Thursday, January 29, 2009


"Last year in Atlanta, if you were not in the arena or the All-Star headquarters hotel, you had no idea anything was going on. In Montreal, it seemed like it was the only thing going on. The love affair this city has for the game is more intense than ever. It's obsessed-stalker love now."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Keep on truckin' Ottawa.

Ottawa is awesome.

Wait. Before you question whether I've truly lost my mind, hear me out.

I know that the Senators lost yet again last night, (now to be fair, it was 4-1 to the Devils who have won 6 in a row now.) But moving on... yes, I did notice that Ottawa re-assigned Martin Gerber to the minors. And Yes I absolutely noticed that the Senators are jockeying for the bottom spot in the Eastern Conference.

But that's exactly why Ottawa is awesome. They are great... at sucking.

They're losing. There's no real turning the season around now. So just keep losing. This is something that the Toronto Maple Leafs have failed to do for about three years now.

Continually they get this late-season glimmer of useless hope and win a bunch of games down the stretch, only to finish 10th. Good draft picks are available in the middle of the first round. But great draft picks are first.

Last three years: Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, Erik Johnson (but I would argue Teranna woulda taken Jordan Staal).

Instead of sort of throwing your season. Why not go out in a fiery blaze of glory. Suck... like no other team has sucked before. KA-BOOM!

Mr. Victor Hedman, Welcome to the Ottawa Senators, you're in for a ride.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Devil of a time beating the Devils.

The Habs have dropped all three games to the Devils this year. It's getting old guys. Figure it out.

And for your entertainment pleasure....

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Hamilton Bulldogs are doing just fine, thankyou.

So. The Montreal Canadiens are missing, Georges Laraque, Mathieu Dandenault, Christopher Higgins, Saku Koivu, Carey Price, and Alex Tanguay. I know, I know. Hardly ANY of their good players.

The Canadiens have had their fair share of the injury bug this season. Only five players have played all 41 of the Habs games this season.

No problem.

Since Christmas, the Canadiens have won seven games. They only played eight.

Screw it, who needs those guys. I'm actually a bit concerned about having those players return to the team and throwing off the time-space continuum, or whatever governs the chemistry of a hockey team.

The Hamilton Bulldogs are winning in style. (Must be the effects of having Kovalev as a captain). Last night they broke a 4-4 deadlock with 25 seconds left to take the win over the Washington Capitals.

Max Pacioretty (or as I prefer... MAXPAK!) is averaging just under a point per game. And Matt D'Agostini has six goals and two assists since being called up in late November.

I think there might be something to this. I mean, really, nobody really wants to get sent back to the AHL. But NOBODY wants to get sent back to the AHL, when your AHL team is in Hamilton. Keep it hangin' over their heads Carbo.

The youngens have gelled and have started to pull the deplorable performance of the Canadiens' powerplay out of the cellar (they're now 25th!). They even scored a shorthanded goal!

And those youngens have also ruined Carbo's vacation plans... the nerve.

MONTREAL – Guy Carbonneau can officially put away his sunscreen. Behind the bench is where he will be spending NHL All-Star Weekend.

Thanks to the Habs’ 5-4 win over the Capitals on Saturday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens leapfrogged past Washington in point percentage, .683 to .662. That slim margin was enough to earn Carbonneau an invite to NHL All-Star Weekend, to be held at the Bell Centre on January 24 and 25.

“I hadn’t reserved anything yet, but I had been looking at my options,” admitted Carbonneau, who only narrowly missed out on heading to Atlanta for last year’s midseason classic. “I was considering heading to Florida to spend some time on the beach and work on my tan.”

A much paler Carbonneau will instead be front and center as top stars in the NHL invade Montreal.

“Without question, getting to experience it in Montreal will be nothing short of amazing,” said the Habs' bench boss. “I never got to play in an All-Star as a player so it will be a special experience to be around the best players and coaches in the league.”

Carbonneau will ironically assist head coach Claude Julien of the top-ranked Bruins in a strange twist of fate that did not go unnoticed in the Canadiens’ dressing room.

“Let’s just say it will be interesting to see Claude Julien and Carbo side-by-side behind the bench together,” said Tomas Plekanec with a smile, after potting a pair to help send his coach to the All-Star Game. “We all couldn’t be happier for him, though. Carbo really deserves it and we’re excited that he’s going to be there along with Kovy and the guys.”

And now I leave you with this.

Let the Sunday night drinking games begin.

I slept for four hours so a blog post seemed like the obvious choice.

He's gone all soft on us.

Jaromir Jagr was interviewed from Moscow, where he is gearing up for the first-ever KHL all-star game. (held outdoors in Red Square). And what he said wasn't very interesting at all.

“I was thinking about it and if Mario would call me and say, ‘I’d like you to play for our team,’ I would think about it a lot. I would play for the minimum salary. I would play for $350,000 just for him because I owe him my hockey life. I want to pay him back because he has made me what I am…besides my parents.”

Get on the gosh darn phone Mario. NOW. Have you seen the Penguin's record as of late? You could use crazy old Jagr.

Speaking of All Star games.

umm, sooo, did you read that?

The KHL All-Star game is going to be played outside in Red Square. AWE-SOME.

That's the answer! That's how you fix the NHL All-Boring game. Think about it. Who didn't like the outdoor games the NHL has staged in the past 5 years? Lame people. That's who. Because outdoor games are awesome. Outdoor games trigger notions of pond hockey and childhood. And the back of a Canadian five dollar bill.

It would also guarantee that the All-Star game would stop being played in places where nobody cares that the All-Boring game is happening... like Dallas, Nashville and Florida. Or as Gary Bettman seems to be fond of lately... Las Vegas.

This is a great idea!

A prolonged duthie-ism.

This is gold, recently Senators owner Eugene Melnyk released a statement to the media to address the dismal play of his team, and to try to squash rumours of a coaching change. James Duthie decided to do a "what he was really thinking" statement. If you want to get the gist of the actual statement, you could head here. But this is much more amusing.

A Statement from Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk:

“Contrary to what is being reported today by the (evil) media, I have made no decisions with respect to any personnel changes within the Senators organization (though Pat Quinn and I did buy ‘best friends forever’ bracelets today, and he has moved into my guest house). Winning remains our #1 priority (though if we lost the next 41, Tavares would be mine! All mine! Haha…evil laugh…Hahahaha!) and there is a collective focus by our management (get me some freakin’ players!), our coaching staff (get more out of my freakin’ players!) and our players (I’ll bring back Emery if you guys don’t smarten up!) to deliver this to our fans.

I, along with our fans, will do nothing but continue to remain fully committed to our Senators and enthusiastically (well, that might be a stretch…I’d take ‘politely’ frankly) cheer them on to a successful second half of the season (and by successful, I mean staying ahead of Atlanta and the Islanders).

This is crunch time (unlike the last 12 months, which my team apparently thought was the NHL version of recess). Now, more than ever, is the time to rally behind our team (and there is no better way to rally than to buy your whole family authentic Senators apparel, season-ticket packages for next year, and copious amounts of Biovail drugs for their various ailments). We don’t surrender halfway through the season (but if this crap lasts two more weeks, I’ll be waving the biggest white flag I can find).

Every victory from here on in matters (And at this rate, we’ll get about 7 of them before April). We know it and the fans know it. Period. (Well, I actually had 12 more pages, but Phil Legault edited them out).

Friday, January 9, 2009

enough said.

Canadiens drub Leafs 6-2 in skirmish-filled battle between old rivals

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Random thoughts for the day.

Sundin Saga. Full closure.

Sundin will play HOCKEY tonight. I think my favourite part about all the hooplah surrounding his debut with the Canucks is a quote from Sundin himself.

"I know it's not a perfect situation as a player," said Sundin. "The players are in mid-season form and it's going to be challenging."

Hey, Sundin? Just a thought on avoiding that whole.. "aww everyone is at midseason form..." problem. PLAY WHEN YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO.

Ok. I'm done now.

Yum, Yum.

Jarkko Ruutu was suspended by the NHL for two games after biting the finger of Buffalo Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters.

OK. OK. It's kinda crazy and Mike Tyson-esque. And Ruutu is a shift disturber extraordinaire. But if someone stuck their finger in my mouth. I'd probably bite it too. Just sayin.

"It happens a lot. You get hungry. Was it the third?" - Craig MacTavish.

Great Headline.

Toronto Maple Leafs acquire rugged forward Ray from Anaheim Ducks

It's not poorly written. It's not particularly funny. If only they got the details right. This headline is about Brad May going to Toronto.

Speaking of Shift Disturbers.

It's nice to see someone else is smokin the good stuff.

Ron Duguay, a former player with the Rangers told the media yesterday that the Rangers should bring back Sean Avery.

This is despite the fact of course... that nobody that's actually on the team wants him back.

It appears Duguay thinks that all Avery needs is a good ol fashioned talkin to.

"We would take care of him in practice. A guy or two would step up and say, 'Either you're going to change or you're going to get your (butt) kicked,'" said Duguay of players that ran their mouths when he used to play.

Obviously nothing has changed since Duguay last played in 1989.

"As a fan I would love to see him back with the (Rangers)," Duguay said. "If he's a problem in the dressing room - and I don't know that - then that's a decision that the coaches and players have to make."

Ummm, i'm pretty darn sure multiple teams have already made that decision. And really, how can you not know Avery is a problem in the dressing room. Every player that plays with him says he is.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Golden boys.

Jekyll and Hyde.

also known as Team Canada.

One game they look like they could lose to one of the many Team Canada's playing in the under-17. And the next game they play like a bunch of winners.

It was a good time to show up. Seems like the Swedish trash-talking woke some people up.

Specifically, Dustin Tokarski. He looked shaky in the games leading up to the final -- but he turned away 39 shots last night. And he actually didn't look like a fish-out-of-water doing it, as he did in his previous two games. Of course, it did help that his counterpart across the ice spent the better part of the game trying to turn away actual players instead of pucks.

Then there was PK Subban, who couldn't make a good decision at the blueline to save his life during the semi-final, was a force to be reckoned with (wait... who owns his rights? Montreal? really.)

And Angelo Esposito proved why he was (finally) the right choice. Although, I actually found it quite amusing that the TSN panel decided to mention that if NHL clubs actually released players... Esposito woulda met the same fate as he did for the past three years.

And so the streak is alive, and they go for six next year in Saskatoon. The biggest question for Team Canada, is will John Tavares make the jump to the NHL after the draft this summer. It's expected he should be able to make the jump to whatever club wins the Tavares derby. But there's that off-chance that he won't. And if he's around next Christmas. Look. Out.

Monday, January 5, 2009


The game is exactly 3 hours away.

Sweden is a tough opponent. It's obviously a grudge match, since the two teams faced off last year and Canada came out with the gold. And the Swedes have a lot of veteran players who were around last year for that bitter overtime defeat. And, let's face it, Canada has had a lot of trouble in the past few games.

PK Subban said in an interview that it's ok that they didn't play that well last game because they're a good team and good teams find a way to win.

True they do... But, Really? PK, buddy, let's have a heart-to-heart here. You played like an arse against the Russians. I would have benched you if I were the coach. Who do you think you are doing spinaramas at the blueline when you're the last man back during a semi-final against mother russia? UN-REAL. The first time it happened I can look past it. But you you did it a few more times. And it came back to bite you.

Also the goaltending has been suspect. For Canada's previous four gold medals canuck goaltenders have finished first in save percentage. Dustin Tokarski is EIGHTH! Are you kidding me Pat Quinn?

My question is... where is Chet Pickard. I know this is redundant. I've been asking this since Quinn decided to start Tokarski in the final game of round robin against the United States. And then again after Quinn decided that even though Tokarski got down 3-0 to the Americans in the span of 10 minutes, he would start him in the semi-final.

Am I the only person in the country that thought Tokarski looked extremely shaky and scary in the Semi-Final game?

"oh but he played so well in the shootout."


One attempt hit the post. The second was a very lame attempt at the five hole. A child could've stopped that.

I wouldn't call that playing well.

A few people I was chatting with earlier today expressed concern over the goaltending, and wondered about Quinn's insistence of starting Tokarski. They did express that Quinn will look like a genius if Canada wins gold.

In my books, he'll look lucky.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

They deserved to lose.

They had a ridiculous amount of powerplays and couldn't capitalize.

Every time they scored one, the Russians came back with the tying goal pretty much right away.

Esposito scored... (yes, ESPOSITO) shorthanded. And they couldn't even ride the high and hold off the Russians.

PK Subban thought he was Bobby Orr. Trying spinaramas and rushing plays. Couldn't just keep it simple... couldya?

After Canada's first goal (resulting from super-duper excellent boardwork) I thought that Canada could pull this one off.

But it quickly went downhill. The Canadians were running around like... well, like the Americans.

BUT... they didn't lose.

Because Jordan Eberle scored to tie it with 5.4 seconds left.

And in overtime the Canadians were buzzing. They woke up.

And then Eberle all out destroyed in the shootout.

John "THE monster" Tavares put it away with another.

MAGIC. That's all. magic.

pass the rum. let's go celebrate. to the gold medal game!

And now... the Pens, Habs, Hawks and Ducks!

You have to wonder about this...

Four teams. Yes, count 'em, four teams will be represented for the starting lineups of the All Star game.

In the East:

Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)
Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh)
Alexei Kovalev (Montreal)
Andrei Markov (Montreal)
Mike Komisarek (Montreal)
Carey Price (Montreal)

In the West:

Jonathan Toews (Chicago)
Patrick Kane (Chicago)
Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim)
Scott Niedermayer (Anaheim)
Brian Campbell (Chicago)
Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Anaheim)

I like all these players. But I find it incredulous that they all finished first. I think that there might have been more vote stuffing than the NHL admits.

Canada Russia.

Well Canada now knows they will face Russia, after the Russians won their quarterfinal game against the Czechs.

This game is so hard to call. I would put it in favour of Canada, since Russia was blown out 5-0 by Sweden and they had to play an extra game yesterday while Canada could rest.

But then again, it seems anything is possible in this tournament. And being the favourites really means nothing. (see: USA vs Slovakia)

I'd say the only safe bet is John Tavares being a monster.

Friday, January 2, 2009

All hail Jaroslav Janus.

Because he just destroyed the souls of the Americans. And he faced over 30 shots. Many of them were spectacular saves. And so after the Erie Otters goaltenders performance...the Americans are out. (Did I just type that? Yes I did. Wow.) Slovakia will play Sweden in the Semi-Final tomorrow.

I'm going to pull a Don Cherry here -- let's go back to yesterday and point out my advice to the Americans:

"Slovakia picked off Finland in a shootout last night, so after flying high, the Americans should not take the Slovaks for granted."

Yah. You fail.

I'd say my second favourite quote is from Pierre McGuire. It pretty much summed up the Americans lack of ability to stop, well.... anything.

"Every shot's an adventure for Thomas McCollum right now." - Pierre McGuire on the American goaltender during the second period.

With magic and eggnog.

Every once in a while a headline just grabs you and makes you chuckle. I came across one such headline today. I didn't really feel the need to post about the story that the headline was attached to. (you'll get this in a minute). But I thought the idea of a headline being worthy on its own, was a worthy idea.

So we launch a new feature on National Passtime.

"Listless Maple Leafs sleepwalk through 4-1 defeat to Sabres"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I almost lost my mind.

...When the USA got their third goal to make it 3-0.

And I thought Pat Quinn was going to lose his mind too.

But then it started to turn around. Almost exclusively on the shoulders of John Tavares. The next monster.

During the Winter Classic this afternoon, Don Cherry did point out something really interesting. He showed Jim O'Brien hot-dogging to the Canadian bench after he scored the third American goal. Woke the sleeping bulldog. And man did that bulldog bite. Canada had the game tied before the first period was over.

The choice to play Dustin Tokarski in nets over Chet Pickard, to me, was a little curious. Considering he sat for the past two and was coming into Canada's biggest test of the tournament so far, cold. He couldn't be blamed for most of the goals, but it probably didn't help that he hadn't played since Boxing Day. He did recover and made a number of specatacular saves in a really close game until the two empty netters at the end of the game.

And so that sends Canada directly to the Semi-Finals, they await the winner of the Russia-Czech Republic quarter-final. While the United States plays Slovakia tomorrow. Slovakia picked off Finland in a shootout last night, so after flying high, the Americans should not take the Slovaks for granted.

Happy 2009.