The Canadian juniors after a crushing meltdown to Russia in the gold medal final. Photo: Andrew Wallace/Toronto Star

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

The collapse of our Canadian juniors in the world junior gold medal match against a determined and skilled Russian team is unfortunate but it is not a disgrace or embarrassment. The team blew a 3-0 lead in the third period and ended up losing 5-3.

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

What the Russians managed to do in the tournament was remarkable. Not once. Not twice. But THREE TIMES they came from behind to win. Against the Finns in the quarterfinals. Against the Swedes in the semi-finals. Against us good ole Canuck puckheads in the finals.

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

They are kids playing a kids game and different from the professionals playing a kids game in the NHL that we deify and demonize from week to week, game to game. So Canada choked, it is better for the tournament to have such added drama…and for other teams to win too.

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

Canada feels like it’s entitled to win everything that is hockey, that’s ok, but we will not win all the time. Just like Brazil, Italy, England and Germany in soccer, the traditional powers of a sport always expect win. Russia has a long and storied hockey history and was a superpower in the sport for a long time. No shame in losing to them.

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

Remember, we were not expected to win these world juniors, even with 15 first rounds draft picks in our lineup and we avenged our loss last year to the Americans enroute to this gold medal final. We do not own the copyright on playing with heart and coming from behind to win in hockey and that is a valuable lesson we learned in this tournament, one we should carry beyond the rink- some may say that it is golden.

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.


The busiest day of the year was February 28th with 100 views. The most popular post that day was Karma has a long memory, Shanahan-Vaive tale a lesson for all.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were ca.loadedweb.com, translate.google.fi, gambang-x.com, student-loan-consilidation.com, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for leafs suck, brendan shanahan, habs, habs vs leafs, and larry robinson.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Karma has a long memory, Shanahan-Vaive tale a lesson for all December 2009


Habs Rock – Leafs Suck – our mantra confirmed! October 2008


Setting the record straight September 2008


Patrick Roy – The Greatest September 2008


Some Great Leaf Jokes November 2008

Jim Kelley, a Hall of Fame hockey journalist, recently passed away from cancer.

Kelley, from Buffalo, was a great columnist, someone for many hockey scribes to aspire to.

His second last column was about a conversation he had with Pat Burns. It was very poignant, here is the link:

His last column was a review of the Leafs thus far under Brian Burke…he filed it at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30, he died later that day.

Good bye Jim, strength to your family and friends from all of us hockey fans who enjoyed your work.



It has been awhile since we last posted and as Habs fans we have had a good run from last year’s magical playoff run to our encouraging start this year.

However, the passing of Pat Burns is hard to not acknowledge. Simply put, even as a diehard Habs fan, my respect and admiration for Burns’ career and who he was, runs deep, so deep in fact, that while he coached the Leafs, I actually watched and hoped for the best for him, which meant Leaf success…

The hockey world lost a great man but the loss it experiences does not compare to that of his family and friends.

Thanks coach.

Bob Gainey, now a former Montreal GM.

The stepping down, or aside, whichever way you look at it, of Bob Gainey from the Habs GM post sure did come as a surprise.

He looked tired and relieved all at the same time. He is one of Montreal’s all time great players and his resumé as GM is not all that bad. The team has been a winner under him but in a city where it is the Stanley Cup or bust, he could not meet lofty expectations. Let’s remember that he has not decimated this team like other former Habs have when in power, such as Rejean Houle and Mario Tremblay.

He did make some confounding and frustrating decisions. Bringing back Brisebois, losing Mark Streit and Mark Komisarek were among them. However, what I think ultimately undid his tenure was not his faith in Carey Price, his draft pick who is slowly developing and adjusting to NHL life but his faith in Alex Kovalev.

His long walk and talk with Kovalev a few summers back to entice Kovalev to stay and be the key cog in the Hab engine really did screw him in the end. As per his resumé, Kovalev proceeded to have a great season followed by a crap one. The same mantra always applies to Alex, one of the most talented players in the game but an enigma to coach. Kovalev and the example he set and the reported strife he caused in the lockerroom vis-à-vis leadership and Saku Koivu could not be ignored. The Habs hitched their wagon to “The Enigma” and it frustratingly stuttered and stalled along the way.

Bob Gainey, at left, Larry Robinson and Mats Naslund, my 1986 Cup memories include Gainey's key leadership.

Something was amiss last year when Gainey axed Carbo as coach. The move just did not make sense. Two former close teammates with a shared history beyond their playing days, once mentor and student as well, it seemed like a bond which could not be broken by a team not producing but it apparently did. Today, on a Toronto sport radio show, Carbo said that his firing was an “un-Bob” like move and now that we see Pierre Gauthier taking the mantle and Jacques Martin as coach, the dominoes become clearer to see.

We now have a former Senators GM at the helm with the coach he brought in, when they were in Ottawa, to help right the Ottawa ship. How long has all this been brewing behind the scenes?

I like Gainey’s gutting of the squad this past off-season, it is was bold and needed. If not for some injuries, all the free agents would have been able to give even more positively to the team’s fortunes. Camalleri has worked out as has Gionta, Gill and Spacek. Gomez, if not for his price tag, would be an ok pick up as well.

Gainey has given his life to the Habs and the man himself must be remembered for all he has endured recently. He lost his wife to cancer in 2005 and the his daughter at sea in an accident in 2006.

He now can live his life, we can hope and live it with the spotlight he wishes to shine on the things nearest and dearest to him-which is all we can wish for one of the greatest Habs of all time.

Take care Bob.

Au revoir et bonne chance Bob.

Georges Laraque #17 of the Montreal Canadiens plays in his first game at the Bell Centre on October 15, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Good bye George, you’re a good guy and a heavyweight to respect.

We won’t miss his goal scoring touch or playmaking abilities. Will we even miss what he was meant to do, fight and protect his teammates? Strangely, enough, we probably won’t miss that either.

I’ve always believed we needed a police officer to protect our playmakers and small guys but too often than not, big bad George was either injured or simply not fighting. He never fulfilled his career reputation.

“Not being productive…and being destructive on the whole…” were among the words Bob Gainey used to explain why George was released.

We can’t comment, as fans, about the distraction he had become to his team, as Gainey reports, but couldn’t his release have been done in a more classy way? The poor guy must be suffering with the tragedy that has hit homeland of Haiti, this unceremonious severing of ties just seems plain cold.

“…Gainey said he gave Laraque an offer Wednesday to give him a leave of absence so he could deal with the situation in Haiti, either by being with his family or by going to the devastated country to help with the recovery. Gainey said Laraque refused the offer, saying everything was fine, ” reports the Toronto Star.

Well, if the above is the case, that answers my question.

Au revoir Georges.

Canada has a dressing room full of talent that can win gold.

Forget about the insane analysis and the nitpicking, the recently announced Canadian Olympic team can win it all in Vancouver.

There is youth, grit, experience and explosive firepower, let alone stellar goaltending and both mobile and sturdy defence. Kudos to Steve Yzerman and the Team Canada brain trust.

There were some solid players that did not get selected, such as Martin St. Louis, the mercurial Vinny Lecavalier and the rock hard horse on D called Jay Bouwmeester but look at who made it, you cannot say any of those players does not deserve to be there. We in fact could field two teams and score two medals in this thing.

Thumbs up to Canadian GM Steve Yzerman and coach Mike Babcock on the team they assembled.

Drew Doughty raised some eyebrows but if you follow hockey closely and catch the late night highlights, whenever there is a LA King highlight, Doughty is in the middle of it. He is the best all round defenceman when you stack him up against Calgary’s  Bouwmeester or Mike Green of the Capitals. Doughty has more offensive upside than Bouwmeester and brings  Green-like offense without the Green-like poor defensive play.

The following is not a complaint but if I had my choice I’d likely replace Brenden Morrow upfront with either Lecavalier or St. Louis, their explosive nature just appeals me to more. However, Morrow does not hurt the team and fills a needed role upfront.

Scott Niedermayer as captain works for me here. Sidney Crosby will get his chance to be captain on future teams but the silky smooth skating Niedermayer deserves it. Anyway, any given excellent team will have leaders emerge regardless of the letter or lack thereof on their chest.

I love the idea of having pairings and players familiar with one another. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith on D from the Blackhawks works for me. They are that team’s top shutdown pair and will be solid for Team Canada.

Cory Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are  linemates with the Ducks and have won together and can be bring their dynamic offense together to Canada.

The wildcard is the San Jose Trio, all three guys need to prove they can perform and win. They have a sickening amount of talent and I’m sure Babcock and Stevie Y will ensure they have their heads screwed on straight.

Lastly, in the nets, I’ll take any of Brodeur, Luongo or Fleury and not sweat it on any given night.

Go Canada Go!!!!