Monday, November 30, 2009

Habs Are Number One in Canada, No Surprise!

Not a big surprise to Habs fans but a recent Ipsos-Reid poll lists the Montreal Canadiens as “Canada’s Team”.

More can be found here in this Canadian Press article.

In case you missed it from over the weekend, a great piece on how the Habs brought together a divided city.

HabsEyesOnThePrize wonders if the Canadiens can win the Northeast division and the grueling 17-game schedule in December.

Vote for your Favourite Montreal Canadiens / Habs Blog

Hey all, is looking to see who the fans favourite Habs blog is.

I was surprised to be included amongst some of the well established Montreal Canadiens blogs out there.

All Habs ,, The H Does Not Stand For Habs , HabsEyesOnThePrize and many others are in the running.

You can vote here, and also let you check out the rest of the top Habs blogger community. You'll need to register to the forum board to vote.

Wish they had a Rookie of the Year award, I'd be a shoe-in!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

November 29, 1924: The Forum Opens It’s Doors


The Montreal Forum under construction in 1924 photo: The McCord Museum

It’s hard to believe that 85 years ago, the most storied building in hockey history was built, and it wasn’t even intended for the Montreal Canadiens.

The Montreal Forum was actually built for the new Montreal Maroons franchise, owned by the Canadian Arena Company.

The creation of the Maroons was granted by Canadiens manager Leo Dandurand, who saw the potential of a rivalry between the two clubs.

For $15,000, Maroons president Jimmy Strachan was able to share the Canadiens territorial rights in Montreal. The Canadiens had the French followers, and the Maroons would have the English.

“I assumed that an English team competing against the mostly French-Canadiens would turn into the biggest rivalry in the NHL,” Dandurand said. “And it did.”

The idea to build the Forum in 1923 is credited to Sir Edward Beattie, president of the Canadian Pacific railway.

At the suggestion of Senator Donat Raymond, William Northey  originally developed a plan for a 12,500 seat capacity rink, but the size was reduced for financial reasons.

Finding financing for a smaller sized Forum was still difficult to find until H. L. Timmins stepped in with $500,000 towards the project.

In the meantime, in the fall of 1924, the Canadiens, fresh off a Stanley Cup victory the season prior, were still under contract to play their games in the Mount Royal Arena.

image Interior construction of the Forum in 1924

Dandurand watched over the summer if 1924 in envy as the then state-of-the-art arena, designed by architect John Archibald, was being constructed and completed in just 159 days.

After all, the $1.5 million rink, that sat 9,300 people, had an artificial ice making plant as well.

The Canadiens were set to play their home opener of the 1924-25 season, against the Toronto St. Pats, on November 24.

The mild weather in Montreal however, had other plans. The Mount Royal Arena ice was nothing more than a puddle of slush, despite it’s ome new ice making equipment, and Dandurand needed to find a suitable location, or forfeit the game.

He was able to secure the Forum and it’s new technologies and move the game to the corner of Atwater and Ste. Catherine.


Mount Royal Arena officials fought the move to no avail, and over 8,000 people witnessed the Canadiens first ever game in the Forum, a 7-1 win over Toronto.

Billy Boucher scored the first goal ever in the Forum and also registered the first hat-trick.


The Canadiens played the Maroons, in the Forum, for the first time on December 27. Imagine, the Canadiens were the visiting team in the Forum!

Eleven thousand people packed the building, setting a new attendance record along the way.

The game ended in a 1-1 tie that included two 10-minute overtime periods.

The Canadiens would move into the Forum permanently in 1926, sharing the building with the Maroons. Their first game as permanent tenats was a 2-1 loss to Ottawa.

One could only imagine how heated and intense the rivalry of these two teams could have been, let alone sharing the same ice. It would have made the Nordiques-Canadiens rivalry look like a tea party.

Brian MacFarlane wrote it this way in his book “Brian McFarlane’s Original Six: The Habs”:

Today’s hockey fans have never seen anything like the rivalry that existed between the Canadiens and the Maroons.

Heated? It was explosive. When the English-backed Maroons met the French-supported Canadiens, the on-ice battles were often overshadowed by skirmishes in the stands.

Emotions became so feverish that a missed goal or and “undeserved” penalty would trigger a rash of pushes and punches, with police and ushers rushing in to keep English and French fans apart.

The damage was usually minimal: a torn jacket, a hat yanked off and thrown away, the occasional black eye, and enough ‘20’s-style “trash talk” (in two languages) to shock fans ten rows away.”

Despite two Stanley Cup championships (1926, 1935) the Maroons could not keep up with the financial stress of the Great Depression  to the point that the Forum was nearly sold to the city, with plans to became a streetcar barn. The Maroons withdrew from the NHL in 1938.

The Canadiens now had the Forum to themselves and would win 22 more Stanley Cups (12 on Forum ice) during their tenure.

image The Montreal Forum circa 1960 photo: City of Montreal archives


The Montreal Forum after it’s second renovation in 1968.

After two renovations in 1949 and 1968, the Montreal Canadiens played their last game in the Forum on March 11, 1996.

It was then completely gutted and converted into a downtown entertainment centre called the Pepsi Forum, consisting of an AMC multiplex theater, shops and restaurants.

Centre ice has been recreated in the centre of the complex complete with a small section of the grandstand, along with a statue of a fan leaning forward in delight, while original seats are used as benches throughout the complex. A statue of Maurice Richard can be found next to the grandstand.

The Atwater Street entrance has a large bronze Montreal Canadiens logo surrounded by 24 bronze Stanley Cup banners cemented into the sidewalk. Inscribed in French are the words "forever proud".

Theres is also a Canadiens logo in brick tiles on the sidewalk on Atwater Street.

The entire building remains themed after the Forum's storied history with special emphasis on the Montreal Canadiens.

Just a Few Other Forum Facts and Figures

The Forum had two renovations. The first came in 1949 at the cost of $600,00. Upon taking over as GM of the Canadiens, Frank Selke cited, “Clean the toilets. Nettoyez les toilettes!” He spent over $100,00 alone upgrading the plumbing alone.

Four thousand more seats are added bringing capacity to 13,551.

image The second upgrade took place in the off-season of 1968. The $10 million renovation project resulted in an air-conditioned 17,959 seat arena that included standing room for 1,600 people.

Longest game ever: At 8:24 p.m. on March 24, 1936, the puck was dropped to start a playoff game between Detroit and the Maroons.

It took until the sixth overtime period, making it the longest game in NHL history (176 minutes and 36 seconds), before Mud Bruneteau scored the game's only goal for a Detroit victory.

It was 2:25 a.m. and some fans in the Forum were reportedly reading newspaper accounts of the earlier action.

Habs first Cup in the Forum: Howie Morenz scores the game-winning goal on April 3, 1930 in a 4-3 win.

A farewell to The Stratford Streak:  On March 11, 1937,  a centre ice funeral is held for Morenz, who died from complications of a leg injury. An estimated 50,000 people pay their respects.

image Prior to the start of the 1937-38 season on November 2, a benefit auction and all-star game in tribute of Morenz is held. NHL All-Stars defeat a team on Canadiens and Maroons 6-5 and help raise $20,000.

Maroons/Canadiens Rivalry ends: The Canadiens defeat the Maroons in the final game between the two teams on March 17, 1938 as the Maroons fold operations at the end of the season.

“Hello Canada”: The CBC broadcasts the first live television hockey game on October 11, 1952 as "Hockey Night in Canada" makes its debut as the Habs play host to Detroit. Canadiens win 2-1.

The first non-Montreal team to claim a Stanley Cup in the Forum: Many will say the Calgary Flames in 1989, but actually that claim belongs to the New York Rangers in 1928.

The circus kicked the Rangers out of Madison Square Garden so all five games were played in Montreal. The Rangers won the series 3-2 for their first Stanley Cup. They were also the first American NHL team to do so.

Origin of the name: The site of the Montreal Forum was on an old roller skating rink, also named the Forum. The CAC decided to keep the name when the new building was constructed. An early photo is shown below.


A great list of many more dates of importance, pertaining to the Montreal Forum, can be found on

Sources and references for this article:


Denault, Todd (2009): Jacques Plante: The Man Who Changed the Face of Hockey. McClelland and Stewart

Jenish, D’Arcy (2008): The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory. Doubleday Canada

McFarlane, Brian (2008): True Hockey Stories: The Habs. Prospero Books

Mouton, Claude (1987). The Montreal Canadiens. Key Porter Books

Blogs/WWW (2008): The Forum and Two New Rivalries

Doucet, Paul  (2004) The Montreal Forum

Saturday, November 28, 2009

November 28, 1925: Georges Vezina plays his last game


It was a typical sight, for fans of the Montreal Canadiens, to see Georges Vézina between the pipes for their team from it’s second season and into the early 1920’s.

After all, the Chicoutimi Cucumber had played in every NHA and NHL regular season game (328), and post-season game (39) since joining the Canadiens fifteen seasons prior.

But in November of 1925, that changed forever.

Vézina had reported to training camp, as usual, but felt ill after an exhibition game against the Victoria Cougars on November 18.

He lost nearly 35 pounds during training camp, and was running a fever of 102. Doctors diagnosed it as a flu virus, and recommended bed rest.

Vézina still made his start for the Canadiens home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates on November 25.

The game began as usual, but during the the first period Vézina, was suffering from chest pains and left the ice at the end of the fist period bleeding from the mouth.

He reportedly collapsed in the Canadiens dressing room but returned to start the second period.

Vézina collapsed again on the Mount Royal Arena ice before the period began and, after a short delay, left the game.

He returned to the dressing room, sat in his corner and took off his pads for the last time.

image Alphonse LaCroix, a U.S. Olympic goalie, took to the ice to finish the game and claimed the win for the Canadiens. LaCroix played the next four games for the Canadiens, posting just one other win.

Vézina went home and saw his doctor, J-E Dube, the next day. The Canadiens iron-man was diagnosed with tuberculosis and told that his lungs were in dreadful condition.

Dr. Dube told Vézina that his chances for survival were slim and recommended that he go home to Chicoutimi to rest.

Vézina listened to his doctor’s orders, but first made a final visit to the Forum on December 3.

There, in the dressing room, he saw his equipment laid out in the corner, as it always was, by trainer Eddie Dufour.

Team manager Leo Dandurand noticed tears rolling down the goalie’s cheeks. Dandurand placed a hand on Vézina’s shoulder and asked, “Is there anything I can do for you, Georges?”

“Yes, Leo. I would like to go home now. And I would like to take my Montreal sweater with me, the won I wore in the Stanley Cup finals in ‘24.”

Dandurand tracked down the sweater and Vézina tearfully said good-bye to his teammates for the last time.

The Canadiens manager then made a statement to reporters.

“Georges is gone and I doubt if hockey will ever know his like again. He has been a great credit to professional sport. He was a great athlete and a wonderful gentleman.”

The Canadiens paid Vézina his full salary ($6,000) for the 1925-26 season, despite only playing part of the first game.


Vézina returned to his home in Chicoutimi and died on March 27, 1926 at age 39.

Close to 1,500 people crammed into the cathedral in Chicoutimi for his funeral and over 800 Catholic masses in Montreal and Chicoutimi were devoted to Vézina’s memory.

The Montreal Standard referred to him as the "greatest goaltender of the last two decades" in their obituary.

Later in the year, Dandurand and fellow Canadiens owners Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich donated the Vézina Trophy to the NHL to honor their departed goaltender.


Georges Vézina Facts and Figures

  • Inaugural member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, elected in 1945.
  • Member of the Canadiens first two Stanley Cup winning teams (1916, 1924) and appeared in three other Cup finals.
  • Was the first goalie in the NHL to record a shutout on Feb 18,1918 and was the first goalie credited with a shutout.
  • Referred to as the "Chicoutimi Cucumber" for his cool demeanor on the ice.
  • He was also known as "L'Habitant silencieux" (the "silent Habitant"), a reference to his reserved personality. He often sat in a corner of the team's dressing room alone, smoking a pipe and reading the newspaper.
  • Contrary to urban legend, he never had 22 children. That came from a boastful story relayed to the media from Dandurand.
  • Vézina had two children, Jean-Jules born in 1912 and  Marcel Stanley, who was born the night the Canadiens won their first Cup.
  • His 328 consecutive games was a record that stood for over 30 years.
  • Gained the attention of the Canadiens when he led his amateur club to a shutout victory in an exhibition against the Canadiens.
  • Led in GAA seven times in his career and finished twice five times.
  • Played wearing a toque (which can be seen on the photo of him on the Vézina Trophy) and made use of his large stick for blocking shots. He also didn’t learn to skate until his late teens and started playing goal in his work boots.
  • Was known to play without gloves…ouch!
  • Ranked 75th in The Hockey News 100 All-time Greatest Players
  • The city of Chicoutimi renamed their hockey arena the Centre Georges-Vézina in 1965


Georges Vézina’s Career Stats


Sources for this article:


  • Jenish, D'Arcy (2008), The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory, Doubleday Canada, ISBN 978-0-385-66324-3
  • McFarlane, Brian (2008), True Hockey Stories: The Habs, Prospero Books, ISBN 978-1-55267-714-8


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Markov skates, Desharnais returned and words from Tretiak

image A glimmer of hope shone at the Montreal Canadiens training facility in Brossard on Thursday morning.

Defenseman Andrei Markov, injured with a sliced tendon since game one, skated briefly today in his first public appearance since the injury. Markov did mention to reporters that he had been on the ice earlier in the week at an undisclosed location.

The ten-minute light skate was the highlight of an optional team skate and workout in Brossard in which only five other players skated: Scott Gomez, Matt D'Agostini, Benoît Pouliot, Georges Laraque and Jaroslav Spacek.

Markov feels he could return to game action by early January, well ahead of schedule, and definitely before the Olympics.

The Russian blueliner stated that it will be “my secret” when it comes to deciding on playing for his country in 2010.

Dave Stubbs of HabsInsideOut provides us with fourteen minutes of audio from #79.

After the Canadiens close out November against the Capitals on Saturday night, they will play 17 games in December.

At that point, the team will be at the mid-point of the regular season.

Eric Engels pointed this out on Twitter Thursday morning;

“If they're .500 by then with all the other injuries it'll be a miracle.”

Tis the season!

Desharnais back down to the Bulldogs: Talk about a hockey story! David Desharnais is called up by the Canadiens, on Wednesday morning, and whisked to Pittsburgh via limo.

With no time for a pre-game skate, and barely making it for the warm-up, the rookie logs just under eight minutes against the defending Stanley Cup champs in his first ever NHL game.

He’s then sent back down to Hamilton Thursday afternoon.

Russian goalie legend in Toronto: Vladislav Tretiak, the greatest goalie to never play in the NHL, stopped by The FAN590 to sit down with Bob McCowan on Thursday afternoon. The interview is available here.

image Vladislav Treitak  with Peter Mahovlich and Yvan Cournoyer, Dec 31, 1975.

Tretiak is the GM of Russia’s 2010 Olympic team and says he will wait until closer to the Games to decide on the team they will field.

He will also pick the best players at the moment over prior historical impact.

Mr. Tretiak is also in Toronto as a special guest for the Canada-Eurasia Business Association’s charity fundraiser, Thursday night, at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Canadiens Gave It the Old College Try Against Penguins


In this corner, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. In the visiting corner…well pretty much a Montreal Canadiens team made up of Bulldogs call ups.

Nonetheless, a Canadiens team battered and bruised squared off against Sidney Crosby and company and gave it their all.

Montreal kept pace in the shot count with the Penguins through the first twenty minutes with eight a piece.

The Penguins physical game would be the factor however as they out hit their opponents 19-11 in the period.


Crosby put Pittsburgh on the board at the midway point of the period when his shot tipped off Paul Mara’s stick and past Carey Price.

Bill Guerin made it 2-0, for the Penguins, at 6:41 of the second period. The goal was questionable as it appeared the referee had lost sight of the puck after it was in Price’s pads and trickled loose.

image Crosby celebrates with Maxime Talbot -AP Photo

Ten minutes later, Crosby then set up a wide open Sergei Gonchar, who put the puck five-hole on Price, to give Pittsburgh a three goal lead.

Crosby’s assist was the 279th of his career, and moved him into the top ten all-time with the Penguins.

The Penguins held a 16-7 shot advantage over Montreal in the second period.

Max Pacioretty foiled Marc-Andre Fleury’s shutout bid, taking a perfect pass from Sergei Kostitsyn, seven minutes into the third period. It was Pacioretty’s third goal of the season.

Kostitsyn has an assist in each of the two games since his call up earlier this week.

imageFleury stopped anything else that was directed at him, making 18 saves on the night.

Price, starting his seventh straight game, had 27 saves in a losing effort.

Pacioretty took a big hit later in the period from Mike Rupp and did not return to the ice.

“I got my bell rung a bit there,” Pacioretty said afterwards.

The Canadiens slip back to .500 hockey (12-12-1) and return home to face the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.

Three Stars: 1. Sidney Crosby 2. Bill Guerin 3. Jordan Staal

Farewell to the Igloo: Barring any playoff encounters, it was Montreal’s last visit to the Mellon Arena,(oriinally called he Civic Arena).

The Canadiens finished with 44 wins, 33 losses and 14 ties at the igloo.

Game Photos (except where noted) from Getty Images.

Meet Some Habs Legends this Weekend!

I came across this flyer in Montreal last weekend

Ice It Authentic is presenting a “Soiree Bleu, Blanc, Rouge” this Sunday night at the Chateau Champlain Marriot.

Tickets are $299 each, or you can fork over $999 and have a VIP guest seated at your table.

Habs guests will include present and former players and is subject to change without notice.


Tickets can be purchased at this link.

For more information, you can email

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

HabsInsideOut’s Third Annual Summit a Big Success

P1050433This past weekend, members of the Montreal Gazette's HabsInsideOut community converged on Montreal for the annual Fan Summit.

Approximately 75 fans got together, over the weekend, for a variety of activities over the three days.

Myself and my fiancé Georgia made the trek down the 401/Autoroute 20 corridor on Friday night and arrived at our hotel around dinner time.

The weekend's first activity was a dinner/get together at Hurley's Irish Pub to take in the Capitals/Canadiens game.

We arrived to find the large screen area relatively empty but joined my friend, and author, Todd Denault for dinner. We then learned the rest of the crew was in the bar area of the pub where the small screens were. Go figure.

During dinner I recognized Philippe and Gabrielle, a couple I had met at last year's post game get together, who had walked in. With dinner over, the five of us went to join the rest of the group to watch the remainder of the game.

For Georgia, this was a totally new experience.

She is not much of a hockey fan (ok she is NOT a hockey fan) and most of her family are fans of the Blue and White.

Dragging her out for a weekend in the greatest hockey city in the world with some die-hard fans, would be a challenge for her and for her to find out how much of a “hockey nerd” I really am.

During the game we worked our way around saying hello to some familiar HIO faces and meeting some new ones along the way.

It’s always nice to finally put a face to people you only know as “Saku’s Evil Twin”, “Showey”, “Punkster”, HardHabits, etc.

After a Canadiens victory, and celebration Friday night, we headed back to the hotel.

Saturday started with a fantastic breakfast at Chez Cora's and followed by a tour of the Bell Centre, but not before an unusual encounter.


The HIO Clown Incident: After breakfast we had about 20-30 minutes to kill so many waited outside the restaurant for some chit-chat or, in the case of some, to have a smoke.

With the Montreal Santa Claus parade on, we encountered a group of Shriners clowns.

It was rather amusing to watch as HIO member "Jason M" pinned himself against the wall as he has an apparent phobia of clowns.

The first group departed quietly, but one of the clowns in the second group pointed at Todd and referred to his Canadiens jersey as "wearing a toilet seat". Todd appeared more puzzled than any of us and the John Ferguson in me wanted to flatten the loud mouth.

Can you see the headlines now????

Clowns dealt with, we made our way to the Bell Centre. After a quick self-guided tour of the Centennial Plaza we met our guide Tanya Formagie for the tour.

P1050391 “Jason M” finds relief in a giant vodka bottle, near the Bell Centre, after our encounter with the Shriners clowns.

The team had already finished their pre-game skate by the time the tour began. Personally, I was disappointed to have missed what would be Guillaume Latendresse’s last pre-game skate (inside joke), but we did manage to see some of the Red Wings during the visit to the press gallery.


Tanya showed us the Alumni Lounge, Canadiens Hall of Fame area (a newer addition is in the works), the Players Wives room and the lodge/suite level areas. A small number of attendees took turns posing for photos in the press room as well.

Robert Lefevbre from HabsEyesOnThePrize caught up with us mid-tour after being delayed by parade traffic on his way in Saturday morning.

The group closed out the tour in the gift shop and we also perused through the used equipment sale that was going on.

I was interested in the goalie equipment and though a good deal, I wasn't prepared to fork over $900 for a used set of Carey Price's practice pads. I did see someone walk out earlier with one of his smashed goal sticks.

P1050412 High end Habs Centennial stemware for on the lodge level of the Bell Centre. $250 for a set of whiskey tumblers!

With some time to kill, the group went their separate ways before our pregame meal and raffle for the Gainey Foundation.

Watching the Santa Clause parade, stopping for a beverage, shopping, relaxing in the hotel or visiting "other establishments" were amongst the list of activities later reported.

The group reassembled at Baton Rouge for a dinner and raffle in support of the Gainey Foundation was held. Several HIO summiteers broguht donations that included books, autographed photos and sticks, a pair of tickets to an upcoming Canadiens game and two excellent hockey card collections.

One of the card lots was a massive collection of Wayne Gretzky items that Robert Lefevbre had donated the previous year. Last year’s winner, Keith Bockus, graciously re-donated it this year and the 2009 winner said he will keep the tradition going.

The second card lot was a 1953-54 Parkhurst set donated by Fred Sherington. Guess who got that with their pick of the prize lots?

Georgia and I were very excited to realize that it was still available as a third pick in the prize lot. I will be researching into the set more and what makes it more of value is the collector book that came with the cards.

P1050426 Dave Stubbs visits with Tim and Sherrie at The Baton Rouge

The Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs stopped in to pay the group a visit during the raffle as did Canadiens Alumni director Rejean Houle, who shook hands, posed for photos and signed autographs.

The raffle raised $1150 for the Gainey Foundation. All the prize donors and those who participated are to be commended for their generosity to a great cause.

P1050428 Rejean Houle and myself, take two, photo one was deleted…lol

Summit organizer Ian Cobb has already forwarded the good news to Anna Gainey and has likely sent the bank draft to the foundation as you read this.

It was then time to hit the Bell Centre to enjoy the Canadiens/Red Wings game.

The Habs went down 2-0 early to the Wings and the home crowd were a bit concerned after two periods but stayed optimistic.

Mike Cammalleri led the charge back for the Canadiens and the home team took it to a shootout before falling 3-2.

Everyone felt it was a moral victory for the injury plagued Habs to walk away with a point from the always tough Red Wings.

The post-game festivities worked their way back to Hurley’s where more conversation and camaraderie continued.

We were then joined by the Gazette’s Pat Hickey and Mike Boone, as well as CJAD’s play-by-play man Rick Moffat and some of his crew.

P1050440 CJAD’s Rick Moffat (r) stops by and gets a Carey Price shirt from an HIO member.

It was quite exciting to raise a pint, mingle and talk hockey with some of the guys who travel and cover the Canadiens every day of the season.

As Saturday night blended into Sunday morning, many of us said our good-byes to our good friends and to another Summit.

A few managed to meet at Eggspectations for Sunday breakfast, but most were already making their way home by mid morning, ourselves included.

It certainly is amazing to see how what started as a small group three seasons ago has truly turned into not just a group of fans getting together, but more as a family of friends.

This event could no way have happened without recognizing the hard work of Ian Cobb, who practically put this year’s Summit together singlehandedly from start to finish.

Assists go out to Sherrie and Tim (the dragonflies) for getting the name tags put together, and to Suulamen (sp?) a.k.a “Big Bird” who made a special request to ensure the group tickets were together in one area this year.

Can’t wait to do it all again in 2010. I wonder if Todd will donate his Laraque photo next year? ;)

As for Georgia?, well a picture says a thousand words!

P1050425 Love you, honey!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

NFB Film Gives an Early Look at the Quebec Nordiques

I came across another interesting short feature from the National Film Board of Canada.

Pierre Letarte's "Just Another Job" looks at the Quebec Nordiques during the team's first season in the WHA.

The story centers on defenceman Jacques Bain who looks to seek a position on the squad.

Much to his enlightenment, Bain receives an offer to play for the Nordiques under it's fisrt coach, Maurice "Rocket" Richard.

There is also some brief footage of the Nordiques first game against the then Alberta Oilers, a game that they won 3-0.

Richard could not find the fire he had, as a player, behind the bench and resigned as coach after just two games.

Prior to the start of the game, the camera focuses on his eyes. Instead of the ferocious glare he gave as a member of the Canadiens, you can see fear and concern

As for Bain, he lasted just the one season in the WHA and spent the rest of his career in the minors.

The 27-minute film is great to enjoy for any Nordiques fans of hockey buffs and has a brief animated intro.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Not exactly Canada-Russia '72 but Worth a Look

The '72 Summit Series, the '76 and '87 Canada Cups, UBC vs. China.... Huh?

Well back in 1974, the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds paid a visit to the Far East to play a series of demonstration games against a group of Chinese players.

The experience was documented in Les Roses "Thunderbirds in China".

This National Film Board piece looks into another chapter of Canada's hockey history as it brings it's game around the world.

While the Chinese squads are undermanned, the players were willing to give the game a try against the experienced visitors.

It also gives a great look at the differences between the two cultures and gave the players some rewarding off-ice experiences.

If yuo have an hour of your time available, it's well worth the viewing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gionta adds to Canadiens injury problems

image Brian Gionta (seen here Oct 1) could be out up to five weeks – Reuters photo

If it wasn’t bad enough that the Montreal Canadiens (10-11-0) continue their season without all-star defenceman Andrei Markov, Wednesday’s news got no better.

It was announced by the team that forward Brian Gionta has a broken foot and is out indefinitely. Speculation is that it could be up to five weeks.

Gionta suffered the injury during a Nov 3 game against the Atlanta Thrashers. He managed to appear in the next four games, but was a last-minute scratch in  Saturday’s game against Nashville and sat out on Tuesday against Carolina.

“It’s frustrating,” Gionta said. “We’re trying to get things back on track but at this point, I can’t help the guys out.”

The 30-year-old winger has 13 points in 19 games this season and is arguably one of the Canadiens’ best two-way forwards.

"The players will have to raise their game to try to make up for it," coach Jacques Martin said. "It opens a door for someone. We've been waiting for that since the start of the season."

Martin also stated that he will use the forwards he has on the current roster to fill the void, and not make any call ups from Hamilton for the time being.

There was some good news on the injury front however as defenseman Ryan O’Byrne and forward Georges Laraque were cleared for game play.

O’Byrne will most likely dress Friday, against the Washington Capitals, while Laraque could be a game-time decision.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Canadiens at The First Quarter Mark: Call 911 !!

Is it just a coincidence that the Montreal Canadiens record at the quarter season mark is 9-11? I don't think so.

Saturday night's embarassing loss to the Nashville Predators put an exclamation point on the start to the Habs 2009-10 season.

Playing one of the worst offences in the NHL, the Canadiens allowed 55 Predator shots to get at Carey Price. 55!

Leave it to the typical Price bashers who pounced on him during "live blogs" that the first one he let in was a softie. Jacques Plante could have let in a soft one last night, it wouldn't have mattered, ditto for Dryden, Roy, Vezina, etc.

Price was again hung out to dry by his team much like he was the Vancouver Canucks earlier this season. Only difference is, these were the Nashvile Predators shooting the pucks.

Number 31 kept his team in the game for 60 minutes and the offense never had one seriously decent scoring opportunity.

The Canadiens have now been shutout twice in three games and have six goals in their last five games in regulation play. One of those was an empty net goal Thursday against Phoenix.

The loss of Brian Gionta, prior to Saturday night's game, pretty much nullified the Canadiens top scoring line, not to mention losing their best two-way forward.

So what did the the remaining dozen forwards do out there, step it up? No, instead they just let the Predators do what they wished with the puck. You would have thought that the "Gui" who was to be scratched that night would have been an over-acheivers Saturday, right?

Just imagine what teams like Carolina, Washington and Detroit would do in these situations. I guess we'll find out this week.

You have to wonder if Steve Sullivan gets 11 shots and scores twice, then what could real snipers like Ovechkin or Datsyuk do if given the same number of attempts.

Many of the Canadiens problems lie in their defensive injuries as Jaroslav Spacek, Paul Mara and Roman Hamrlik are becoming workhorses out there. That will only hold up for so long, and Saturday's game could be a sign they are wearing down.

After that, with the exception of Josh Gorges, the defense corps is ECHL quality at the best of times.

In all likelihood, coach Martin will be bag-skating his boys later Sunday morning in an effort to wake them up.

Barring a therapy day, Carey Price will be forced to be right in there with them.

Maybe coach Martin should give them all (except Price) a glass of milk after the skate. That way they'll know how he and his goalie felt after Saturday night.

With his contract going into RFA status at the end of the season, you really have to wonder if Price even wants to remain in Montreal after what he has endured so far this season.

Perhaps the next 20 games will give us some answers.
Photo: Getty Images

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canadiens enter Music City: Enjoy the Hot Dogs Gui!

Coach Jacques Martin has finally had enough of Guillaume Latendresse's woeful start to the 2009-10 season.

The Canadiens second-round pick in 2005 will view Saturday's game against Nashville, from the press box, as a healthy scratch.

The 22-year-old winger has just two goals and an assist in nineteen games with a minus four rating this season.

Coach Martin has given Latendresse numerous chances to prove himself, on different lines, and a recent third period benching was a sign of things to come.

Kyle Chipchura will take his place in the lineup. Gregory Stewart is the other healthy scratch.

Carey Price will get his second straight start, against Pekka Rinne, after Thursday's 4-2 win over Phoenix.

Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek says he will be able to play Saturday night, after suffering a leg injury Thursday, but could be a game-time decision by Martin.

If fans thought Montreal's offense has been struggling out the gate, Nashville's is far worse.

The Predators rank 29th in goals much in part to their last-place power play which sits at 11.1%.
My True Nashville Hockey Experience: I was in Nashville to see the Canadiens play one of their first games ever in Music City back in 1998 during the Predators inaugural year.
Keep in mind now that this was when Fox had a contract with the NHL. Those who remember those days will recall some certain special effects used by FOX to try to explain the game and make it easier for them to understand and follow along.
Well about five minutes in, a lady in the seat behind me asks her husband, "Hey hu'cum I don't see the red light go across the ice when they shoot the puck?".......

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Hockey Blogger Remembers

Johnny Bower reads “In Flanders Fields” during the Remembrance Day ceremony before the Leaf-Wild game, Nov 10, 2009.

November 11th is always an important day for me and my family.

No matter where I am, be it at work or on the road, I always stop to remember on the 11th minute of the 11th day of the 11th month.

I always have a great recollection of my high school Remembrance Day ceremony. Instead of an assembly, one of our english teachers read an emotionally charged story from the Second World War over the PA System and then read In Flanders Fields, followed by the last post.

Both my parents, and their families, experienced the Second World War from both sides of the English Channel and at sea.

While my grandfather, on my mother’s side, was serving with the Royal Marines, my grandmother had two children to take care of in Southampton during the Battle of Britain.

Scrambling to air raid shelters, or hiding under the basement stairs when they couldn’t, became common practice. With the supply lines from North America under constant threat from U-boats, food was rationed and sometimes scarce.

My father grew up in the Hague, Netherlands during the Nazi occupation. As a boy of four when it began to almost ten years old when it was over, my dad still has vivid memories of what he saw. The Hague was near one of the V-1 “Buzz-bomb” launch sites. Locals could tell just from the sound if the primitive rockets launched successfully or did not and could likely crash into a nearby home.

My father’s home was ultimately destroyed in an allied bombing run to take out the Luftwaffe and the V1s. We call it collateral damage in today’s era. Then it was par for the course.

As for that group of individuals who claim the Holocaust never happened, well my dad could tell a story or two of what he saw in the streets of the besieged city.

Once the Allies had the Nazis on the run, as the war ended, the Dutch were left to starve after a brutal winter and with little fuel by the occupiers.

Despite hostilities nearly over, The Canadian Army was left to liberate western Holland, which includes Rotterdam, Amsterdam and the Hague.

The Canadians were welcomed enthusiastically and the joyous "Canadian summer" that ensued forged deep and long-lasting bonds of friendship between the Dutch and Canadian peoples, and still does to this very day.

We should always remember the brave men and women who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice – Vimy, Dieppe, Ortona, Juno, Korea, Afghanistan - so that we can enjoy the freedoms and lives we have today.

It is also important to acknowledge, and thank, those who still serve in our Armed Forces today…But is one day enough?

An old high school friend had a good answer to that today on Facebook.

“I would like everybody to consider during their "moment of silence" today that the veterans and their families gave, in some cases, the ultimate sacrifice and it's only remembered one day of the year.  If you feel any gratitude or respect today, try to do the same this time next week, Christmas Eve, Valentine's Day,...”

It’s not that hard to do, if you think about it.

Lest We Forget.

Remebrance Day in the hockey world:

The Society for International Hockey Research offers a list of more than 2600 hockey players who are known to have had military service.

Johnny Bower, who turned 85 on the weekend, talks about reading “In Flanders Fields”, during Tuesdays ceremony at the ACC and Remembrance Day, on the Fan 590

Greatest Hockey Legends has a great piece  from last year on War and Hockey History

An article from on the Kraut Line’s memorable sendoff to military service.

Habs Eyes on the Prize looks at a wartime Habs myth

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kiprusoff Blanks the Canadiens 1-0


It’s bad enough that the Montreal Canadiens offence is struggling, but when a former all-star goalie brings his  A-game, you know it could be a long night.

Miikka Kiprusoff had a 25-save effort, earning his 200th career win, to lead his Calgary Flames to a 1-0 at the Bell Centre.

The Flames essentially dominated Montreal in the first twenty minutes, with a 13-9 shot advantage.

Calgary scored the only game of the game, at 14:55 of the first period, when captain Jarome Iginla put a screen shot past Jaroslav Halak.

image Late in the period the Flames remained in control when they had a full power play in the Canadiens end.

The Habs came out in the second period, challenging the Flames physical play, and were outhitting them 19-16 after two periods.

Montreal’s offense had it’s chances, including a breakaway opportunity by Scott Gomez, but Kiprusoff continued to shut the door.

The Canadiens had an excellent opportunity to tie it up, with a late power play in the third period, but could not solve the Finnish netminder, who earned his 31st career shutout.

“It’s frustrating when we can’t put a goal on the board,” said Canadiens forward Mike Cammalerri. “We gotta create more chances offensively.”

The former Flame acknowledged the team’s successful penalty killing unit (0 goals allowed in 6 chances), but noted the importance to stay out of the box in a one-goal game.

“In a game like tonight, it kills a lot of momentum,” he said. “It’s hard to get puck time when we’re sitting in the box.”


Canadiens coach Jacques Martin echoed his winger’s concern. “Once or twice we took penalties after some good shifts,” he said.

“Sometimes even if the opposition doesn’t score, you lose your momentum.”

Martin also commented on his teams struggling power play that went 0 for 3 Tuesday night. “It’s a concern. Most games are determined by two factors, special teams and goaltending,” he said.

“We need to have better execution and traffic in front of the net.”

Goaltending clearly was not the problem for the Canadiens, on Tuesday night, thanks to Jaroslav Halak’s 30-save performance.

“It’s tough (to lose a one-goal game) but it happens,” Halak said. “You need to find a way to score a goal.”

Halak also commented on the tweet left by his agent on Saturday.

“Obviously he wrote something he shouldn’t,” he said. “I found out on Sunday. It’s got nothing to do with me. I try to control what I say, and that’s the bottom line”

Halak also said he has not talked to Carey Price about the incident, “I think he knows that I’ve got nothing to do with it.”

Montreal has lost three straight at home, while Calgary (11-4-1) now rides a four-game winning streak.

The Canadiens record falls to 8-10-2 and is a disappointing  0-5 against Western Conference teams this season.

Montreal will head off to to Phoenix, for a game against the Coyotes, on Thursday, and to Nashville,Saturday, to face the Predators.

Three Stars:  1. Miikka Kiprusoff 2. Jaroslav Halak 3. Jarome Iginla

Photos: Montreal Gazette

Monday, November 9, 2009

In Case You Missed It: Habs News and Blogger Views for November 9

image The HHOF class of 2009 get their rings – Sun Media photo

It’s Hall of Fame Induction night so I’ll be planted in front of my TV, wrapped in a blanket while fighting off a bug.

Congratulations to all five inductees, Brett Hull, Lou Lamoriello, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille and Steve Yzerman.

Last night was the NHL Legends Game at the ACC. I was curious as to whether or not Mr. Hull would play. Over the summer, Hull told me he no longer puts on the skates. He was true to his word on Sunday night.

The Inductees received their rings in a ceremony on Monday morning and the official ceremony will air on TSN.

Wayne Gretzky, who played with all four player inductees in some capacity, will be in attendance. Commissioner Gary Bettman???? I’m hearing no.

The Montreal Gazette’s Red Fisher on this year’s class.

Ok on to what little Habs stuff we have: The team had an off-day in preparation for Tuesday’s game against Calgary, and most of us are still talking about Halk’s agent.

In light of the Halak agent fiasco, Chris Boyle offers a very deep statistical  analysis of the Canadiens goaltenders at Habs Eyes on the Prize.

CJAD analyst Murray Wilson was a guest on HockeyCentral, on the FAN590 and Rogers Sportsnet. Unfortunately, I can’t find Mr. Murray’s segment on the Fan’s on demand page.

Wilson talked of the above mentioned issue and the real problems facing the Canadiens, a depleted blue line and no second scoring.

Best Line: “Watching Marc-Andre Bergeron on the ice, it’s always an adventure. It’s like a beer league.”

The H Does Not Stand For Habs: Has an interesting look at the player-agent relationship.

Yves on Habs: Looks the Canadiens newest defensive acquisition, Jay Leach and the rest of the Habs D.

Guillaume Latendresse to Oilers trade rumours?: Apparently a deal with the Edmonton that would send Gui! and SK74 to oil country was mentioned on the Team990 Monday afternoon.

Laraque on IR?: CJAD’s Rick Moffat noted after Saturday’s loss that Georges Laraque was nowhere to be found on the team’s game sheet.

Whether he is on IR or long-term is still being questioned, but Eric Engels was following the situation earlier on Twitter.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

When Player Agents Cross a Line….

image Well I’m sure you’ve all read or heard about the story about a certain player agent’s online escapades Saturday night on Twitter.

I’m choosing to keep the individual’s name out of this post as I don’t want to give him one extra hit on Google Search.

It’s pretty much been picked up by every hockey blog and website since it came up, even getting national exposure on HNIC.

Basically the agent questioned the win-loss record of his client’s teammate, Carey Price, and it snowballed from there.

An online and national television frenzy enveloped and the agent has since done a 21st century Oliver North and deleted his Twitter comments.

The client, Jaroslav Halak, knew nothing about his agent’s remarks going into this morning’s practice.

As if the Canadiens had enough to deal with with goaltending problems this season, this genius stirs the pot furthermore, despite claiming it to be a tongue-in-cheek remark.

Apparently this is not the first time this person has made remarks on Twitter, so clearly he was well aware of his actions.

It has to hurt Halak who while on a four-game win streak, received praise from Price for playing well. Price even suggested Halak remain in net. Then his agent does this.

Now granted we do live in a society where freedom of speech is strongly encouraged, and I am not a player agent, but I feel a serious sense of ethics has been breeched.

You don’t call out a teammate of a player you represent!

Last I checked, an agent speaks on his client’s behalf for his/her actions, promotions or business interests and not the actions of others.

More than likely it will frustrate other players, agents and GM’s in the NHL looking to do future dealings with him and his clients.

The agent is certified by the NHLPA and so I figure there’s one good way of dealing with your opinions.

Those opposed to the individual’s actions can easily fill out this contact form and submit your thoughts directly to the NHLPA.

I am also adding a poll to gauge opinion if the individual was right to do what he said.

Update @ 9:00pm: Dave Stubbs’ article on the situation from the National Post/Montreal Gazette

Habs Fan Makes a Vintage 1930’s Find


A Canadiens fan’s family member unearths a great piece of history.

A team photo of the 1936-37 Montreal Canadiens.

Bottom row (from l to r): Armand Mondou, Paul Haynes, Georges Mantha, Joffre Desilets, Pt Lépine, Wilf Cude, Johnny Gagnon, Howie Morenz, Aurèle Joliat, Paul Drouin, Rod Lorrain.

Top row (l to r): Jim McKenna (Trainer), Roger Jenkins, Albert “Babe Siebert”, Jack McGill, Toe Blake, Cliff Goupille, Cecil Hart (Coach/GM), Ernest Savard (President/Owner), Jules Dugal (secretary), Bill Miller, George Brown, Paul Runge, Walter Buswell, John Laurin )Assistant trainer)

I recently received an interesting email, last week,from one of my readers named Heather.

Her grandfather had a team picture of the Montreal Canadiens from what he thought was around 1939. The photo was also autographed by goaltender Wilf Cude.

Inquiring if I might have any knowledge of it’s value, she forwarded a scan of the photo.

After uploading the photo, I easily realized that her grandfather was off in the date of the photo, but in a very good way.

The team photo was actually one of the 1936-37 Montreal Canadiens, and one of significant importance.

After a dismal 1935-36 season, the Canadiens had acquired Albert “Babe” Siebert as their captain and brought back coach Cecil Hart.

Hart only agreed to return to Montreal on condition that Canadiens legend Howie Morenz would be brought back as well.

Hart’s wish was granted, and Morenz would have one final fatal season with the Canadiens.

Morenz’s tragic story is legendary after a collision with Chicago’s  Earl Siebert in January of 1937.

Morenz suffered a leg fracture and on March 8th, blood clots resulting from the injury would eventually stop his heart, taking the life of one the NHL’s first superstars.

With the loss of Morenz, the Canadiens, led by Babe Siebert’s MVP season, struggled in the remaining games yet still won their division. They would lose in the semi-finals to the Detroit Red Wings.

The photo belonging to Heather’s grandfather is thus the last team issue to feature Morenz.

The photo is also significant as it is the first Canadiens team photo with a young Toe Blake standing in the back row.

Blake had played in 11 games for the Canadiens in 1935-36, after being acquired late in the season from the Montreal Maroons, and was not in that year’s photo.

While the condition of what appears to be an original photo is in a lower grade condition, the historical value is great in it’s own sense.

I referred Heather to some noted collector site’s for a professional evaluation and appraisal.

100_4158 The personalized Cude autograph looks very authentic to other specimens I have looked at, with some ink faded on the C.

If you have any other appraisal information on this photo, please email me and I will forward it on.

image Wilf Cude in the late ‘30s with the Canadiens

Notes on Wilf Cude:

  • Began his career in the NHL with the Philadelphia Quakers in their only season (1930-31).

  • Was acquired for cash by the Canadiens from the Quakers and was the NHL’s spare goaltender for Chicago and Boston before seeing some full-time work while on loan to the Detroit Red Wings.

  • Recorded a shutout in his first game as a Canadien.

  • Despite a 11-26-10 record in 1935-36, he recorded six shutouts.

  • Second-Team All-Star in 1936 and 1937

  • One of the smallest goalies (5’9”) and listed at 130 to 135 lbs.

  • Born in Wales and learned to play hockey In Winnipeg.

  • A member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame

A special thanks to Carl Lavigne, the Canadiens Manager of History and Archives, for getting me the names to tag the team photo.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Niittymaki and Tanguay lead Lightning to 3-1 Win Over Habs


Antero Niitymaki made 36 saves, against a team he had struggled with is his career, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens (8-9-0).

Ryan Malone, Vincent Lecavalier and former Canadien Alex Tanguay each had two-point night for the Lightning.

Malone put Tampa Bay on the board in the first period, with a power play marker, at 10:09 and Tanguay made it a two-goal lead when he scooped up a fat Carey Price rebound, with 46 seconds remaining in the period.

“It’s always interesting to play here (in Montreal),” said Tanguay who received a warm reaction from the Bell Centre crowd. “The fans were very respectful tonight. It’s a great city to play in.”

With his goal Saturday night, Tanguay has scored against every team in the NHL.

Brian Gionta responded for Montreal,  scoring on the power play, after he demonstrated his hand-eye coordination by batting the puck out of the air past Niittymaki at 9:44 of the second period.

The Canadiens put the pressure on the Lightning throughout the second period looking for a tying goal, but James Wright put an insurance goal in late in the period after he found a loose puck in front of Price.


“It hurt us, but we came out in the third,” said Canadiens winger Mike Cammalleri. “It didn’t break us emotionally".

“It was an inconsistent effort in the first half of the game,” Gionta added. “It hurts your momentum. It’s a tough one.”

The Canadiens fired 15 shots at Niittymaki in the each of the final two periods, but could not solve the Finnish goalie.

Coming into Saturday’s game, Niittymaki had a 1-8-1 record against the Canadiens.

"I saw that stat this morning and I said 'Wow, I've had some good games here,"' Niittymaki said. "The stats don't show that, but I hope they're a little better after tonight."

Most of Montreal’s shots easily found the Tampa netminder and the tough ones were quickly protected, denying the home team few rebound opportunities.


“We need to to a better job and stay in the goalie’s face,” said Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec. “It’s something we have to work on.”

Two players expected to be in front of opposing goalies for the Canadiens are Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse. Both forwards were benched by coach Jacques Martin in the third period.

“We needed  people that were ready to go to war,” Martin said on shortening his bench. “I felt that we had to win some battles and get some production.”

Ryan White (four hits) and Andrei Kostitsyn had started the night on the fourth line and soon found themselves on the first line with Plekanec.

The Canadiens will have a public practice on Sunday morning and return to game play on Tuesday against the Calgary Flames.

Three Stars: 1. Antero Niittymaki 2. Ryan Malone 3. Scott Gomez

Game photos: Montreal Gazette

Canadiens Hope to Silence Tampa’s Thunder

image Vincent Lecavalier, Alex Tanguay and Matthias Ohlund hope to get a “charge” to to their season when the face the Canadiens on Saturday. – photo: Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning (5-4-5) will be looking to make some noise when they face the Montreal Canadiens (8-8-0) Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

The Lightning are on a four game road trip, that has seen them go 1-1-1 thus far, after an overtime loss on Thursday night to the Ottawa Senators.

Saturday’s game also marks another return to Montreal for local boys Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, and will also be the first game back in Montreal for Alex Tanguay.

Tanguay was left as an unrestricted free agent the Canadiens, this past summer, after racking up 41 points in 50 games for the Bleu-Blanc et Rouge last season.

After 14 games this season, the Ste. Justine native has seven points (2 goals, 5 assists), and six points in his last six games.

Lecavalier, speculation of many a trade rumor to Montreal, has 2 goals and 10 assists in fourteen games.

The 29-year-old has been criticized by many as to having a slow start to the season since his eleven-year contract extension kicked in on July 1. That contract pays him $10 million a season over the next seven years.

The hot hand for the Lightning is 2008 first-round pick Steve Stamkos.

After a great second half in 2008-09, the Markham, ON native leads his team in scoring with 17 points(12 goals) and is tied for the league lead in power play goals with six.

2009 first-round pick Victor Hedman is listed as day-to-day, with an upper body injury suffered on Thursday, and will not play Saturday night.

"I don't want to risk anything," Hedman said Friday. "It's day to day. There's still a lot of games left in the season, so I'm not going to play."

Fellow blueliner Paul Ranger has left the team for personal reasons and Matthias Ohlund missed Friday’s practice for a therapy day but will start on Saturday.

Anterro Niittymaki will get the start in goal for the Lightning, and is 1-0-2 with a 1.60 GAA and .950 SvPct in his last four games.

The Finnish netminder is is 3-1-2 with a 2.09 GAA on the season, but only 1-8-1 with a 3.53 in ten career games against the Canadiens.

Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec lead the Canadiens’ offensive attack with 14 points each.

Carey Price, who came off a confidence building 2-1 win on Thursday against Boston, will make his second straight start.

The injury-riddled Canadiens defence showed some support for their goaltender on Thursday night, and gained some reinforcement and positive news on Friday.

Jay Roach was picked up off waivers, from New Jersey, but will not play on Saturday.

Defenseman Ryan O’Byrne has started skating on his own Friday, and should be back in a couple weeks.

After a great first-career-game on Thursday, Tom Pyatt and Ryan White will both see action again on Saturday which leaves Kyle Chipchura and Gregory Stewart as healthy scratches.

The Canadiens and Lightning split their four games in 2008-09 with both Montreal wins coming in overtime and a shootout.

Gametime is 7pm at the Bell Centre and will be telecast on CBC and RDS in Canada and on SUN in the U.S.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Price denied shutout as Habs beat Bruins in a shootout

price-carey091105 Carey Price gets his first win in over a month – Canadian Press photo

Well it only took ten games, but the Canadiens finally beat the Bruins.

The Canadiens infirmary is full of injured defensemen and the Bruins’ forwards are the walking wounded in Boston. So we can safely say it was an even slate going into Thursday’s game, right?

Regardless, Montreal got a stellar performance out of Carey Price, who came within 52 seconds of recording his first shutout in over a year.

Carey Price made 42 saves, and shut the Bruins down in the shootout, give his team to a 2-1 victory.

Price picked up his 50th career win and his emotion after the shootout was a promising sign.

What makes it a bigger boost was that he was not expected to start Thursday night. Jaroslav Halak is nursing an apparent groin injury and was not 100 percent.

In the 700th meeting between the two rivals, the Bruins were the dominant team, outshooting the Canadiens in all three periods and the overtime period.

Boston also played a more physical game out hitting Montreal 35-23.

ALeqM5hW65qzd3IgAACUup9cAto0thLHvg Blake Wheeler upends Max Pacioretty – Associated Press photo

If there was anyone else who had a good pick-me-up on Thursday night, it was Andrei Kostitsyn.

Playing on the fourth line with eager first-gamers Tom Pyatt and Ryan White, Kostitsyn seemed to show some life.

AK46 was the catalyst in the first goal of the night, when he zipped down the left wing and fed a wrap-around pass to Glen Metropolit to fired it past Tim Thomas.

White recorded his first career point with an assist on the goal and had four hits on the night.

Habs-vs-Bruins02.thumbnail Metropolit scores the Canadiens only goal – Reuters photo

With Bruins captain Zdeno Chara in the penalty box, the Canadiens had an excellent opportunity to add to the lead with a 5-on-3 advantage.

The Bruins penalty killers gave the Canadiens few opportunities and Thomas made a spectacular stick save on the goal line to deny the Habs their second goal.

It appeared Patrice Bergeron had tied it up for the Bruins when the puck appeared to squeeze between Price’s pad and the goal post.

Habs-vs-Bruins13_0.thumbnail Price argues the eventual disallowed goal –Reuters photo

The goal was disallowed after video review showed the puck went under the side of the jarred net.

With Thomas on the bench, Bergeron finally managed to figure out Price in the third period after finding a loose puck in front of a screened Montreal net.

It was the Bruins first goal in over 192 minutes of play. Boston  had been shutout in their last two games.

“At least it's out of our heads now,” Bergeron said. “It's one step forward to get that goal and get that point. But one point is not good enough.”

Price got some revenge on Bergeron,in the overtime, with a huge glove save on the Bruins Habs-killer.

“I hadn't won in six games, and that was not the time to get upset,” Price said. “It’s hard to get scored on in the last minute of a game. I had to refocus in a hurry because if I let it slip, then I lose another game.”

“I really need to build on this,” he added. “But it’s not time to get out the champagne and goggles yet.”

cam_79721Mike Cammalleri celebrates his shootout goal - Canadian Press photo

With no result in overtime, Mike Cammalleri managed to beat Thomas for the only goal in the shootout.

recchi110509 Price stops Mark Recchi in the shootout – Boston Globe photo

The win was the first on the road for the Canadiens since October 3.

They remain unbeaten in overtime/shootout games (7-0), and are 6-1 when scoring the first goal of the night.

Maybe the most significant stat of the night for Montreal was the fact that they had just a single giveaway all night. An area of their game that they have struggled with all season.

Jaroslav Spacek left the game briefly after a Bruins player landed on him and crashed into the boards. The veteran blueliner still racked up just under 25 minutes of ice-time and may have a therapy day on Friday.

The Canadiens head back to Montreal to face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Three Stars: 1. Mike Cammalleri 2.Carey Price 3.Tim Thomas