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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They Tore Down Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot …


No more plaques, no more statues, no more teachers’ dirty looks …

The profs in question will be shoving their disconnected looks the Habs ‘ way instead.

For a franchise whose image lies somewhere between Jeffrey Dahlmer and Mario Tremblay, the announcement of the team tearing down Centennial Plaza in lieu of a condo project is suspect. Sketchy …

Not only are ‘ the corporate Habs ‘ ripping up a celestial cemetery, the accountants are subtracting the hearts of the many fans who aided in the construction of the plaza – brick by brick …

According to Molson – the bricks, bought by fans with personalized messages to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the
team’s final Cup win … ( digress shall we ), will unequivocally be placed in storage until further notice.

Was there a disclaimer involved in the sales receipt when the partisans parted with their pennies to purchase pieces of the plaza? A note stating the bits of nostalgia written from the souls of people from Gaspe to Chilliwack can be moved by the Club de Hockey Canadien …?

If yes – cool!

If the response is no, nada – ‘watcha talkin’ bout Willis?’ – then, in the words of the disco band Shirley and Co.; ‘Shame, shame, shame – shame on you! ‘

Well – watcha goin’ to do?!

The Canadiens used to be the hockey equivalent of ‘ Hey Jude ‘ , ‘Stairway to Heaven‘ or ‘ Satisfaction’. Publicly anyways.
In the days of the typewriter, before the internet made porn a cause for divorce – all the seedy and suspect business or hockey decisions were kept in secrecy.

Guys like Red Fisher were the sole bearers of bad Habs’ moves. More times than not – the news was kept behind closed penalty box doors. If guys like Mr. Fisher wanted access to the team, anything out of the ordinary was kept out of the ordinary press if Fisher wanted to keep his privaleges privileged.

Times have changed. Soooo much!

Loyalty,tradition and honor has been jettisoned from the ship of society so often, the ship sails on filled with greed as the captain and inconsiderate as the first mate.

The majority of the men whose numbers hang from the targets of so much love and adoration at Le Centre Bell, skated a different ice surface. A mirrored canvas, a reflection of a different time. They painted historic statistics with paint brushes filled with the true colors of red, white and blue.

Not the dollar store purchased acrylic colors which the modern – day team has utilized far too often in the past ten years.

The University of Montreal Hockey, the glory and the tradition of the franchise appears to have closed.

School’s out. Forever …

Red Fisher’s Top Ten Reasons for Leaving


As most are aware …image

Red Fisher hung up his ‘writing skates’. Mr.Fisher began writing on hockey in 1900, his first story? Guy Lafleur’s great Grandfather’s first goal.

Fisher wrote; ” Damien Lafleur dried out several Indians before finally lifting the cowpuck past an unsuspecting Moose”.

With those words a legacy commenced until the 2012 season.

Here are the top ten reasons Red Fisher decided to quit his post as hockey ‘s greatest sportswriter…

10. Too many Russian names – not enough backspace keys …

9. ‘ If Gauthier speaks to you, and only you’ – it is time to leave!

8. After fifty years, is it too much to ask for the key to the executive washroom?

7. With the addition of Bergevin, Dudley, Mellanby, Brisebois, Lapointe, Lefebvre, Jodoin and Gallant … no way to get quotes since THEY ARE ALL ROOKIES!

6. Really, really wanted Roy to coach!

5. ‘One sec dear …’ Not working with the wife anymore …

4. ‘State of the art glasses’ discontinued by manufacturer.

3. First couple of years bearable but really, the captain of the Canadiens should not have to stand on a box when giving an interview.

2. Hearing aid too strong for Bell Center music …

And the number one reason Red Fisher retired …?

1. Really ‘boring’ since the Kostitsyns left!

Good luck Mr. Fisher – you will be missed!

The Cup Won the Kings!


Just like that – the Kings won the Stanley Cup.

Okay, it took a month. After a month – just like that they won the Cup! Okay it took a couple of months … Then, just like that – they won the Cup!

New Jersey was a formidable foe.

Ouch

Unfortunately for the boys from across the Hudson – their trip to the finals was shrouded in a couple of long, tough series. A little fatigue may have resulted in Bernier’s undoing.

If you missed it – Bernier decided to play human missile. He scoped the Kings Scuderi. Placed him directly into his sight lines and took aim. The ‘human torpedo’ worked well.It worked well for L.A.

Seldom in the grand world of hockey is a team given a five minute power play which is not interrupted by a minor during those five minutes. If the entire major is played out – a goal by the team on the power play is a handsome reward. Two goals on the same power play? As lucky as a kiss by the garden gate at midnight. Three goals in a five minute span? Start playing the lottery; a boat sideswiped with vintage champagne is coming your way!

The Kings may want to name their new ship S.S. Stanley …

Quick

If not for the courage of the fearless power play unit; a three hour tour would have been more suspenseful. More nail- biting. More dramatically prepared for an Oscar – winning film. Instead, the script in Tinseltown played out like a spoiled brat movie producer would want it. His way. A Hollywood ending. American film making 101. Late career Brian DePalma- type stuff.

No Scorsese moments for the Devils on this night. No goodfellas to fire tiny bullets into the skates of the deserved Kings. Especially not Jonathan Quick …

Has there been a goalie more deserved of the Conne Smythe trophy since Patrick Roy winked at a King in 1993? Quick was greedy. Quick was thrifty. Quick did everything except jump over a candlestick. He could have done that too …

Les Kings de Los Angeles did not win the Stanley Cup cleanly. If Brown’s knee had been punished against the Coyotes, Phoenix would have been on a power play. Instead, the Kings scored and advanced to the next round. Last night, little Gionta ( the Devil – not the Hab ) was delivered a blow which should have been a penalty. L.A once again dodged the bullet.

A bullet which soared. Piercing the air with streamlined velocity. Invisible in it’s speed as it discovered the target.

Smack in the middle of the New Jersey Devils’ hearts …

Congrats to the champions !

Oh – Oh !


The Devils are at it once again. Just ask the Rangers or the Flyers. Heck, call the Panthers …

Other teams sway. The Devils do not. Their system is relentlessly relentless. The Kings are proving to be the same.

Change the sweaters, a difference would not be noticed. Is that Jonathan Brodeur or Marty Quick? Zachary Brown or Ilya Penner? This final is a throwback to the six team league. Tighter than a girl holding a boy’s hand on fright night at the local movie house. Is it boring, fun or perplexing …?

How about all three.

L.A. won the first two games asleep at the wheel. A start to the finals which everyone hoped was final. A snooze fest. A Nightmare at 103 Elm Street, Newark – New Jersey …

Among the bandwagon- ers in L.A., in front of thousands of spectators who would never know the difference between a frozen pogo and a frozen puck; all that changed. A Jersey squad’s system started to work. A system that does not work with defence. A system that does not win with offence. It’s a system that wins with a rope-a-dope stragedy.

Ali would be proud.

The Devils do not attack a la late eighties Oilers. Parise is no Anderson, Elias is no Messier and Kovalchuk is no Gretzky. What they do is attack like a piranha taunting their foes; one bite at a time …

They nibble until the opposition is tired. The Kings are fed up. Errors will start. Like a dog chained too long – freedom is required, freedom is needed. Frustration becomes the Kings’ enemy. Frustration becomes the Devils’ friend.

Combine all this with the Kings’ sense of slippin’ away, the ‘holding the stick’ too tight, the ‘end this now’ mentality – the Devils are steering the Stanley Cup ride. Fitting that game six is in L.A. This way – Brodeur can win on home ice. In front of the fans which love him dearly. A party which may make his decision to retire that much easier – that much more fun.

This way – Martin Brodeur’s kids can tell their friends; “Daddy’s at it once again …”

Adieu Mon Ami …


Remember as a child …?

Laying in bed, late at night.

The wind from outside causing branches to send hair – raising knocks on the window? Lightning causing the room to light every three minutes with a flash of horror … ?

The world seemed to spin with an intensity that – as a five year old child, seemed too much of a cross to bear. A young heart racing in anticipation of something arriving from the shadows. A demon’s hand removing the safety net a warm blanket provided.

An eternity condensed into a five minute span which clouded visions of innocence into darkened lanes of shadowy depths.

Unable to fend off the tyrannical winds anymore, little feet rise and propel a diminutive body down the hall and into the waiting arms of a comforting caregiver.

In the world of hockey …

Red Fisher was those arms.

Homeless vs. Hockey


He sits.

Back against the cold wall. His soul taps from the inside of his irises. His hand held out for a penny or two …

He sits.

Back against the coach. His stick taps from the inside of two hundred dollar gloves. His hand held out to congratulate a millionaire.

He stands.

Rising on knees worn with malnutrition and sleepless nights under an unforgiving blanket of cold. Enough money to buy a coffee and warmth.

He stands.

Rising on one thousand dollar skates donated by a greedy sales representative from a sporting good company. Enough money to buy a Tim Horton franchise.

He wonders.

What happened to his life. Where are his children and wife. Why did she take everything from him and leave him alone.

He wonders.

What happened to his scoring ability. Where are the goals he once scored. Why did the snapshot which made him rich leave him.

He dies.

His heart finally gives out from poor health and broken dreams.

He dies.

His heart finally gives out from poor line mates and broken passes.

The Half Man Won


The Montreal Canadiens have hired a new coach. Kinda …

It has been reported that Marc Bergevin will announce the Habs have hired Michel Therrien as the team’s thirty – first head coach. Or is it the squad’s thirtieth? Can a coach be counted twice …

Over the weekend, it was reported the candidates were down to two in Montreal. A pair because a half does not count.

Marc Crawford, Michel Therrien and Patrick Roy / Guy Carbonneau were left. The Habs brass, in their smart ways – opted for the half guy. If Therrien were a glass, he would not be full nor empty. Enough to quench the thirst of the French and not quite for the English, the Scotch or the Irish …

Therrien won the job because the Canadiens are haunted by their past. A legacy which – one by one, eliminated all the men who should have been given the task to steer the Habs to victory.

Carbonneau was the wise choice if the choice was his to choose. ‘Guy! Guy! Guy!’ was the final man to be behind the bench of an Eastern Conference Championship team based in Montreal. Carbo was French and he was well liked except by Bob Gainey. Gainey is gone to Dallas so what’s the deal? Why is a locker not being set up to house the former coach.

Carbonneau is attached to the Gauthier era though no fault of his own. In Bergevin’s view … too close for comfort. Cross off the former Canadiens’ captain from la liste. Comme ca …

Marc Crawford does not speak French very well and is still part of a Steve Moore lawsuit. Plus, his coaching credentials – as good as it gets. Scratch Crawford from la liste. Comme ca …

That leaves the best man for the job. The man who is instilling fear into everyone for the wrong reasons. Patrick Roy …

The Montreal Canadiens changed their upstairs staff. The Montreal Canadiens have forgotten how to win. The Montreal Canadiens do not want a winner behind the bench. Scratch Roy from la liste. Comme ca …

Get out your binoculars. Grab your stepladder. Who is that standing behind the Habs’ bench! It’s Michel Therrien – the half man.

The Canadiens hired a new coach. Kinda …

Really? Are you Surprised?



Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob. – Crash Davis

So Tim Thomas, the Boston Bruin’s ‘reason they won the cup’; is taking a year off …

Surprise? Surprise?

Not really.

Catchers on the field and goalies in the crease. The former, no diamond on the diamond and the latter – no steel pillar between the steel pipes. Physically at times, mentally flexible.

The two positions are the same. Everything happens in front. A different outlook on the game(s) they play. Baseball teammates are facing a catcher while hockey players have their backs to the goalie most of the time. Two directions. Enough to make anyone flakey …

Denis Lemieux

The view makes the athlete a perfectionist. The sight lines enable the full picture. Tic-tac-toe for Thomas, tic – toe for the skater. Because guys like Thomas in hockey or Russell Martin in baseball cannot cope with the loneliness of the position, they start to see things differently. Sometimes – that difference carries over to real life.

My allergy to those fucking fans has returned!- Denis Lemieux

Tim Thomas has carried his views into real life. The Vezina Trophy winning goaltender is unorthodox on the ice and his weird ways are portrayed in his off- ice views. The strangeness works during a game – on the street, in America, not so much …

In the game of hockey, life is fast.

No time for players and / or teammates to analyze the goalies’ comments. During stoppages in play or in the course of a game, everyone has an opportunity to talk to their mates. Everyone except for the goalie. Thomas cannot turn to his buddy and say;” Hey, I am going to skip the White House reception. What is your take on that?” The ruminations have sixty minutes to ruminate.

This is not saying the Bruins’ net minder is wrong on his anti – Obama stance. By the time a thought is passed to a mate in the dressing room, it has deep- rooted seeds. As crazy as it may or not be – it has grown to a foundation that leaves less room for input. In the words of Mick Jagger;

” It’s just that demon life that’s got you in it’s sway!”

Where does that leave the Bruins …?

No chance to win a Stanley Cup. That is precisely where.

Tim Thomas is the reason the Beantown bullies won last season. The Bruins as a team, really – not as talented as people thunk. The only time they were deserved the title of champions, was against the Vancouver. They had an opportunity to play against the Canucks because of Thomas.A cycle which ends now …

Thomas is a late bloomer. Why risk a year off when a year may well be all that is left in the tank?

Only Thomas and his family know. Only Thomas and his family are aware of what is going on behind the net. If an absence is called upon to save his marriage – bravo to the net minder. If a leave of absence is called upon because the net minder is burnt out – sorry, it’s his own fault.

An atlete’s schedule is hard enough. It’s difficult on the player and the loved ones. Instead of going home ( or to the White House ), Thomas brought so much pressure onto him and his family it’s amazing he did not implode at the sixty game mark.

His decisions were selfish and now the Bruins’ organization must pay the piper with a Rask. A Rask which is not a Thomas. A Rask which is not a Stanley Cup winning net minder.

Thomas is taking a year off.

Then again, he is a goalie. Things could change – easily …

Relax, all right? Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic.- Crash Davis

Top Ten Reasons the Devils will Win the Stanley Cup


L.A. Vs. the Devils of Joisey …

A Stanley Cup party nobody would have predicted back in October unless they were at a party also. A few drinks every minute? Really strange stuff can be heard!

Tomorrow night, Le puck she drop to start the 2012 Final series.

From coast to coast in Canada, the States and the one hockey fan with unbelievable running skills in Indonesia; everyone – it seems, has a prediction.

Devils in five, Kings in six – on and on it goes until the spouses call out ‘dinner is ready’!

There is no doubt between this writer and the hamster with the red, white and blue jersey running in my head; the Devils will win. Here now are the Top Ten reasons why …

10. Jonathan Quick’s penchant for bleached – out, Hollywood- type, B actresses; a distraction.

9. How can L.A. possibly score with all the basketballs Jack Nicholson tosses on the ice?

8. The members of the Phoenix Coyotes bought tickets directly behind the Kings’ bench and to say they are angry is a bit of an understatement.

7. Marcel Dionne’s excitement? A hindrance to the skate sharpening guys …

6. The Kings’ home jerseys were bleached in error. Somehow, the pinkish new ones with the Justin Bieber patches? Not as effective.

5. Wayne Gretzky is in town giving coaching advice …

4. Suddenly … without warning … The Kings realize where they are!

3. Hello? It’s 130 degrees in Los Angeles! That’s not hockey …!?

2. Martin Brodeur and all his freaky voodoo karma is in goals.

And the number one reason the Devils will win the Cup?

1. Marty McSorley is in charge of the Kings’ sticks!

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 …

Why the New York Rangers won’t Win the Cup and Rick’s Stanley Cup Final Pick


At the beginning of the playoffs, a giant Stanley Cup was erected in Times Square.

Was it karma that beat New York or was it the relentless Devils? Perhaps – it is the same thing …

Martin Brodeur is near the end of his storied career. The forty year old net minder holds many records. One of which – the shutout record, will not be broken. At least it may not be. Up in the air, high above the skating rink in New Jersey,in the great gondola in the sky, the hockey gods are watching.

And they smile …

The last of a generation of great net minders, Brodeur has earned the karma that was once reserved for ghosts of the old Montreal Forum. Since les Habitants have shrugged their shoulders at their own ghosts by a) not retiring Lemaire and Lapointe’s numbers b) Waiting too long to retire Geoffrion’s and c) turning the sacred legacy of Richard’s team into a money – making machine; the phantoms have found someone to help.

A Montrealer to boot!

In game five against the Rangers, the Devils deserved to win but not the way they did. Has there ever been a display of such poor goaltending displayed this deep in the playoffs? Martin Brodeur was horrible. He stood instead of stooping, he flipped, flopped and flew. The decisions he made injected hope to a Ranger squad that were down and out. An empty net would have done a better job …

The Devils won in overtime after abandoning a three goal lead. They won because the hockey gods deem Brodeur worthy of a helping blocker. A free pass for his years of service. A spectral thank you note from all the dead players, referees, managers and players who made the game great.

That giant Stanley Cup in Times Square did not hurt …

The Finals

It has come to this.

Two teams standing. A pair of battle weary opponents. Rocky versus Apollo Creed.

The Devils are Rocky. The underdogs. The team with so much promise that never showed until recently. The Panthers were the frozen meat hanging in the freezer. The Flyers – Mick’s incessant yelling in the ear. The Rangers? Running up the steps with energy to spare …

Los Angeles is Apollo Creed. They did not start that way until the k.o’s came. Vancouver in the fifth round, really a tko. St.Louis in the fourth – a knockout if ever there was one. Pheonix the same.

Now the teams meet for the heavyweight title of the world. Lord Stanley’s coveted Cup.

On paper, in many people’s eyes, the Kings have won before the puck hits the ice. Another sweep of the playoff dance floor. Problem is the paper is old. Yesterday’s news. The Devils have crumpled it and placed it to the recycle bin. The lid is closed and a wait commences for tomorrow’s paper.

L.A. has the edge in goaltending. Quick quicker than the aged Brodeur. L.A. has tougher defenceman and more depth up front. The Kings have more grit and more experience outside of the crease.

The Devils have karma.

Yo Adrian – Devils in six games!

Dudley Do – Right?


If things go wrong, don’t go with them.  ~Roger Babson

Are there any better use of words when describing the Montreal Canadiens’ hiring of Rick Dudley?

Montreal G.M. Marc Bergevin announced the club has signed Dudley to be an assistant G.M. He joins Larry Carriere who the club has announced has returned in the same role ( Carriere was an assistant to Gauthier last season before joining Cunneyworth behind the bench.Another of Gauthier’s ‘make Cunneyworth look like crap’ moves ).

Dudley’s appointment should raise alarms amongst the Habs faithful for several reasons.

If the former hockey playing Sabre and Jet is an astute hockey man as everyone from Stan Bowman to Mats Naslund’s niece’s boyfriend is saying; why in the name of Jocelyn Lemieux has the guy held more jobs with so many organization’s in his post – playing career.

Dudley’s Alma maters?

Is he unlucky? Is he a pain to work with? Does he consistently forget the deodorant at his home each workday … ? Questions that a Canadiens fan should ask. Last season was a disaster in Montreal – what the team and city require is a hose to extinguish the flames. Not a ‘hoser’ to light more fires …

Chicago, Tampa, Florida, Atlanta and Toronto. More stops for Dudley in management positions than an eight year old on a road trip. The most alarming aspect of his actions? Aside from his stint in Chicago under the tutelage of Dale Tallon,there are no banners on his resume. No replica Stanley Cups on his constantly moving furniture.

In this age of transient players, it seems upper and lower management are now joining the gypsy – esque movement. Where is Doug Jarvis at the moment? Anyone aside from his Mom know?

Jarvis – Where are You?

The bright side of the Dudley signing is much better than the dark side. Instead of dwelling on his Toronto team tanking as near as three months ago, Dudley is joining a man who has had success with Dudley in the past. Boss Bergevin and Dudley worked together under Tallon in Chicago.

Judging by Tallon’s success in Florida following one season and his turnaround of a Chicago organization – the man may be voted ‘as the man mostly likely to be Sam Pollock’ by his peers. If indeed the man is so bright and Bergevin is a quick learner – the Habs’ future is bright.

Montrealers can attest to that.

Several people with names like Savard, Lemaire, Robinson, Gainey, Risebrough, Sather and many more – learned by watching Sam Pollock. They watched, they listened and won.

Let’s hope Dudley and Bergevin are good students …

Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which will never happen.  ~James Russel Lowell

Molson in Meetings – Roy Out?


Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or something like that …

According to a source, Montreal Canadiens’ owner Geoff Molson has spent almost the entire past two weeks behind closed doors.

High – security type stuff.

One man is conspicuous with his absence. That man’s name is Patrick Roy.

According to someone whose job allows a view of such comings and goings …Roy of Rempart fame has visited the least amount of times compared to other coaching camdidates. What does that mean?

Depending on a person’s passion, rational thinking and the amount of beers digested after dinner – Roy’s resting in Ste. Foy could dIctate a number of possibilities …

Molson and newly- appointed G.M. Bergevin, may have hired their coach a while ago. These ‘cloak and hockey stick’ meetings – an opportunity to solve different issues. Small matters such as what train to place Scott Gomez on, how to keep Grigorenko away from future KHL visitors and Carey Price far as possible from buckin’ broncos …

For argument’s sake, if Patrick or anyone else has been hired as the Habs’ new leader; why allow a distraction when important issues such as draft day approaches. Especially if their man is Roy. The phone would be ringing more often in Molson and Bergevin’s office than a pleasant pizza joint with a half- priced pepperoni pizza on sale.

Who needs that when Rene Bourque is AWOL and Tomas Kaberle added an offspring to the world who just may grow into another … well, Kaberle!

L’absence de Roy could also imply the team is still looking for the perfect candidate to raise the team to new heights. Although, no candidates have passed before Molson in person for at least a week.

Could Bergevin and Molson be smarter than your average Belarusian brother? Are they speaking to their new coach via Skype? Plotting strategy and making a draft plan to suit the new bosses’ needs … ?

Given the Montreal Canadiens’ recent success with a ‘tight- lipped’ mentality, a fan of the team can only hope for one thing;

Silence is golden …

Ovechkin to Montreal? Got a Light … ?


Everybody needs a pal in the sandbox. Montreal Canadiens’ star defenceman Andrei Markov – is no different …

Sure fellow countryman Alexei Emelin provides Markov with a comrade in chatter as opposed to arms. Sure Markov has been in Montreal long enough to feel at ease at Le Centre Bell. A talented polar opposite? Entirely something else …

“I think it’s possible (he gets traded),” one former NHL coach told the Edmonton Journal. “I think it would have to be a New York or maybe even a Montreal with the owner (Geoff Molson) there.”

Markov and Ovechkin are friends.

Close enough that the Capitals’ money- making forward almost turned into La Belle Province in lieu of Obamatown when he was looking for a new contract in 2008.

Ovie and Markov – Comrades in Montreal

Every time the Caps and Habs get together to play a little game called hockey, the press is forced to hang around a half hour while Alexander and Andrei trade tales. Catch – up first, cross- checks second …

Does the idea of Washington’s number one attraction leaving for the not- so- safe confines of Le Centre Bell make sense? конечно!

Here is why …

The Montreal Canadiens desperately require a superstar. Not a goalie- in-waiting- to- hit- their- prime type as they already have with Price. They require someone who can carry the torch, which – at the moment, lay somewhere between Thurso, Qc. and Jean Beliveau’s recently vacated hospital bed. Somewhere around Ste. Foy.

They need someone who will burn the bottom of the banners with it as they score goals with fire in their eyes. Passion in their strides and desire in their souls. Ingredients which Ovechkin has lost in previous years. Ingredients which can be found in the city of Montreal’s diversified cultural community. A city recognizable to not only Ovechkin – the love of his life as well …

The cold war is over.

Russia and the United States of America can bowl together without knocking down any political pins. In reality – a Russian alley is not an American one or vice- versa. When Ovechkin is not sporting his tinted visor and leaping into panes of hockey arena glass; he likes to feel comfortable.

In the arms of his Russian- born girlfriend is one place for a piece of his mind and a place for pieces of something else. Hanging with his Russian buddies is another heart- warming experience. All this with the backdrop of a Maryland Wall Mart haunting his psyche? No wonder the King is almost dead in The Verizon Center…

Montreal has WallMarts. Montreal has been eaten slowly over the years by America’s influential appetite. Montreal has something Washington cannot provide to the Russian superstar. Hockey passion, cold weather and Markov. Take that Wallmart – ians!

Ovechkin is rich, Ovechkin is dying …

A move to Montreal in exchange for anyone but Price, P.K., Markov and Pacioretty will revitalize two careers. Markov’s recovering knee will get an added boost and Alexander the Great’s soul will soar once more.

If Habs’ owner Molson and new G.M. Bergevin play their cards right in the upcoming draft, a young Russian will join the club. If Ovechkin departs – three generations of Russian talent will provide a hockey menage a trois. A wise, offensive- minded Markov placing the puck on the sticks of Ovechkin and a rookie named Grigorenko.

Add Radulov from Nashville and Montreal suddenly has an entire line or – at the very least, a potentially potent power play.

Need someone with passion to understand and guide Ovie’s game to the offensive heights that disappeared?

How about Grigorenko and Radulov’s old coach Patrick Roy?
He currently holds the torch in Ste. Foy and would probably be glad to pass it on …

Twenty years a little too long.

Top Ten Ingredients for a Stanley Cup Winning Team


What does it take?

What does a team require to win the Stanley Cup?

Defence, offence and great goaltending will allow a bunch of guys to carry a shiny, silver chalice to their home towns. Glory and benefits …

The single dudes? Put it this way … a Cup in hand saves nine lines …!

Married with a few kids in the back of the SUV? The Cup a place to store the kids. A crib annotated with signatures from past victories.

What most people do not know – there are a few intangibles that every team that has toted Lord Stanley’s Cup high above their shoulders has owned.

Here are the Top Ten Ingredients for a Stanley Cup Winning Team …

10. Red Bull in the water bottles.

9. Satin – lined jockstraps to make the ‘in-between’ shift moments that much more pleasurable.

8. Earphones with Scotty Bowman subliminal messages pumped every period.

7. A dart board with Alan Eagleson‘s photo on the dressing room wall.

6. Skates equipped with staples on the toe.

5. A goaltender who has never heard of the Philadelphia Flyers.

4. T- Shirts imprinted with Maurice Richard‘s eyes …

3. Free foil!

2. Eleven pictures of the Pocket Rocket ironed on the inside of every jersey.

and the number one ingredient?

1. A  fabric softener that not only leave clothes soft and comfortable –  a fresh and lasting fragrance as well …!

Puttin’ on the Foil! Want some …?

Related articles

Why the New York Rangers Won’t Win the Cup and Rick’s Picks – Round Three


Hockey is a funny game …

Just clear the track and ask Eddie Shack !

The first two rounds ended in surprising results.

  1. The Flyers and Pens scored more goals in one series than any two teams in the history of the NHL ( not counting the late 80’s and early 90’s Oilers  – combined with their one – ice goals and all the scoring they did off the ice ). By the time the Flyers did not get to Phoenix, the Philadelphia bunch were simply too exhausted to take on the Devils of Jersey. Add the ‘ Bill Clement curse ‘; the Flyers are home and the Devils are about to attempt a spell- casting on their cross – river rivals.
  2. The Caps did everyone in Montreal a favour and eliminated the Big, the bad and the ugly Bruins. The momentum from that series carried the team to a seven game defeat against the Rangers. A series decided by one goal in another game seven for both squads. A series that could have bounced either way.  The  New York team was surprised by the surging Senators and stuck to their game plan which now has allowed the team to ‘ squeak by’ two rounds.
  3. Le west is wild! No doubt about it as the eight seeded Kings have now upset the number one and two seeds. St.Louis was bit by the inexperience bug as well as the injury bug. Not having Halak to bail out Elliot – a blow to to the Blues chances. On the other side of the western coin, the Coyotes are doing their part to sell the team in Phoenix. Dumping the Hawks , then the Predators – a ‘Roadrunner’ feather in the Coyotes’ caps.

Rick’s picks after two rounds … Two wins – ten losses – zero ties ( wink, wink). On the bright side – I did not bet any money …

Round Three Picks

Devils – Rangers

                  Tough one. Boring but tough. Two teams – same system. A Caps – Rangers repeat. The exception? Goaltending. Will Brodeur’s age catch up to him or will his age help him. This should be the deciding factor along with the Rangers ability to corral Kovalchuk. The Devils have a better offence than people think and the Rangers have Lundqvist.  Devils in Seven

Kings – Coyotes

Quick and Smith… Sounds like a type of gun eh?  These teams are both in surprise mode and surprise  mode is relentless. No time to think as the two improbable teams are on a roll. The Kings are more rounded and if a goalie was to be chosen from the two … Quick is the pick. Shane Doan is on overdrive for the Coyotes. Problem is everyone is on overdrive for the Kings. The Montreal Canadiens of 1986 were on a roll and they won. Coyotes in six.

P.S   Kid Mercury put the hex on the Rangers !


 

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!”

Le Forum de Montreal … Hockey Party?


I want to thank everyone who reads my site and for making my endeavor to get hired somewhere, as pleasant and rewarding as possible.

To thank people, I would like to organize a hockey get together for the first game of the finals. Beer, food and my sense of humor – what could possibly go wrong?

For this to happen, I require at least 15 people to commit in the next week. If such an evening of pucks is close to your hockey heart; please leave me a message in my email. The National Hockey League has set start dates for the Stanley Cup Final.

If both conference finals end in sweeps, the Cup Finals will begin Thursday, May 28. If either series is extended past four games, the Cup Finals will start Friday, June 5.

If you would like to donate something as a prize or you have an organization that could benefit from the evening – I.e Children’s Wish Foundation, contact me at;

Keenerick@hotmail.com

In the ensuing week – I will have an answer as to how many people are interested. I will commence to organize a night completed with live entertainment, prizes, trivia and at least one famous person from Montreal sports ( aside from me );)

Kid Mercury – the Canadiens’ trumpeter and mascot before Youppi, will be in attendance to dazzle you with his magic tricks and tales from the past. Stories from the Expos as well as the Habs!

Hope this happens and thanks again for your support.

Sincerely,

Rick Keene

A Coyote in Sheep’s Clothing?


Division- wise, they completed the season third place in the Western Conference. Point- wise, they finished sixth overall amongst eight teams. Heart- wise, the Phoenix Coyotes may be number one for hockey fans around the globe …

Why is that?

For starters, no one save the players in Phoenix, their fans and the press that follow them – really took the team seriously.

The reason?

The only media attention the squad gathered for the past three seasons was negative due to the ‘ vagabond ‘ label tagged on their hockey sweaters. A Gypsy- esque existence created by the bankruptcy of their former owner and the subsequent ‘sideshow’ that ensued.

Blackberry creator and CEO, Jim Balsillie on May 6 – 2009, issued the following statement just days after the Coyotes’ chief executor officer Jerry Moyles filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

I am excited to move closer to bringing an NHL franchise to what I believe is one of the best unserved hockey markets in the world — southern Ontario. A market with devoted hockey fans, a rich hockey history, a growing and diversified economy and a population of more than seven million people.

Balsillie was rich and in the eyes of hockey fans who believe the game belongs in Canada – was just that; Canadian …

The President of RIM ( Research in Motion ) gave the Coyotes along with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, 212.5 million reasons why the team should be located in Ontario, Canada. Mr. Bettman balked at the ‘ Bal – sillie’- ness of the offer and amid conspiracies, the pair fought back and forth over the sale of the team.

Meanwhile, the fans and the team skated on thin ice…


Loneliness brings Togetherness

You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used.
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse.
When you ain’t got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal.

~ Bob Dylan

While the arrogant Balsillie and the equally pretentious Bettman dueled with their piercing egos, all the attention remained away from the ice surface.

Everyone from Bob Mackenzie at team TSN to Osama Bin Laden at team Al-Qaeda – paid no attention to the quality of the on ice construction with team Coyote. How could a team, that was being run ‘part time’ by the NHL head office, be run efficiently when the NHL itself was run so inefficiently at times – full time?

The Coyotes were deemed dead through the visors of many. Left howling at the side of route 33. The road that leads to Phoenix is not numbered 66 and nobody – especially the Coyotes’ fans; expected to get their ‘ kicks’!

Then something happened.

It’s as if Coyotes’ captain Shane Doan sat down under the ‘cone of silence’ with Maxwell Smart. Together, Doan and agent 86 plotted a plan to dispel the ‘CHAOS’ that became a puck around the team’s neck. A vulcanized weight bringing everyone associated with the team down to a level lower than the real Devil of New Jersey could fathom.

Phoenix rose from the ashes. The burgundy bird took flight as Bettman continued his plight to sell the team to an Arazonian millionaire. ( Balsillie’s offers, it turns out – as silly as Bettman thought).

Belief 101

It began in 2010 with a playoff birth and a love affair with a rag- tag bunch of outcasts and third line skaters. The entire city – taking the team home in their hearts each night. A temporary house for each player to dry their sweaters and ‘air out’ their skates.

After the team bowed out in the first round, somehow it made the Coyotes more lovable. Merchandise at an all- time high. Ticket sales great! More importantly – the team was better as they took to the ice for the start of the 2011-12 season.

Don Maloney, the G.M. and Dave Tippett – the coach, prepared the ‘ yotes’ to play and disregard the rumors of re – location and sale. Even the fans – partly for growing attached and partly for wanting to watch a team for what maybe their final season in Phoenix; showed up every game.

As a howl echoes through the arena with each Phoenix goal, there is a sense throughout the Coyotes’ den something special is happening. After-all, ‘ a homeless man cannot hit rock bottom when he is living on a rock’. There is one way to go for Shane Doan’s team and that direction is toward London, England. The birthplace of the 16th Earl of Derby. Otherwise known as Lord Stanley of Preston

The creator of the Stanley Cup’s relatives have never seen a coyote and they are not sheep- ish to say so …

Day by day, watching you disappear
Wishing that you were still here beside me
On my own, swimming against the tide
There’s nobody on my side but your memory
Then you’ll rise right before my eyes

~ Annihilator

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