canadiens, not brother Karel ( although later, the younger sibling would have a sip of the water bottle in the Montreal organization), had been injured for about a week. A bum knee, not a lower body injury as they call it today. The delivery guy knew of the rearguard’s misfortune. Svoboda unaware of the delivery guy’s fortune. Number twenty- five of the Habs was about to find out.

Steaming hot pizzas on the passenger seat, jokers in the right hand lane – the Mikes Pizza guy was on his way …

At that time, a thirty- minute guarantee was in effect. The delivery guy snoozes? The delivery guy and his boss loses. Simple. To the point pizza rules. Part guarantee, part excitement got the pizza employee at the house on time. The boxes containing Petr’s pizzas prim, proper and priced at twenty bucks a piece. ” Two twenty dollar bills for Mikes – a ten dollar tip for the bearer of good eats” thought the driver as he grabbed the meals and headed toward the home.

There were two Cherokee Jeeps in the driveway. ” His and hers?” Wondered the employee. He glanced at the size of the home. A beautiful mansion – like edifice smack dab in an area of Kirkland named Timberlea. Just like that – the tip augmented to twenty in the full time student’s mind.

He approached the door. He grabbed the knocker and knocked. What else is a knocker for?

Several minutes passed. The door opened. To the shock and satisfaction of the twenty- two year old, a beautiful blonde stood before him. ( No – it was not Petr Svoboda, not that there is anything wrong with that).

The driver fumbled his words. In the space of three minutes, he had come upon three knockers – two if a set is considered as one …

The Mikes’ employee had always heard about the beauty of Svoboda’s wife. The Internet was not mainstream, nor was the Swedish beauty that stood before him. A photo of the defenceman’s bride uncommon. She had blue eyes like the sea on a clear day. Framed elegantly with blonde bangs spun from gold. A fantasy in many a man’s dreams.

“Um … That’s forty dollars please!?” The driver awkwardly stated / asked.

“Sure thing ‘Hun’ …” Her words floating through the air like rose petals in a summer’s breeze. ” Darling … Could you bring me my purse please? ” The arc of her back turning to the delight of the delivery guy.

Already aroused, the driver was now excited! Petr Svoboda was on his way. An autograph, a stick – maybe even a photo was in store along with a hefty tip from the wealthy player. As a young man, he was in the company of a goddess and a hockey player – right now, his life was very good.

He heard footsteps as him and the blonde shared awkward glances and weak banter. As the footsteps drew near, a relief was felt for both. What does a model say to a delivery boy and how does a delivery boy say the right thing! His hands lowered in front of his crotch to hide the truth …

If he were not happy before, the present moment made him down right giddy. There, just feet in front of him, side by side with ‘the fantasy’, stood another Swedish babe with a purse in her silky hands. He had not been drinking. Of that he was sure. He was not seeing double – he was seeing double. Two statuesque women stood in front of him with golden smiles. He needed a drink – a double.

“Heaven is a nice place …” He thought quietly.

Anti- climatic Crime?

“How much is it?” One blonde asked the next.

“Forty …” Replied one blonde to the next.

“There’s a joke in here somewhere …” Thought the delivery boy.

The ‘new’ blonde reached into her purse. Following a brief discussion over the payment which contained words such as ‘ my turn’ and ‘ no way’ – the new blonde handed two twenty dollar bills to the delivery dude. He accepted them, placed the bills in his pocket and smiled.

Blondie and blondette smiled. He smiled back. They smiled some more and on it went for a few minutes. No words – just a lot of teeth.

The delivery guy was waiting for a tip. He was also waiting for a glimpse of Petr Svoboda. Neither Czech ( cheque ) appeared.

” Um …is Petr Svoboda here?” He asked. ” I am a big fan, I was wondering if I could get an autograph?”

Blondie one responded.

” He’s in Buffalo!” She exclaimed, knockers knocking with intermittent giggles. ” If you are a fan you should know that …!”

The delivery guy took an immediate disliking to the blonde – goddess or not …

Rather than explain his reasoning, the pizza guy turned and grabbed the door handle. He turned it slow, giving the utmost opportunity for a tip to be delivered. He shuffled through the door. The entire time – hoping for a gratuity from the two ladies.

There he stood outside. Door closed. No tip, no kiss, no fantastical ‘menage a tri – color’s wife’. Not now, not never.

To say the delivery guy was mad is an understatement. A rich hockey player’s wife did not put out! Nor did her and her friend put out. Svoboda himself was not here, he had a fifteen minute ride to the restaurant with gas money that was brief. He started to walk away from the door, the knocker and the knockers …

He came upon one of the Cherokees. His own car keys in his hand. He was angry and what happened next can be directly attributed to the non – Swedish tip.

He took his keys. Starting fom the front of the green Cherokee – he placed the tip of his ignition key upon the paint. He looked around to see if anyone was watching. The coast was clear.

Walking on a downward slope, the delivery guy placed pressure on the front side panel. Slowly adding strength as he walked; the pizza guy commenced putting a scratch on the Svoboda’s family car (one of). Satisfaction replaced surliness in the boy’s heart. Rationality replaced the criminality of his actions. He was, in his very own way – stealing from the rich and giving to the poor!

He was all right with that …

A Fly on the Wall …


The setting – a cozy den…

An elderly yet youthful man sits in a chair and thinks for a moment. Hockey souvenirs adorn the dim lit ambiance, creating a sparkling effect  as the light caroms off of gold and silver picture frames. 

The light also reflects off the balding man’s head as he gazes at the phone that lay just beyond his Stanley Cup – ringed fingers. The plush green chair on which he sits – providing comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable situation. He reaches for the phone and presses the digit one. Automatically – numbers are dialled. The man waits as the ringing commences.

It is 10:30 pm on a Wednesday evening …

“Hello … ? ” The voice responds curiously on the other end.

“Larry … ? It’s Coco … !” Says the man as he stands and starts to pace.

” Jacques? Is everything okay?” At which point a ladies’ voice can be heard in the background of the recipient’s home.  “It’s just Jacques – Jacques Lemaire … go back to sleep honey.”

” I hope I am not disturbing you?” Says Lemaire in a quiet tone.

” No – no problem Jacques. What’s up?” Asks Larry Robinson curiously.

” Larry, I was thinking of taking the head coaching job in Montreal. I would want you to join me as my assistant.”

For a few moments there is silence …

” Seriously Jacques …? ” I thought you did not like working in the fishbowl that is Montreal? Why the change of heart?”

“Well Larry – the situation in Montreal is bad. It pains my heart to see the organization that meant so much to me and millions of others suffering so much. I mean, you and I and guys like Kenny and Serge helped build a legacy. In the past few years – it has become a joke. Now that the Molson family is back and they hired Marc as the G.M – I believe we can win fairly quick with this team.”

Once again – there is silence. It is obvious to Lemaire, Robinson is thinking seriously.

” I agree Jacques …it hurts me too. But remember, Bob went back for the same reasons. He went back and turned that team into a playoff team and look what happened? The pressures and the insane media turned him into a different person. Suddenly, he was making all these poor decisions …?”

“Don’t forget Larry.. ” Lemaire pauses to cough. ” Bob had to deal with the craziness of the centennial celebrations, players like Kovalev and Komasarek and most importantly – the death of his daughter; Laura. Don’t forget, Bob gave the reins to Gauthier when he took care of the funeral and it was Gauthier who did not like McDonagh. Bob would never have thrown Ryan into the mix.”

” I realize that Jacques. What about the way the organization treated us …? ” Robinson excuses himself and takes a sip of something. ” They knew it meant a lot to me for my Dad to see my sweater number retired …! They could have done it while he was alive. I mean it’s not that they were not going to do it …?”

” Yes I know Larry. That was not nice on their behalf. C’mon let bygones be bygones – you can work with a great young core of defence men in Montreal. You can turn P.K into a Norris trophy winner for God’s sake!” Lemaire voice gets excited. ” They have a great first line with Cole, Pacioretty and Desharnais. Gionta is a great leader, Eller will be great and they have a number three pick in the draft! Add this to guys like Leblanc and White …White Larry …? You gotta love the kid’s spunk! He’s another Knuckles? Larry – we can do this!”

” Jacques …Jacques …calm down for a second.” Robinson says firmly.

” You are right Larry. Sorry – this team excites me with the possibilities!” Lemaire’s voice remains enthusiastic.

” Jacques. Do you realize the Montreal Canadiens retired Patrick’s number?

” Of course I do Larry – don’t be silly! Who doesn’t? ” Lemaire chuckles.

” Jacques, in your career you amassed 835 points in 853 games. You won eight Stanley Cups with the team. You are one of only six NHL players in history to score two Cup winning goals. You have won two Jack Adams trophies as coach of the year along with another Cup. Heck you won a Gold Medal in the Olympics as coach and for God’s sake Jacques – you even have an arena named in your honour in Lasalle?!” Robinson is obviously agitated.

” Um … thanks for the recap Larry!” Lemaire laughs. ” What’s your point?”

” Don’t you think the Montreal Canadiens should retire your number first?”

” Good point Larry …good point! Goodnight and thank you!”

Really – The RDS Hockey People Need a Life …


Disgusting, isn’t it?

Afraid to look in a mirror because it may look back?

That should be the motto of most of the panel of ex- players and ex-coaches on RDS. What do these guys do when they are not acting like little old ladies …?

So and so did this, so and so did that … so and so did this with so and so … It is a wonder hockey can be played in the background and the panel on L’Anti Chambre are aware!

Here are a bunch of guys that get together every night. They peer into the camera with so much anger and ‘truth ‘. It is as if they are saying ” If we approve – then hockey in Montreal will be okay?”

Are you serious guys? In the words of a man being woke up in the middle of the night by a lost stranger; ” Who exactly are you …?”

Mario Tremblay is the worst.

Either that or he should be commended for having courage. Added together – he is the worst courageous guy on television. M. Tremblay must be commended for his passion and devotion to Les Canadiens de Montreal. In his own facon – the former Stanley Cup whining Hab acts like a protective parent. Les Habitants are his kids and as most parents think – ” DO NOT MESS WITH THEM OR I”LL KILL YA.”

This mentality should be applauded. It should be instilled in every player that currently plays for the Habs and their offspring along with their offspring. You tell two Habs and so on and so on …

The problem with Tremblay is; ‘ they give everyone a licence to fish or drive yet anyone can be a parent’. In this case – coach or wannabe coach…

There are several of his kind polluting the airwaves with craziness.An entire generation of children watching RDS will be arrogant, in-your-face, broadcasters when they grow up. Broadcasters who want to be coaches …

Ironically, M. Tremblay ( considered along with a certain M. Houle ) is considered to be the villain in the ‘ Hunchback of Patrick Roy ‘saga. He used poor judgement with the former Conn Smythe winning net minder and caused a ‘Roy’ -al coup. Mario Tremblay committed a ‘ faux pas ‘ in hockey and in business . He let his personal feelings interfere with the end product –  a winning hockey team.

The irony?

Mario Tremblay finished his coaching career with a wining record in Montreal. In 179 games coached; Tremblay possesses a 71-63-25 record for 167 points. No Scotty Bowman type numbers. No Boom – Boom Geoffrion numbers either

Does this allow him the right to be on television – providing insight to kids and parents that cannot think for themselves? Generations of hockey fans in this city, take these guys’ words as the only words when it comes to intelligence in hockey. Because of these ‘ broadcasters’, blue and white collar francophones live in the dark ages. It is a type of propaganda. A dictatorship. A sovereign legacy …

New Age of Hockey

Aside from a tiny little man who lives behind a rock in the aboriginal outback, everyone is aware of the French – Canadian connection with the Montreal Canadiens. As the world changes – so must every organization. Families much cling together and remain on top of life issues. If not, kids may be drowned in a van.

Even the Royal family, an institution older than the Montreal Canadiens – are aware that a new generation is watching. They are aware this new generation accepts and welcomes William and Kate because the newlyweds are not the Queen and Prince Phillip. It is now time for RDS to accept the same notion as they cede the Canadiens’ royal legacy to a younger Bergevin – led future.

The passion must not be forgotten. Every now and then, bring out the tapes and replays of the Canadiens’ terrific past. A legacy of hall of famers not to be left behind like a rolled up piece of tape on the dressing room floor. The rest of the time – blank tapes must be entered for new recordings.

It is time for RDS to re-think their future. ‘Too many cooks spoil a broth ‘ and too many ex- hockey players/ coaches / brown nosers –  spoil a hockey telecast.

Employ some younger Francophone minds that do not recall the days of the usual parade route. ‘Jeune’ guys who know hockey and are aware that a Shea Weber would not lose his way along Ste. Catherine Street with or without a Stanley Cup.

It is time RDS looks in the mirror .

Maybe it won’t be discusting after all …?

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!

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!

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 …

Savard as Vice President of Hockey Operations ? Grooming Roy ?


If a report from Radio – Canada is true , Serge Savard will be named as Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Montreal Canadiens.

If indeed this is correct – does that mean Patrick Roy is ‘ close but no cigar ‘ away from being a G. M in the National Hockey League ? More specifically – the Montreal Canadiens’ G.M ?

Welcome to the Twilight Zone … Otherwise known as day-to-day life in the soap opera that is Montreal hockey …

Submitted for your approval ;

– Serge Savard is too old to travel from city to city as most G.M ‘s do. As a G.M in training – Roy can coach the team and fill Savard’s worn – out shoes away from the Bell Center. Savard can accompany the squad when he chooses so . The rest of the time , Serge can smoke his cigars a la Glen Sather and ( a la Glen Sather ) trade the Scott Gomez‘ of the world away while seated in his guilded office on La Gauchetiere.

– When and if Saint Patrick decides to have a tantrum , his actions will not lead to a Price or Pacioretty being dispatched to Colorado. M. Savard and his around- the- block wisdom will pause the problem and parlay the solution for Roy’s future use. Savard a mentor to the maniacal.

Of course , this being the Twilight Zone and all – Savard has denied the report and Roy has dispelled rumors of an up – coming appointment as coach.

Two negatives make a positive … ?

Damphousse Out

Former Hab Vincent Damphousse has removed his name from the back of the vacant G.M ‘s sweater and Serge Savard was disappointed. A troubling turn of events ? A sign of a Savardian slip in his old age ?

Damphousse may be intelligent as all signs are indicative of such . To be named as G.M of the Habs in another place , another time – bet the house on it. Right now , after one of the most disastrous seasons since Malakhov went skiing on a bum knee ? Not a good idea for several reasons.

– Damphousse is in the middle of an upcoming domestic violence court case with his ex – wife.

– His experience in the NHLPA should not give him the key to the executive bathroom at the Bell Center.

– He sits with Mario Tremblay on RDS . Given how the Canadiens ‘ image has taken such a blow recently , the last thing the team needs is any reason for skeptics to be skeptics.

Damphousse has far too much baggage. A carry – on bag is enough for the new G.M . My cousin Vinnie should look on from the outside as a media guy right now or – if serious about his future aspirations , drop – out from the media . Kudos to Damphousse for withdrawing his name . Anti – kudos to Molson and Savard for considering it .

Not the best time for Damphousse

Let us hope , the Habs have not committed a foul by appointing Savard as the VP , if that be the case. In a way – Savard’s appointment may limit the number of candidates for G.M .

Some men want to be the boss – period. With Savard as V.P , it makes the former Hab defenceman the boss of all bosses. The new G.M will have an asterix next to his decisions. In all his memos regarding trades – it will have to read ;

Submitted for your approval …

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In Hindsight … Martin should have Stayed – as Coach


Believe it or not – Rick Keene is wrong on occasion.

Not often , yet often enough to sleep on the porch on a cold and rainy night periodically. What … ? How can that be …? You ask as concern replaces a grin.

Let me explain …

Les Canadiens de Montreal possessed a record of 13 – 12 – 7. One game and a hiccup above the tidewater mark of a sporting team’s success. A man named Jacques , conceived by Mr. and Mrs. Martin , led the team as their coach.

Myself , along with throngs of G.M ‘s everywhere in la Belle Province – cried for Martin’s head to be placed on a platter of purgatory. ‘Surely – les Canadiens , an equipe that sailed to newer heights in recent years , were better than this . Martin must be the villain in la ville de Montreal …’

We cried from Gatineau to Gauthier’s house. Martin’s stifling and boring defensive system was caging the team’s offensive stars. Enough we cried ! And we cried , and we cried , and we cried until tears were enough to dispatch the former Peterborough Petes‘ coach from behind the bench.

Well , guess what ?

The Montreal team’s offensive stars were meant to be caged. If not , their release may have caused death by boredom. ‘Death to Smoochy‘ as the kids in the city stayed awake to watch the Habs while their parents slept – the elders unable to replace the Flyin’ Frenchmen of old. Young men and women unaware of the visions of Brian Gionta that jumped fences in the minds of their parents as Smurfs replaced sheep in Mom and Dad‘s worst nightmares.

As Randy Cunneyworth discovered , a team such as this required Martin’s logic – Martin’s lethargy. Jumpin’ Jacques was not a fool with his foot – long rush mentality. All along , Martin kept the team in transition to hide the truth and dispel the myth of the Montreal Canadiens. A myth that the team may score.

If the not-so-mighty Habs retained Martin as coach , the team would have carried on boringly as a game over .500 hockey club. If so – their record today would stand somewhere around forty – two wins and another twenty – odd overtime or shoot- out losses. Do the math . Ninety points placed the Capitals in the playoffs. Under coach Martin ; ninety – three or four points were possible .

Hello Subban – bye , bye Semin ! ‘ Ovie ‘ would not have a chance to titillate Thomas. Instead , a Habs – Bruins repeat of last season could have been an Hors d ‘ oeuvre to a Stanley Cup – a cup sautéed just right for the palates of the people from Pierrefonds.

A first – round match with Gorges , Pacioretty and Markov in the line – up against the Bruins. A championship team that ‘ squeaked by ‘ nos Canadiens last year. Bobby Orr‘s alma mater would have been exactly what Pacioretty ‘s doctors ordered for the Habs. A confidence builder, a chance of redemption – a payback filled with pride.

Gill , Kostitsyn and Cammalleri may have remained with the club if Martin remained. Almost the same team that went to the Eastern Conference finals two years ago. Better than this season …?

Believe it or not …
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And Then There was One …


Wow … !

What a season it has been …

Starting in the pre – season , things did not appear happy in Hab – land. A losing record to start the season to go along with a losing record as the season progressed.

Assistant coaches let go , head coaches fired and newly – appointed coaches dismissed before they started to coach . A veteran presence traded for a veteran potato head and a diva dismissed to a vacant hotel – during the course of a game , no less.

A pre – deadline deal sending a giant for a bloodline by the name of Geoffrion. A Russian exodus to a Stanley Cup contender in return for a return to sender. For the love of Mary – has anyone checked on the health of Youppi … ? Following the death of Gary Carter , the poor mascot must be suffering from the shakes …

It has been – that type of year .

Oh and …

All this with Andrei Markov and his missing knee. At one point , the Habs’ doctors , the Habs’ brass and the Habs themselves knew not where their defenceman was … Let us give the Russian the benefit of the doubt here . With all the pollution that circled the club like a Toronto Maple Leaf cloud – Andrei got going while the going was bad ! ?

An AWOL amongst the AWOL …

The Last Supper

On Saturday , April 7 – 2012 – the Montreal Canadiens will play the final game of their season. A game which finds their opponents , the Maple Leafs , above them in the standings. Not that this says much of the Toronto team as they held a playoff spot not that long ago. Think of the Boston Red Sox of last season , add a few skates and less pine tar – voila … ! I give you the bunch that Brian Burke broke …

Les Canadiens are better off than a Leaf team that arrives limping into town. Montreal has better goaltending , better defence and … um … how about those Cubs ?

In reality , Montreal and Toronto are in different sorts of messes . The Habs need secondary  scoring and the Leafs need some people to stop the opposition’s secondary line from scoring. Heck – the Leafs require someone to stop the opposition’s water boy from scoring !

As the puck drops , visions of top picks in the lottery will be dancing in the eyes of Brian Burke and ( insert name here ). The draft lottery is on Tuesday . Unless a miracle ensues and the Montreal consortium of Savard / Molson hires a fit G.M before – all indications point to a Savardian – spin on things as the season ebbs into spring.

Brian Burke should be looking for goaltending as James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson have proven the team would be better off with a one – legged and in turn , a one – padded goalie protecting the Toronto twine. Then again – it is Brian Burke. Only the blue and white hamster that rides the wheel inside of Burke’s head is aware of how the man thinks  ( or doesn’t ).

The tandem of Savard and Molson , on the other skate – should be looking at a forward. Forget the past and a collection of first round defencemen that would make Doug Harvey proud. If Bobby Orr‘s second cousin is available , great ! Pass him by boys and let Burke bring him on a boat ride on Lake Ontario to sign him. Twenty years of defensive picks in Montreal have proven that Stanley is fed up ! Stanley adored Lafleur – not Komisarek !

The Leafs and the Habs will be skating on  a Saturday soiree for the final time this season.

The next time we see the two teams compete against one another – it will be different . A guy with the name of Yakupov may streak down the right wing at the Bell Center , elude Leaf Captain Dion Phaneuf with a quick inside – outside move and then rifle a quick snap-shot toward the Toronto net. Suddenly , out of nowhere – a glove grabs the puck like a frog’ s tongue trapping a fly.

The glove may belong to a goalie with the name  Subban …

Wow … !

What a season that would be …

And the First Star is …


Must have been a lot of rich people attending the match between the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning last night at Le Centre Bell

What other explanation can there be for the selection of the three stars ? The crowd was obviously drunk  and to be inebriated at the home of the Habs requires cash … and lots of it !

Erik Cole as one star ?  Why not ? Two goals in a game in a season that has been one positive note after another . Pacioretty or Desharnais as one of the other two stars … ? Yup  … ! After all , one musketeer follows the other …

If the Hab faithful were not drinking like a duck on a dry day – they would have noticed the game’s first star was as obvious as a Kenny Roger’s facelift . There was one guy on the ice who contributed to his team’s defence and was one of the largest contributors to the offence. Perhaps that is the reason the throng of people were exempt from the on – ice antics of le premiere etoile . The best player on the ice for the home team is not obvious on most occasions …

It was a work of art . A drawing – forever implanted in the sketch book of the Canadiens’ history. Pure finesse on the part of a player who is not known for such things. If a chalkboard was placed in the dressing room of a hockey team consisting of eleven year olds  – a coach would describe the play as one of perfection ;

  • Cradle the puck on your blade as if it were an egg.
  • Shoulders squared – keep your head up as you maintain constant motion with the puck.
  • Pick a point to where the intended receiver will be …
  • Give a quick head fake to the opposite direction and fire a crisp pass .

The above is precisely what the Montreal Canadien player did. Beautiful to watch and beautiful to explain to your wife , husband or friends over breakfast . At least an attempt could be made – after all , the Mona Lisa must be seen to be appreciated .

I give you …

The first star of last night’s match for his beautiful pass to V. Lecavalier of Tampa Bay …

Mr. Peter Budaj !

( Click on Peter’s Name to Watch )

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 …

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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

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Habs Eye on the Prize

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

Mikhail

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

Murray

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

Reinhart

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

Alex

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 !

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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

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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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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.

If you would like to advertise on my site and reach 3,000 potential customers – contact me at keenerick@hotmail.com

If you would like to help me gain employment and you know editors of magazines or newspapers  – send this link for me ! I would appreciate it ….

Thank You !

Sincerely,

Rick Keene

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

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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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