The Diachronic Barber Pole Observations of a Recovering Hockey Exile

Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators

December 20, 2014, by Homme De Sept-Iles

Undeserved 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 (20-11-2) host Ottawa Senators (14-12-6)
Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Game Thirty-Four (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.

PVR Standing: October 27th vs Edmonton (complete)


I was told once by a wise colleague that using the term “upon us” (as in the holidays are upon us) evokes a sensation of being crushed by, say, a retaining wall.

The broadcaster isn’t RDS.  Again.  I shake my head.  And I’ll have to pay for TVA if I want all my games in French.  I have no idea how bad they might be.

CityTV makes sure to mention four other Canadian teams.  Stroppy.

Dave Cameron is the new Sen coach; he’s 3-1-1 to start.  The Sens are in eleventh spot in the east, two points out of eighth.

Leaf talk.  What for.  David Amber sports an odd bit of coppery, audio electronica on his left ear.  He has a CFL slotback vibe to him.  You know.  Thin.  Articulate.

Sports as an event.  Sports as a study.  Sports as an art.

We’re in Montreal so we’ll get all three.

Despite this coverage.

Desharnais is on the third line again.

I watch Anderson (0.930) handle some warm-up shots and consider the various personalities that consider this a position worth taking up. [Ed note: It’s Robin Lehner]

Some choir is on a huge red carpet in the corner of the rink.  And the crowd joins in, ruining their preparation.  Or is it a choir?

The organist stops playing early and then joins in late.

Lots of Hab jerseys in the stands.

Winter solstice is tomorrow.  I see.

This announcer’s raspy voice and use of teeth as a descriptor is quickly tedious.

Carey Price and Anderson will start tonight.

First Period

I missed the Duck game (captured on PVR) and note that Pacioretty will play tonight, injured in that game.  Or shaken up.

Early corner to crease pass.  Shot into pads, Anderson spread, alone.

Sekac taps the puck to himself, a smart advance but is held.  They call it, a blue-line entry that leads to a brief goalie-absent man-advantage.

They’re pushed out but they retain.  Markov advances.  And then Prust can’t hook and coin it in the muzzle.  It’s touched.

Karlsson goes to the box.

How did he get the C?  What an organization.

Desharnais from the corner, cruises to the crease and passes to an open man on the opposite circle.  Completely missed.

Second unit.  Markov and Subban on the blue.

Desharnais, Parenteau and Andrighetto.

Andrighetto falls near the right point.  Turns it over. Markov retreats. Condra loops one.  Price catches it.  Drops it.  Doesn’t know where it is.  Condra leaps and lands on his stomach, his stick pokes the puck behind Price.

Markov couldn’t hook the stick in time.  Price had it in a cradle and then it just fell.  All that equipment impedes feel.

I doubt Price has ever done that.

The Canadiens continue to pressure, retaining the puck easily against the visitors.

Emelin is found at the centre of their blue.  Launches but it’s seen and stopped.

Montreal’s eleven first period goals rank them last in the NHL.

Sekac finds space, curling tall into the crease.  Backhander.  Nope.

Then they score.  Bouncer off the hash.  Looks to the slot.  Sneaks a wrister.  Short side.  How did that eke in?

Lehner is in net?  Oh.

Replay shows the puck clearly past the line.  Review.

The new coach stands, hands behind his back, looking a bit nervous.

Puck crossed the line.

Montreal 1, Ottawa 1

Prust’s one hundredth career goal.

Gilbert and Sekac log assists.

Desharnais has a step and a chance.  And then my portable heater blows the power-bar’s safety and I lose the picture and the Nextbox.  And of course, the infernal box needs to reboot.  What the fuck for.

I look over the rosters as I wait.

How much of the recording will I lose?

Electronic shenanigans.  Expensive, too.

I watch the curling red comet on the bottom right of the screen and wonder if I’ll lose sound on the so-called handshake, the process that syncs the box with the TV.  Seventy-two percent.  Seventy-five.  And the red bar fills like a thermometer.

Really, I have so much more hope in the world these days.  Regardless.  Some amazing things going on.  In science.  In discovery.  In … the box has booted.  And no sound.

Shot from the left point, Emelin, looking a bit more confident.

He took a bit hit earlier tonight.  Yeah, he’s looking a bit more normal.  He digs at their blue and then loses it, retreating and retaining.

The network shows Emelin’s movement on two distance plays, one a pass to the crease lip, a tape finish and save.  And the other, a looping, searching wrister, off right to left movement to create a lane.

I turn the TV off and on in hopes of revitalizing the handshake and it works.

Eleven in the period.

Plekanec is able to round their net and send it across.  No sticks reply.

Now the Sens are on a rare deep mission, in the corner to Price’s left.

We’re told the Sens lead on hits nine to one.  Hits don’t correlate with wins.  Never have.  Never will.

It’s not football.

Hits that produce turnovers?  More meaningful.

Sens power-play.

Turris and Karlsson on the blue.

They both shoot right.

They also lead their team in points.  Twenty-three points in thirty-two games.  Exact.  And that’s not a good sign for Ottawa hockey.  Eighty-eight for and eighty-eight against, if you were wondering.

In case there’s any concern.

The attack frays quickly.  Montreal’s sixth-ranked penalty-kill earns plaudits from Romanuk and his booth-mate.

Paul Romanuk is doing the play-by-play.

Penalty ends.  Eight minutes.

We’re told that the spotlight on Jean Beliveau’s old seat remains on when his family, his wife, aren’t seated there for a game.

His ways have shaped the team’s ways.

He’s not the only gentleman to have walked those floors but he’s one of the greatest.

Ottawa is leading on draws ten to six, Malhotra zero of four.

Unusual.  Malhotra is a top-five draw man.

Sometimes he’s first, overall.

Price crab claws one out of the air, a centre lane drive.

Then the Sens are asked to leave the area.  And they comply.

Galchenyuk, Gallagher and Pacioretty.

Will people keep watching TV into the next century?  Hm.  Some version of it, I’m sure.

But what purpose is there in watching other people in action (asks the so-called hockey muser)?

But.  I wonder often.

Three and thirty-three.

Eller to Subban.  Shot.  Redirected.  Into a blade.  Desharnais down the right.  Wards off a Cowen stick high.  Loses the puck.

Montréal is faster than Ottawa.  And more precise.

Zibanejad finds a man.  Slot shot.  High.

Galchenyuk’s great reach nearly thwarts a board outlet pass but the puck trickles into the neutral zone.

Why does Mike Hoffmann look so tall?  He’s just six feet zero.  Or so he’s listed.

One and fourteen.

Long test pass.  All.  The.  Way.  A soft, easy icing.

Missed everyone.

The action slows noticeably, thirty seconds left in the period.

Subban carries to the middle, considers and then winds backward.

Desharnais sees it in the left dot, unable to get to it.

Eller and Greening have a disagreement to end the period.  Nothing comes of it, Prust paused at the bench, monitoring.

First Intermission
Montreal 1, Ottawa 1

George warns us that Cherry is next.

Such an unpleasant man.

Nice velour today.  Red.  Yellow kerchief.  Yellow flower.  And a Santa tie.  As if Santa would approve of Don.

He wouldn’t.

Ron MacLean’s demeanour never fails to annoy.

Erik Condra is interviewed.  He comes off humble.

Fluke goal, it’s tabbed.

Sure. Fair enough.

Why are there so many stupid hockey coaches in this country?

Second Period
Ottawa 1, Montreal 1

The unsavoury Chris Phillips has clocked eight shifts.

Montréal unchallenged.  Gilbert is lurking in the slot.  I don’t think he has the speed to justify that.  He wanders into the deep recesses but can’t get back in time.

Montreal gets into the middle segments much more easily than in recent seasons.

I watch Andrighetto gain slot permission with ease.  No cost.

Sens call a time-out.

Top line is sent to counter.  Sens are tired.

Sens are able to get some replacements.  Markov must retrieve.  Long pass.  The forest stays quiet.

Gryba.  Giveaway.  Sekac.  Yo-yo yank.  And then a wrister.  Save.

Just a decent team.  The organ takes me back thirty years and I think of Robinson.

I lost about four minutes of game-play.  The box stutters and resumes with eleven oh eight in the second.  Could have been worse, I suppose.

So-called first world problems.

Hey.  Did I miss a goal?

Um.  Yeah.  Gallagher down the right and a finish.

Phillips has 56 hits coming in.  Ooooo.  Chris Calgary Phillips.

Hits don’t correlate with wins.  And the A is for alternate.

Ah, the life of a bully.  Phillips sits unapologetic on his bench as we’re shown two hits, one on Andrighetto and the other on Gallagher.

Phillips isn’t as brave with the bigger fellas.  Watch him sometime.  And you tell me.

Weise makes a rare appearance.  Or for me, it’s rare.  I never notice him.  He’s on with Andrighetto and Desharnais.

Karlsson is so full of himself.  It’s in his gait, in his drive selections.  He gets his head down here and tries to knife through the middle.  Fails.

His captaincy is galling.  I strongly suspect this is another Bryan Murray decision.  Another bad one.

Does Bryan Murray take his own counsel?  Ever?

Not a GM.

Eight and eleven.

Karlsson is another character-less fiend.  Beaulieu type.

Three men.  Plekanec the red man in the middle.  Accelerates.  Has enough room to one hand the puck.  Lehner covers.  Plekanec takes a seat, leans forward and rues the moment.


Pageau down the left.  Found.  Churns.  Backhand to forehand, Price closes as he slides.


Romanuk lets us know that if Price has a weakness (and he uses the term loosely, he shares), the percentages show low glove side.

Where did he get those stats.

Karlsson is so bad.  It’s as if he’s not even there.  Swings at a puck, skates himself out of the play and then gets greedy as the puck goes the other way.

Imagine him as a teammate.  Now imagine him being named your captain.  And folks like Chris Phillips asking you if you have a problem with something.

Welcome to Ottawa.

Florida.  Edmonton.  Arizona.  Carolina.  Toronto. Ottawa.  Some of the worst organizations in hockey.

Others with key dummies in place?    Rangers.  Isles.  Dallas.  Vancouver.  Winnipeg.  Philadelphia.

And lately … Pittsburgh.

Karlsson, by the way is minus twelve.  Worst on his team.

I’ve never seen a country so thoroughly unable to analyse its own game.  England and soccer come to mind.  But other than that, Canadians, as a group, are the worst.  Ask one to describe what makes a good defenceman sometime.

It’s not goals and assists.  And the list is long.

Under a minute.

Long Markov puck is called, missing everything.

Sens win the draw, Plekanec fussing with his tape beforehand.  Left point.  Across.  Shot. Deflection. Price sees it and stops it.

Georges St. Pierre is seated to Plekanec’ right, the Czech in the box for holding the stick on the faceoff.  His opponent’s.  Um.

One shot.  One-timer.  Hoffman.  Price was there.

Period ends.

Second Intermission
Montreal 2, Ottawa 1

At least I’m a faster typist.

I can’t help but think that George took a step back.  Hosting hockey?  After interviewing the world’s most interesting personalities on his own show.  I’m sure they’re paying him a lot.  And I’m sure he’s having a lot of fun.  But for how much longer.

Third Period
Montreal 2, Ottawa 1

Power-play continues.

I suppose Homme de Sept-Iles could be questioned for his own strange work decisions.

I suppose I have been.

Karlsson slows and turns approaching the Montréal blue and just gives it away.  Just turns and quietly sends it backward to Montréal. What a strange time for Sens fans.  Has it always been this bad?  At least when they had Alfredsson, there was some semblance of order.

I wonder if Alfredsson hated some, most or all of his time in Ottawa.

Shabby.  Shabby, shabby.  He should have retired a Sen.  One of the greatest players of all time.  And for what.

How is Eric Gryba leading his team in penalty minutes?  His 60 is followed by Borowiecki’s 58 and thug Chris Neil’s 49.

Another Montreal penalty.

Two sticks swipe Hoffman.  He fell.  The sticks had nothing to do with it.  We were told that twenty-two players were given first warnings this week.  For diving.

Replay shows that the penalty call is legit.

Early chance a hopper off the back boards but Price makes it look simple.

Karlsson has a scruffy Zorro demeanour.  It doesn’t help him.  The crowd begins booing when he touches the puck.

Karlsson loses it on the right point.  Careless.  Now he carries down the middle.  Four around him and he ladles it to the left hash.  It’s complete.  Then it’s lost and cleared.

Sens can’t get anything going.  They’re slow and lack drive.

One fluke goal.  Low time of possession.  Poor passing.  And all that tropical poison we call Senator chemistry.


Pacioretty has room.  One man to beat on the right side.  Can’t get around him.  Cody Ceci tangles his stick and gets away with it. Romanuk commends the defensive work.

Thirteen oh six.

Parenteau comes up with a puck, a straight steal in the left corner.  Guess who the steal was off of?  Karlsson.

All unmentioned by the experts.  Of course.  So much of what Canadians believe about their game comes from their narrators.  The game’s media members.  And much of that is coloured or myopic.

Markov booms one off the pads.  Blue distance.

Canadiens begin to press.  Subban makes a move in the middle.  Romanuk calls it a Subbanian spinorama.  He qualifies it, calling it an homage to Danny Gallivan.

Stone down the right.  Romanuk’s verve grows.  The Sens appear to work a bit better.  Everything Karlsson does is flawed.  He can shoot a bit, sure.

But the rest?  Oy.

Incompetent captaincy divides teams.

Ten and fourteen.

Perniciously pursued. Says Romanuk.  Very nice.

The Sens collapse slowly.

Pacioretty is able to turn and look.  They’re gathered in the slot.  The shot. Off equipment.

And then on the other end, a freebie look nearly ends the stolid one-goal lead.

Zibanejad is pull-clothed to the surface.  No call.  I consider the edict.  Malkin was called for diving twice tonight.  The second infraction calls for a public naming of the player.

Somehow diving is a worse crime in this league than premeditated assault.

It ain’t MY league.

The great Bob Cole?  So says Paul Romanuk selling another game.  He mentions Cassie Campbell, as well.

Sugar mall malt.  The in crowd is predictable.

Montreal’s power-play continues to suffer.

Gonchar should be removed from the power-play.  The team is climbing again, up to fifteen percent and 22nd in the league.  But this group should be top six.

One last one-timer.   A right point shot by Galchenyuk.

Four and thirty.

Some guy on the Ottawa bench looks like Randy Cunneyworth.  [Ed note: He’s assistant coach Mark Reeds.  And Rick Wamsley is the goalie coach.  He’s quite pudgy nowadays.]

Coach.  Thin as a blade.

Montreal goes to power again.

Markov’s frustration shows as he shakes his head at the formation, wheels backward and starts out again.

And they score.  Finally. Plekanec from the end line.  Wrapped it in.

No protection, the leaning wrapper sees the puck carom off the far post, and under the blocker.

Montreal 3, Ottawa 1

Two and thirty-six.

Shapes and shadows.  The Sens can’t play.  Karlsson again.  Reaches and misses.  Galchenyuk joins late and the triangle is lit.

Pacioretty slows, notices that the Ottawa faux captain is on him, brakes, looks with leisure.  And passes to Emelin who sideposts Galchenyuk who finishes it easily.

Emelin.  His offensive work is very good tonight.  And promising.

Montreal 4, Ottawa 1

Matchups.  The Sens lose most with Montreal.

Markov.  Tape.  Subban.  Tape.  Malhotra.  Tape.  Over the blue.  Winds and fires, immediately.  Montreal is on another power-play.

Andrighetto fires a wild one off the glass.

Five seconds.  Long puck.  Price stands and janitors it behind his end line.  Then the siren goes.  We see a coyote like Karlsson licking his lips in defeat, alone on the Sen bench.

Final Score
Montreal 4
Ottawa 1

RDS Stars: Who knows
CITY Stars: Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, Mike Hoffman
HDS Stars: Max Pacioretty, Alexei Emelin, Carey Price

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