March 9, 2014, by Homme De Sept-Iles
Toothy 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 (35-23-7) visit San Jose Sharks (40-17-7)
Saturday, March 8th, 2014
Game Sixty-Six (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.
Anti Niemi and Peter Budaj start in net. Or nets, if you prefer.
Early San Jose penalty.
The Sharks pressure at the hash and a poor pass results in a slow rush that melts into a bizarre goal. Budaj had the puck under his jersey and between the legs but the goalie stood too long and Wingels jammed in with purpose and backhanded it in.
San Jose 1, Montreal 0
Canadiens haven’t won in San Jose since 1999. What a stat.
Habs continue to bungle the power-play, turning it over at the circle-tops and enter for one last seven-second segment.
Emelin from the high circle, on the right. Fanned. Cleared. Set up. Irwin shoots from the left point and it’s out of play.
Therrien appears clam.
Irwin and Boyle are underneath for the Sharks and they backstop a Shark presence that’s convincing and sharper than the Sharks of old. Under Todd McClellan, the Tank Boys have gone from dead sea to rushing river. And the battle-clams in the crowd have grown to love the new brand.
San Jose ranks seventh, overall in points percentage racking up 2.91 goals per game to 2.38 against. Their early season shots for and against ratio has settled t to 34.9/27.6. It’s still the league’s best.
Now a Montreal penalty. Jared Tinordi is called for holding in the corner to Budaj’s left.
We hear a version of the Jaws theme. Nice. A thick cello. Synthy.
First thirty seconds are a wash. The much-criticized Douglas Murray is on the first pairing.
Weaver is with him. The new guy. One of the new guys.
Marc reviews the Coyote shots from last night’s surprising but deserved 5-2 loss. Most came from the slot. Another surprise.
Canadiens continue to interrupt but a Markov stop and wrist is into a leg and the puck stays in for another three seconds. It’s cleaned up and sent down.
White leads a rush of his own. Left side. Curls in. Whistle. Tripping. Gionta.
Plekanec is up top with Murray low.
Early clear and the Canadiens will see just six more seconds of five-on-three action. And another block and clear. Montreal’s blocked shot total has been climbing in recent weeks.
Five on four. About a minute’s worth.
Burns has a lane on the right under the blue. Heavy shot wide to Budaj’s left and into the back boards.
Pacioretty takes the ice and extends a long arm as he sweeps the ice.
Another Montreal takeaway. Plekanec, one-armed, moves it up. Pacioretty follows into the deep corner.
Sharks are able to control but the penalty is over. Lines change.
Allows the Habs an outlet.
Around the boards. James Sheppard carries but he can’t keep it either. Montréal’s takeaway generation is outstanding in the first ten minutes.
It’s a poorly recorded stat but the Sharks rank fifth in the league in giveaways. Only four teams have fewer. But takeaways for aren’t giveaways against, necessarily. Work needed.
Eight and twenty.
Subban for Moen. Two in and three Sharks deep. The crescent can’t be pierced.
Faceoff to Budaj’s left.
The logo is red and white. Blue and bold. But the past can’t help the present. This edition like all others before it must win and work in the present.
Burns is called for tripping Brendan Gallagher at the Montreal under-circle. Perhaps a bad penalty, the Sharks in no danger.
Montreal man-advantage. They rank thirteenth. Jose is eighth on the kill.
Better chances but no goals.
Emelin is called with three and fifteen. Interference.
He leaned a man into the boards at mid-ice. Falling on him like a snowman.
Murray and Weaver low. Moen and Plekanec up top.
One man on the blue for San Jose, three across and one in the crease. The formation shifts and then y organize in nearly pre-formation football movement, looking smart and crisp. The Sharks are a much more vital alignment.
One oh five.
Into the Montréal corner right.
Torres at the muzzle. Budaj is across adn slow to rise. Save made.
Eller leans with a stick and the puck bounds into the boards where it’s cleared. Houde offers a bouquet.
Moen drives right. Gets across the crease, draped. Wow. And the puck nearly goes off a Shark’s leg.
They clean it up. Penalty ends. Pacioretty accelerates to nearly top speed down the left. Loses the disc. And then it’s lost.
The Sharks are very impressive despite the turnovers. They fly around and make mistakes. But they play at top speed. They’re even better than last time.
Yes, turnovers are a big problem but those can be fine-tuned out of a team’s game.
One last giveaway, this one on the Shark blue is fenced and the period ends.
Montreal led on shots 9-7.
San Jose 1, Montreal 0
Should be tied.
San Jose 2, Montreal 0
Early chances traded. And then a blank point shot from the left; the goal.
Matt Irwin notches.
San Jose 2, Montreal 0
Budaj’s night is over.
Subban fails to plaster Sheppard and an offwing point-blank shot is a tough save for Tokarski.
Torres wipes out Eller and Tinordi with a pause is into the former Oiler. And he holds him and then whales him to the cold turf. Yes, Tinordi can fight.
Two minutes for instigating. Five minutes for fighting. And two for misconduct. Torres gets five for fighting and two for boarding.
We’re at fives for now.
Fifteen oh five in the period.
Respect can’t be bought nor begged. And fighting must go.
Desharnais over the blue, a leger float and then a look to the high slot. Finds Emelin. Wrister. Gallagher closes to the crease. But Niemi controls.
Desjardins is asked to leave the dot. Burish is in. Quick Montreal shot. Niemi stops it and stays on his knees, the paddle down. He’s still weak.
His 0.911 pales next to backup Alex Stalock’s 0.932. True, teams play better defensively with the backup in. Or more conservatively. Stalock has started 19 to Niemi’s 50.
Thornton from the mid-ice, room for a shot. Half-wind and into the goalie. Who holds it. This is Tokarski’s second game in a Montreal uniform. He won his first.
Some Murray talk. The former Shark is described as lacking speed but bringing a robust game and character. Murray’s clocked 8:55, so far.
Thirteen and fifteen.
White, Eller and Bourque.
Bourque chases with wings. But he can’t reach the outlet board puck.
Galchenyuk joins the line, White leaving
Now Nieto scores.
San Jose 3, Montreal 0
Big sea horn.
Weaver was beaten on the right a pass to the slot Marleau setting up Nieto. Fine finish.
Here they come again. Pavelski brakes in the circle and is relieved by Plekanec.
Eleven oh eight.
Sharp-angle shot from the right hash. Tokarski retains.
Three goals and were at the mid-way point. Eleven oh three. Faceoff is won by the Sharks but Demers loses it easily rounding the Montreal net.
Systems win. And Montreal has the blue print. Gallagher to the crease. Desharnais, too. Gallagher swipes and swings, a flurry of composite after the whistle. He’s downed for his eagerness.
Faceoff to Niemi’s right.
Montréal can score four, five goals. But they’ll have to convert on interceptions.
Ten and a half.
And the Sharks are rapid out of their zone again. I’ve never seen Thornton playing with such application. A puck escapes the Montréal zone and Thornton outpaces all and catches the Montreal player. Lifts the puck. Very nice.
Yes, he’s still their captain. But he’s evolved. His 61 points is second on the team, the bulk of which are assists, 52.
The Sharks are an admired organization, Mario Tremblay outlining some of their strengths earlier in the telecast. Yes, they’re a lauded bunch but they’re progressive and smart. Their GM Doug Wilson is solid. I listened to several Wilson interviews last summer and read up on a number of the Shark moves of the past decade. They’re a healthy organization. Larry Robinson is also behind the bench as associate coach.
McClellan remains intriguing, and in my mind, an analogue to the Islanders Jack Capuano, also a coach who’s gotten more from his team than predecessors.
Eight and thirteen.
Briere is now centring Bourque and Galchenyuk. Tonight’s his 900th game. Denis tosses a few bouquets. Deserved. Briere remains a pro regardless of situation.
Murray knocks down Sheppard on a draw. Hard. No animosity.
Pavelski. Right side. Two low. Slow stickhandling. Fires. Wide from ten feet.
Now Pavelski has it again. Give and go with Thornton, a horizontal petal at the circle-tops.
Another missed shot. Pavelski leads the team with 62 points, thirty-two goals. Houde remarks on the team chemistry.
The Sharks have sacrificed precision for speed. And it’s working for them.
Six oh four. Long Shark puck. Called. No-touch icing. The new hybrid icing rule installed in the off-season.
I watched an old Gainey/Lanny McDonald interview today. Heritage game, 2011. Ron MacLean. Gainey is one of the smartest men in hockey. It’s hard to believe it didn’t work out in Montreal. But there’s more to that story.
Tokarski earns a few more saves as the Sharks circle and bite.
There’s no way out of this.
Three oh one. The Sharks are playing as if they need two goals. They’re an older team in many respects and they’ve failed to live up to the billing. It makes them resilient. And relentless, under McClellan.
Up and down the Sharks stealing and shooting, the Canadiens all oxygen and no mirth.
Now a penalty. Holding. Sheppard.
McClellan evinces a foiled demeanour as he stuffs something back into an inside pocket.
Faceoff to Niemi’s right. Houde reminds us that the Habs power-play is oh of two.
Subban carries. To Briere. He’s bumped but retains. Retains again and then it’s lost on the boards.
Briere has a streak of aluminium. He’s undeterred and he’s able to bring a team back. He continues to work the deep boards on re-entry and then sneaks behind the net. Receives. Emerges. Underneath to Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk lose it on the end-boards and then a point pass results in an offside step.
Thirty-six in the penalty.
Galchenyuk shakes his head as he looks up at the scoreclock.
Long Montréal puck will close this period. Three point two and a last faceoff to Tokarski’s right. Therrien is knee up and in the mariner’s pose. Hand holding the chin, a finger stroking. He’s not enraged. He’s reflective. Very much a man of outcomes.
Sharks led on shots 19-8.
San Jose 3, Montreal 0
Mario says you can’t ask Desharnais and Pacioretty to give up Gallagher. They need his net-bound presence.
San Jose 3, Montreal 0
Couture scores. The competitive phase ends.
San Jose 4, Montreal 0
Hide the score and it looks ordinary early first period action. Both teams are playing with pride. Montreal to avoid further embarrassment, San Jose showing a finisher’s form.
Moen is called. He removes his mouthguard to share a few comments. Pas heureux.
San Jose power.
Sharks can’t set up. And the lead finally shows. Houde adds that the team has lost some vigour.
The Sharks begin to relax. Just a smidge but the Canadiens are able to retain and make it look like a man-advantage for about eight seconds. Niemi ends all that and nabs it for a faceoff.
Their spirit remains. We learn from these moments. We show resolve during. And we grow.
The clocks go forward tonight. And I decide that I can’t subtract more from my sleep than what I already have.
I begin proofing the musing.
Montreal goes to power during. And then Pacioretty interferes. He’s ignored as he jaws mildly on the way to the box.
Montreal adds a delay of game infraction with about three and a half left. Galchenyuk will serve.
No, I don’t like Tremblay’s remark. Get someone else to go to the net. The EGG must be whole. And I’d have put Vanek with Briere immediately. But hey. Not my team.
Gionta falls over a man in aggression. Unusual. Houde cites frustration. Not sure if any punches were thrown. Bit ugly as the captain rams Sheppard a few times as he’s down. Sheppard earned something. But perhaps not that much.
The infractions are sorted and result in a four-on-four. For one and eleven.
Sheppard got an extra two for tripping Ryan White. Our captain got the, uh, benefit of the doubt. No, he’s not Saku Koivu. But he earns respect. A lot of it.
Canadiens close the final minute with a man-advantage. It drains out and we have thirty-one seconds left.
More Montreal. Niemi soft-closes it. Twenty-three point two. Nothing left but to spoil the shutout.
That early goal, that gaffe … I shake my head. But. Sharks are both rows of teeth. And sharp. It drains out, the puck in Montreal ice.
Will there be a fight? No. They are convinced otherwise. The big sea horn.
San Jose 4
HDS Stars: Todd McClellan, Logan Couture, Tommy Wingels
RDS Stars: Logan Couture, Tommy Wingels, Patrick Marleau
March 9, 2014 No Comments » comments now enabled!