Posts tagged “Bob Gainey

Cold as Pr-ice: Habs Ride the Lightning to Victory

The mobile, agile, hostile Carey Price was up to the task yet again stopping 43 of 45 shots en route to a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday.  The Habs wrapped up an impressive three-game road trip going undefeated in that span and surrendering only three goals.

The Canadiens are currently riding a four game winning streak and are undefeated in the month of March.  Last night’s victory was the Habs’ first over Tampa Bay this season.  The Canadiens sit securely in sixth place with a seven-point cushion over seventh place New York Rangers, and only one point back of fifth place Washington.  The Habs are certainly moving up the food chain.

The same can’t be said about the Southeast leading Lightning as they have dropped their third straight game and are only one point ahead of Southeast division rival Washington Capitals.  Key injuries to Steve Downie and Ryan Malone have certainly set this team back.  Maurice Richard Trophy leading candidate, Steven Stamkos, has only one goal in his last 11 games and with little time remaining, Guy Boucher and the rest of his Lightning team will have to figure something out before they lose home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Most if not all of the credit for last night’s triumph has to go to the Habs netminder, Carey Price.  The man who was anointed ‘King of the Island’ before he was fully prepared to sit on his throne, has definitely come into his own after a shaky start to his career, health issues and rumoured tales of lewd behaviour.

The 23-year old Price is having one of those “comeback, feel-good story of the year” seasons and it couldn’t have happened at a more important time.  Especially when this team truly needs him to be the “Thoroughbred” that Bob Gainey predicted.  The boos have ceased, the cheers are rolling in, and confidence has been restored in the Habs goal.

Hit List:

The Habs opened the scoring when (cue lights, camera annnnnnnnd ACTION)…

A View to a Gill 2

That’s right, the guy who hadn’t scored in over a year and a half is putting on his best Al Iafrate impersonation as of late, notching his second goal of the season, from the point, to open the scoring for the second-straight game. Alas, if he continues this scorching pace, one would think the power of negotiation would favour Gill when he becomes a UFA come July 1st.

The Double-D, the Little Engine that Could, the Road Warrior himself, David Desharnais, continues to rack up the points for Montreal, scoring his eighth goal of the season.  In twelve road games this season, Desharnais has six goals and four assists and has netted at least one point in his last four road games.  Desharnais’ goal was set-up by Andrei Kostitsyn for his 21st assist of the season and has now registered a point in six straight games.

Max Pacioretty is turning into the player the Canadiens have so tirelessly sought after for so many years, a skilled power forward.  Parking his big butt at the Tampa goal during Steven Stamkos’  hooking penalty midway through the second period and picking up the garbage goal brought a tear to Shayne Corson’s eye.  Now if MaxPac can do that every game for the next 20-or-so years,I think the Habs will be fine.

Oh yeah, he can shoot too…

Max Pac’s 2nd goal off of a Tampa turnover, assisted by Scott Gomez of all people, showed how lethal this kid’s going to be.  A perfect one-time snap-shot froze veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson and the Habs had their fourth and final goal.

After coasting through the rest of the third period, Carey Price came up with a huge poke-check on a wide-open Steven Stamkos during a 5-on-3 penalty kill, surrendered one final goal to Vincent Lecavalier a few minutes later and celebrated victory on St. Pete Times Forum ice after the horn rang out to signal the end of the game.

Wrapping up the best Spring Break ever, the Habs return home to some much needed (and deserved) R&R.  Practice tomorrow followed by a date with the B’s on Tuesday.

Leave comments and follow me on Twitter @JohnnyBertolo.

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One More for the Road: Habs visit Canucks

The further west the Habs travel, the loader the groans get in Montreal.  With Sunday’s Heritage Classic abortion of a game behind them, the Habs will look to avoid a 4th straight loss as they square off against the Mt. Rushmore of opponents, the Drago of opponents, the Vancouver Canucks.  The action all goes down at 10:00 PM EST, so you may want to take a nap before dinnertime, because if the Habs put on a similar show like they did on Sunday, they will be napping like Apollo Creed in Rocky IV, permanently.

Who are you? And what have you done with the real Jacques Martin?

That’s right folks, after being abducted by Colombian dope peddlers 3 weeks ago, the real Jacques Martin has been found, alive and well and will resume his coaching duties Tuesday versus the Canucks.  Upon his recovery, Martin stated that he had no recollection of the abduction but stressed “many mistakes” and “mental errors” on his part.

(Warning:  Graphic Imagery and Strong Language)

Ok, Marvin wasn’t so lucky, but Martin is…

Martin’s impostor, Jean Martin, his cousin on his father’s side, twice removed, sent to sabotage the Canadiens on behalf of the Colombians in a bid to further the collective interests of the Toronto Maple Leafs Evil Empire is currently detained in a maximum security prison with no chance at a trial. The real Jacques Martin has decided to *gasp* split-up the dynamic duo of Scott Gomez and Andrei Kostitsyn.  Why now Jacques?  Oh yeah, the abduction thing…

The new lines are as follows:  Gomez anchoring Gionta and Pacioretty; David Desharnais with Benoit Pouliot and Ryan White; the 4th line spectacular: Eller, Moen and Kostitsyn; followed by an intriguing top-6 line:  Plekanec, Cammalleri and Halpern.  Interesting to say the least, but the same result is predicted.  Remember what happened the last time the Habs travelled to Vancouver?

Habs are mired in a scoring funk and it doesn’t bode well for the bleu, blanc et rouge going into Tuesday’s contest.  Pierre Gauthier has the unenviable task of balancing this current roster of castaways and misfits; attempt to acquire a couple of more band aid solutions without sacrificing too much and hope upon his return to Montreal that his car isn’t pelted with eggs and batteries.

Movers and Shakers…

James Neal’s found a new home in Pittsburgh, which made everyone in Montreal collectively say, “WTF?!?!?  That guy was available?” Penguins send Goligoski to Dallas in exchange for Neal and Matt Niskanen.  Really? I truly wonder if the Habs pushed for James Neal, I truly do.  Does Bob Gainey still have friends in Dallas?  Did he call?  Or did Geoff Molson sacrifice long distance service to pay for the Gomez contract? He is exactly what the Habs need, correct?  Gee, a 6’2 gritty power forward with the balls to park his a$$ in front of the net.  Nah, the Habs don’t need that.  Troll out Kovalev!  See if Buffalo wants a 3rd for Rivet?  Come on!  The Funhouse is open for business!

6 days until trade deadline, check me…


WTF, This Game Didn’t Count?: Alumni Game Breakdown; Heritage Classic Preview

From Calgary Sun

So, the old battle axes  still got it, eh?  Keane, Muller, Skrudland and Courtnall.  Haller, Momesso, Green and Brunet too.  Gilchrist, Ludwig, and Eric Fichaud?  Martin Gelinas?  Whatever, makes sense to me.  When my future kid asks me why Martin Gelinas was playing for the Habs Alums during the 2011 Heritage Classic, I’ll lie, I’ll say he was the Canadiens’ waterboy during the ’86 cup run, k?

The most important thing is, the Habs got the win; they picked up the much needed 2-points and played Jacques Martin’s system to perf…

Oh yeah, that’s right, it’s the weekend and I’ve had one too many, shall we say, “Spirited Beverages”, I almost let myself walk right into that one.

Moving on…

Your Montreal Canadiens from yester year put on quite a show for Flames and Habs fans over at McMahon Stadium, effectively kicking off the Heritage Classic weekend in style; winning the contest 5-3.    It was a melting pot of memories, collective recollections of the ’86 and‘89 finals on full display for all to see.   And for the CBC to capitalize financially.

From the Calgary Sun

Skrudland’s tenacity, McDonald’s moustache, Muller’s leadership and Nieuwendyk’s ridiculously long and notoriously difficult name to spell, it was all there.  With one noticeable exception…the absence of #33, Patrick Roy.  With St. Patrick tending to his coaching responsibilities with the QMJHL Quebec Remparts, and no other viable option, it left the Canadiens Alums with a huge void at the goaltending position.  Only Eric Fichaud (0-2 lifetime as a Hab) answered the call.  Wow, for real?  The Habs couldn’t get Hackett?  What about ‘Tugger’ Ron Tugnutt?  Thibault FFS?  ANYONE?!?!?

Getty images

I, along with the rest of the JohnnyBertolo.wordpress.com Mannequins (that’s you), were truly hoping to see Patrick Roy don the jersey of the bleu, blanc et rouge, talk to his goal posts and play one last game as a member of Le Club de Hockey Canadien.   As a diehard Patrick Roy loyalist, it would’ve been a treat for the eyes to see St. Patrick skate over to the Calgary Flames net and pop Mike Vernon straight in the mouth, just for old times sake.

Both the Habs and Flames Alumnus braved the –20-degree temperatures and provided the fans with a somewhat decent game with memories to last a lifetime.  For what it’s worth, former NHL referee, Mick McGeough briefly took over the game, calling back-to-back penalty shots on both teams.    Heck the Alumni’s even cleaned the ice surface during intermissions, which makes me believe that the NHL’s retirement fund has dried up, possibly due to some sort of Ponzi Scheme initiated by current NHLPA President Donald Fehr (allegedly).

Now, let’s get real:

Provided by Dave Stubbs, Habsinsideout.com

Enough with this Celebrating the Game crappola, the Habs need these 2-points like the Tea Part Loyalists down south need a brain, it’s getting terminal folks.  After posting three straight victories to start the month of February, the Habs have dropped 5 of their last 6 games since then.  It looks as if James Wisniewski is gonna go for Montreal after his face exploded all over the Rexall place ice surface on Thursday, what a beauty.

Some more good news, Mike Cammalleri practiced with the team Saturday and looks poised to make his return to the Montreal lineup for the first time since January 18th.  Cammy was slotted alongside Benoit Pouliot and David Desharnais during Saturday’s practice.  This new line has the potential to do some damage, most are intrigued to see how Desharnais and Cammy will jive alongside each other.  Pouliot needs to be a serious physical presence for this line to work.

What a thrill, it’s Hal Gill, excellent news!  Gill returned to practice, not a moment too soon as the Habs D-core has been drowning without him.  Big Poppa Gill will provide some much needed support for rookie PK Subban, maybe even a break for the most publicized NHL player in the league.  Subban has logged just shy of 30 minutes in each of his last 2 games.  With the return of Gill and former Canadiens General Manager, Bob Gainey getting Subban’s back on Saturday, telling PK’s naysayers, during a media scrum to, “…[j]ust shut up and play.” Subban has received the much needed ‘pat on the back’ he so rightfully deserves, at the absolute precise moment when he needed it.

Carey Price’s new mask featuring Jacques Plante’s eyes, mouth and overall visage completely stretched over his helmet scares the ever-loving sh%t out of me!  I know that every Montreal Canadien and members of Canadiens management read my blog like everyday, but even they must have taken my suggestion to swap Andrei Kostitsyn’s and James Wisniewski’s faces following Wiz’s accident a little too seriously/one step further than I had expected.  Any who, the kid needs a win.  Bad.  In his last 5 games, Price has a 3.20 GAA with .893 SV/%, far removed from his Vezina trophy calibre numbers not too long ago.  Maybe conjuring up the spirit of the late great Jacques Plante is exactly what the VooDoo Doctor ordered.

The Flames are coming into Sunday’s Heritage Classic winners of their last two, 4-2 over Dallas and a 9-1 thrashing over Colorado.  Both Olli Jokinen (2 goals, 3 assists, plus-3) and Rene Bourque (4 assists, plus-2) have found the stat sheet a lot in the last two games.  Flames Captain and Scotia Bank spokesperson, Jarome Iginla leads the pack in goals (25), assists (31) and of course, points (56) this season.

Mikka Kiprusoff comes into the Heritage Classic with 26-19-4 record with a 2.68 GAA and 3 shutouts.

Should be a great game, hopefully the Habs travel to British Colombia with 2 extra points in hand.  Full breakdown of the Heritage Classic with photos and video (hopefully) from my cousin Ryan, all on Monday!

-Enjoy!