We Are Not In Montreal Anymore Toto …


It’s a strange feeling.

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

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

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

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

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

Something will happen.

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

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

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

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

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

With or without a Stanley Cup ring blocking  his ears …

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The Habs; Same Old Song and Dance …


Everyone remembers Rodney Dangerfield?

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

Well – he’s back!ffff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 …

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!

Habs Getting it Right ( for a change )


Scott Mellanby? Never skated alongside Guy Lafleur …

Rick Dudley? Never partied at Pete Mahovolich’s parents’ home as a teammate. Mahovlich made the rounds. Dudley and the ‘Little M’ may have crossed paths and rum and cokes somewhere as acquaintances.

Marc Bergevin? Not even an entrance into the Canadiens’ storied dressing room. Three hockey playing men; three non – Habitants.

On the dreaded day in 1995, when former team president Ronald Corey appointed Steve Shutt, Yvan Cournyoyer, Mario Tremblay and Rejean Houle to run the Montreal Canadiens – things were never the same since.

Amid a rah – rah press conference, a ‘garbage goal’ skater, a ‘roadrunner’ and two lunch pail plumbers were expected to resurrect a franchise that did not require resurrecting.

Just two short years removed from a Stanley parade, Houle et al were called in to ‘save’ a squad which commenced the season a (tongue-in-cheek) horrendous 0- 4. This on the heels of the team missing the playoffs for the first time in twenty- five seasons. For Jaques Demers, the writing was on the wall even if he could not read it.

Houle, the G.M, and Tremblay – the coach; had no experience in either position. Still, the bleu, blanc et rouge blood which pumped through their veins; enough to instill victory to their former club. Add the inexperience of assistant coaches Cournyoyer and Shutt – the worse foursome at any golf tournament around the NHL.

That tenure set Le Club de Hockey Canadien further from a parade than an eighty – two year old man with no patience. Players came and went amid so much panic, it’s a wonder the fire alarm did not summon the emergency workers daily. Add the fiasco with Patrick Roy – the Habs were going downhill and quick …

Same old Song and Dance

In years since, the Habs have tried in vain to bring in fresh faces. Attempts have been made with the likes of Vigneault, Therrien, Julien and Jacques Martin. Upstairs – Andre Savard attempted a coup and had moderate success. The common denominator of all these hockey people? French Canadians and Hab fans from the past.

When this did not work, back to the familiar ‘ex – ‘Hab’ drawing room.

Gainey and Carbonneau were set to carry the club to victory. Two former captains of the Canadiens. A pair of defensive heroes. A pair of hockey minds.

Carbonneau and Gainey were on the right track. A first place finish in the Eastern Conference for the first time in twenty years. Then, something funny happened away from the old Forum. The team (corporation), realized millions could be made with a centennial celebration worthy of kings. Everyone could get rich, the organization would receive attention and a chance to display feathers like a hockey – playing peacock.

Along the way, the team was forgotten …

A kindergarten class requires a teacher. If not, paint will adorn the walls and the sandbox will smell awful funny. Gainey and Carbonneau’s crew lost without the Skipper. Somewhere, Carbonneau lost his way also and was dismissed by Gainey.

Enter a Gauthier with ties to the French. Enter a Martin with ties to the Gauthier. A repetition worthy of not repeating. Plus ca change … Plus c’est la meme chose!

A New Beginning

Serge Savard, a man wronged by Corey in 1995, was given a shot at redemption. New owner Molson, a virgin at hockey affairs… Serge or – ‘Le Senateur’, brainstormed with the boss. In Savard’s views, hockey first – language second. By hiring Bergevin to run the show – an English ‘sheep’ in French clothing. Savard is savvy. Savard knew ex- Quebec Premieres Parizeau and Bouchard attempted to rally the French away from Canada while sending their kids to the States to learn. In English.

By hiring Bergevin, a response to the French call of duty. By hiring Bergevin, an insight into the real hockey world – en Anglais.

Rick Dudley – an Englishman straight from Toronto. Scott Mellanby – an Englishman straight from the land of Halak. The new coach … ? Straight from the land of versatile knives.

For all intensive purposes, Hartley is English with enough French to order breakfast and not be laughed at in La Belle Province’s La Belle Province.

Bob Hartley never skated with Guy Lafleur either …

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

Grab a Seat, Sip from the Stanley Cup and Admire Guy Lafleur’s Ring!


Among the featured items in Lelands.com current auction is a seat from the Montreal Forum, the 1968 Stanley Cup trophy given to Montreal Canadiens’ legend Henri Richard and the 1979 Stanley Cup ring of Guy LaFleur.


The Seat

 
Oh, Canada! If few teams in sports history have had the success of the Montreal Canadiens, then even fewer venues were as revered – and as intimidating – as the old Montreal Forum. This seat comes from the home of 24 Stanley Cup Championships, it has a red wooden back, red cushioned seat and silver-painted metal supports. The seat has “31” painted in stencil, and individual stickers spell out “Forum de Montreal – 1924-1996 – number: 31 – row E – section 111” with the trademark team logo sticker on the top right. Each support features the metallic logo from the Forum’s final season, the seat shows use and has scratches, and the metal beneath the cushion has some rust. VG-EX condition. Comes with Certificate of Authenticity.

See photo here!

The Pocket Rocket’s Stanley Cup

No player in league history has won the Stanley Cup as often as the 11 times that the “Pocket Rocket” Henri Richard hoisted the sport’s championship prize. This item is a mini replica of the Cup awarded to the players from the championship team. This trophy is from the 1967-68 season, when Montreal swept the St. Louis Blues four games to none, and features 26 names nicely engraved in two columns. This 13″ high trophy stands in excellent condition besides light age tarnishing and has the original green felt on the base. It comes with a Letter of Authenticity signed by Richard himself, and this stellar collectible is in EX-MT condition.

See photo here!

Lafleur’s Championship Ring

The Montreal Canadians have established themselves as one of the winningest professional sports franchises of all time. Guy Lafleur had his place in the annals of the “Flying Frenchmen” and this ring is in celebration of his team’s 1979 Stanley Cup Championship. While this is a replacement that Lafleur had made, it is in fact identical to the original. It sports real diamonds on top surrounding the image of the cup along with their championship years “76, 77, 78, 79,” and is stamped by Jostens inside. The left shank of the size 12 ring has the name “Lafleur” over the Habs logo and “Club de Hockey Canadien.” On the right is the year “1979” above the words “NHL Champions.” 10 Karat gold and NRMT condition. Comes with a letter of authenticity signed by Guy Lafleur.

See photo here!

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 …

Kings – Coyotes; Die Another Day


Just over the halfway point of the second period in game four of the western conference finals – something happened.

A pivotal point in the Coyotes’ claim to stay alive.

Down 3-0 in games, captain Coyote himself hit the goal post. A ‘ding’ to his teammates’ hearts. If it was a goal – a confidence builder for his despondent mates. A three – quarter turn of the winning screw.

But wait

The team in Toronto had other ideas.

When an official is uncertain of small matters such as goals, their decision is passed on to the ‘men upstairs’. The dudes with devices that record plays. If and when the ‘boys of les buts’ witness a puck crossing the line – that message is parlayed to the penalty box.

No purgatory allowed. In this case, Shayne Doan had indeed scored. Placing the three hundred pound gorilla off the backs of the Coyotes. A heavy burden for desert dogs to tote in Tinseltown …

Up by two goals – Phoenix players start skating a little stronger with lightness in their strides. Passes suddenly seem easier than before. They are still behind the ‘eight puck’, yet for this game, the next thirty minutes – in their minds they are not.

Smiles replace grimaces on the visiting bench. Heads higher than they were before. Just like that, they believe once more …

All the dreams of winning the second oldest trophy in professional sports come flooding back. A glimpse of what the future could hold on the tip of their battered sticks. The nightmare of the past week; forgotten like a kiss in kindergarten.

L.A ‘s destiny in this game …? Up to their coach. Twenty minutes of motivation of the gentler kind. The Kings know they are close and at the same time – so far. Take away the past and forget the future. It is one game and the dynamics do not keep track beyond sixty minutes.

If they open up, Marcel Dionne’s old team risks the two-on- ones and the odd- man rushes of history. Play it safe? Three goals are not that easy against a cautionary Coyote defense. Not simple against Smith.

Penalties become an perplexing issue. Take one to save a goal, take one and you may be opening more than the penalty box door. The Kings cannot afford Coyote courtesy. They cannot allow a third goal while they are short by a pair. A return to Phoenix, no skate in the rink. No guarantees …

A bench is shortened in the regular season by the visitors – a bench is elongated by necessity in the playoffs. Each player, face drawn behind the surly beards with exhaustion. Each player’s loved ones, face drawn with exhaustion.

The Coyotes were kicked and left by a California highway to die. They picked themselves up and carried on. Now, they return to Phoenix to look for what every abused animal seeks; love.

And for something to happen once more …

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

Monday Q Tip


Did you rake the leaves, wash the car and feed the dog?

Perhaps you raked the dog, washed the leaves and stuffed Kibbles n’ Bits into your car’s gas tank … ?

No worries – at least you did something this past weekend. That’s more than the;

St. Louis Blues

In case all your weekend tasks kept you away from your television / computer / buddy who is a hockey fan – the L.A. Kings swept the Blues in four games. If your are keeping track of such things – the Kings have now eliminated the number one and two seeds in the Western Conference.

The Kings had just a little more experience than St. Louis and combined with the loss of Halak, this series was as anti- climatic as discovering your new girlfriend is a he and adores playing horseshoes ( not that there is anything wrong with horseshoes ).

Blues’ goalie Elliot, the keeper of the season’s best goals against average – did not play bad. On occasion – when a team requires a win, a change between the pipes shakes things up. Adorns a team’s Christmas tree a different perspective as they gander back toward the crease. St. Louis had this advantage all season with the best goalie tandem in the NHL. Unfortunately, Halak picked the worse time to be run over by his teammate and injure his lower body. The series would have been different otherwise …

A Special Birthday

Yesterday, Denis Brodeur and his wife, spent the day wondering where the years have gone. For them, forty years appears like yesterday as they sat around reminiscing and watching the Devils take a 3 – 1 commanding lead against the Flyers.

Was it really their little boy? The one who cried when he first lost a game as a net minder in Atom hockey? Was it him standing in goals yesterday as the newly – turned, forty year old, winningest goaltender in hockey history? Saving his way to yet another Devils’ win and accumulating more wins and lore to pack in his suitcase for his eventual trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame?

It sure was M. et Madame Brodeur.

For one moment, do not think his teammates are not aware of these facts and are giving that little extra.The little Devils – all the way to the big ones … are going to help anyway they can to give Martin Brodeur the best birthday present in hockey.

Lord Stanley’s Cup!

Sentimental fans, even the ones who live under the Arch in St. Louis, must all be cheering for Brodeur and nostalgia … Sorry Mr. Quick – your time will come!


Speaking of goalies …

Since that fateful morning in 1985 when Flyers’ net minder Pelle Lindbergh drove his Porsche into a wall, his former position continues to ‘ haunt ‘ Philadelphia.

Ironically, as a young lad in Sweden – Lindbergh dreamed of playing for the Flyers and skating in his idol’s steps. His hero? Bernie Parent. Pelle’s parents going so far to bring the little Lindbergh to North America to see Parent play …

Pelle’s Porsche – Curse?

The Flyers, about now – wish either Lindbergh or Parent were in goals. Bryzgalov cannot make the ‘ big save ‘ and it is deflating the Flyers’ playoff balloon. The man whose fear lies ‘ in the woods ‘, is not out of the woods. He is not playing bad. He is playing much better than he did against Pittsburgh. Sadly, he cannot channel Patrick Roy of 1986 or Pelle Lindbergh of 1995 … Ouija board anyone?

This is not your Father’s hockey league …

It used to be, players, coaches and presumably their wives – all remained with one organization for minimum ten years. Unless, of course – your name happened to be Marc Bergevin and you played defense.

Now – everyone is moving so much, a GPS is required to keep up to date in your hockey pools.

The Hawks have announced, Norm ( no relation to the t.v. Star ) Maciver, a former assistant coach in Boston and most recently director of scouting in Chicago – has been appointed the new Ass’t G.M. in Chicago …

Maciver takes Montreal G.M. Bergevin’s place who held the same positions in Chicago.

Marc? I’ll be right there ….!

Now, it is reported Bergevin – is recruiting Leafs’ director of player personnel Rick Dudley to come and be his assistant in Montreal. Dudley has been with the Leafs since 2011. Dudley was the G.M. in Atlanta before his Toronto tenure and was replaced by former Hawks’ assistant G.M Cheveldae when the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg. If this is the case – Dudley ( a former Buffalo Sabre ) would replace Larry Carriere ( another former Sabre ), as the assistant G.M. in Montreal.

Scotty Bowman was a coach in Montreal and the G.M. in Buffalo. He is presently a senior advisor in Chicago and his son is the G.M. Of the BlackHawks.

No news whether Denis Savard; a former BlackHawk / Habs’ player and a past coach in Chicago – is returning to Montreal or ending up in Buffalo.

Confused … ?

Go outside and get the Kibbles n’ Bits from the gas tank. Things will be more smooth after that …

Finally …

Max Pacioretty greets Zdeno Chara at the World Hockey Championships!

Can you read Max ‘s mind?

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