We Are Not In Montreal Anymore Toto …

It’s a strange feeling.


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 …?


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.


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 …



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.


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!

Therrien_GETTY-2 copy

TSN 990; The Voices of Reason

As most hockey and sports fans are aware, the city of Montreal is in danger of losing its only English language sports radio station.

A fact which treds on the road of prohibition of the language and civil liberties in this town.

Mitch Melnick – a man who has fought and created a station that not only gives a voice to English sports fans in this province, it allows him and his colleagues to provide educated and street – smart views that only anglophone Montrealers could provide to the listeners.

The French stations such as RDS, maintain a monopoly on hockey and although they provide great coverage of the beloved Canadiens de Montreal, their views stem  from the legacy of the Rocket, Beliveau and Lafleur. The French culture‘s views on the team.

Within this scope of talent, there lies the Blakes, the Harveys and the Robinsons. The English legacy which countered the French etoiles so elegantly.The Pollocks, the Bowmans – the Irvins.

Add the long and predominantly English heroes which passed and blocked their way to stardom with the Alouettes, the 99.9 percent of all the adored Montreal ExposTSN 990 is the link to the past.

A time when sports transcended the language barrier. Eras when the coach of the Habs had to win and not worry about ordering Sheppard’s Pie in French.

Melnick et al provide a more balanced, just way of gazing at the pastures of sports in this city.

French broadcasters and some of the French – Canadian fans have driven the Habs into a rusty garage filled with soiled rags of the past jaded with mis-informed views of the team’s successes and history.

Who should be removed from the airwaves?


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!”

Bergevin to Habs – CHarma comes Back!

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away …

Way before Gary Bettman destroyed the notion of dynasties with his salary cap, parity- driven ideas. A time when Ilya Bryzgalov’s Father may have started the genetic fear of bears in the woods.

The Montreal Canadiens did the Chicago BlackHawks a huge favor. A singular gesture which is making it’s way back to Montreal – almost sixty years later.

Some would say, this was the first gift and sending Chris Chelios to the Windy city – the second. If this is the case, Marc Bergevin as Montreal’s new G.M. is the first payback for Montreal ‘ donating ‘ Edward CJ ‘ Eddie’ Litzenberger to Chicago in 1955.

Litzenberger began his hockey career with the Regina Pats in the Western Canada Junior Hockey League. In the beginning – his scoring prowess was evident as he led the league in scoring. He potted 44 goals in 40 games and continued his ways into the playoffs. Mr. Litzenberger led the playoffs in scoring with 14 goals in 12 games.

In 1952–53, he made his debut with the Montreal Canadiens, playing 2 games with the team before being sent to the Montreal Royals. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in the Quebec Senior Hockey League and was named to the Second All-Star Team.

‘Eddie’ played 29 games with the Canadiens in 1954 – 55. His 11 points ( 7 goals 4 assists )and potential were given to the Chicago Black Hawks.

The rest, as they say – history …

He posted 40 points in 44 games with the Black Hawks and was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy. Litzenberger was also selected for the NHL All-Star Game that year. Following three consecutive 30-goal seasons and being named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 1956–57, Litzenberger was chosen to wear the ‘C’.

The gift from Saskatchewan via Montreal – the Captain of the Chicago Black Hawks in 1957–58.

Litzenberger was at the helm of a Black Hawks ship whose crew consisted of future Hall of Famers Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Pierre Pilote and Glenn Hall. Captain Eddie led this team to a Stanley Cup championship in 1960–61. It was the first Stanley Cup the Black Hawks had won since 1937–38. Twenty – two years!

Fast forward to the upcoming 2012 – 13 season in the National Hockey League

It will be twenty years since the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. Although the team is not on the verge of bankruptcy as were the 1950’s Hawks, the 2011 – 2012 Habs left many fans bankrupt in their souls. Enter ‘ the gift ‘ Marc Bergevin.

An up and coming General Manager who learned his craft under the recent tutelage of Stan Bowman in Chicago. The son of a coach whose name Scotty brings people back to a glorious time in Montreal.

A galaxy far, far away …

The Montreal Canadiens’ New Coach? Relax!

Relax don’t do it
When you want to go to it
Relax don’t do it
When you want to come
Relax don’t do it
When you want to come
When you want to come

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

One can only hope this is the song encircling the Habs’ new G.M. as he gets acquainted to his new office in Le Centre Bell.

Aside from little things such as removing Pierre Gauthier’s signed print of the Marx Brothers from his wall, M. Bergevin must commence repairing the on-ice Canadiens de Montreal. Pronto …

Forget the off-ice stuff. For now.

Leave that to Mr. Molson – after all, he comes from a long line of superior marketers. Who else but the Molson family could get folks from Port Hope, Ontario to drink Molson Export by re-naming and bottling the same beer as Molson Canadian. A spade is a spade and a drunken Wendel Clarke fan is a drunken Wendel Clarke fan.

Bergevin may or may not have his priorities in the following order;

  1. Hire a coach
  2. Concentrate on the draft.

If the number one choice is his number one choice – presumably a logic is tossing about in his Chicago – raised, Montreal – born mind. It all depends which type of team he is envisioning in his  thoughts.

A successful squad in the NHL is basically built in three ways. A trio of options that usually lead to a parade somewhere.

  1. A balance of speed and tremendous talent on the top two lines, countered by toughness and a couple of talented fifteen goal scorers on the bottom two lines.
  2. Three lines of talent blanketed with a tough fourth line.
  3. Four lines of character with two superstars.

As for the defence …

  1. Two offensive – minded players with speed, three tough and defensive – minded defence men and two that possess a combination of both.

Goaltending …

The goalie must stop pucks at key moments in a game. The type of save that lifts his team to greater heights. There is nothing worse for a player sitting on the bench witnessing a soft goal when they are doing their best to win a close game.

A goalie’s feelings work in reverse. A soft goal more often the end result when he sees his mates not scoring when he keeps them in the game. This was part of the problem for the Canadiens in 2011 – 12.

Bergevin’s job is to understand in himself which type of team he feels can win. He must keep the pieces of the puzzle that are part of the solution and rid the current day Habs of the parts that are non – conducive to his dreams. The coach he hires must be on the same ice rink. The new guy cannot be skating in Quebec city while Bergevin and his team are practising in Brossard.

Bergevin’s Options ( according to everyone but him).

Names of possible coaches are being bandied about in Montreal as loosely as loose lips sink already  sinking CH ships.

Bergevin should consider the following if indeed some of the candidates are his candidates as well;

Marc Crawford

The last five years Crawford coached in the NHL, his teams missed the playoffs. Vancouver, L.A. and Dallas. Crawford holds a.536 winning percentage as an NHL coach in fifteen years. He won a Stanley Cup in Colorado in 1995 – 96. It must be noted – the Avalanche team that won was filled with talent. Foote, Deadmarsh, Forsberg, Sakic, Nolan, Lemieux and Patrick Roy to name a few. Jean Perron and Jacques Demers won a Stanley Cup because of Patrick Roy – they are not considered to be candidates for the current day Habs. Just saying …

Bob Hartley

Almost a mirror image of Crawford. Hartley won a Stanley Cup in Colorado with pretty much the same line-up as Crawford possessed. Again – a certain M. Patrick Roy was between the pipes. In the last six years as a coach in the NHL (Colorado and Atlanta ), Hartley’s team missed the playoffs five times. Career -wise, the Hawksbury born coach has a winning percentage of .579 and most recently coached the Zürcher Schlittschuh Club Lions in the Swiss league to a championship.

Alain Vigneault

Anyone who follows the Habs is aware Alain Vigneault commenced his NHL coaching career in Montreal. M. Vigneault is a good coach who possesses a good sense of humour ( he coached Maxime Lapierre ) and a career winning percentage of .581. In Montreal for three seasons and twenty games ( 1997 – 2000 ), Vigneault was learning his craft as his borderline .500 record attests. Recently, M. Vigneault was blessed with a very talented team in Vancouver. A Stanley Cup finalist last season and a somewhat surprising exit in the first round this year. Does his stint in Vancouver and his gained experience allow him a return to Montreal? There are no Sedins in Montreal. Just sayin’…

Michel Therrien

Like M. Vigneault, Therrien started his career in Montreal and parted with a .500 record. He then went to Pittsburgh where he had two winning seasons with Malkin and Crosby. The following season – again with a talented Pittsburgh team, Therrien was fired with a 27 – 25 won / lost record and Pittsburgh went on to win the Cup under Dan Byslema. Really, Therrien has no business being considered for the job … If you can’t win with Crosby and Malkin, where can you win?

Guy Carbonneau

Probably the most sane choice of the bunch. He is the only Canadiens’ coach to gain over 100 pts in the past 18 seasons in Montreal. Very popular with the fans in the city and what could be his downfall – also allegedly very popular with the clubs around Montreal as well. He is associated with Bob Gainey which is bad yet he is no longer speaking to Bob Gainey which is good if he hopes to regain the coaching job. Bergevin and Carbonneau played their youth hockey in Quebec and come from the same era. This may help Guy get the job. Sheesh – the guy won with Kovalev on the team! Credit is due …

Patrick Roy

If a vote was held tomorrow in Montreal for a new mayor – Patrick Roy would get the job and he is not even a politician …

If M. Roy did not possess a winning attitude, M. Hartley, M. Crawford and M. Perron would not be Stanley Cup winning coaches. His ego and winning attitudes are legendary and dangerous. Roy wins when he can control situations and loses when he cannot. To be named as a rookie head coach in Montreal, Bergevin must understand Roy’s intentions. Roy must commit to Montreal and not have his heart in Quebec. Roy and Bergevim must also come to a very strict understanding about who is boss and where.

As an opponent and journeyman – Bergevin is well aware of Roy’s reputation. He probably knows better than anyone in the Habs organization the real stories of Roy. The ones the Habs were not privy to. Roy’s passion is what the Habs require – Roy’s passion is what the Habs do not need right now. Good luck Marc Bergevin …

The Result?

The great thing about Bergevin being hired is the fact he has never been part of the Canadiens’ organization. He has a mind of his own that was formed outside of the madness.

M. Bergevin did not arrive in Montreal and think about taking the job without ideas in his head. These ideas were talked about in his meeting with Molson and Savard. The Habs’ brass obviously enjoyed listening to Bergevin or else the Hawks’ former assistant G.M would be walking in the Windy city right now with his wife.

He could fool everyone and bring in some guy who is not on the top of the gossip lists in Montreal.

Someone like Joel Quenneville …?

Shooting stars never stop
Even when they reach the top
Shooting stars never stop
Even when they reach the top

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

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 …?

Top Ten ‘ Things to Do ‘ List for Marc Bergevin

Les Canadiens de Montreal announced after many days of agonizingly slow speculation – Marc Bergevin is the new G.M of the hockey club.

Bergevin’s job will not be easy.

He grabs the reins of a franchise that need to rebuild their on – ice as well as their off – ice product. The organization has also taken many blows to their image. A fact that leaves the new G.M with plenty to do.

Thanks to some spies, here now is a copy of Marc Bergevin’s top ten things to do list;

10. Revoke Pierre Gauthier’s grandmother’s press pass.

9. Send Youppi for a makeover session. His hair colour? Top priority.

8. Elevate Bob Gainey‘s retired number a little higher to the rafters and – in turn … out of the general public’s sight lines.

7. Cancel monthly payments on Scott GomezAnthony Robbins motivational tapes.

6. Paint the exterior of the Bell Center a more friendly, ‘ welcoming ‘ shade of blue.

5. Find out how tall Brian Gionta really is …?

4. Make room in garage for the Molson beer delivery that is arriving on Monday.

3. Using Chicago connections – find out if Chris Chelios holds a grudge and if not, does he still have interest in playing?

2. Those kids that skate around just before the Habs take the ice? Call their parents and instill a 5 pm curfew.

Finally, upon seeing the work that lay before him, Marc Bergevin’s number one ‘ thing to do ‘ ?

1. Call Stan Bowman to see how far the bridge was burned behind him!

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!

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 …


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 …

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 )

Chris Chelios is Gone and I Never Got to Say Goodbye

It was a cold January day outside of the Montreal Forum in 1984 …

I was standing beside the players’ entrance waiting to catch one of my beloved Habs as they arrived for a game that night against the Hartford Whalers. There were a few adults speckled among the crowd which consisted mainly of kids between the ages of ten and fifteen. Photos and scraps of paper filled their young hands as they anxiously awaited the  scribbles of their favorite players.

As the icy wind carved blue streaks into normally pink lips – a car pulled into the driveway. It stopped just before the aluminum garage door that was the gateway to the bowels of  hockey’s most famous building. The rear doors of the black sedan opened up and three players emerged – Tom Kurvers, Peter Svoboda and Chris Chelios.

One of the kids in a group that consisted of his peers ran toward them leaving his friends momentarily alone to fight the cold.” Hey Chelios !” He yelled with a smile . The group started toward the trio – pens and pencils waving in the brisk air. One of the other kids approached Tom Kurvers and said ; ” Mr. Kurvers – may I have an autograph? ” Kurvers looked at the young man and said… ” Sorry kid – I do not have time.”

Chris Chelios heard what Kurvers said and before you knew it – Chelios was standing next to Kurvers as the pair faced the autograph – seeking young man. Chelios grabbed the pen and paper from the pre-teen and with an angry sideways glance toward Kurvers – replied ; “ Of course he’ll sign your paper – what’s your name kid … ?”

Not only did Kurvers sign an autograph for that kid, Chelios made sure that Kurvers and Svoboda signed autographs for all the kids in the group. I realized then , Chris Chelios was a special player.

The End of an Era…

Drafted in 1981 by the Habs – Chris Chelios officially retired at the age of forty – eight.A twenty-six year career finalized – becoming the second oldest player behind Gordie Howe to play in the NHL.

“I will never forget my start. I had one point in my first 14 games with the Canadiens. I never even unpacked my bags because I thought I was going to the minors, Serge Savard and ( head coach ) Jacques Lemaire kept playing me and I finally figured it out.  It also didn’t hurt that I had Patrick Roy behind me for the next six years, so thank you, Patrick – a good friend and teammate.”

Chelios played for nine seasons in a Habs uniform, winning the Norris Trophy in 1989 and a Stanley Cup in 1986. Unfortunatley for Habs fans he was traded in 1991 to the Black Hawks for Denis Savard – a player that was originally passed over for Doug Wickenheiser in the 1980 draft. Although the trade is considered to be one of the worst in Hab history, Denis Savard did win a Stanley Cup in Montreal while Chelios did not obtain the same goal in Chicago despite winning two more Norris Trophies in his hometown – the Windy City.

Never to be confused with an Angel – Chelios was outspoken and marched to the beat of his own drum.A drum not unlike that of the Energizer Bunny’s as Chelios would often hit the Montreal nightclubs and keep going and going and going . The Habs – an organization that prides itself with an image that is respected globally, finally had enough of Chelios’ shenanigans and the trade to Chicago was finalized.

A Long Career

Following a strict regimen, one that included a forty-five minute jaunt on an exercise bike inside a sauna, Chris Chelios’ NHL career spanned three decades with Montreal, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta. To put it into perspective – Sidney Crosby was not born when ‘Chelly’ made his first tour under the Stanley Cup banners on Forum ice . It was there – Chelios began his ‘ schooling’.

“I was sitting in bars and restaurants with legends – the Richard brothers, Jean Beliveau, Yvan Cournoyer – listening to their stories about when they played; what it took to win . How all of them put the team in front of any individual play. There was no selfishness in that group of players and I was learning from the best, I always said playing for the Canadiens was like getting a Harvard degree in hockey and I was very fortunate to start my career there.”

Chelios’ final exam in a Montreal uniform came when he co-Captained the 1989 version of the team into the finals against the Calgary Flames. That team was the best Canadiens team to play since the 1978-79 team that won it’s last of four Cups.They ranked second only to Calgary in regular season points with 113 and lost the Cup in six games to a Flames squad that was just that much better.It was during that play -off run when Chelios perhaps left his permanent mark in Canadiens and NHL history – at least on Youtube.

The Habs were playing the dreaded Flyers at home , Chelios hit Brian Propp from behind and head – first into the boards. A hit that was considered to be dirty and Propp was helped from the ice and missed the remainder of the series. Chelios was a marked man. Because it was the play-offs , the Flyers could ill afford to retaliate and risk giving a superior Habs squad a two, five or ten minute advantage. Then came game six…

With his team trailing 3-2 in the series and 4-2 on the scoreboard in the game’s final minutes, Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall left the crease and slammed Chelios into the boards. A retaliation for Chelios’ illegal yet unpenalized hit on Philadelphia’s Brian Propp in Game 1.

Chelios crumpled to the ice ; the Flyers goalie continued to beat number twenty – four until the referees were able to pull the Flyer goalie off.  Hextall – eyes glazed ‘ a la Charles Manson ‘, wanted to get at Chelios and in a move that made everyone wonder about Hextall’s sanity – the Flyer goalie’s tongue flicked back , forth and around for two minutes as the linesman kept the pair apart. For his actions, Hextall received a match penalty and was suspended for the first 12 games of the following season.

The Third Period

Exactly ten seasons after that brush with death – Chelios’ address changed from ‘The House of Blues’ to Motown as he joined a Detroit team on the verge of winning a Stanley Cup. An accomplishment achieved in 2002 and again in 2007.

Following a ten year career with Detroit, Chelios signed on with the Manitoba Moose joining ex-teammate and former captain of the Habs – Mike Keane. Chelios then signed on with the Atlanta Trashers playing in seven games , adding zero points and a -2 rating. After playing in 1,651 games, scoring 185 goals and adding 763 assists for a total of 948 points – Chelios realized that he no longer had any gas in the tank. The future Hall of Famer joined the Detroit Red Wings management staff and one of his duties will be to work with the Wings young defensive prospects.

Chelios played in two Canada Cups, two World Cups, four Olympic Games and two World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. He won three Stanley Cups, three Norris Trophies and played in fifteen All Star games.

I hope that kid outside of the Forum on that cold January day in 1984 kept that piece of paper.

Goodbye Chris Chelios and thank you!

Russian Roulette with Roy

I’ve seen the future, baby:

it is murder

Leonard Cohen

These are the vowels and syllables the next General Manager and coach of the Montreal Canadiens will have to deal with when they take the wheel of the storied club’s agenda.

Never mind the real context of these words …

There are so many possibilities and names being bandied about ; a longing for the simpler daze of Jacques Martin somehow seems appealing. Serge Savard is heading a consortium of himself and Molson to discover the ideal man to lead the Habs . The qualifications of the chosen man , ideally , would have an instinct which would bring the proper coach to Montreal as well . Given Serge Savard ‘s place in the mix , an edge to Patrick Roy as coach is the bet that a betting man would place.

There is no – one with the exception of Roy’s teammates , that are aware of Patrick’s will to win better than Savard. Aside from that ;

  • Serge Savard built a winner as G. M in this city and  has the vision to build another. There are two Russians available in the upcoming draft – one of which ( Mikhail Grigorenko ) , is currently playing for Roy’s Remparts in the QMJHL. Roy knows his player more than anyone and this will give the Habs’ brass an inside take on the Russian’s ability and give insight to Grigorenko ‘s weaknesses. If Roy says no – a Doug Wickenheiser may be avoided in lieu of a Denis Savard ( Nail Yakupov).
  • Patrick Roy also coached Alexander Radulov beginning in 2004. Radulov is currently playing in Nashville and has made no secret that he wants out of the land of country music. Under Roy’s tutelage – Radulov was named the most valuable player in the 2006 Memorial Cup, a season in which he had 207 points in 85 QMJHL games, including playoffs. Radulov will be available this summer – before the draft in which the Habs are guaranteed a top five pick. Patrick Roy could easily entice Radulov to Montreal. Roy could entice him if  Roy was working for the Canadiens.


This is where Serge Savard steps in …
M. Savard’s experience as a G.M and successful business man , will allow him the savvy to swing some deals before the draft. If the Habs are relegated to the number four pick – an experienced Savard could somehow fan dangle a move. A trade  which may send Gomez and Kaberle to better places for Canadiens’ fans and in turn – send a Russian draft pick to Montreal. Add Radulov from Nashville – a team that appears to enjoy dealing with the Habs    –  a one – two punch of Russians could be the compliment to a Desharnais – Cole – Pacioretty line.


Suddenly , Montreal will legitimately have six top six forwards to throw at the opposition. The Habs’ scoring would jump a goal a game and given the number of games the team lost by one goal this season – that one goal a game would inevitably send them to the playoffs . Add a healthy Markov and Gionta , a better – coached team , stability and communication from above to a solid defence corps already in place – the Stanley Cup appears closer.
Carey Price would be happier and presumably a fire would be lit in his belly from Roy. Tough guys Staubitz and White have already made opponents realize that this is not Jacques Martin’s father’s team . Travis Moen is no slouch with a stick and his fists and Rene Bourque is the same as Moen with more talent in the stick.
Jared Tinordi , with his  6’7″ mean streak , has a good shot of making the defence corps next season and Emelin will only get stronger at knocking players on their rear ends in his sophomore season .

Roy with Grigorenko - Explosive combination ?

There’ll be phantomsThere’ll be fires on the road

and the white man dancing

Leonard Cohen

Related articles

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 …


Scott Gomez has a Twin …?

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

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

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

Submitted for your approval ;

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

This man is seldom seen or spoken to …

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

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

Budaj , Weber and Desharnais - No Laughing Matter !

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

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


The Carey Price Cowboy Code

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Habs Eye on the Prize

Meet the New Guy … ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

C, Mikhail Grigorenko6-3. 192 lbs. 

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


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

 RW, Nail Yakupov, 5-11, 180 lbs.

Clous ! Clous ! Clous !

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

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

 D, Ryan Murray, 6-0, 191 lbs.

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


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


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

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


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

 C, Alex Galchenyuk, 6-1, 185 lbs.

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


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

Happy St . Patrick ‘s Day !


%d bloggers like this: