Posts Tagged ‘Canadiens’

100 Years o f Habs greats! courtesy of NY DailyNews

Talk about a celebration.

The Montreal Canadiens centennial game celebrations were a spectacle every sporting fan, let alone hockey or Habs fan, just had to respect.

Watching the past greats in Habs jerseys were a nostalgic touch which would be hard to replicate by any sporting franchise short of the other titans of sports such as the New York Yankees, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, AC Milan, Barcelona, Manchester United, Pittsburgh Steelers…you get the picture.

On a personal note, seeing the king, Patrick Roy, in full goalie gear in a Habs uniform was extra special.

The last time we had seen that, he had stormed off the ice in that dark moment in Montreal history, after getting bombed by the Detroit Red Wings, then gave the 1000-yard stare to then coach Mario Tremblay and uttered to Ronald Corey that was the last game he’d played as a Canadien. For me, that was my first and last game at the fabled Montreal Forum and the only time I ever saw my last hockey hero, Roy, play.

The 100th anniversary celebrations since last season to last night were all class.

Thank you to this wonderful franchise for all the history and memories.


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Time for the post-mortem on Les Glorieux, our wonderful Habs flamed out so badly this year that I am almost thankful the season has finally ended.

Since the all-star break the cracks really started to show and we never recovered. Our paper thin lineup and lack of quality depth came back to bite us in the arse. A team built along the Buffalo youth model; remember how we touted the pedigree of our kids developed in Hamilton, just barely made it through this season.

We fired Carbo, which in the end really improved nothing. How could a coach so good a season ago be fire-worthy a season later? The internal strife and cancer on this team, whatever it is, need to be exorcised.

This lineup, even if it were healthy, would not have defeated the Boston Bruins. We lacked depth and size. Honestly, last year’s playoff series against Boston should have been our wake-up call. We almost blew a 3-1 series lead against them and we have never been the same since.

Here is my personal post-mortem on this squad and what I think needs to be done regarding our unrestricted free agents:

Carey Price stays. He is 21 and he is a very good goaltender with tonnes of potential and a lot still to learn. Yes, he gave it the old “Roy wave” to fans and that is ok. He is being made a scapegoat for a team with no real defence and grit up front, let alone real scoring threats. Can he play better? Yes. Was he the lone problem? No. Get this kid a veteran back-up, a quality veteran back-up and it can only help. Halak is good goalie but he is no Price. Deal Halak if you have to, the Price is still right, it says here

We need a real, bonafide, NUMBER ONE centre. Plekanec will never be that. Koivu is way past prime. Lang is a solid number two but closer to number three centre, sign him. We need a horse down the middle, simple as that. Until we get one, we will never win.

Kovalev cannot be depended on anymore. He is an awesome talent that never seems to remain consistent. He is a top six forward, no doubt, but he cannot be the lone sniper and cannon we rely on anymore. Sign him and get him help.

Resign Komisarek, he is a solid, physical defenceman, one that we need to be in our top pairing. Yes, we have almost $12 million tied up in Hamrlik and Markov but find a way to move Hamrlik and keep Komisarek. We will regret losing him.

Good bye Saku. It has been a nice run but we have really not achieved anything with him as captain. There are emotional ties to this little Finn but let’s face facts, at 34, now is the time to move on from him and let him go. Watch Saku join his brother in Minnesota.

Alex Tanguay- I say sign him, he is a second line forward and until he was injured, he was clicking quite well under the Montreal media pressure, give him a shot

Francis Boullion, sign him, he is a mobile and gritty depth defenceman. Brings a lot in a little package.

Mathieu Dandenault – would we really miss this role player? Don’t think so, the kids Stewart or D’Agostini can do his job just as easily.

Tom Kostopoulos – he brings it every night he plays, the sandpaper we need on our last two lines, sign him.

Mathieu Schneider – resign him, has proven his worth even at his age. If you are going to have an aging blueliner, at least have one that can contribute so we can good riddance to Patrice Breeze-by.

Patrice Brisebois- for the LOVE OF GOD put him out to pasture. His value proved to be NOTHING down the stretch and in the playoffs. A waste of money, space and a developmental spot on the lineup.

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To listen to Toronto media sometimes it is enough to make you want to take a hammer to your radio or tv.

Thanks to one column and “unamed NHL governors” saying there had been informal consideration given to allowing a second team in Toronto – let the pie in the sky dreaming begin! Oh spare me!

Look, I want Mr. RIM, Jim Balsillie to get his team, whether it is a relocation job or expansion one, likely relocation, and I would love him to have it in Hamilton or KW. This would be gold for this market and push the Maple Laughs…but come one, a second IN Toronto…never.

Do you think MLSE would want to share their pie, the ever-loving dim fans who have lined up for decades, willingly, to pay for a losing product? Get real. Toronto is Maple Leafs country but if they want to put a second team in here for the Canadiens to come and skate circles around go ahead but a second team won’t happen.

Gary Bettman has fought fought hard to stop the relocation of the Predators to Hamilton, do you think he will not stop a second team coming right into the territory of his biggest cash cow?

Wake up Leaf fans. No second team to hang your hopes on will come. You are stuck with the Leafs.

Happy losing.

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The Montreal Canadiens had their 100th home opener televised on TSN and what a class ceremony and even classier treatment by TSN of the moment.

For a station based in Toronto to recognize and shower the Canadiens, Les Glorieux, in the praise and accolades they deserve was impressive to watch. Unlike CBC which does everything but have its staff wear Toronto Maple Laughs jerseys during broadcasts, the TSN crew did a bang up job.

They let the crowd cheer and holler during the opening ceremonies. They broadcast all of the Ring of Honour ceremony. They recognized the greatness of the most decorated hockey franchise on the planet. 24 cups in 100 years of existence are hard to ignore but they usually are here in  Toronto.  Before the game Gord Miller had a great interview with Guy Lafleur. During an intermission, their hockey panel answered the question: who is the greatest Canadiens goalie ever? Bob McKenzie said Jacques Plante, Keith Jones said Ken Dryden and John Tortarella said Patrick Roy.

Dave Hodge had an incredible segment in which he recognized a majority of the Habs greats via their nickname and he summed up the team’s greatness appropriately. He said the Habs may have not had the success of their past of late but they are the standard, they are the team all other teams strive to become…and it took 100 years to create that standard and class that is the Montreal Canadiens.

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The sound was unmistakable in bars and homes across Toronto last night. As the Montreal Canadiens cruised to an early lead and proceeded to crush the Maple Laughs, Toronto fans abandoned the Leafs bandwagon en masse breaking ankles across the city.

A dream-like fluke win over defending champs Detroit earlier in the week had skeptical fans back on the bandwagon for two days. One period into Saturday’s night game and the Habs up 2-0, cue the exodus.

As usual in Leaf Nation, little credit is being given to the superior performance put in by the Habs. The fact Halak started against the Leafs demonstrates how serious of a threat Toronto is being considered to be by Montreal. By and large , our deadly power play was that, deadly efficient and beautiful to see. My favourite part of the night…Jason Blake scores and Leaf fans start to cheer and 22 second later Guillaume Latendresse scores to seal the deal on the pasting.

Montreal draws frist blood in this great rivalry this year.

Les Canadiens sont là !

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More Leaf fans will be resigned to this fans fate as the Leafs prepare for more losing.

More Leaf fans will be resigned to this fan's fate-more losing.

To no one’s surprise media in Leaf Nation have jumped all over Ron Wilson’s comments that wins and losses and won’t matter to him this season. This only adds to Cliff Fletcher’s earlier assertions that low expectations are the best expectations.

Ahh do you all remember Grabovski pitter pattering down the halls of the Bell Centre...no??..ya, i figured, nor do I.

Ahh do you all remember Grabovski pitter pattering down the halls of the Bell Centre...no??..ya, i figured, nor do I.

As just a hockey fan in Maple Laugh-land, management’s approach makes sense. You look at the Leaf roster and for the first time decades, they are actually trying to rebuild for the future. They have kids, they may not all be top notch prospects, but there is a sense of rebuilding. Heck, they have our throw-away Grabovski.  This process won’t deliver a cup anytime soon, but at least they are trying and Wilson is a good coach to have at the helm.

The moment the Hab world stood still and King Roy left the throne for good. Thanks Mario and Reggie- two of the biggest management mistakes in Habs history, enough to overshadow their on-ice contributions.

The moment the Hab world stood still and King Roy left the throne for good. Thanks Mario and Reggie- two of the biggest management mistakes in Habs history, enough to overshadow their on-ice contributions.

This rebuilding of the Leafs reminds me of the recent Hab dark days when were saddled with Rejean Houle at GM and Tremblay behind the bench. Things just went from bad to worse. We lost Patrick, had dead wood veterans and not enough kids playing. With some patience, shrewd scouting and Gainey at the helm, we have steered things around.

Leafs have now gone on a youth movement to help counter the increase Depends costs from the past years.

The Leafs have now gone on a youth movement to counter the Depends costs from past years.

The Habs have never dabbled in the big free agent market as the Leafs for “quick fix” additions, so some serious foundation was set for our current turnaround and success. Leaf fans, prepare yourselves to see losses mount but at least the light at the tunnel is not a train anymore…from what we can tell!

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One nice backhand deke in the preseason and the Leafs has the next coming of Bobby Orr according to the hype machine in this city.

Young Luke Schenn did in fact make a sweet move to beat Manny Legace in a shootout yesterday for the winning goal in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Way to go kid, unlike Bryan ‘McWhiff’ McCabe, you have the game fundamental of scoring in the other team’s net, down pat. Good job, now go down to the minors.

With trader Cliff Fletcher moving up in the recent draft to secure the fifth pick which scored Schenn, this prospect needs to be cared for and developed. He needs to go down to the minors and play a lot of minutes in a lot of situations, more than he would every get in the NHL during the season. If Schenn were a Hab prospect in camp, he would be headed to Hamilton by the start of the season. 

Bulldog celebrates the Calder Cup.

Bulldog celebrates the Calder Cup.


This kid is good, let him grow. The key to the Habs recent resurgence is the fact the let their good prospects grow in the AHL with the Bulldogs and gee, look what that resulted in, a Calder Cup. Also, that patience resulted in a chunk of the Habs current roster including highly skilled and developed players. But what are we to expect, the Leafs are the team that left goalie prospect Justin Pogge riding the pine during the AHL playoffs last year, instead of giving him valuable experience, for the sake of winning something…ANYTHING…in Leaf Nation.

Through Hab-coloured glasses, I can honestly say Schenn is one of the Leafs best prospects in recent memory. Their last solid draft pick was the oft-injured Carlo Colaiacovo and Schenn is likely way better in his own end whereas Carlo has good hands and vision up ice.

 Schenn does not have to be Bobby Orr, hell, if he can even get close to the greatness of Borje Salming (another Swede would have looked great in a Habs uniform) the Leafs have struck gold.


Two things the Leafs wont have anytime soon, a Stanley Cup or someone like Bobby Orr.

Two things the Leafs won't have anytime soon, a Stanley Cup or someone like Bobby Orr.


If the rush him, they may just waste his talent or blow reading his potential, as they did with Luke Richardson (1st round, 7th overall by Leafs) or Jason Smith (1st round, 18th overall by Devils)- serviceable, strong reliable defencemen they sent away for a pack of peanuts.

If they really screw up, the could end up with Slava Duris or Anders Erikson- guys that make Patrice “Breeze-by” Brisebois look like Orr or Larry Robinson.


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