The Diachronic Barber Pole Observations of a Recovering Hockey Exile

Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins

January 12, 2012, by Homme De Sept-Iles

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 (16-19-7) visit Boston Bruins (27-11-1)

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Game Forty-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 23 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)

 

Both Thomas and Price have been named to the All-Star team and both are starters tonight.

Mike Hasenfratz and Mike Leggo are the refs.

First Period

Is Cammalleri on the bench?  Yes.

Was he booed?  I missed the intros.  But we’re in Boston (I thought the team was at home all month, my misunderstanding) so there aren’t enough Montreal fans in the stands to gauge.  There would have been had this been Sunshine (home of the Florida Panthers), say.  Or Ottawa.  And so forth.

Canadiens are 2-2 against Boston this season having lost the last two.

Weird puck bounce and the puck is in the low slot.  Free.  And easy.  Jordan Caron.  Puck went off the metallics on the rear glass.  The puck came out beside Price’s left post, the goalie behind the net.  Caron smiles on the bench.

If I had the time (in my fantasy world as an NHL defencemen), I’d focus on that after practice was over.  There’s probably a way to get that to work at a decent percentage.  Say eight or nine percent? Maybe that’s too high.

Boston 1, Montréal 0

Speculative fiction is a pretentious term, by the way.  Why not just say science fiction?  What, are the associations too damaging?  Is Isaac Asimov a trog?

Long Corvo shot elicits the Bronx cheer.  Or is that Peabody?  Or Waltham?  Watch City.  Are any of these places barley tough?  And what about the blarney?

Pacioretty’s outlet pass is intercepted.  Enough Habs in our living room pictures and the puck is out, Cole’s barrel rolling on the right.

Long Boston puck is retrieved by Gorges.  Crisp strides and short passes.  No nonsense and a burly, hale crowd in place.  Isn’t it always in Boston?

Subban hears the boos and then turns it over to cheers, a short obtuse pass outside his blue.  No rush permitted.  Tight coverage.

Emelin is on now.  His long shot is gloved by a reaching-out sliding Thomas.  He holds it after the non-textbook gesture.

Gionta is likely out for the season.  Injured his biceps (which I believe is the correct term).  Not bicep.  A bigger story has been Michael Cammalleri’s recent public comments regarding Montréal’s losing attitude.  There’s a great irony in his frustrated and incendiary remarks (the tweet-birds lie dead across the smoking Plains of Abraham).

Under fourteen.

A sliding Thomas watches the puck hiss across the low slot but no Habs were swooping.

Speaking of which, Cole advances a la Harry Skipper and neatly picks off a pass on the Boston blue.  Can’t shoot.

Gill and a man get sticks high.  Paille, perhaps.

Puck stays in on the opposite side and after a harmless but high-velocity wrist shot, the Habs force Boston to reset.  Duped puck for a line change.

Eller, Kostitsyn and Moen, the Canadiens current most enervating trio.  But they’ve been quiet since last Thursday’s seven-goal team performance.

Faceoff deep right.  Plekanec wins it, a rarity in recent days.  To the right point.  But it’s out quickly.  Seguin.  Falls in the column and passes to the slot as he plummets, one knee points back up to give slippery support.  It works but the pass is into sticks.

Why does the year have to change every year?  I just got the hang of typing 2011.  Just keep it the same for flake’s sake.

Another faceoff.  Gill bumps Horton off the puck chase and then a long puck from the left point is trapped by Price, already annoyed with himself.  He performs well whether or not he’s annoyed but there may be a bit more pepper in his movements when he’s aroused.

In the old days, that’s all it meant.  Don’t arouse the anger of that bear, for example.

Maybe it’s reverted in recent days.  The younglings never seem to use the terminology.  I believe there are other terms in play.  Right.  So.

Nine and seventeen.

Price is tested with a just-about wrap-around but the torque is too great and the Anahim Lake native gets across easily.

Here’s a long pass.  Blunden from Plekanec.  Thomas stays standing and is out and then in, sliding like a Coleco table hockey toy.  Snikt, snikt.

Seven.

Subban.  To Gorges.

Cammalleri is still not doing all he can in the Montreal zone.  Some watching.  Some pretending.  And then he’s off.

And he’ll be off.

Martin was right to keep playing him.  Martin knew Cammalleri would collapse like a toddler, legs kicking the first moment he was asked to clean up after himself.  Montreal fans, always knowledgeable, have given Cammalleri a free pass for a very long time.  But the patience ran out after more than a season of bumper-chasing, ball-hogging and general disregard for the droppings.

Low scoring output isn’t it.  Montreal has forgiven worse.  But when coupled with select effort, it’s unacceptable and eventually intolerable.  It is forgivable if a player owns up and works to correct his play.  But I think we can expect otherwise from the Man from Richmond Hill.

More booing as Subban touches the puck.

Action seems faster and the Eller line is on with a quick shot by centre punctuating the first segment.  One man rolled in an alley (white uniform) and the Bruins brick out.

It’s bricking out when it’s Boston.  Those stripes were made for Boston.  Prison stone.

Pacioretty.  Left side.

Long shot closer.  From the circle.  Rebound.  Cole.  Can’t bury.  Stoppage.  Cole breathes in shallow bent-over disappointment.  Cole.  Or Cammalleri?

Cole’s arrival and immediate influence signals a possible sea change in the Montreal locker room.  There are other gregarious hard workers on the team but none are found on offence.  Some hard workers; Plekanec, some gregarious personalities.  But Cole is pronounced in both.

So much depends on what a player does with his charisma.  Many have it.  Only some use such powers for good.  As opposed to evil.

So far, Cole has been benevolent.  The pleasant house-guest.  But it’s checkmarks so far.

Cammalleri?  The French word Egoiste has been the best in typifying the young at-times smooth finisher.

Kostitsyn intercepts one.  Quick blast from the right column.  Thomas.

Whistle.  Eller is called.

Held Caron.  Legit call.  Refs have been excellent this season.  I only know Montreal games.

Even Walkom had a good game presiding over Montréal.  I originally typed “against”.

Boston power.

This is the best team in the league.  At least in terms of win-loss record.  There may be better clubs but this Boston unit is confident and has gotten over what seemed a post-Cup hangover to start the season.  You may recall they were lower than Montreal in the standings at one point.

First minute sees very quick puck movement and some long shots.

Second segment sees boarding.  Pouliot.  Another bad penalty.  An old habit.  I wonder how much he’s addressed in Boston.  The former winger ended his stay in Montréal with a string of poor games featuring several static-head plays.

Four on four.  Under a minute.

Long shot.  Thomas takes care of it.  He looks as if he could play for ten more years.

I dunno.  He looks quick and ruddy.  I wonder what the Bruin medical staff might say.

Some guys are a shambles behind closed doors; pills, pain and long nights of herbal remedies.  Acupuncture, say.

Montreal led on shots 15-12.

Thomas stays in net for a moment and swings his stick to and fro reminding me of a benign Ron Hextall.

First Intermission
Boston 1, Montreal 0

Apparently I love doing musings.

It’s not so much that he has a big ego.  It’s that he’s insecure.  And his puffery compensates.  But it irritates those who lack patience for such things.  He’s made a name for himself as a scorer and it hasn’t been coming. He’s had one good sequence as a Canadien; the magical playoff run in 09-10 where Cammalleri led all playoff goal-scorers for a time.  He finished with an impressive thirteen goals in nineteen games.  But his overall ledger (two seasons of 80+ points in six full campaigns) doesn’t warrant the write-ups, the praise and his overblown sense of self.

65 games 26 goals
67 games 19 goals
37 games 9 goals

These are Cammalleri’s numbers since joining Montreal.  Nothing to justify his promotion throughout the city.  Nothing to justify his salary.  Anyone that wants him (and there will be takers) will have to deal with seven million next season and another seven million in 13-14.

Hopefully thirteen will be luckier for him than it has been.  His best NHL season is a 39-goal, 82 point output with Calgary Flames the season before his trade to Montreal.

Weber said yesterday he’s better than some players on this team.  He’s taken his pill and he’s not happy.  Alain said it went unnoticed in the Cammalleri furor but that Weber is likely referring to the offensive defencemen.  He cites Kaberle, Campoli and Subban.  Carbonneau says that everyone in the game has a bit of an ego and wants to play.  He chuckles and describes the going-to-see-the-coach scenario.

Weber has a point.  Carbo adds that it’s too bad all this stuff is happening now.

Second Period
Boston 1, Montreal 0

The only goal is the fluke goal.  Four minutes and twenty-two seconds on seven shifts.  Moen was used for seven minutes and seven seconds, Houde adds for contrast.  He guesses that Cammalleri won’t be happy with the minutes.  Cunneyworth is on record saying that if a guy isn’t scoring, he should be doing the other things well, keeping the puck out of your own team’s net.

Kaberle fires it down.  Two Habs.  Two Bruins.  And not enough fire.  Carbonneau says he would have expected Montréal to have come out with more.

It’s not at the point where the season is lost.  Montreal is just seven points out of a playoff spot.  I suppose “just” is a spongy word. Right now it appears to be sinking in (the) Charles River.

Clean hockey and Boston seems to have decided that Montréal is not worth intimidating.  They haven’t tried in several games and the respect for Montréal’s speed is always something I can sense.

Emelin.  To Desharnais.  Across the blue.

The team is all business but I wonder what they think of their little winger’s outburst.  He’s a sports car in so many ways.  The sunglasses, the acceleration, the dials and glowing dashboard.  But, like a sports car, he’s glittering and can’t always make the most of the grooved swamps and rocky mountain roads that stretch across the NHL landscape.

Stoppage.

The teams keep one another on the perimeter.  Does Montreal dare the valley?  Boston awaits.

Boston two-on-one.  Left side.  Kept.  Passed.  Bergeron.  Price beaten.  Over the net.

Under twelve.

On the boards.  Peverley moves out, a waterman on the deck of his ship.  Never afraid and with the stickhandling to wander through, he forces three Canadiens into action.

Cammalleri follows a man on the forecheck.  And now he gets back well enough to intercept a pass to a winger.  Backchecking.  Very nicely done.  The puck is ticked into the corner and the phrase, gonna play, may as well win occurs.

Why not.  Movin’ house is a pain.  Isn’t it?  Maybe not if you’re 27 and a bachelor.  And able to pay others to do the packing and moving.   I wonder what Cammalleri could want.  If he wants to go, he needs to showcase himself.  Increase the number of teams that might be interested.  He’s not a bad egg in a Dany Heatley sense.  He’s more of a Prima Donna type and generally harmless (to his community).  Someone will assume he can be changed; given the right atmosphere.  Given “our” atmosphere, whomever that might be.  Cammalleri’s value is trumped up as he is of the anointed class; a player from the Ontario system who gets the makeup and media treatment through much of the NHL.  And there are plenty of old-school Canadian GMs left in this league.  He’ll go.  And if Montreal is lucky, they’ll get better for him.

If he stays, it’s because he decides he really wants to, is genuinely sorry and makes immediate amends.  I don’t see the three checkmarks.

Seven and a half.

Boston decides they want more than just a mail-in. They press.  Montréal is up to it.  Pace returns to a 7.7 level.  Good skating, attention to defence but few risks in the middle of the rink.  Like an especially boring chess game.  Dominated by bishops and vague perimeter threats.  Non-verbal.

Nokelainen is back in the lineup and his pass from the left boards is intercepted.

Boston sludges through the right side like clean oil down gritty pipes.  Sticks and skates are most of what we hear.  Then the crowd exclaims as Chara launches one of his boom-blasts.  This one is wide.

Chara leaves the ice.

Four minutes.

McQuaid low.  Chara is back.

Kostitsyn.  Finds room to shoot, man in front of him.  And Boston is called.

Reading up on Peabody, found this grim Salem witch-hunt blurb: Giles Corey, the only person pressed to death by stones in the Salem witch hysteria of 1692, had his farm and was buried here beside his wife next to Crystal Lake.

Moen was called.  Not a Boston player.  Nokelainen and Eller up top.  Gorges and gill low.  It’s hard to imagine Gill not being with the team.  But with the cap, and Montreal’s emerging young defensive corps, that we won’t see him on the low corner next season.

He’s a unique player on a team stripped of uniqueness.  Too bad.

Gill handles the full two minuets and bumps, harangues and otherwise makes life uncomfortable for the parked players the Bruins send his way.  Gill stands to Price’s left about two feet up and one foot left. He’ll slide low to the right and come up as needed.  Whack a puck from the hydrant or press a man into butterfly collection history when needed and safe to do so.  Man advantage means being cautious about moving into one-to-one battles.

Montreal expunges the penalty.

The 1-0 score reminds me of last Spring’s playoffs.  I prefer not capitalizing the seasons.  But it looks nice.  Doesn’t it.

Under a minute.

That old annoying Wwwwuunn minute left to play guy (the PA announcer) is long gone.  The current guy nods to it.  Ok, it wasn’t annoying.  I liked it.  But I couldn’t admit that, then.  I was 20.

Wait.  Don’t say it.

Shots on goal are flashed and I’m back to my bad habit of watching what I’m typing.  What in flake for.  It’s a bit like admiring one’s own ear wax, I suppose.

If you’ve read this far, you’ll think so, too.

Now won’t you (Jimmy the Greek intonation.  I loved the way he pronounced Cincinnati … Cin-sa-natta).

I’m still twenty.  Minus eight.

Second Intermission
Boston 1, Montreal 0

Twelve shifts.  Nine oh two in minutes.  Brunet and Carbonneau chuckle.  Brunet has tracked Cammalleri’s stats.  I think it’s all over.  No more pretense, no more apologism or polite overlooking of the winger’s flaws.  In Montreal, most of the sports media have an unwritten rule; don’t encourage the hate-mongers.  The moat is narrow.  And the water’s low.

Cammalleri has helped rescind that.

Few players can thrive in Montreal.  I’ve always felt the team should retain those that show they can.  Maybe they’ve tried, too.  It’s always case-by-case.  I’m thinking of Koivu.  But in his case, I believe he wanted out.  And Gainey took the public relations hit.

The least he could do after such an exemplary captaincy.  And there have been exemplary captains (no, not your buddy Sylvain). [Ed note: He meant Pierre.]

Carbonneau smiles the smile of a man who’s seen this from many different angles; too often in the league, he says, this kind of unhappiness comes from a player not being happy with the system he’s in.  Carbonneau says that as a coach he’s got to take stock of 23 different playing styles and come up with a system that best accommodates those styles.  He says he can’t come up with a style for Michael Cammalleri or, say, Erik Cole.  He shrugs and grins and laughs that hockey-worn chuckle.

One goal is all we need.

But somebody needs to take a risk.  More than one somebody.

One Cole is all we need.

Game updates.  Hurricanes lead 4-2 against Tampa Bay Lightning in the second.

Sports Illustrated published a list of the most overrated players in the NHL.  According to the players.

Phaneuf was first.  Ovechkin second.  Carbonneau says that it’s disappointing.  It’s easy to comment from outside, it’s harder on the ice.  Crete is surprised about Iginla’s twelfth position.

The Canadian hockey nationalists are sure to jump to defend their favourites.

Who’ll jump for Ovie?  So sad.  But the players have spoken.  And this season, they’re right.  If the outcomes and enthusiasm are the measure.  He has to find a way to love the game again.  If he isn’t doing so already.

Third Period
Boston 1, Montreal 0

Dion Phaneuf has been talked up for years before he even hit the NHL.  He’s been a disappointment in that sense.  Some considered him a better pick than Sidney Crosby at the time.  Hindsight is great.  So is the internet.  Where footprints are permanent.  Fred Flintstone with his foot in it again.

Calgary fans once hated Cindy (not a nice nickname; women hockey players tend to be even tougher mentally than men; check Salt Lake 2002 for the best international hockey performance by a Canadian team in history).  Calgary fans are responsible for teaching me much of what was (is) wrong with Crosby.  He’s matured. So has Phaneuf.  But Phaneuf is overrated.  It’s natural for his general manager to rush to his defence.  Hurt feelings and damaged egos aren’t good for a player’s game.  Let him believe what he needs to believe in order to make a difference.

But hockey people know.  Players know.  So do coaches.  Most of them.

Boychuk leaves a puck for Chara.  Short pass.  Campbell is bumped on release.  He holds up.  Habs pump it down.  Chara takes a bump from Desharnais.  Passes to Boychuk.  Desharnais bumps Boychuk and takes the puck. From him.  And another takeaway on the left.  And then a third at centre ice as he lays his stick across the ice like cheap electrical wire in a dark garage.

Desharnais is a great player.  Does all the little things and he’s still in his first full season.  He’s a guy that doesn’t get talked up.

It’s interesting but the Montreal media doesn’t talk up and defend its own players as vociferously as the Toronto media does for so many of its chosen ones.  Sure, there are plenty of homers and Quebec features Separatists (our own brand of yee-haws) but the outward bragging is kept to a minimum.  Desharnais is loved but he isn’t lighted.

But the Bruins light it.  Backhander from the low slot.  Lucic.  Pass from under the end line.  Horton.  Lucic reached down, found it in his skates and Plekanec didn’t take the body.  Back hander was to Price’s right.

Boston 2, Montréal 0

More pressure.  Long shot.  Price slides like a bored boy Lego player and it bounces off his closed knees into the corner to his right and Gill has it.

Shot went off Gorges’ stick.  The goal, I mean.

Stoppage.

Just over fifteen.

Kaberle on the left.  He’s been quiet and mistake-prone sine his early success with the club.

He leaves the ice and Eller is on with Kostitsyn and Moen.  Nearly a bad line change but Montreal is quick to find their men and the players are shadow-auras of one another.

Cole. Turns in the high left area.

Pacioretty takes a pass and is tripped. Sticked down.

Kelly.  Right side.  Held by Diaz.  Called.

Phaneuf is still paying the price from the old days.  I can see he’s matured in the few games we see Toronto each season.  But some of that maturity came from the first poll which ranked him first, overall.  As an overrated player.  He was humbled by it, I’m certain.

Overrating from a player’s perspective has to do with how the perceive fans and media look at a guy.  If a media throng approaches certain guys no matter what, there’s a target.  Glossy write-ups, gushing fans and charmed media members all speak to qualities that have nothing to do with on-surface play.  In any sport.  Good looks, passing the eye-test (looking like rather than being a player) and media availability combined with being a “good quote” all help create a false impression about a player’s value to a team.

It’s complex.  But the players will know.  Some are fooled by their own unique biases, as well.  What Russian doesn’t think his system is superior?  What Canadian player doesn’t think our country must prevail?  It’s the rare individual.

Iconoclasts assemble!

Jeff Halpern and Mathieu Darche are probably the Canadiens’ strongest recent iconoclasts.

Nine and a half.

Plekanec line.  Cammalleri is in the dressing room, we are told.

Pouting, I’m sure.  Houde says we don’t know what is happening with him.  More drama.

What a baby.  Sit him.  Then trade him.  Yes, I’ve said this a few times.

Pouliot.  Parked and aimed.  Here’s the pass.  Off the lane.  And Pouliot fans.
Now Pacioretty has occasion to swear himself as Thomas tops the sharp-angle shot.  Why shoot if it isn’t there?

Oh.  Rebounds.  Look first.  There were no Habs nearby.

Subban blams someone.  Legally.  And Ference, likely not a multi-culturalist, drops the glove and punches him right away.  Just waiting for his chance.

Subban gets up smiling and touching his chin in a gesture I don’t recognize.  (Ed note: Keep your head up)

Legal Check.

Krejci took the hit.  Ference is in the box.  Finger Ference may I remind you.  Subban? In the box.  Why? Refs lack the biscuits.

Subban is smiling and talking.  Ference is chatting in return.  It seems genuine.  Amicable.

Subban is not well-liked (and not just around the NHL).  And the man-advantage is to Montréal.  I think Subban got elbowing.

Weber.  From the circle.  Just like last spring.

A Habs fan stands in his Subban jersey and a beer in hand, raises his arms slowly again and again.

Okay.  Sit down.

Boston 2, Montreal 1

As if we have something to be proud of this season.

Boston responds.  Slapshot.  Skips up off a stick.  Drooples to the right of the crease.  Price scoops it.  And that look he once used to have in this kind of situation occurs to me.  He’ll never get that look again.  Unless he gets to the final.  And maybe not even then.  He’s played too many games.  And he’s too good.  And he knows it.

That’s fine with me.  He’s matured.  And we’re watching his growth with pleasure.

Now what about your buddy from Richmond Hill?  Is he watching on a screen somewhere?  He’s quit on the team.  He’s done.

Corvo is down on the ice, legs of a doll, his seat getting colder.  But Boston Garden is warmed; it’s a Montréal penalty.

I don’t watch hockey for the banks.  I watch it for something else.

The Gah-den.

Get better sponsors.

Best chance is Montréal’s.  Subban on arrival Darche found him on the circle top after rounding the net.

Subban is watching all of this, too.  He’ll see how a player can get excommunicated for ego.

Hopefully he’ll learn here.

Cammalleri?  That’s hard to deal with.  He’s got talent.  So did Roy.  They say nobody’s bigger than the team.  And that’s true.  But how long do you wait.  How much damage do you permit?  How cracked is the room with Michael Cammalleri in it?  And how much does Michael Cammalleri care?

Penalty is over.  Under three.

Kaberle.  Left corner.  Does decent work.  One battle.  Negligible.  Clearout.  Stopped on the right point.  Then he intercepts.

Bruins keep it in.  And Price with the save of the night.  Krejci scooped, sticked, moved it from left to right and … didn’t tuck it in.  Price with the quickness of a lashed whip.

Another one-goal deficit.  And another concerned Cunneyworth expression.

Ninety seconds.

Boston ice.

Seguin.  Carries.  Pivots.  Keeps.  Lobs it down.

Plekanec is called.  Holding the stick.

Very close.

Plekanec shakes his head in the box.

One-twelve.  Is the experiment over?  Blow it up, Dennis Kane said.  Maybe so.

Moving Cammalleri may have been worth missing the playoffs.  Of course, his lack of effort has been a part of it.

Now Marc Denis speaks.  We’ve been told that Cammalleri has been traded.  Ten seconds.  Cammalleri will be returning to the hotel.

It’s like the moon-landing.

Game ends.  They congratulate Thomas.  Rask is there first.  The backup.  Very talented.

Final Score
Boston 2
Montreal 1

HDS Stars: Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, Carey Price
RDS Stars: Gee.  Did they tell us?

He may have done it on purpose but that doesn’t mean he can’t be the best player on the ice some nights.  He should admit it and apologize.  And seek anger management.  As for Max, I’d throw him in.  You can read between the lines, if you want to.

Boy is Cammalleri going to get booed in Montreal.  And boy was he spared from Saturday.

There are SEO reasons it’s fun to do Toronto and Boston games.  Just sayin’.

This stupid Cammalleri saga is overshadowing everything.  He went back to the dressing room.  And was asked to leave.  And was sent home by taxi.  Or rather, to the hotel.

(Ed note:  The deal is done.  Rene Bourque is coming from Calgary.  PJ Stock says that Bourque has the same sickness Kovalev did.  Great once every four games.  He calls it a good trade, nonetheless.)

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