Montreal Canadiens vs. Florida Panthers
March 4, 2011, by Homme de Sept-Îles
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 (34-23-7) visit Florida Panthers (26-30-7)
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Game Sixty-Five (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.
click here to expand post (it looks prettier)
Only Tomas Vokoun stands in this team’s way tonight. The other cats are late in rushing water bottles, spears and radios rumbling late in jeeps to the dusty desert road this visiting team travels to its playoff destiny. Actually, Florida is quite humid.
Brunet says that Price should win the Vezina. He makes a weak case. Thomas is the man (Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins). Vezina is a subjective award given to the perceived best goalie over the regular season. Brunet begins the speech clearly on Price’s side and ends by saying that Price could be one of the candidates. He is observed by booth eagle Pierre Houde, throughout. I’m sure Eagle might have been a solid principal-math teacher.
Would have been.
Alain and Joel discuss Kostitsyn’s emergence. Joel admits what I, too, have had to admit publicly; Kostitsyn is someone we thought would not work out. But he seems to have turned the corner. And he hears no jeeps. Sees no dust.
Maybe in the olden days, Panthers were desert creatures. Ya think?
Ok, I’ll stop.
Carey Price will start. So will Tomas Vokoun. Ok, I’ll start again. Tom Kowal and Dan O’Halloran are the referees.
Plekanec and Weiss face off and Plekanec wins it with ease. Gill and Subban underneath. Two passes and then a long breakout pass fails.
Panthers can’t get through the neutral zone. Canadiens are in. Turning, veering, controlling. A pass to Subban and a winged shot wide.
Price crosses pads, crosses and is up again. No real threat.
Subban works a short pass to Gionta. Quickly to Pacioretty on the left. And it’s out.
Arena is a bit brighter than Atlanta’s. Much more full. A bit louder.
Eller over the blue on his offwing. Quick shot. Vokoun sees and stops it.
Paul Mara Ryan White and Yannick Weber are all out of the lineup. Brunet says that this is rare as when Jacques Martin wins, he rarely changes his lineup. Of course, nobody could call the survival in Atlanta on Tuesday a win. Montreal fully deserved a loss. Price was the big difference. The only elemental difference.
Florida wins the deep draw.
Desharnais is low. Pyatt to the low slot. A pass to this area hits legs and we hear the whistle. Montreal. Subban. Roughing.
Martin appears a bit more aged today. Age spots?
Subban is a bit out of breath and nearly zoned out in his contemplation.
Florida wins the draw.
Weiss is on with Booth. Kulikov underneath. Samsonov, too. Yes. Sergei Samsonov has joined the Panthers. Odd. Interesting.
Booth tries an endline to crease entry and is promptly relieved of the puck.
Gionta and Pyatt are up top. Picard and Hamrlik underneath. Yes, Montreal has many defencemen these days. They won’t come September.
Battle in the corner deep right. Montreal comes out with it. Cleared. Florida retrieves. Penalty drains away.
Kostitsyn to the net. Pacioretty and Gomez share the puck. Can’t get the pass over.
They stay in control.
A shot. Gill. In. What a surprising amount of sound for the visiting Montreal team.
Replay shows it may have been deflected. Kostitsyn leaned at the hash, deep right, circled and passed, fluid movement, to Gill on the blue. His shot found the back of the net. Vokoun may not have seen all of it.
Montreal 1, Florida 0
Weiss and Booth are on in response. Samsonov with them. One entry. Two and two. Rebuffed.
A second entry. Samsonov turns near the net. Leaves. Looking for his opening. Now he leaves the ice.
Gomez, Halpern and Gionta. Lines are changing. Pacioretty replaces Halpern.
Hamrlik and Wisniewksi underneath.
Canadiens have some troubles exiting but not for lack of acceleration or intent.
Under thirteen minutes.
Puck finds itself behind the Florida net.
Stoppage. Hordichuk bumps shoulders and shares unkind words with a Hab. Reseau goes to an advertising break.
Gill got credit. A small delight. Slap-pass, really. Putting it on net.
We resume. Bernier. Around the Montreal boards to the hash. But it’s out.
Pyatt is more his speedy self tonight. Forechecks with Plekanec tenacity.
Faceoff at centre ice.
Eller, Moen and Kostitsyn. Right side entry. Puck is turned over. Weiss is the beneficiary.
Weiss is implicated as usual. He considers himself a leader on this team. He generally wears the A. This entry ends.
Montreal entry. Turnover. Eller at the blue. Ticks down a puck. To Kostitsyn. Blast. Loud bing sound. And it drops into the net.
Montreal 2, Florida 0
They pull Vokoun. What? What?? Vokoun towels off and shakes his bald head on the bench. I shake my head as well. That is the game, folks.
Scott Clemmensen takes over in net. Vokoun is the only player worth discussing on this team.
Gomez takes the puck under the Florida end line.
Panthers look out of sorts. Disjointed. Disoriented.
They may also be in a mild form of shock. The thinking, if we’re being fair, is that the team would respond knowing that the goaltending change requires them to step up to protect the guy. And that a goaltending change in general is used to “change the momentum”. Sometimes it works. It’s case by case.
Halpern is on. I see Cammalleri briefly. Booth parks in the Montreal crease and I have to focus on Samsonov’s work under the end line.
Panthers are back on track with about seven forty left in the period. Focused, organized and even applying pressure in turn.
Gionta tries a one on two entry down the middle.
Montreal presence. Gomez in the deep right corner. Tries a crease pass for Gionta. Gionta is bumped backward, off balance and can’t take a shot.
Desharnais is on with Pouliot.
Sopel and Picard down low. Lines change.
Kendal Mcardle tries a long shot and Price makes the stop on the right-side entry.
Canadiens take over.
Eller on the left, leading a two-on-one with Moen driving down the right. Eller loses the puck on his own as he crosses the blue. Brakes to retrieve. Gets it. But is met by Samsonov and has to backhand it away into Florida possession behind their net. Another stoppage.
Price traps a Bill Thomas shot and another faceoff ensues.
Ginger beer and strawberries. Just trying different combinations. And a vitamin. It’s gotta be quick. Fresh vegetables and dip for the third.
Weiss is shown nearly toothless on the bench. It’s hard to stay irritated with the guy. There’s something likeable about his demeanour. Something about it being fake. Not as tough as he would have you believe. I’m not saying he’s a sweetheart. Just saying he’s no Al Secord.
What a frightening realization. I watched a Pittsburgh-Philadelphia playoff game from 88-89 yesterday. Game five of the Patrick Division semi-finals. I used to like Al Secord. Hey, I’m like some of you; I used to run with whatever The Don used to say. Al Secord is a much scarier individual than all of the cork-heads in this league. He’s worse than Avery. Yes. Check the DVD.
Well, maybe not worse than Avery. Unsavery, I mean.
Montreal matches Florida’s increased intensity and the crowd awaits more goals. From the visitors. Prior to the game, viewers were asked what city is the worst NHL outpost. Islanders seemed to be the consensus.
Florida has a decent amount of Canadian ex-pats. The team plays in Sunrise, Florida in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. Good pizza down there (in the Fort). I was there in 1979 for a visit. Hey, maybe things have changed.
Panthers nullify a Gomez-led entry with four down low. Samsonov is a part of it. I keep expecting him to mess up. Yes, the dominant narrative affects me, too.
Florida led on shots 8-6.
Who the hell is Bill Thomas?
Montreal 2, Florida 0
Scott Clemmensen, the Florida backup goalie is a career backup with 111 games started in what amounts to nearly nine NHL seasons. Eighty-two games in the NHL season. He had his greatest number of starts in 08-09 with New Jersey. Buddy must have been injured a lot that year. Buddy Brodeur, I mean. Their incumbent.
Clemmensen is serviceable, not flashy but won’t make many of the big difference-making saves. Or so it seems. Seen him a few times over the years.
Chronique A La Une featuring Alain Crete and Francois Gagnon. One of the great pairs at RDS.
Another rebuilding plan in Florida, says Alain and shakes his head very slightly. Francois says that fans may complain about Montreal’s five-year plans but that in Florida the plans last about one year. They both smile. Francois shows us lists of players that have left over the years. He starts with 05-06. Florida had Roberto Luongo, once considered the best goalie in the world. He wasn’t but he was considered so.
That’s another tale for another time.
More lists. Bertuzzi received for Luongo is touched on. Loss of Olli Jokinen. One of the worst losses. Bouwmeester. Most of the players they got back are gone. Or have become second round picks. Or worse.
Francois says that maybe this time it’s going to be for the best. Alain counters, with respect, what makes this time “for the best”? Francois nods (good point) and says that the new guy coming in has a decent record. And has won. Dale Tallon, they’re referring to. He was one of the architects of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup win last season.
Does playing a harmonica and having some overtly progressive singer-songwriter vocals on overdub with folk guitar mean I’m going to buy a car? Does a car really feel like family?
Consumers need to break up with advertisers.
Montreal 2, Florida 0
Subban and Gill start down low. Cammalleri and Plekanec are on with Halpern. Keeping Halpern at winger was a novel concept in my mind for a while but the growing sense that he’s being wasted as a winger is weighing on my non-hockey mind.
He’s normally a centre. And a very good faceoff man, the best in Montreal. And a defensive expert. I imagine he’ll be running his own line again.
Gomez whaps Michal Repik for snowing Price. Nothing comes of it.
Faceoff to Price’s left. Won by Eller, whapped by Hamrlik around the boards. Callahan knocks down Moen at the blue, away from the play. Houde sees it all and the call is made. Roughing. High hit. Certainly hockey has come some distance since 1989.
Long way to go. But a long way has been traveled.
Wisniewski shot. Kostitsyn crosses the crease. What power in his shot, marvels Houde.
Clemmensen tried to glove it but it whapped out. Appeared powerful. He gropped it on second try. Sure. Gropped. Why not. Goalies need a few more verbs.
Another long shot. And another seen and stopped shot.
Faceoff. Puck is hit around the boards. And Plekanec can’t keep it in. He’s in his new point position as the Canadiens experiment with four forwards on the power-play. The team has never run such an alignment post-lockout. Prior to that, my viewing history is spotty but I can’t recall any such alignment at any time in the team’s history. Surely it’s happened. I wonder when and for how long.
Panthers kill the penalty with no further ripplings in the fabric of the hockey universe.
Long puck to the crease. Lobber. What. Desharnais opens a palm, allows the puck to drop off it and onto the ice. In the slot. Backhand. Shot. Rebound? In. In? In.
Montreal 3, Florida 0
Desharnais has his seventh of the season. Maybe the big cheese was right. Eh? Florida cheese? Florida rats? No.
Pyatt, Desharnais and Pacioretty combine to push a puck down. Desharnais leaves.
One pass to Picard. A shot. Pacioretty leaves the ice in pain. Again. Being checked by the trainer. Maybe they should check his pretender, too. Lately his pretender has been acting up and causing him to miss backchecking and forechecking assignments.
Stoppage. Pacioretty is shown leaning back in a chair, minor wincing, collecting his breath, under the overhang and further back from the bench area. In a near-tunnel. What a guy.
Pacioretty took a shot in the jewels, says Brunet. Replay shows him take a shot in the, uh, jewels. The equipment in question, the hockey equipment, is called a protective cup. It’s kept in place using a jockstrap. It’s one of the more medieval unknowns about the game. Or little-knowns. It’s a very cold proposition. Because it’s usually the first piece of equipment one dons.
Dressing rooms are gross.
Maybe it’s better in the pros.
Eller line. Ellerby loses the disc to Eller on the Florida high boards. Eller takes a shot to the face for his troubles. Goes uncalled. I shake my head. Selective bullying. What an awful school the NHL is.
And it’s better than it used to be. What a game I watched last night. Hextall shoved an official and stayed in the game. He later chased a Penguin who had scored on him. He did get a game misconduct for that. Or was it ten? What a joke. Ron Hextall. The Flyers. And the NHL. Three jokes.
What a shame that the Fliers found a way to win that series.
Today the term is thugs.
The Fliers haven’t changed much. Modern thugs, I suppose. Better skaters, shooters and decision-makers. But they only do well in comparison to their older incarnations.
Their wins total this season is deceptive. The league continues to pander to their rough-housing. And there are still many old-school refs involved. And on up through the ranks. What a lovely organization. Nuckle Head League.
Stoppage after some strong action from both. Neither team has given up.
Booth skates in on the left. A shot. Price turns it away.
The quality of hockey is much better today. More movement, more speed, more creativity, more offence. I’d forgotten how automatic it was to use a stick to slow down an opponent. Now, matching skating strides is the way to go. Has it grown interest? Some statistics have supported this view. It’s not in my scope.
Six and a half. Crowed is subdued. They enjoy the occasional single save that Price might make from outside, long shots. This one on Steve Bernier stops play and leads to a Plekanec faceoff win. Puck clear goes to the point where it’s kept in. Price gets low to ensure safety.
A sudden drop in skating and effort ensues. Just as quickly, Cammalleri recharges the action. Halpern and Plekanec support. Cammalleri gets it in the low slot. Bumbles and bumped.
Replay shows Cammalleri falling after a near-sandwich in the neutral zone. Brunet laments the lack of follow-up on the play. From players? Or officials? I couldn’t tell. That DVD has made this brand look like Olympic-level competition.
Gill and Sopel are on the ice together briefly. What a combination that might be. They stay together. Hmmm.
Pyatt, Desharnais and Pouliot. Deep. Action has slowed. Less yelling. Booth line. Bergfors is with them. Must be changing up.
Florida ice. Mcardle works to exit. Here come the Panthers, two Habs back. Another long shot with coverage. Easy scooper for your friend from BC.
We resume. Quick shot and glove save.
And again. Deep right. Won by Florida yet again.
Slapper. Wide. And another whistle within seconds. Puck violation of some kind.
Three on three. Medium speed.
Canadiens chase when needed. When it goes to the boards.
Around into Montreal ice.
On the boards. Finds Plekanec’ stick and a shot from the slot. Save.
Florida starts out. Way too much space. Someone needs to yell at someone. Right through and a freebie. I shake my head. Ninety seconds and the Canadiens need to get gritty. In their heads.
Houde calls it the team’s best chance to score. Toute un tasse de café is right. So says Brunet.
Now he says it was a great defensive play by Montreal. What? Weiss slithered through, untouched. From past the blue. One or two nice moves but he shouldn’t have gotten through. He’s no Jaromir Jagr.
Faceoff deep left. Pouliot takes it in someone’s stead. On the boards. Desharnais’ stead.
Picard tries a backhand exit. Fails. Picks it up and moves it out with a pass. Pouliot takes a tripping call. Tripped Kulikov on the forecheck. Brunet says that Pouliot takes these types of penalties often, in the offensive zone. Describes the take-down.
Martin shakes his head. Eyebrows express incredulity.
Thirty seconds. Deep right faceoff. Florida man-advantage.
Weiss on the blue. Sends it. In a crowd. Booth in the crease. Price, one save. Now it’s behind him. He senses it and falls backward to smother it. Plekanec is there to help cover up. Other players. Florida doesn’t show sticks and the stoppage is the last significant doing of the period.
Montreal led on shots 15-12. And lead 21-20, overall.
Montreal 3, Florida 0
Why do all of us (men) find it so funny when the jewels get tinged? They’re all smiling. Now that guy between Alain and Joel goes all high-voice and Alain doubles forward and loses it. I’ve never seen him lose it and then I lose it because of Alain’s reaction. And all the jewel talk. The Pacioretty jock shot was shown again.
I think we laugh in thankfulness. Sure, maybe there’s some empathetic identification tittering in there, too. Why not.
We keep being reminded that Guy Carbonneau’s Chicoutimi team is playing against Patrick Roy’s Quebec City team on RDS. Quite soon. On TV. French TV.
Nous sommes heureux de Google, dit un ami vieux. I should consider using some sort of translating widget. Hmmm.
Yes, my battered, wheezing French is better when enunciated. An accent can save much.
Then again, my accent has lost a lot to Western Canada. Or is it the ROC? Hmmm. Docteur?
Montreal 3, Florida 0
Martin has the hooded eye look. Moving from foot to foot. Too bad Florida can’t resign the period. You know. Like a chess champion. Ex-champion in this case. Never-champion?
Halpern leaves the ice.
Peter DeBoer is signaling, chewing, furrowing and yelling instructions. Who says we can’t multi-task?
Nineteen. The countdown is on. Only bad things can happen now. Or so a pessimistic, worrying coach might have you think. Or have himself think.
Gomez over the blue. Finds Pouliot. But the coverage is there and Garrison pushes Pouliot’s stick up and the certain goal-threat in the crease is ended.
On the other end, Price makes a save. Gomez looked very good on that pass. Looking to the blue and then passing blind to the post. Stealth.
Gomez is under the end line and watches Pacioretty get molded into an endboard shape as the Panthers exit.
No possession. Three Habs. Gionta and Gomez. Sopel joins. Shot can’t be had.
Eller now. Leading his line and a rush. Over the blue. Offwing. Forces Clemmensen to drop and end play.
Wisniewski’s long shot. Hops. Clemmensen, standing kicks here and leans there. Unorthodox.
Moments later he is beaten.
Right side entry. Moen. Backhanded pass. Eller in the right column. Deflected up and over. Fifth goal for Eller. This season. Come on.
Montreal 4, Florida 0
Why not reinsert Vokoun, then.
Sopel and Picard low. Pass to Plekanec.
Not much more.
Cammalleri’s careless exit pass is off a skate. Florida is desultory. Only Montreal lassitude can allow the home team back in. And with just under fifteen minutes, there is time for a comeback. These days a five-goal lead is worth something. It’s the equivalent of a three-goal lead in, say, 1989. Yes, that game again. All that hooking. Uncalled.
Andy Van Hellemond was the ref that night. The only ref. Can you imagine? This version will seem rather unseemly in about twenty years, too, I imagine.
Who makes predictions, anyway? What compels a person to, uh, predict? Weather people, sure, they have to predict. Astronomers. Plate tectonics people.
But sports? And based on what. A feeling? A set of feelings? Always ask “based on what?”. See if there is a real predictor at the table. It’s either a science or it’s a sham.
Back from the arrogant advertising break. Advertisers are not showing enough respect for consumers. Tweet that. Beg. Apologize. Lower your volume. Stay out.
Kostitsyn is leaning on the boards like an interested cat. Head low and on his arms. Temp mieux says Brunet. Teammates that he likes.
Good. Yes, we’re happy for him on this couch. I’m a “we”.
Big, long scramble in Price’s crease. Gomez takes great interest in moving the puck out. Out. Passes to Gionta. Rush and a brief possession.
Crowd starts a Carey-Carey-Carey chant. Lasts about four invocations.
Gladiators. To the death. Ajax-Ajax-Ajax-Ajax-Ajax
Was Ajax actually a gladiator? Did he even exist.
Marouelli calls it and evokes a laugh. Houde always finds the overly testosterone-laden laughable. Lars Eller is in the box. Marouelli’s helmet squeezes his face out from under it. An angry tomato jowl.
No. You listen to me. Son. No.
One shot. Price.
Halpern. Kicked out. Cammalleri. Wins it.
Along the boards. But Weiss captures it in the slot.
Diving play by Halpern pushes the puck out. Halpern, showing the others how to care. Nine minutes and a four-goal lead. Play for the kid’s shutout. Anything. If you’re going to play, you may as well play hard. If you’re going to care in the first, you may as well care in the third.
Eight and a half.
One push-out. Units change.
Pyatt and Gionta are a kill pair. Hamrlik and Wisniewski underneath. Plekanec and Moen follow. Florida is left watching. A shot by the Canadiens. Chasing. Time-killing. And the penalty ends.
Pacioretty is through. Two men. Wrister. Post.
Now Kostitsyn is in. Also off the post.
Houde laughs at the murmurs from the crowd. We are shown a gaggle of red jerseys. With the letter C on them. Happy fist-pumping. Rumple-bumpling and weeble-bouncing kids, too. Seats of joy.
Commercial. More choreographed greed. Enforced commercialization. Get it? Why not just line us all up, shoot us and take our wallets? Be done with it.
Joel chats up the future.
About the future, too.
Joel is amazing.
He was discussing the defenceman situation. Lots of them. Some need to move. Markov wants to stay says Houde. How can it be done?
Sopel likes Montreal, too.
So does Wisniewski.
Everyone likes Pacioretty. So far. Well, maybe five guys have expressed as much. There are dozens of staff at RDS. Or so it seems. Some have stayed silent on the issue. Maybe they, too, value a complete two-way game.
Larouche lost his job because he wouldn’t backcheck. There are others.
Eller intercepts an errant Florida pass with his glove. Outside the Florida blue, he allows it to drop. No possession.
Having Moen on a line with Eller must be a big help for the youngster. Eller has a streak but as a newbie, he’s an easy target. He has too much to learn. Moen is called “the rugged Travis Moen” for a reason. A set of reasons.
Florida doesn’t have enough players who are annoyed at losing. Weiss, say what you want (and I will), cares.
At least they got rid of that bag of bitter, wet concrete. You know. McCabe. He’s a Ranger now. Poooor John Tortorella. Sather is a baboon and buffoon. An older, weightier one. Baffoon. Bubboon. All these meat-head, cement-handed players.
It’s a collection!
There’s always one guy that collects the green properties hoping for the big payoff.
Desharnais under the end line. Another pass from this spot that results in a turnover.
Canadiens are back in for a brief visit. Both teams are intense again. Speed and finish. Florida has found a purpose. Ruin the shutout. Canadiens are having none of that.
Plekanec on the deep boards, right.
Sopel advances to mid-ice to ensure a Florida puck-bungle. It works.
Now an Ellerby entry and shot sees the puck fly up and off Sopel’s stick.
Sopel takes a seat. Brunet tries to sound smart and wastes six sentences doing so. His point? It may take a few more games to gauge Sopel’s value to the team. Oh really.
Eller deep left. Shot from the hash. Hits the outside netting.
Florida exit. Booth is hit in stride on the left. Three-quarters speed. Shot. No.
One more Montreal possession. Gomez and Gionta combine. To the blue for Wisniewski. Shot. They work hard for the rebound. To the hash. Not much more. Crowd grows loud. The Montreal part of it.
Siren goes. They congratulate Price. They won’t leave him alone. Whapping his mask. And on and on. It’s nice to see. Price is a different person than he was a year ago. More open, more mature. It’s his seventh shutout this season. He had five, total, coming into this season. And he’s been good, very good and at times, great.
Tonight, close to great.
HDS Stars: Jeff Halpern, Carey Price, David Desharnais
RDS Stars: Carey Price, Andrei Kostitsyn, David Desharnais