Build a Champion – One Thing. Keeping Them There Entirely Different …


Marc Bergevin has reintroduced success to the Montreal Canadiens.

The trick is to sustain the formula.

Through the years, when the Montreal Canadiens were not just the cream of the crop, but the blueprint of ‘how to win a Stanley Cup’, there was one factor involved which tends to be overlooked.

The squad – for so many years, had high caliber, all star and hall of fame players. That is one part of the equation. Was this the reason that so many banners hang above visiting players at Le Centre Bell? Sure as cows give milk it is. Yet these facts, these players were part of a plan carried out so successfully by the men who preceded M.Bergevin.

That plan. The design of the second most successful sports franchise in history was to make damn sure that each rookie, each newcomer – had one or several mentors to instill wisdom and a winning attitude. A passing of the ‘tenacity’ torch if you will. An ignition of integrity to jump start the careers of so many players. Some of whom that may have skated into obscurity with another organization.

Consistency of a championship constitution. Consistency of a carnivorous ‘ win at all cost’ mentality.

For reasons, some tangible and some – downright ridiculous, Les Canadiens de Montreal jettisoned that ‘yacht’ in lieu of a ‘leaky boat’ some years ago. It is now up to Bergevin and what appears to be an excellent surrounding cast of coaches, to maintain a core of character on the team and ensure the mentality of Gionta, Markov, Prust and Gorges is passed on.

Men who teach boys. Warriors of a winning breed. Experience.

Without a plan, without a dimension to bridge a gap innocent in it’s nature, a team flounders like a fish out of ‘ frozen water’. A group becomes lost and either sinks to depths beyond reasonable conversation or toils in mediocrity for years.

Applause is reserved for Bergevin, Geoff Molson and probably the most important name in the turnaround of The Montreal Canadiens – Serge Savard. A standing ovation warranted.

Question is …

Will there be an encore?

When the puck drops …


When the players and the owners manage to get their collective waste together, I will be back …

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P.K and the Habs


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Breaking News! Habs acquire goal scorer from the Kings!


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Don’t Worry … Be Happy!


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Pacioretty a Hab for Seven Years – Why?


Max Pacioretty is well liked in Montreal.

Presumably, Max Pacioretty is well liked by his Mom also. That does not mean she wants him to move in for six years …

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The Habs inked ‘Patches’ to a six year extension yesterday. Added to his one year deal – Max will be a Canadien for the next seven seasons.

Good or bad?

Pacioretty had a career high season last year following a disastrous time the year before. Give the American credit for not only coming back from a concussion and broken vertebrate – kudos for coming back with no fear.

Following a life and career threatening injury, many times an athlete is never the same. A perfect example is former Pittsburgh Penguin Kevin Stevens.

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Stevens was a goal scoring machine until a fateful day in May – 1993. Skating to get the puck in the corner, Stevens’ face collided with Islander Rich Pilon’s visor. Stevens was knocked out on impact and he fell to the ice face first.

One hundred stitches were required to sew back the skin in his face following hours of reconstructive surgery.

Kevin’s stints in Boston, L.A, New York, St.Louis, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were never able to revitalize a career snakebitten by fear. Stevens was also arrested in a hotel room with a prostitute and crack cocaine.

Luckily for Hab fans – the closest Pacioretty came to such shenanigans, was being on the same team as Andrei Kostitsyn.

Pacioretty has not proven anything. One good season following an injury such as his could be a fluke. Max had to dig deep  to prove to the Habs and himself that he deserved a chance. Anger also was key as Max was infuriated at having his season cut short by the Bruins’ captain. Pacioretty missed the playoffs and watched a Bruin team win the Stanley Cup.

A Cup that may not have been won if Pacioretty was in the lineup in the Habs -Bruins first round match-up.

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The Habs should obtain the power forward and not let him skate to whiter pastures. A reward for his tenacity is a no – brainer, especially on a team with Bergevin as G.M. Few skaters were as tenacious as Bergevin the player.

Six years is too much however. Three years is ample time to reward and see if Patches is indeed the real deal.

Heck, three years is two and a half years longer than his Mom would probably allow him in his old bedroom.

And she loves him …?

Top Ten Sticking Points in P.K Subban’s Contract Negotiations


P.K and the Habs …

Two entities further apart than Mick Jagger and Justin Bieber …

Why the delay? What’s going on dudes?

Here are the top ten problems with P.K Subban’s negotiations;

10. Bergevin won’t budge on his ‘ no money for diving’ policy.

9. Mrs. Subban, cannot – under no circumstances, go behind the bench and massage P.K ( practices or not ) !

8. IHOP not sure if pancakes can be delivered to Canada.

7. Number four not available – Bobby Orr or not!

6. Subban lied about what P.K represents. ‘Pearly Kate’ not as attractive to the paying public.

5. Bob Gainey should not have promised to pay Subban 7.5 million – at all!

4. Hooters girls from South Shore must pay their own way home!

3. P.K ‘s little toy truck not allowed on dressing room floor, regardless if it calms Pacioretty down …

2. Absolutely no Mickey Mouse Ears on the back of the Jersey!

And the number one sticking point in P.K’s contract negotiations?

1. A low high five with Carey Price is not worth ten million a year!

Mcleans Pub Tonight! Save TSN !


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?

Mcleans Pub tonight at 8:30pm. Come and sign a petition …!

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A Hospital Visit


The boy was nine – about to turn into a hockey player.

The minor leagues eluded him. The doctor told him ‘no sports’ until the ears were healed. What the physican meant was no team sports where competing meant an opportunity to get drilled by testosterone.

The swamp in front of his home was the training ground for an NHL career. The rink up the street – an opportunity to watch and learn while the older kids skated circles around him. The cold, a rite of passage …

The dark – haired boy begged his father for the missing pieces. The armor – the equipment required to arrive on the doorstep of the hockey hall of fame.

Citing wisdom, the Dad refused. “A boy grows fast”. He would say. ” Equipment such as elbow and shin pads do not. At the time of the doctor’s green light, the equipment will be bought …!”

Wistfully, with a heart as heavy as a puck in a jacket pocket – the lad continued his way down the frozen rink of adolescence.

The following week, once a long and dreadful day of school was completed; the prebuscent student discovered a package upon his neatly pressed sheets. A white plastic bag contained a treasure. Gifts to make a young hockey fan richer than his wildest dreams …

Placing the wrapping aside recklessly, the boy’s eyes widened at the sight of what his soft hands held. Like a beacon atop a stormy ocean, a brand new Montreal Canadiens sweater grew larger than life in his outstretched fingers.

His heart grew proud that day …

Along with the sweater, his sweater … a pair of Canadiens’ hockey socks matched his dreams with perfection. The sizes larger to fit his growing body for at least three years.

The first chance, the first non – school day, the boy pulled the same coloured socks that Maurice Richard wore onto his thin legs. The Jersey, the famous red, white and blue Jersey – came next. A Canadian Tire bought hockey sweater transformed into the very same one a certain Beliveau wore when netting his 500th goal.

The cereal went down quicker that morning. The voice of his Mom – a distant sound from a shore wintered by visions of frozen ponds.

Unlaced laces lagged behind like an old blind dog on a hunting trip as the boy raced through the doorway into frozen steps. The cold wind – blowing snow into his eyes and through to the vestibule built by men. People who may have played hockey as well; once upon a time …

The rink was filled, complete with all ages of fans. The original six, the Philadelphia Flyers – represented by boys, men and legacies. Some watched, others played. Most toyed with the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘could have beens’ that circled their brains like Gretzky on a powerplay.

The boy, quickly and erringly placed his skates to his feet with soft reckless abandon. Off came the jacket. The famous CH logo pointing the way. The red, white and blue socks matching the crest every step.

Combined with blue mittens, blue hand-me-down hockey pants and a Canadiens tuque; the boy fit nicely with the scrimmage taking place.

Standing by the net, discussing stragedy with teammates older than he – the boy looked into the distance.

It was too late.

A puck, a missile – a foot above the ice and travelling very fast, struck the soon-to-be ‘boy wonder’ in the shin.

Hard. Dead on.

Pain so intense – so lifelike, shot through him like a fiery stick piercing a marshmallow. Sweat, cold and dizzying – felled Guy Lafleur’s prodigal son as an ax would a six month old tree.

Clouds, the colour blue and faces black and white – focused their attention to the youngster as the ice became his new found bed.

Moms, Dads and ambulances were called. Blood replaced white ivory – coloured ice. Ice replaced blood – coloured socks. Shaking with shock, tears frozen in time, the adolescent continued his journey on broken dreams. Limb – shattered.

Operation. Cast. Holding back the energy of the rink, the passion and desire brought tears daily.

One day, one boring day when the mind wandered to dangerous places – a man woke the boy with a nudge. A poke check of reality. The man told of tales of the not so long ago past. A leg, a hockey playing leg, shattered not once – twice. At the cusp of stardom …

Hard work and devotion healed that man’s leg. Hard work and devotion healed that man’s soul. Enabling a career to start and finish with accolades beyond a boy’s biggest hopes. A happy ending to a story started in the grip of hell.

Three years later. A trilogy of seasons as a classroom. The boy, the swamp skater, the patient – the fan of the Canadiens de Montreal; represented his town at the highest level possible. He received a trophy. A symbol of dedication to hockey and perseverance.

As the years passed into adulthood, the boy whose shin was broken by the very thing he wished to spend his entire life chasing, wondered …

What would have happened to him if Serge Savard had not broken his leg?

Twice …

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Galchenyuk’s Top Ten Reasons for Signing a Three Year Deal


The Habs’ third pick in the 2012 draft, Alex Galchenyuk, has inked an entry level – three year deal with Le Club de Hockey.

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With little trepidation, the Russian agreed to the deal for several reasons.

Here now are the top ten;

10. Heard the strippers in Montreal are much better than in Sarnia.

9. Are you kidding? Miss a chance to play with Scott Gomez … ?

8. The colors red, white and blue add a fiery dimension to his normal placid complexion.

7. Three words; Awesome skate sharpener!

6. Where else can you buy premium Russian vodka until 11pm every night?

5. ‘You say tomato – I say tomate!’

4. Always wanted to get up close to a black hockey player …

3. Driving Montreal roads; A ‘new’ challenge!

2. Heard Youppi is really Tretiak in disguise.

And Galchenyuk’s number one reason for signing with the Canadiens?

1. His Mom told him to …!

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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?

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Diaz, Defence and Daigneault


Your Montreal Canadiens are bottom heavy.

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When and if training camp commences in September, the team will have so many defensive ends – fans just may think an Alouette football practice is underway.

Subban, Markov, Emelin, Bouillon, Gorges, Kaberle and newly – inked Diaz. Seven … er, six defencemen (if you count Kaberle … ).

Add Tinordi,  Beaulieu, Ellis and St. Denis and a whole lotta draft picks and riff – raff attempting to make the big club. Plus new off- ice personnel such as Patrice Brisebois, Sylvain Lefebvre and J.J. ( Dyno -mite ) Daigneault; the Habs could quite conceivably tie every game 0-0.

If Price is at his best – it should be difficult for opposing teams to score. If Price is at his best – it should be difficult for the Habs to score!

What else is new …? Yadda, yadda , yadda …

The top line consisting of Cole, Desharnais and Pacioretty is filled with what- ifs.

What if
– Cole’ s spectacular season was an aberration?

What if – Pacioretty’s surge had everything to do with proving himself and not about consistency?

What if – little David Desharnais’ feints and follies were videotaped into the minds and hearts of big opposing defencemen everywhere?

Truth be known, one season does not an Anderson, Messier and Gretzky make. Worried yet …? How about a second line of scoring …

Last season, Captain Gionta was not playing well before his bicep was torn like something from a Freddy Krueger movie. Rene Bourque skated  as Krueger himself and Scott Gomez played as if chased by Krueger / Bourque. Either that or Scott was a victim of too many pennies in his pockets wearing him down.

See any goals on the Habs’ horizon? Maybe – yes. Probably – hmmmm …

The remainder of the forwards such as Prust, Moen, Blunden. White, Armstrong, and Plekanec* will be;

A) Hitting people all over the rink
B) Beating people all over the rink
C) Spending the majority of the time in the penalty box or

D) All the above.
* Plekanec does not fit into any category at the moment. His bewilderment of last season not conclusive. Waiting for the Gauthier bugs to clear …

Goal scoring comes in the form of potential. Leblanc, Gallagher, Eller and Galchenyuk. The former – the best bet and the latter – a longshot for this season. Gallagher? Somewhere between the middle and Hamilton. Eller? BETWEEN Leblanc and Gionta to give the team a ‘LEG’ up on the new season …

Or

Place Galchenyuk on a line with Gomez and Gionta – a triple ‘G’ line for marketing bliss. How about the ‘G’ Spot line?

As the story goes and for lack of a better finish …

Your Montreal Canadiens are bottom heavy. As long as it is not the bottom of the league …

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Robinson. What’s Up with That?


Larry Robinson is swimming with Sharks. Literally …

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The hall of fame defenceman, the man who as a boy skated the Ottawa river to school, has been hired as a defensive associate in San Jose.

Does this mean the Sharks, the Buffalo Bills of hockey, will finally win a championship? For Canadiens’ fans – sadly, the answer is probably yes. Did the team miss an opportunity to develop young defencemen such as P.K Subban and Nathan Beaulieu? It all depends on the reasoning behind the decision or lack thereof.

If Molson of the legacy type, has opted to utilize his brain and drive the non – glorious route to a future Stanley Cup parade – more power to him.  The Habs have had more than their share of flat tires driving the bumpy road of past successes.

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If Bergevin and his ‘cone of silence’ partners have decided the team needs hockey decisions to replace money – making ones, Robinson’s non employment is a way of saying ; ” Thanks but no thanks!” In other words – bad timing!

A proper hockey decision requires proper hockey personnel. The hiring of the latter should be priority number one.

Alas.

Ca c’est Montreal . Ici c’est l’ endroit ou le Quebecoise veut rester libre. Charles de Gaulle, tragically, cannot coach.

On the tail of a dismal season,  following public relation and hockey disasters, the Habs can ill afford to stumble further from the hearts of the faithful.  No Shutts or Cournoyers allowed in the house which Corey assembled. Robinson, one of the most talented of former players – as a coach, is one of the members on the banned list. Sad but agonizingly so.

One of the greatest defencemen in the history of the NHL, the fellow who coached a defence squad to the finals in New Jersey last season – is the best guy for the Habs right now.

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P.K Subban, Emelin, Diaz and up and comers such as Tinordi would grow in leaps and bounds under Robinson’s tutelage. Imagine Tinordi. A boy growing into his awkward limbs. Something a Robinson knows all about. Who better to hold the glove of Mark ‘ s son as he skates to a potential hall of fame career. A career which may veer toward the AHL sans Robinson.

If Bergevin held a meeting with Larry and opposite philosophies parted the bleu, blanc et rouge waters – it is something which cannot be altered.

Hab fans hope the decision to hire Daigneault in lieu of a man whose number hangs very high at Le Centre Bell is the right one. Or else …

Bergevin will be on an island surrounded by angry partisans. Fans hungry for a Stanley Cup.

Sharks …

Please check my other site; Rick Keene’ s Music Scene. Thanks!

Eller; Deuces Wild!


The pieces of the puzzle are connecting nicely in Montreal. Too bad Therrien is the one in charge of piecing them together.

My bad.

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A chance should be given and Therrien may be a different guy than before. By Christmas, the red, white and blue tinsel will either be on the floor or in the tree.

The latest present given to Hab fans by Santa Bergevin is a two year deal for Lars Eller. No Grinch, no Max the dog at the great Dane’s place come December 25th.

WHO is this guy? A non – partisan of le club that Corey destroyed may ask over a cup of tea? Eller is a very talented man – boy who is having a devil of a time fitting into his body. That’s who …

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Strong and gangly, Mr. Eller of the four goal type – is desperately seeking to ditch Susan in lieu of Samson. In other words, the soft player emerges intermittently with the tough Lars. A normal event for a young man attempting to join the big boys of the NHL.

Flashes of brilliance are overshadowed by the Eller who wants to have fun. Hockey, at this level should not be fun. Not in the lazy, selfish way guys in Eller’s age group strive for.

Growing pains are what the fans are witnessing first hand. Not unlike the three seasons it took Guy Lafleur to shed his helmet and his Thurso childhood. Eller is a lot like Mats Sundin – appearance wise and talent wise. Eller is tougher than Sundin and possesses heart. Something Sundin sadly swerved to avoid on the hockey assembly line.

The Dane’s blonde hair frames a face fresh as a baby’s bottom. In two years,  the face has been spanked. The face has been put through some of the rigers of hockey North American style. So far – the son of the Ellers has held his own. All the while climbing each experience rung of a Canadien ladder. Imagine how many points he would have had last season if the team had not been in turmoil.

If a proper coach had coached him properly, at this stage of the game – Eller would not be puzzling.

Obviously, Bergevin believes he needs this piece. Or else Eller’s four goal game complete with a highlight spin-er-ama would be just a part of Canadiens’ lore.

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Have a nice day …

Habs Ink Moen; Four Years?


Travis Moen is a plus to any squad …

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Cool the Habs added him to a contract. Bergevin appears to be building his team on character. Aside from hiring Brisebois, the new G.M has accumulated many unshakeable people on the good ( and unsinkable?) ship Canadiens.

Lapointe, Mellanby, Dudley and the recently- signed White and first round pick Galchenyuk all have displayed grit and determination in their hockey lives. None appear to give an inch if push comes to shove. Add Moen, a Saskatchawan born farmer who presumably has fought a few cows in his life, it is obvious what direction this team is headed. Let the skill players play and if they are pushed around – Mr.White and company will beat the jockstraps out of anyone who dares take advantage of Plekanec, Subban and Desharnais.

The new Habs are being modelled after the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks a couple of seasons ago. It is about time. Too many seasons have seen the ‘team which Pollock built’ pushed so hard that John Ferguson was spinning in his grave like a maddened Rocket. What happened to the glare of the team? This is what Bergevin wants to not only know – the Montrealer wants to find.

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Moen is big. Moen is strong. Moen is the type of guy who will do what he’s told. No questions and no instructions required for Travis. As an added bonus – the man has been around long enough to feel at ease to discover an offensive side of his game. In any job, once the routine becomes easy, a person with ambition rises above the mundane and excels. Moen was that guy last season until Mr. Concussion budded in and placed Moen on the sidelines in the Montreal circus which is hockey.

Moen is no clown. He knows where he was and knows where he wants to be. Montreal is dear to his heart and his heart is in the right place. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder…

After missing fifty plus games last year, Moen’ s heart must be brimming with an eagerness to find out what if? The Habs have given him four years for those ‘ifs’ to find a place in the hearts of Montrealers.

Know what?

He’s already in them …

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Darche is Done!


It’s sad really …

Why does a guy like Mathieu Darche have to be blessed with no natural skills?

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Jeff Whyte – Darche’s bantam coach, parlayed the same sentiment in a conversation we had last year. According to Whyte, Mathieu had to work very hard to get better all the time.

“Even though he was the captain and had a strong sense of the game, he was one of the weaker skaters on the team. It was sad because he was the best team player and the most gung – ho guy on the team.”

If not for Darche’s work ethic, a stop in Montreal would never have happened. Mathieu would have stalled in one of the many AHL destinations that was part of his climb to a regular spot in Montreal.

Even then, would Darche have played as long in Montreal if his name was Mathieu Smith?

In an environment begging for a French player to calm the masses, Darche was at the right place at the proper time. Once Maxime Lapierre was dispatched to Vancouver, Mathieu’s place was secure due to his connaisance of the ‘mot’ poutine and his willingness to cook it as well.

In the Bergevin era with new guys like Geoffrion and White in the mix, guys who are younger and are blessed with more talent – Darche is expendable. No use in Hab management over – welcoming their offer to the now free agent. In other words – an older hen can lay eggs but a younger one can lay more …

Mathieu comes from a great background. His father is a doctor and his brother J.P is currently studying to be one at the University of Kansas. This following a sucessful career in the CFL and NFL as a longsnapper.

Whatever happens to Mathieu, if a team picks him up or he retires sooner than he thought, one thing is certain. Mathieu Darche will be remembered as a hard working guy who did everything he was asked to do.

The only sad thing is he did not lift a cup in his hometown. Yet.

According to Mr. Whyte, Darche will make an excellent coach one day …

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Whyte should know. He and Mathieu won a couple of championships together …

Thank you Mathieu and good luck!

Ryan White; On Board for a Year


There was a guy once – who skated for les Canadiens.

He arrived as an enforcer. Little skill, big fists and a whole lot of spunk. On top of that – the man was from Boston …

How could a dude from Massachusetts possibly play hockey for Montreal and give a crap? Especially when the Bruins and Habs meet! Yup, the guy was destined to be a fourth line player, get in a couple of fights and following three seasons – he’d be sent adrift into the AHL …

Something funny happened.

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Not only did the dude bring heart to the ice surface, he brought a whole lotta desire to improve. That guy became a very good defensive player, he tallied more goals than most thought he would and went on to be the backbone for a Montreal team on the cusp of a post- dynasty era.

That man’s name was Chris Nilan and recently signed Ryan White is a clone of that man.

Nilan tossed pucks from the penalty box, Nilan smashed signs with his stick. Nilan recklessly challenged EVERYONE to fight. He stuck up for not just his mates – he stuck up for the CH …

In the short time we have seen White sport le bleu, blanc et rouge – we have seen the same behavior. Ryan will take on everyone at any size. He will recklessly ( at times ), attack when he should be taking notes. He will take a dumb penalty and allow a goal on occasion instead of taking his man.

Youth does that. Ask Nilan what his former coach, Jean Perron said to him on many occasion following Chris’ return from the penalty box. Ask Nilan what his coach told him after a game in Boston when he took on the entire Bruins’ bench.

Grab a seat and ask M. Perron who was a catalyst on a Montreal team which won a Stanley Cup in 1986. Perron will smile and say that aside from Patrick Roy – Chris ‘Knuckles’ Nilan was a huge part of that victory.

Today, the 2012 Canadiens signed Ryan White to a year contract. One question remains …

Does Ryan have to ask Chris Nilan permission to use ‘ knuckles’ ?

As in the ‘Pocket Knuckles’ …

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Habs Puck – Up?


A Hab fan knows …

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What appears good is not necessarily good. Especially with first round picks.

Where shall we start?

Eric Chouinard? Lyndsay VALLIS? Don’t say the ‘W’ word … As in Wickenheiser ( Doug)!

There have been so many promises, so many fallen hopes. First round picks and management that have made those picks have been left crestfallen many times over the years. So much so that Sam Pollack is no longer observing the Canadiens from his heavenly perch. No sir – Mr. Pollock has exchanged his blue Forum seat for a more comfortable place watching Red Storey referee the big match in the sky …

In 2012, the Montreal Bergevins possessed the third overall pick in the draft. Given the fact the team has suffered greatly in recent years in the character department, by selecting Alexandre Galchenyuk – G.M Bergevin et al are attempting to fix that problem.

Galchenyuk did not play last season. Much.

He blew out his knee early in the season and his point production along with his presence alongside number one pick – Nail Yakupov was missed. His countryman, Grigorenko, did the opposite. He missed the end of a season following a productive point season in Junior. His absence due to a bout with mono.

Mono disappears. Knee injuries never completely go away …

If you watch the two forwards play the game they love, it is apparent the pair are polar opposites. Galchenyuk has the talent to be a Samsonov as in Sergei. The good Samsonov which won a calder trophy as rookie of the year. Grigorenko – the tools to tread somewhere between Mario Lemieux and Ron Francis.

The knock on Grigorenko? No passion, no desire. All this before he gets rich. Imagine how lazy he would be then?

Galchenyuk has heart. Galchenyuk has desire. Galchenyuk has a broken knee.

When Samsonov started his decline from a great player to an average player. When the word ‘average’ became his moniker, the desire and passion never left him. As a Bruin, a HAB and a Hurricane – Sergei always was one of the most visible players on the ice. The effort was there but teams were smart to defend. Creativity on Samsonov’ s part – not his strong point.

Grigorenko will not be a Samsonov. He may end up as another Yashin yet never a Samsonov. Grigorenko may also become a player who scores in bunches. Think of a Lecavalier with consistency.

Galchenyuk will always be a Samsonov. Which one? A player who hovers between twenty- five and forty points a year with five different teams.

Grigorenko will be a …?

This a Hab fan knows …

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.

A Puppet in Place …


“Yes sir … I will be good. Yes sir – I will do what you say …!”

If these were not the words that sealed Michel Therrien’s fate as the new / old coach of ‘Les Habitants of former greatness’, then fasten some seat belts Habs fans – it’s gonna be a heck of a four month ride from the start of training camp.

Michel Therrien is not a bad coach. He is nowhere near the calibre of Mario Tremblay in this respect. In fact, on several occasions, Therrien appeared like Scotty Bowman’s long lost French relative on episodes of L’Anti Chambre as opposed to Tremblay’s rah rah ROY rants.

This is the conundrum the Habs, the Hab faithful and all the tiny Hablettes scattered around the Hab universe find themselves with. Michel Therrien is; his own worse enemy.

Hmmm … Sounds very much the same reason some of the hockey minds were opposed to Patrick Roy? Yes but the difference between the two is larger than a young boy’s eyes upon seeing a scantily clad woman holding a Wayne Gretzky rookie card.

Patrick Roy has respect. Therrien does not.

Hockey players are fans of Joan Rivers. They heed her advice to ‘talk amongst themselves’ every chance they get. It is not the old days when a guy like Gordie Howe never spoke to a guy like Maurice Richard. Even if Twitter was available in the fifties; it’s hard to imagine two men with so much loyalty speaking or Facebooking one another on how to make great scrambled eggs.

In this, the modern apocalyptic Bettman daze – players not only speak to one another, by the very nature of the beast created by Bettman; they play on the same team every six months or so it appears.

“Hey …!” Says Carey Price to John Leclair at a Habs alumni dinner. “What’s this guy Therrien like as a coach?”

Leclair, who played for Therrien’s Pens during the 2005 – 2006 season, thinks and says …”Fundamentally he is sound. Everything is ok until the pressure mounts. Then, Therrien makes these wacko decisions which leave everyone confused.”

“I see.” Says Price with concern on his brow. ” What about Roy, would he have been a better choice?”

Leclair thinks for a moment and replies; ” Well Carey, I have no idea what type of coach Patrick is. One thing is certain, the guy hates to lose and when some guys panic – that is the time Roy channels his emotion to winning at all costs!”

The Bergevin Holding Company

Marc Bergevin never won a Stanley Cup by himself. Let alone two of them. Bergevin’s successes have been by committee. Once his playing days were through, Bergevin drank from the Stanley Cup as a cog in a wheel. This is the recipe which Bergevin knows …

This is the recipe Bergevin is attempting in Montreal with the Canadiens. The difference? Chicago had Dale Tallon, Montreal has Dale Tallon’s prodigy. The Black Hawks were obscure in the press. The Habs are the press.

Therrien as a coach has matured since the days in Montreal and Pittsburgh. As a television analyst on RDS he is very composed compared to some of his co – workers. It is relatively simple to be composed as the one guy ( aside from Michel Bergeron ) on the panel with the most experience as a coach. It’s easy to be composed in front of a camera man who smokes Gitanes.

The question remains; in front of 21,000 spectators at Le Centre Bell with a minute left and down a goal – will Therrien leave Cole on the bench and insert Ryan White on a hunch? Will Therrien’s emotions overide his brain? This is what troubles the average bear and the average fan.

Bergevin, Dudley, Mellanby, Carriere and the little Canadiens’ fan who lives down La Gauchetiere lane are the ones in charge. This committee needed a French dude to coach.

Carbonneau is too fiery for their tastes. Carbonneau would not listen to his good pal Gainey – why would he listen to guys he played and scored against?

Patrick Roy needs do his John McEnroe impersonation almost daily. Roy as a goalie and Roy – as a person, are perfectionists. If things do not go his way and the proper way; the puck hits the fan. If the puck hits Bergevin, Dudley, Mellanby and Carriere – too much effort for Roy to run around with his apologies.

Michel Therrien wants to coach in the NHL – badly. Luckily for the Montreal native, the Canadiens badly require a French speaking coach.

Is that right Michel?

“Oui Monsieur, – je veut faire comme tu veut …!”

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