The Diachronic Barber Pole Observations of a Recovering Hockey Exile

Montreal Canadiens vs. Washington Capitals (Game Three)

April 19, 2010, by Homme De Sept-Iles

Musings and In-Game Scribbles playoffs

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).

#8 Montreal Canadiens (39-33-10)
#1 Washington Capitals (54-15-13)

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Round One – Playoffs (Series tied 1-1)
Game Three (score posted following scribbles)

Missed it? Musings capture the game in writing. A written transcript typed during the game, posted and edited about thirty minutes afterward. Based on the RDS French telecast of the Montreal Canadiens game, Musings take about 20 minutes to read. More detailed than an article, fresher than a looping highlight and good with morning coffee. Or late-night chocolate. A unique way to re-experience the game.

Varlamov and Theodore are the goalies and I’m not at my couch in Toronto.  I’m down near Maple Leaf Gardens.  I will explain.  And I’m stuck with TSN.  Could be worse.  Could be CBC.

First Period

We’re in Bell Central and I can’t hear a thing.

Capitals win the faceoff.  Semin line is on.   They clear it into Montreal ice and the Canadiens clear it out quickly.  Stoppage in the Caps zone.

Plekanec wins the faceoff.  Cammalleri and Kostitsyn are on with him.

Gill pairing is on early.

Pace is fast, similar to the first period of the last game.

Crowd is the loudest in the league.  Some booing as a call is perceived as missed.  Moore line is on.

Darche line is on.  They struggle to keep it defensive.  Metropolit is back in the lineup and he centres them.

Shot on Varlamov who makes the save.

Gomez takes and loses the faceoff to Varlamov’s left.

Gionta’s lead pass for the right side is a bit far and the Canadiens need to chase.

I’m in a bar and I’m disoriented by a number of elements.  And the waitress has decided that I need to be asked whether I have a credit card or not.  Long hair?  Wrong tone?  Never mind, I go with cash as it goes.  Nobody needs proof of my liquidity.

With just over four minutes elapsed the Capitals are called for icing.

Ovie takes and loses the faceoff to Varlamov’s right.  Caps come up with it.  They are in the corner to Halak’s left.  Some madcap work to Halak’s left in his crease and a whistle follows.  The Capitals are playing with respect and fury.

Shot of Backstrom watching the ice from the bench.  He looks like Mike Reno, somehow.  Or somebody of that type.  Oh.  Marino.

Moore takes the faceoff against Morrison at centre ice.

Canadiens seem up to the task.  They match the Capitals eager eagle with svelte speed of their own.

Another whistle on a long puck and the Canadiens take the faceoff to Halak’s left.

Plekanec centres a puck but it’s missed.  Disc goes to the blue line where it nearly leaves the zone but a step-up shot keeps it in.  Varlamov gloves it.

Faceoff to his left.

His mask is ugly.

Metropolit works underneath.  Pass up along the boards to the hash from underneath results in a turnover.

Green takes a hard shot as he enters.  Handled by Halak.

Darche incursion on the right is a step-over  wastebasket turnover.

It’s end to end.  Action slows as the Canadiens get control on the end boards.  Gomez line is doing the work.

Ovie hops on and Plekanec is the response line.  Interesting.

Gill and Gorges back-pedal to meet a Backstrom-Ovechkin entry.  Stoppage soon afterward.  Call against Montreal on the play.

I can’t mute the commercials.  The English bubbles into my ear canal.  Bad beer and flat faces.  My waitress thinks I’m Al Qaeda.

I wonder if the other customers are being asked to run a tab.  But I expected this.  Whatever.

Andrei Kostitsyn is in the box for an elbow.

First pairing is Pyatt with Plekanec.  Quick two-on-one results.  Pass from Pyatt is too close to the goalie and Plekanec can’t create a shot.

Capital blank.  Halak stops a face and a puck.  Slot shot entry denied.

Gionta blasts a shot coming over the line now.  Just under thirty seconds in the penalty.  Caps re-enter.

Moore comes up with it and clears.

Penalty ends with Bergeron battling for the puck in the corner to Halak’s left.

Whoah and knave.  Shot.  Long shot.  Slot shot.  The crowd is a ship of fools.  And louder than grand pirates.

Pouliot is in.  Covered.  It’s a swoop and stop.  He leaves it for a blast from Gionta.  I can’t tell.  Looked wide.

Olé, olé chant starts.

Boyd Gordon and his trio try and get some sanity.  Pass from behind the Montreal end line bounces off the back of the net.

Lapierre turns and fires. Up into the crowd.

The waitress smiles and is pleasant with all.  But your scribe.  The bar is faux woody and felt greens and smells of carbonate desperation, the hops of disdain, the yeast of Calgary cotton.  I’ve been my pleasant public self.  No matter.

We see a few replays.

At least one sure Montreal goal was lost.

Faceoff.  Canadiens win it.  Bergeron blasts one and then loses another puck at the Washington line.

Seven and a half minutes left in the first period.

The fuel can’t last.  This jet must land somewhere.  The fuselage is silver going blue.  After red, the fumes choke hope.

Capitals are matching the Canadiens now.  The tilt has begun.

It’s Andrei’s time.  Even though it’s the first period.

Andrei bro.

Lapierre is in.  Three on two.  Keeps.  Shoots.  Varlamov gets it.  Action continues around the perimeter.  Whistle.  Call is against Lapierre?

No.  It’s against Washington’s Jeff Schultz for cross-checking.

Canadiens comme up with the puck.

Shot after shot.  They work like sailors bailing.

Now a take-down goes uncalled.  Crowd boos.

Markov has to retrieve.

Just over forty seconds left in the man advantage.

My toes curl in my shoes.  Flexible shoes.

Now the Capitals are able to secure and clear two pucks.

Penalty comes to an end.

Gionta line remains on the ice.

Ovie leads a two on two.  Glides.  Sends a pass where it can’t be turned over.  But the Canadiens beat Backstrom to the disc.

Whistle moments later.

I’m out because I’m meeting with another scribe.

Shot of Theodore.  McGuire rambles on about him.

Shot by the Caps goes high and wide.

Plekanec is called for tripping.  Crowd boos.  Call comes at the same spot as the no-call.  Plekanec took down Semin with his stick.

Gomez pairing is first.

Semin trio is on the first wave for Washington.

Early clear by Montreal.  Canadiens’ Gionta is aggressive on the kill.

Gill makes two very good defensive plays to poke the puck away from forwards, once against Brooks Laich in the slot.

Faceoff.  Cleared.

Caps re-enter.

Backstrom enters on the left.  Short pass and a shot.  Wide.

Caps are in a diamond.  One player on the blue. Two passes, three.  No shots.

Some more movement and a clear.

The crowd is the demanding presence, the constant thread.

Cap entry on the right.  Halak saves it.  He’s had time to think.  He’s back in his head again.  And he disguises his pride in knowing it.  The rest of the rink is finding out.

And I smile.

Penalty ends.  Canadiens get tumble and puck chance in the crease.  Metropolit is on.  Crowd is booing another no-call.  TSN misses the implication or choose not to notice.  Pierre Houde would have commented.

Andrei K gets a pass on an entry push by Plekanec.  He receives it well but then loses it and then a weak backhand can’t keep the possession going.

Period ends.

TSN does not provide the shots on goal.  They begin yapping about the Sabres and then go to commercial.

First Intermission
Montreal 0, Washington 0

First intermission is brought to “you” by a comfort-food palace known for its community service and high integrity.

The panel.  McKenzie, Pang and MacTavish, hosted by James Duthie.

McKenzie discusses momentum.  Pang says that Varlamov seemed “calm, cool and collected”.

Duthie utters some sympathy for Jose Theodore; in front of his home crowd and benched.  Home town.  All that stuff.  Dommage.

We return from a commercial and are shown Buffalo-Boston highlights.

My waitress is asking all the other tables how they are doing.  Not your scribe.  This is not uncommon when I’m out.  Particularly in a pub setting.  No matter.  My money is best in my wallet.  Good thing I ate something elsewhere before the game.  (Pizza at the SIHR meeting)

It’s more common when I’m in Calgary or Edmonton, though.  But this blessed little corner of the city is a bit more, ah, colonial.  We’re across from the Maple Leaf Gardens.  The yellow bricks of hockey injustice glow with malevolent memories.  Ontario hockey shine.

Montreal is still perceived as a “team of skill”.  But the skill level has dropped since last season,  Markedly.

Second Period
Washington 0, Montreal 0

Canadiens win the faceoff.  Gomez.

Mid-ice dithering.  Now a Gionta entry down the right side.  Centring pass.  Coverage.  Puck sails across the low slot.

Puck is in Montreal ice.

Finally a call that can’t be ignored.  Hab falls on a stick.  Markov.  Fleischmann’s stick.

Plekanec line is the first wave.  Faceoff is to Varlamov’s left.  Early clear by Washington.

Capitals get an exit.  Jam at it by the net.  Score.  Boyd Gordon.  Halak scrapes the ice in front of him.  Crowd loses pepper.

Washington 1, Montreal 0

Two Habs and two Caps in the crease.  Spacek was one of them.

Markov struggles to get the puck from out of Washington skates on the reset.

Finally the Canadiens set up.

Shot by Andrei K goes high and wide.

Puck goes out.

Gionta is in suddenly.  Off wing.  Good chance.  Varlamov is out at the lip.  Down.  Save.  Butterfly.

The worst has happened.  Washington scored first.

Montreal has nothing left but to play the role invested in them by the observers prior to the series.

Penalty ends.

Capital three on one.  Handled.

Gomez drives down the other way.  Coverage slips off like a blanket.  Shot.  Varlamov contains the rebound.  Or it would have been trouble for the Lions.

Another stoppage.  Halak scoops up a puck at the side of his net.

The goal went to Carlson not Gordon.

Capitals win the faceoff.  Puck goes to the point.  Pass by Green.  Shot.  Scores.  Puck may have deflected.

Washington 2, Montreal 0

Gord Miller says “it’s not crackling in here anymore” in an almost pleased, I-told-you-so manner that I find a bit small, a bit Cole.  Leaf resentment towards the Habs is deep and profligate.  Their fans are prominent in the hockey media.  Denial can’t shame the sun.

Crowd is alive again.  They never really die in this building.

Capitals control for about eight seconds.

Andrei Kostitsyn exits.  Carries it over the line.  Looking.  Can’t get what he’s looking for.  Canadiens fall into a chase and retrieve pattern.

Long puck results in a faceoff in Washington ice.

A Habs fan at a table next to me rubs his hands in anticipation.  Caps win the faceoff, however.

Just over thirteen minutes left in the second period.

Lapierre is on the right side.  Tadpole surge.  Shot.  Thirty-five footer.  Handled by Varlamov.

Semyon Varlamov, as I’ve said before is a bigger goalie with the speed of a smaller man.  He’s a balanced and quick athlete who plays very low for his height.  I think if the Russian team had started him in the Industrial Games, that Russia may have advanced to the finals.

I find it interesting that a virgin Caesar cost five dollars.  It’s not on the menu.  I think I got a, shall we say, special rate?

Canadiens are diamonds in a swamp again.  This time a slot incursion by Plekanec results in a driving blast from Andrei K.  But it deflects into the stands.

Faceoff is to Varlamov’s right.

Plekanec line stays on.  They manage a point pass.  Across the blue.  Drive.  Rebound.  Blasted.  Wide.

Caps go the other way.  And score.


Washington 3, Montreal 0

Eric Fehr got the goal.  Halak leaves the net.

Crowd is cheering as Halak leaves.  Large portions of that crowd.

Price readies himself.  With as much of an ugly mask as Varlamov.

No warming up, no speeches, no film.  Just the cold glare and the electric, chemical smells of this engineered arena.

Price is as good as Halak but I’ve never seen him in a situation like this.  Nobody has.

He’s coming into an NHL playoff game as the change-our-luck-please guy.

I feel no hope.  The rubber rods and electric veins are unthrobbing, evaporating fast.

Gomez works the boards underneath.  His electricity is fine.  Gets a shovel on it.  To the crease.  Nope.

Now a shot from Markov from the point.  Wide.

Canadiens retrieve.  Gill.  Caps come up with it in the neutral zone but enter offside.

I’m really getting the English version of this series aren’t I.

Price plays the puck behind the net and I find some pleasure in seeing his familiar, casual style around the net.  Calm Carey.

Almost all of the old storylines are forgotten.  Loose ends.  Everyone gets another chance.

Don’t they.

Capitals carry the play.  Canadiens stay with them but not too close; they avoid being embarrassed by one-on-one maneuvers.  It’s down to one shift at a time.

Just under seven minutes left in the period.

Hard work from a speedy team can still do a lot.

Metropolit line is on.  Ovie against them.

Pass from behind the net.  To Ovie.  Scores.

Price looks irritated.

Backstrom sent it to the low circle to Price’s left.

Ovie is thrilled.  As usual.  On his knees and hands to the sky.  The C on his chest and a gap in his teeth.  More than one gap.

He’s like Clarkie.  But better.  And bigger.

Washington 4, Montreal 0

Soon, Pierre Houde may say “on joue pour la forme”.  But I won’t know that tonight.

Keep the locals happy Budweiser commercial.  Aren’t they happy enough?

What might Seneca say?

A second group of  Habs fans at a table further away have been joined by three women and one guy.  They are content to ignore the big screen for large amounts of time.  One is wearing a Markov home jersey.  The other has the barber shop number 21.  Gionta.  Not the burger guy.

The first Habs fans I first mentioned are still as intent on the game.  Two jerseys and three guys.

Washington goes to the power play.

Point shot by Ovie goes wide and ends up looking like an under-circle pass.  A bit livewire.

Caps maintain control.

More passing.  Now a shot and a stoppage.

Gomez is upset and following the ref and yapping.

Habs win the faceoff.  Moen carries it up the left side.

Nothing more though the incursion ends near the Caps end line.

Backstrom is patient, yes, I have to agree with Brunet’s assessment from last game.

Stoppage.  Some jersey grabbing and upset Caps.  Refs are in there.  Markov crosschecked Fleishmann on the puck capture by Price.

Faceoff is to Price’s left with six seconds left in the penalty and three minutes in the second period.

Stranger things have happened.  Hope is like a figure-eight river.

Another stoppage.

Who will get the team back in it?  Oh, could be anyone really.  Cammalleri, Gomez, Gionta and  Bergeron come to mind.

I see an opportunistic goal in five-on-five play.

What a terrible loss last game was.  In terms of its implications for the series.

Losing tonight with a 2-0 series advantage is easily forgotten.  Instead, the Capitals look ready to take a series lead,

Refs call two penalties against Plekanec.  One for charging a player into the goalie.  And the second for unsportsmanlike.  Two replays don’t confirm the unsportsmanlike.  And Miller and McGuire don’t say anything about it.

I shake my head.

Four minute power-play.  Minus our best penalty-killer.

First minute is killed without a shot.

Gionta pokes a puck out and uses his speed and passing to kill another thirty seconds.

Caps are kept from entering til about thirteen seconds are left.  Incursion.  Failed.

Second Intermission
Washington 4, Montreal 0

My talking partner shows up and I ignore McKenzie and company for the moment.

Montreal and Washington are both playing with the same level of urgency.  Turnovers are about even.  Maybe if Montreal had scored on two of those chances, it would be 4-2, Capitals.  But still, the Capitals.

Third Period
Washington 4, Montreal 0

I’m being advised to read Thomas King.  Powerplay continues with about one minute and forty seconds left in the penalty.

Ovie is in down the right side.

Pucks stays in.

Backstrom has it in the corner.

Gionta and Pyatt are the pairing.  Different pairings.

Plekanec scores.

Washington 4, Montreal 1

Metropolit is talking on the bench.

The Canadiens’ skating goes back to its first period pitch.

Washington is called for high sticking.

Montreal power-play is forced out twice and they don’t score.

Stephen Harper, I mean Ryan Rishaug is in the crowd and talking about some game points.  TSN’s Rishaug resembles the PM.  Unfortunate for one or perhaps both.

Caps exit down the right side.

Price makes a save on an off-wing shot by Jason Chmera.

Faceoff to his left.

Halak watches with a new expression.  It’s nearly inscrutable.  I guess anger.

Tangle up in the Montreal crease.  Price’s knee nearly gets twisted.  Washington is called.

Andrei is called moments after the following faceoff.

He shakes his head in the box.  Martin is very annoyed and shows it.  The playoffs are a coach like Martin’s time.

We go to four-on-four.

Randall is saying that his next book will be about rinks.  Arenas.  Very intriguing.  Randall is my table-mate for tonight and I’m talking with him altogether too much as the Canadiens struggle to make something happen.

Lapierre goes to the box.

Washington scores soon after the penalty ends.

Washington 5, Montreal 1

Game ends soon after.

Well, it’s a series for anyone.  But the superior team is awake.  Can Michael Spinks find a way to beat Tyson?  Difference is, this team gets up to seven chances.  Spinks just got one.

Washington 5
Montreal 1

HDS Stars: Alexander Ovechkin, Semyon Varlamov, Tomas Plekanec
RDS Stars: TSN doesn’t do stars

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