The Diachronic Barber Pole Observations of a Recovering Hockey Exile

Montreal Canadiens vs. Edmonton Oilers

March 9, 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 (25-31-10) visit Edmonton Oilers (26-34-6)

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Game Sixty-Eight (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 pesto.  A unique way to re-experience the game.

click here to expand post (it looks prettier)


Is it fair to drape children in partisan regalia before they’re old enough to choose for themselves?

Like religion.  Let them decide at eighteen.

Pierre says that rebuilding is the fashion when we consider Edmonton.  They’ll miss the playoffs this season but are on the right path, adds Marc Denis.  HE suggests additions on defence and goaltender for continued progress for the Oil.

Alain and Guy at the big desk.  Benoit, too.  Guy’s haircut.  Boy and the suit.  Some Pacioretty talk.  The team’s number one goal-getter.  He’s learning good things from Erik Cole.

Brunet compares Cunneyworth and departed Kirk Muller.  Both coaches have losing records (OTLs are losses over here) and suggests that the so-called interim coach will be gone if he can’t show he can’t motivate.

These tomato cans.

Ok. Some.

Edmonton. Speed.  Let’s go.

Peter Budaj is in net.

Pierre notes that both Alberta cities sang a French version of the anthem and nods to the respect shown.

Dean Morton and Kevin Pollock are the refs.

First Period

Horcoff against Desharnais.  The cold ice at Northlands and the puck cleared into Edmonton ice.  Great picture.  Bright colours.  Is it the rink?

Pacioretty chases a bounding one in the slot.  Can’t control.  Plekanec from the corner.  Incomplete.

Red hue down the middle of the ice and over some of the circles.  Upper neon sidebars surround the rink.  Now they’re blue.

Taylor Hall down the right.  Backhander.  Tumbles away.  Both teams are sharp.

Good ice in Edmonton.  Perhaps the best in the league.

Subban swerves around his net.  Lead pass.  Nokelainen, the defensive specialist.  On the boards.  Oilers are zero hesitation.  But Staubitz surprises and half-turns from the end line and nearly lays a backhander into the crease fray.

Three minutes gone.

Petry’s long pass form the mid-stripe is intercepted.

Gomez is back.  A visor is new.  Eye injury.

Kaberle off the raw, across and then it’s set down.  Desharnais chases but he’s fifteen feet behind the play and the Oilers chop it in.  Short possession.

The teams are playing a younger man’s game; long passes and hot skates.

Middle pass.  Open.  Offside.  Montreal.

Draw to Budaj’s left.

White bodies Whitney off the puck and turns away with the puck.  Can’t find a man.  Stays in.  Bourque is bumping and working low.  Lines change as the oil escape.

Eberle on the left hash.  Eberle is just twenty-one but is one of the best Oilers, perhaps their best forward.  He leads the team in points.

He has poise and a good hockey IQ.  Good positioning in the offensive zone.

Gomez and Palushaj combine, Palushaj turning and backhanding a puck off pads and Gomez searing to the crease a moment late.


Canadiens begin hitting.  Cole delivers.  Oilers respond but stay focused on their speed game.

Hordichuk is in the fray and his backhand is a muzzle blast that stays out.  Puck goes out of play.

I scan the ages and wonder if Edmonton is the youngest team in the league. No.  They are the ninth-youngest.

Ryan Smyth (36), Nikolai Khabibulin (39), Andy Sutton (36), Shawn Horcoff (33) and Eric Belanger (34) are the oldsters.

Eberle precedes the rush and we pause.

Tom Renney is jaw locked, hands behind his back and blinking in thought. Charcoal blue suit.

Eller line.

Gomez with him.  And Palushaj.


Smyth’s shot beats Weber on the high circle and Budaj scoops low and holds on.

Desharnais loses it.  A rare faceoff loss for Montréal, says Houde but the puck (ok, the play) is called for a hand-pass.  Edmonton.

I expect Edmonton to keep the pace regardless of the score.  Montreal, less so.

Our Fragile Frenchmen.

Omark’s entry rivulets slither but his puck is off a stick and into the seated humans.

Eberle discussion.  Eberle scored in the first ten seconds in the team’s last game against San Jose.

Gretzky scored one in eight seconds.

The banners are shown.  Hard to believe how short a player’s career is.

Bourque and three others.  Bourque winds and shoots.  Khabibulin stops it, a quick left pad but the look behind.  Puck scuppers out.

And moments later Subban is called for punching Omark in the face, glove on.  Fair call.

Oilers’ number one power-play takes on the league’s number one penalty-kill.
Montreal punches the puck out.

No Moen.  No Gill.  But still effective.

Oilers are interrupted again.  Eller and Bourque, this time.

This is as close to home Bourque ever gets.  He’s from Lac La Biche.

Oilers work the pentagon.  Shot from the blue.  Low.  And in.

Off Horcoff.  The captain was at the crease lip and he turns a craggy maw skyward to see the replay.  Boy, he looks like Brent Sutter with his mouth open.

Edmonton 1, Montreal 0

Seven twenty seven and the Oilers are back in.  Desharnais line.  A Smyth pass from the Gretzky office is touched by Pacioretty and intercepted.

Board work in Edmonton ice.  Eller exits and passes to Palushaj parked inside the low circle.

Khabibulin stops it.

Under the end line.  Palushaj chase and loses it.

Oilers are rebuffed in a return rush.

Plekanec tries a one-man rush.  Gets through and shoots through a stick.  Khabibulin Stops the sneaky wrister and kneels forward to trap it.


Pace is too fast for typing.

Or something.


Why are we talking about Eric Belanger.  The Oiler forward has played 740 NHL games.

Plekanec. Leads the two-on-one.  Shot.  Spray.  Rebound.  Bourque.  The shot.  Rebound.  Fans.  Can’t be batted in.

Such a sudden game.

Escapes and backwash; spit, skate and curdle.

Franc-tireur applies to a hockey player as much as to a speaker.

Four and a half.

It’s funny how Carbonneau is just not mentioned for certain NHL job openings.  It’s just a given.  Or an absence unnoticed.

What would Sherlock Holmes think?

Delayed call.  Against Montréal.  Tripping.


He argues.  Just sit down.  Hemsky appeared to exaggerate, however.  Cunneyworth blows air out the side of his mouth.  He wishes he could sharpen the blade and swing over the boards.

White nearly gets away but a smart move prevents him from reaching it.  Hab fans boo.   Fair advantage.

The backchecker veered into White’s path.  In 06, it would have been called.  They were tighter coming out of the lockout.

Oilers are stymied again.

Now with twenty-six seconds, they get control.  But a blue line pass is lot and Bourque is over the blue and launching a powerful wrister.  Wide.

He’s been a short-handed goal leader in his time.  He’s finished third in the NHL twice.

He’s 30.  And he may never change.  Let’s see.  Could still.

Cole ad Pacioretty tap, tick and cruise in.  And the shot.  Stopped.  The glove.  And held.  Pacioretty was shoved about a bit and Cole came in to quell the defenceman-rage.

Out of the crease, boy.

You, too.

Last minute.

Gomez with a shot.  Low and stopped.

Gomez keeps it together.

And he draws one.  Delayed call.  Puck is touched three seconds later.

Peckham argues now.

Interference, blocked Eller from the puck chase.
Desharnais wins it.  To the blue.

Subban.  Shot.  Goal.

Pretty loud contingent of Montréal fans.
Khabibulin was beaten to his right, just past the elbow and tucked into the post.  Just too quick a release.  One-timer.

Montreal 1, Edmonton 1

Another entry and shot.  Khabibulin keeps it out but again doesn’t know where it is.

Threat ends.

Shots are even at 10.

First Intermission
Edmonton 1, Montreal 1

The anti-homophobia video featuring the Burkes is clipped and shown.  Alain asks if the NHL is ready for a player to come out during his career?  A laugh at first from Brunet.  Carbonneau says it’s going to happen one day. They discuss Burke’s history.  Brunet says that there are some in the league.  Gay players, he means.

Brunet says that the guy that does come out will be courageous because you hear all sorts of things in the heat of the action.

Alain asks about ads on the jerseys. Guy says we see it in Europe, to an extreme but he’s not opposed to some ads on certain spots on the jersey.

Benoit says it means more money.  So.

So what.

The money will be there for advertising regardless of where the spots are.  Be brave.  Refuse the advertising on jerseys.  It can go elsewhere.  And the advertisers will still be happy.

And if not?  Too bad. Our lives are not to be spent pleasing advertisers, sponsors and publicists.

It’s a weak model, anyway.

This one is endearing.  Especially the signs (placards).

Second Period
Montreal 1, Edmonton 1

Board work.  Kaberle advances. Chops it ahead.  Returns. On the opposite boards. Cole is crossings sticks with a man.

But it’s out.

Bourque’s minus two and zero shots against the Flames on Tuesday is cited.  He’s been cast as indifferent, under-achieving and worse by others.

So far, it’s been the same.

Gomez around the net.  Great speed.  And fires into the pads.  Pacioretty follows and jams it in.

Gomez’ goal-face.  Fierce.

Montreal 2, Edmonton 1

Pacioretty in again.  One leg up and he fires.  Just wide.
Palushaj.  To the net.  And Pacioretty nearly tucks another.

Delayed call.

Montreal is back.

For how long?  And what was said?  Did Mark Messier cry for them?  Someone should.
Hey, whatever works?

Schultz.  In the box.

He swears and wipes his face with a towel.

Oilers clear it out.

Kaberle retrieves.  Harangued by Smyth.  Kaberle turns his body to protect and one-arms it up.

Kaberle looks a bit lively tonight.


Oilers do a great job keeping the visitors out for the first forty seconds.

Subban leaves the ice shaking his head and Cole also takes a seat.

Eller wins the draw.

Gomez on the left hash.  Goes to the net as the puck is on the other side.

Now he has it on the right hash.

Stickhandles.  Eller. Back to Gomez.

Gomez is electric tonight.  And the reset of the team has some jump too.  They believe in something.

Each other?

Campoli and Weber on the blue. Campoli’s point shot is into legs. Cleared.

One last chance. Plekanec.  Right side.  Shoots over the net.

Penalty ends.  Subban takes Eberle out on the glass.  Mismatch.

Eberle ties to venge himself on the outlet pass but Subban is too strong.
It’s alike a young stars game.

Another stoppage.

Sens beat the Rangers tonight.  No shock.

But here’s an Edmonton jolt.   Long shot and the puck eludes Budaj.  Cunneyworth swears and looks askance.

Budaj.   Oh, Isis, help me.

Edmonton 2, Montreal 2

Edmonton’s train horn is pretty cool.

What does an amplified camel blat sound like?

Subban.  Fakes.  Nice.  Fires.  Just wide and Palushaj misses a backhander.  So open.  Has Palushaj ever scored an NHL goal?

Indra help me.

Gaia help Aaron.   Twenty-seven games.  No goals.  Three last season.

He has a few in the AHL.

Open net.  Desharnais believes in him.  And he has some firm, helpful words for the young winger on the bench.

Puts the mouthguard back in.  Desharnais is going to lead some of these younger former Bulldogs.

Finally and Edmonton incursion. One-timer. Hemsky finishes it.  Save.

Habs respond.  It’s organized, it’s precise, it’s stopped.

Pierre echoes my sense; an excellent hockey game tonight.

Pause for nonsense.

Smiling slow-motion humans.  Selling paint.


Ten flipping games. Just ten.  Flip any ten and the team is in the playoffs. And there have been ore than ten that could have gone another way.  The team is better than their record.  But they’ve been poor for long, baleful stretches.

Budaj is so bad.  Can we get another backup in the summer?

Montreal penalty.

Nugent-Hopkins on the right hash.  They work it for five complete passes before a corner pass to the hash is intercepted.

One oh one.

Oilers turn, drop and carry over the blue.  But Eller steps in and shoots it down.

Another take-away on entry.

Thirty seconds.  Gagner for Hemsky. Right side.  White isn’t shy.  Gorges joins.  Puck stays in.

Hemsky has the experience not be e ratted.  Same for Omark.

The Canadiens kill the rest.

Under five.

Pace stays fast and both teams are playing a noble brand.

You’d never know both are out of the playoffs.

Scramble.  Bourque.  Two others.  And the puck is in the net.


Did it go in?

They’ll check the replay.  Palushaj’s work under the end line rubber-muscled the disc to the crease.  The puck is clearly tucked in past the goal line.  But it’s just on the line.

There has to be a space between the line and the puck.

It will be no goal.

Blondie’s Call Me lilts over the PA system as the officials listen on the black phone.  Reversed.  Didn’t completely cross the line.  No goal.

It was in.  I understand the rule.  But it’s past the post.

Legit call but it makes me wonder about the rule itself.

No goal.

Deep right faceoff.

Cleared to the right point, Subban.

Bourque’s pass is intercepted. Bourque is backchecking and motivated throughout.

Now he goes to the net.  Puck can’t find him.

High stick. Theo Peckham.  Plekanec is upset.

Plekanec directed Peckham into his own net and the Oiler responded with an ankle-whack.

Plekanec; being sneaky.   Got away with it.

Montreal power-play.

First minute is lost.

More bungling into the second.

Expletive deleted.

Markov will be back. Eh.

He may as well stay healthy for the rest of his career.

Hall in with help.  Budaj somehow stops it.

Unique fluidity and mobility, notes Houde.

Period ends.  Excellent period, says Houde.

Shots were tied at seven.  Reseau corrects saying that Montreal led on shots 11-10 in the first.

Second Intermission
Montreal 2, Edmonton 2

Should I admit I was surfing the net looking for people to make fun of?

Third Period
Edmonton 2, Montreal 2

The colours are great tonight.  Do they bring their cameras with them?

Bourque is still engaged.  Beats a man to the puck and then goes to the net, attracting Theo Peckham.  Oilers group and cover with aplomb and the pass doesn’t come.

Faceoff to Khabibulin’s right.  His stance is rather mcawkward.  Starfish.

White shoves Eberle into the side of the net.  And the puck escapes to the boards.

White plays like a mess of steel wool and bad bubble gum.  He should have been called.

Cole and Palushaj to the net. Crisp and the puck nearly finds the net.

Delayed call.  Pressure continues.  A wraparound. A muzzle shot.  And the Habs still have control.

Sixth attacker is on.  A Plekanec pass from the corner for Cole is munged up and the whistle blows.

Palushaj is going to get his goal.

Edmonton’s rear flank is unprotected again.  An advanced man nearly pots one.

Plekanec controls from the hash. Shot.  Another shot-pass. Kaberle is in and so is the puck.

No measurement needed.

Tap-in from the muzzle.

Bourque back-swiped it from the low slot after the Plekanec wrister.

Montreal 3, Edmonton 2

Edmonton forces it.  Montreal responds.


White over the line.  Fires.  Not fluid.  But Eller follows and bounces it in off the back of Khabibulin’s leg.

Edmonton time-out.

Montreal 4, Edmonton 2

Renney wants to calm his team, says Houde.  He’s the compassionate uncle as he leans back and finishes his speech, equal parts back-to-basics and reassurance.

Oilers follow with four into the zone.  Instead of giving up or giving in, the Oilers respond with one-team mentality and close to the gaps.

The Ole, Ole chant begins.  There’s no way to drown that out. Go Habs Go, maybe.  But the Oles are unmistakable.

Thirteen minutes.

Hockey leads are fragile as frosted web work. And as strong as invisible resolve.

Staubitz is on again, a rare appearance.

Nokelainen, neither.  They skate on a line together, technician and tough-guy.

Plekanec, Pacioretty and Cole are together, a rare combination.

A smooth entry but no shot.

Two behind the net, Bourque and Eller against two Oilers.

Puck to the blue.  Emelin’s shot nearly soft-pinballs into the net.  Khabibulin finds it and the Oilers are out. But with four men back and a Budaj sortie, the puck is at the hash and then the blue.  Blocked.  Shot.
Penalty. Montreal.


Schultz drew it.

Eller takes his seat.  Replay shows the take-down in the low slot, Schultz splatted forward on the ice.

Potter on the blue.  Hall one right hash.

Horcoff on the left point to Eberle.  Tries a fake and Gorges relieves him.  Plekanec clears.

Forty seconds gone.

Bourque and Nokelainen are the kill pair now.

One hit. Nokelainen. Bourque chases hard.  Smooth form.

Oilers set up and it lasts six seconds.

Plekanec. Finds Emelin on the doorstep. And Khabibulin is an eighth-life cat; boot and all.

Penalty ends.

Eight minutes.

Kaberle again, drifting, looking, past the hash and finds Pacioretty. Immediate.

But so is Khabibulin.


The Oilers work.  Keep working.  The Habs are standing for the first time in the game.  And it costs them a shot.  And a goal against.  Hall, pulls back and launches from the high circle.

Such a good shooter.

Montreal 4, Edmonton 3

Six and forty.

Here comes Edmonton again.  Where’s our timeout?

Water, water and not a drop to drink.

Everywhere.  We lose everywhere.


What I meant was.

Is that Han Solo on Budaj’s mask?

An ugly rendition, besides.

Time leads the crowd.  And the Canadiens tighten to close.

Three on two.

Four on three.

And some chase and go.

Now Smyth nearly ties the game.  Houde calls the muff.

Two sixteen.

Two oh five.

An offside shoot-in and they’ll drop it at centre ice.

Eller line.

White and Bourque on wing.

Bounce, bounce and kneel.  But the puck stays out.

Oilers pull the goalie.

Under a minute.

Nugent-Hopkins tries a slot pass. Intercepted. Up.  Subban, an arm from Whitney. Subban keeps going.  To Pacioretty.  Shot.  Hall fails to stop it.  And then smashes his stick over the cross-bar.

Very nice, Taylor Hall.

Montreal 5, Edmonton 3

Not much more.

Final Score
Montreal 5
Edmonton 3

Houde says it’s a team that battles and is spectacular on offence.

Yup.  Edmonton Oilers have a bright future.

Price pulls back from the three low-fives and I imagine his smirk.  Budaj went for it prior.  Subban, standing at the gate as if he leads this team.

HDS Stars: Rene Bourque, Tomas Kaberle, Nikolai Khabibulin
RDS Stars: Max Pacioretty, PK Subban, Taylor Hall

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