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The Diachronic Barber Pole Observations of a Recovering Hockey Exile


Montreal Canadiens vs Chicago Blackhawks

April 9, 2014, by Homme De Sept-Iles

Feathery Musings and In-Game Scribbles

My English is as good as yours, I just write these in a stream-of-consciousness mode that I insist excuses me from small things like rules of grammar or general etiquette. Let’s call it conversational English, hopped up on beans. You know what kind of beans (no, Carl Mellesmoen, not the magic ones).

Montreal Canadiens (45-27-7) visit Chicago Blackhawks (45-19-15)
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Game Eighty (score posted following scribbles)

Missed it? Musings capture the game in writing. This untoward transcript is typed during the game, edited then posted about forty minutes later.  Based on the RDS French telecast of the Montreal Canadiens game, Musings take about 24 minutes to read. More detailed than an article, fresher than a looping highlight and good with a morning coffee.  Or late-night suds.  A unique way to re-experience the game.  Or just plain enjoy it.

Click here to expand post.  It looks prettier.

Dan O’Halloran and Kevin Pollock are the refs.

Since my absence, two taped but unmused games, the team has rolled.  Or so I’ve guessed from the hints.  I’ve managed to avoid stats but outcomes are harder.

First Period

I have a lot to answer for, states my inner critic, resplendent in deep blue with the Canadiens pin in the lapel.

Me?  I’m hatless and still the third-line literary goon I pretend to be.

Very fast skating to open things.  I see Gorges back for the first time.  And tonight, is, in fact his first game back after about a fifteen-game absence.  I originally typed fifteen weeks, and it feels as much.

Vanek to the post, a backhand.  No company.  Stays out but Pierre’s voice thins in microphone panic.

The Hawks survive but I consider their recent struggles.  Despite three straight wins coming in, the team dropped consecutive decisions to Boston, Ottawa and Pittsburgh just prior.  All three are strong, Pittsburgh and Boston the top two points-getters in the Eastern Conference.

Teams get up for Chicago, the defending champs, and that creates a special pressure to balance the sense of near-entitlement that accompanies a Cup win.  The Hawks last game was a 4-2 win over Saint Louis, perhaps the West’s strongest foe.

I, like many others, imagine the Hawks as favourites to appear.  But I also like the lapsed Kings.

I’ve missed two games and I feel as out of sorts as having missed two seasons of football.  Well, maybe one.

Hossa is back in the Chicago lineup.

Bourque is fed at net’s side.  A certain goal, missed.

Canadiens create more chances than the home team and finally a long shot is gloved by Budaj.  And retained.

We see a Crawford save on Plekanec, keyed by Gallagher.  The Bourque chance is shown and two others. Crawford earns plaudits from Denis for all.  The former Montreal backup feels the Bourque door-stop was the best.

Again the Habs enter.  Right side keeper and wrister by Bourque. Rebound.  And Briere can’t pot it, a defender’s stick preventing a twang of twine.

Long Vanek shot following the drop.  Crawford Benches it high.  Yes.  Johnny Bench.

Faceoff to his left.

Keith has it early, Gallagher haranguing him under the end -line.

It’s out.

Outlet pass is blown and the Canadiens must clean up.  Ironic as Beaulieu is one of the blue line men back.  Not sure if this is first game back since his last call-down.  Well, what do you want to call it, then?

Here’s a two-on-one.

Pacioretty keeps, pauses, sends it across but it’s deflected.  Was that really Pacioretty?  What evolution.

Now, here we fall.

But no.  Budaj stands, extends and then the glove silences all.  Point-blank.

That delay and pass over was a work of Desharnais.  Ok.  Two games isn’t a football season.

Yes, I have my reasons.  Yes, I have my excuses.  No, I don’t think it’s black and white.  Nor bleu, blanc, rouge.  Or, wait.

Faceoff outside the Chicago zone.

Gorges is paired with Subban.  White, Bournival and Weise are up front.

Energy, right?

Eight and thirty-six.

Does the Montréal team have what it takes to advance?  Again and again the marbles fall like pucks from a net.  It’s a popular question from my inner critic.  He’s seated in a box seat, in the upper section of my internal parliament.

I wonder if he’s an MP?  I’ve never closely examined my parliament’s inner workings.  I’m more of a voter in that realm. Or building burner.

Bricks.  Mortar.  Loud insinuations.

Is there a moat?

Yes.  There’s a moat.  A dragon, sure.  Long.  Eel-like.  Perhaps a debated existence.  Sea and air.  Wet leather wings.

Budaj stops a long one, just past the right point.

We’re shown a Kane and Morrow collision.  Kane has resumed skating.  This morning’s footage is shown.

He’s still got a shenanigan or two left in him.  Yes, I’ve nabbed him in each of the past four, five drafts I’ve participated in.

The Hawks speed game isn’t the same without Kane.  It’s capable but it’s a perimeter operation.  Hossa is still Hossa, though. He can trundle into the lanes any time.  Creative.  Looming.

He’s clocked 4:17 so far.

Five and twenty in the period.

Bourque, Briere and Gionta.  Good combo.  I like what effect Gionta might have on Bourque.

Faceoff to Budaj’s right.  He stounces low, the blades biting solid.  Then he rises.  He doesn’t play much but because of this he has more time to develop new techniques, risking them in practice.  One might suggest a backup has more development potential than a starter.

Briere hooked and stayed with Hossa as the two trailed into the Montréal slot, a vague angle.

Chicago power.

Hossa, Sharp and Shaw.  Versteeg, too.

Keith is low.  So, four forwards, one defender.

They converge.  The puck emerges at the blue.  Weise dives right as the shot doesn’t come, a pass to the net’s side, instead.  Good thing, because Budaj was in his patented panic, out of position and compromised, way too far out of the net.  Gad.

Faceoff.

Montreal has blocked thirteen shots to Chicago’s one.

Bournival pushes and lurches past a man and then manages a weak shot across the high crease. Nobody else to convert.  Hawks meld and then emerge.

Down into the corner to Budaj’s left.

Pushed out.

Left-side entry and men fall.  No penalty.

One oh four and the penalty is over.

Bouillon passes as he backs away form the ice to enter the bench area.  Subban replaces him.

Bourque leans and then turning, off-balance and tired of pursuit, turns and fires it into the corner.

Bourque’s board work is slow and I wonder at his effort.  He’s recovered fully since the Vanek trade but one always feels there’s more he could do.  Might not be fair.

Gorges’ beard briefly reminds me of Paul Mara’s.

One last draw, to Crawford’s right.  One point six.

Sticks scrape air and ice and the puck bounds into the slot, untouched.

Period ends, the Canadiens leading on shots 13-11.

First Intermission
Montreal 0, Chicago 0

It’s good to be back.

Subban and Gorges have clocked the most time for the Habs.  Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith for the Hawks.

Second Period
Chicago 0, Montréal 0

Weaver recorded five blocked shots in the period.  White and Galchenyuk were both injured.  Both are out for the game.

With two less players, the rhythm may be affected states Houde.

Faceoff to Budaj’s left ten seconds in.

Canadiens led on checks 10-7 but trailed on faceoffs, 9-4.

Shots blocked, 14-1 for Montreal.  Reseau’s swift number checker flashed across the screen top.

Long Hawk puck is called for icing.

In two games in two nights, the Habs are 10-3-3 in games ones with a 9-7 record in second games.  They’ll be playing tomorrow night again.

Long puck sent in by Bollig.  Lost on the rounding hash.

Vanek, still, looks for a man from the left side of the blue.  Intercepted, telegraphed.

In Chicago ice.  Weise lurks in the slot, Briere working for the disc behind heir net.

He nabs it but the pass is into legs and intercepted.

Plekanec wins the draw but the puck is lost, a space opening for a Saad shot. Budaj’s butterfly drop is enough.

Montreal works out with short passes.  Plekanec holds onto the disc, an arm up to ward.  Now behind the net, Plekanec loses it.  Two and two on the hash.  Some help, Gionta.  They hold onto it briefly, Gionta finally struggling through the Hawk churn to chase a lost disc.

Moments later, Budaj clams down.  Faceoff to his right.

The Hawks happen to have much-travelled Nikolai Khabibbulin.  He’s done, four starts and a 0.811 save percentage.  Five goals against per game.  Unknown Antti Raanta has logged 21 starts to Crawford’s 54.

We see some highlights from Montreal’s 2-1 win over Chicago in January.

Five and a smidge gone.

Pacioretty is found.  Three skeet steps beyond two Hawks.  Slows.  Loses control.  The puck skitters into Crawford and then ekes to his left where Pacioretty, off-balance, swings at it.  And can’t make the disc sing.

Bickell loses the puck around the Montreal net.  Houde reminds us that he’s huge and strong.

Six foot four, 233, eh.

Medium pass up for Gionta.  Bournival with him.  Lost dep. But Gionta hustles and takes it away from a man on the circle and then passes to a trailer.  Quality shot can’t be had.

Leddy, two shots from the left point, the second from Hossa.  Budaj retains and all players trudge to the bench for the TV timeout.

The Pacioretty rush is shown.  Seabrook’s stick was a factor.

Pacioretty is at 39 goals, his career high and a total eclipsing both Cole and Kovalev’s 35; the team’s recent high mark.

A forty-goal scorer.  Imagine that.

Puck is trapped on the board.  Two and two.  Gallagher emerges and carries.  Through to the left hash.  Lost.  They chase with water in their vests.

I consider tomorrow’s second game.  And the length of the season.

Beaulieu finds Briere.  To Bournival on the wing.  Sent to the net.  Crawford absorbs it and rises with his usual grace.

Quenneville’s 705 wins ranks him third all-time.  Is that right?

Crawford nabs a lofter.  Hears a word. Remains mild.

A hot of the Chicago bench and it closes with Quenneville shown in the knee up pose.  His bulldog demeanour remains.

Ten and twelve.

Weaver to Desharnais.  Lotta space.  Desharnais passes to Pacioretty and dives to the net.  Pass doesn’t come.

But the Canadiens retain.  Vanek at the right post.  Directs it low.  Crawford, again, contains.  He’s very tough to face.  Many good qualities besides the lunge and grope of basic network.

Pacioretty’s 39 goals ranks him fourth in the league, overall.  Oy.  But remember, St. Louis is annoyed and Stamkos missed a lot of games.

Ovie is first with 50 in 75.

Corey Perry and Joe Pavelski are next (42, 39).  Pavelski’s 39 comes in 79 games, Pacioretty’s in just 70.  Rank him third, then.

Pacioretty’s passing game has developed over this season, as well.  All rather interesting.  The Canadiens are resuming their old ways.  Build from the draft.

In Bob We Trust(ed).

Eight and a half.

Action is brisk, not at the level of the opening eight minutes but offensively tilted.

Beaulieu carries.  Hefts one left.  Goes long.  Icing.

Denis Savard is shown in the seats.  He’s a Chicago ambassador, now.  What, no coaching aspirations?

He was fired by Chicago to make way for Quenneville, that season ending in a Cup win.  Oh nine, ten.

Whistle.  Budaj, head down, ambles out of his net for a skate-around.

Therrien is in the mariner’s pose, a chin in hand, knee up.  I wonder if he wears cheap cologne.

Now Crawford traps one down.

Faceoff to Crawford’s left.

Won by Chicago.  Sent around.  Tinordi has advanced to block.  Is this the first time both Tinordi and Beaulieu have been up from the small club?

Hmmm.  Direct competition.  They’re different styles of course.

Vanek. Alone. Two men back.  Tries a sneak-through puck.  Works.  Can’t finish.  Didn’t know he could do that.

All he does is slow and deliberate.  But, credit due, he’s effective.

Six oh seven.

Big of-point shot.  Seabrook.  Wide.

Stoppage.

Vanek is swearing, seemingly to himself, on the bench.  I wonder if he’s a bit of a character.

Poison pause.  Illegal vehicles.

The future will exonerate me.

Jacket update.  Number forty-two reached around and potted one against Dallas.  We’re told that Horton had the other one.  What a loss for Boston.  Despite Crank’s optimism.

A dude in a Whaler jersey is shown in the crowd, waving.  Lotta older humanoids in attendance.  At least in that shot.

Saad is upended by Gorges down the right column.  Pierre tells us that Gorges was anxious to return to the team, feeling he was missing out on all the winning in his absence.

Winning in his absence.

We shall see.

Beaulieu to the left column.  Pause and wrist.  Leg-raiser.  Stopped.  Pierre says this is the Beaulieu we like to see.  Crawford extended the pad and the shot came a bit late.

Desharnais now takes a draw to Budaj’s left.

To the blue.  Hawk shot.  Budaj tips it with his glove.

Another whistle.  Two girls engage in a selfie behind Therrien.

Three and a half.

Gionta behind the net.  Unchallenged.  Pass to the hash and circle.  Tinordi fires.  Crawford absorbs.  What a sponge.

The guy doesn’t give out rebounds.

It’s not just today.

Shots on goal.  Such a layered number.  Goalies impact it with their absorption levels.

Forwards impact with cavalier attitudes.  Fronts impact with their willingness to block.  And so many more notions.

Habs fire long to get changes.

Mid-ice turnovers.  Weaver takes it in hand.  Advances from his blue with it and fires long.

Around the boards.  Not enough chase.  Sent back.  Budaj gets the whistle.

Faceoff to his left.  Won by Montreal.  Round the boards.  Intercepted at mid-ice.  Sent in, also intercepted.

Pierre finds reason to mention Richard Zednik.

Michal Handzus is from Banska Bystrica.  Slovakia.  Just like Richard.

Hossa is also a Slovakia native; Stara Lubovna.

It’s all Russia, isn’t it.  Don’t even mention that herky-jerky short man.  What a fucked up stride.  Mutie Men at Work member.  Ukulele.

Twenty-four seconds.

Beaulieu swears and says something to Tinordi, who’s removing a mouthguard.

Won by Montréal, deep left.

Down. Out, over Bouillon’s stick.  Hawks find Bickell deep. Shovelled.  Habs converge, Subban and Weise.  And the horn goes.

Montreal led on shots 10-6.

Second Intermission
Montreal 0, Chicago 0

The playoffs are three games away.

Third Period
Chicago 0, Montreal 0

Gallagher rounds Keith.  End boards, both still standing, Gallagher takes it away from the plodding defender.  But he loses it before he can make a play.

Reusable numbers.  Confusing, no?  Weise’s number 22 is Mara’s.  And Shutt’s.  And others.

Ninety seconds gone.

Bouillon rounds the net, one-armed.  You know.  On the stick.

It’s out but fenced at the middle.

Weird bounce on the return rush and Budaj is forced to make an alert save.

Blocked the first with his elbow and was little moved to make the second.

Faceoff.  Hawks win it.  Subban is there.  Gorges.  Somehow the Hawks come out with it.  Long shot.  Deflected.

I wonder how much faster I can get at typing.

Each year, an increment.

I wonder what the Guinness record is.

Therrien continues to think deeply.  He’s considering playoff formations and decisions, I’m sure.  He’s nearly in full evaluative mode, only part of his mind present for this game.

To his mind, the team must not be eliminated in the first round.  He wouldn’t survive the media and fan response much past December.  Should the team skid in the early segment of next season following an opening round ouster.

Panama lurches through the rink.

I recall Eddie Van Halen’s late-video upside-kicking joy-guitar pandemonium.  What a band.

Hawk shot is up into the crowd.

White is back on the bench, by the way.  Healed!

Gionta talks over a hockey detail with Gallagher, hunched, head down and listening.

Weise is into the deep corner, right.  Bourque emerges but his pass from the boards is intercepted.

My beanbag is like Joey Crawford.  Except it absorbs toques.

Detroit and Pittsburgh are tied at 2.  Two teams heading in different directions.  At different speeds.

The Penguins are headed upward toward implosion.  The Wings are on a mild decline to be righted in due course.  Meaning, very soon.

Hawk two on one.  Bollig.  Keeps.  Shoots it wide of it all.

Beaulieu is on the right.  How many mistakes will he make on this call-up?  This will be a decisive factor in whether he stays.  He’s a creative, confident offensive player but his big chip, big attitude and unsavoury outlook make him a risk.  Plus all those fucking turnovers.

I hope the team trades him.  Next year, obviously.

Briere leans into the draw and loses it.  Seabrook on the right point.  Across to Keith.  Wind and shoot.  Lost on the boards behind Budaj.  Hawks reset from their own zone.

Subban muscles a man into the boards.  Bourque is the beneficiary.  Goes to the left.  Finds Weise.  Goal.

My heart lurched.

Bourque dropped it, went to the net.  Weise also.  A pass was off the leg and into the net it went, Weise whapping it.

Montreal 1, Chicago 0

Does the team belong?  It’s easy to get up for Chicago.  But what happens when an equal presses or pushes back hard?  Or worse, is taken lightly?

We saw what happened last year.

Four games and out.  And an embarrassing six-goal game on the way.

Pleasant voices only make the commercial more unpleasant.  Shut the fuck up.  And choke on fumes.

“Veeve still goddit.”

I look up at the luxury box.  Empty.  Where IS that guy.

Was that a missed pass?  Or what.  No matter, Weise found it and hooped it.  Baby.

Faceoff to Budaj’s right.  Briere loses another.  Is that Andrew Shaw?

Sharp wheels through the low slot, reminding me of Denis Savard for a disquieting moment.  Sharp himself is disquieting.  One of the best shots in the game.  And poised. Unruffled.

Thin hitman.

A Weise hit on Shaw is shown.  I guess it was Shaw, then.

Eleven and fourteen.

Not many stoppages.

Saad swoops to it at the low circle.  His fish and scoop pass is intercepted.

Canadiens, Vanek leading, trainroll through the middle zone.  Puck is lost.

Ten and nineteen.

Three on two, Gallagher, Gionta and Plekanec.  One pass.  A second.  And Gionta’s pass is intercepted.

Hawks return.

Board work.  Morn turns in the circle.  Fires hard and low.  It’s into the net.

His celebration is a bit on my nerves.  Auburn, NY native.  He’s 22, says Pierre.

Chicago 1, Montreal 1

Lifted the right leg in slow show horse style.  The rest of him was a piston of righteous goal anger.  Coordinated.

Ballerino.

He’s got three goals in 21 games, coming in.

And, ah, he’s an AHL alum.  Three campaigns, the first around 20 games. The league that teaches the worst hockey has to offer.  The OHL is next-worst.

Draw. Point.  Shot.  Goal.

Vanek and Bouillon share the puck quickly.  Bouillon fired, a full wind.  Pacioretty appeared to touch the puck, parked at the post, facing the goalie’s back.

Montreal 2, Chicago 1

Canadiens enter quickly, again.  Plekanec blasts glass.

Hawks enter offside.

Budaj takes another amble.

The slapper was a riser. And Desharnais was the guy parked.  Pacioretty jumped high, both skates twisting backward to avoid the disc.

Givin the Dog a Bone rages through the speakers.  From the first notes.

I wince and sigh as I recall a song-beginning observation.

And I accept.

Under eight.

Hawks are into the low circle.  The crowd is an ocean rise of flaming waves.  What a sound.

This is an original six team.  And in some ways more original than the other five.  Check it.

Meantime, the Canadiens, also an O6 special, push.

Pacioretty finishes with a high shot.  Crawford nabs it rodeo style.  Replay shows he sent it into the crowd.

What a fucking save.  Sheer light and blight.

Six and forty.

Three games to the playoffs.  Three shifts to oblivion.  Or something tree-lined and sunflashed, anyway.

Three or so.

Whaddaya say.  Honey.

Behind their end line following a red jersey surge.  Plekanec dribbles it, a ball-bearing magnet on his blade.  Can’t find.

Five and ten.

The shush and haw rise.

Slush melts in the spring.  But the heart can freeze.

The playoffs are for young men.  And so is this league.  And us?  We revert to spring and hockey hullabaloo.  Each year without fail.

As long as we see.  As long as we feel.

On the boards.  Four oh seven.

Bouillon jams a man against the boards.  Corner halt.  Sharp.  Called.

Had to be called.  Had to?  I await the replay.

Jackson justifies the call with a gesture and then holds his arm.

My teeth grow crooked.

Commercial.  And then Chicago power.

Their power-play ranks eighth.  Our PK ranks third.  And our P.K. has 53 points, second to Pacioretty’s 60.

Legit call.  Bouillon, had both arms around Sharp in the corner.  Around the head, hoping his stick on the puck would be enough to justify it.

Plekanec wins the draw.  Weaver hits the boards hard even as his follow-through sees the puck leave the zone.

Hawks set up with twenty seconds gone.  Versteeg on the left hash.  Circles and considers.  Drops it.  A pass.  Hossa.  Back to Versteeg.

What a deadly combination.  All of them.  Seabrook and Keith on the blue.

But they’re shovelled out.  And then fenced on the blue.

Just under a minute.

The power-play is the fulcrum.  The game in the balance.

Keith across to Sharp on the right point.  Is he strong enough for that?
Kovalev and Lafleur, sure.  Hull.  Yes.

But Sharp?  Not sure.

Some forwards shouldn’t be perched on the point.

Stoppage.

Yes, we belong.  But parity has sharp teeth.  And kings want to be kings again.

Hawks set up.

Penalty has ended.

Ninety seconds in the game.

Subban.  Across for Tinordi.

Is that the pairing?

Vanek and Pacioretty entry is called for offside.

Quenneville eases back and says a few encouraging words.

Reverse psychology.  Giving the team what it wants.  What it needs.  They’re tight.

And they’re missing their second most creative player. And perhaps their best, overall.

Therrien is facing the ice in the mariner’s pose, this time.

Time-out.  Quenneville.

Fifty-eight seconds.

Crawford is over on one end of the bench.

Teams need to believe at times like this.  They put aside their petty differences and their doubts about the coaching, the lines, everything.  Times like these are when a coach can win back favour.  OR bolster what is already there.

Faceoff to Budaj’s right.  White skracks and pulls.  But he can’t win it.  Around the boards.  Hossa.  Goal.

Bright, savage white lights.  And how did that go in.

Sharp found Hossa in the crease.  Just a put-in off as shrewdly placed a pass as you could want.  Gretzky accuracy.

Chicago 2, Montreal 2

I hate that goal song.

They play it every time.

Canadiens are in right away.  Vanek.  Dropping men.  Then he stands and passes across.  Pacioretty.  Sure goal.  Somehow stays out.

Vanek’s patience is deep.

Faceoff to Crawford’s right.  He got across to make that stop.  That’s how.

Hawks win it.  Ten seconds.  Mid=ice.

I feel the hope fade.  This game is going into overtime.

And the context recurs.  This game doesn’t matter.  But it does.  And it did.

Hawks led on shots 10-6.

Overtime
Montreal 2, Chicago 2

That lame piano-intro from that F.U.C.K. album. It always sounds amateurish.

Imitative.

Why hope to be seen on TV?  Is it really that important?  Why.

Fame is for fools.

Faceoff.  Track three from bill Conti’s classic.  Why play dramatic music in a dramatic situation?  Why.

Sharp and Hossa.  Gionta and Plekanec.

Gionta carries.  All of what he does now is sheer will.  He keeps.  Fires across.  No.

Chicago rolls back.

Sharp.

Scores.

The white light.  That stupid song.  Hillbilly melody.  Kicking pails and falling into milk.

The ice is white.  And Budaj should have had it.  Budaj tapped it with a stick in the air.  Ugly.  And tapped.  And it fell.  Into the curdle.

Final Score
Chicago 3
Montreal 2 (OT)

Yodel ay hee hoo.

HDS Stars: Corey Crawford, Patrick Sharp, Max Pacioretty
RDS Stars: Corey Crawford, Patrick Sharp, Peter Budaj

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