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The Diachronic Barber Pole Observations of a Recovering Hockey Exile

Montreal Canadiens vs. Vancouver Canucks

March 11, 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 (26-31-10) visit Vancouver Canucks (42-18-8)

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Game Sixty-Nine (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)

 

Andrei Markov is back.  Not just back and practicing but in the lineup tonight, no foreshadowing, no buildup.  Just, here he is!
Markov.  We’ve waited a long time for this.  Sure, it’s too late.  So what.

Markov, some believe, is the team’s best player.

There are other things to be said.  For me, watching the power-play improve is the number one technical intrigue.  Who will he find?  Where will the chemistry appear?  There is no Kovalev.  No Cammalleri.  And it will take several games for Markov’s power-play rhythm to return.  We may not even see it this season.

There are only fourteen regular season games left.

And this team won’t be adding any more in 11-12.

Markov and Subban.  Markov and Cole.  Markov and Desharnais.  Different pairs; different possibilities.  And his economical play.

His eventual insertion in the number one pairing (don’t expect that tonight) will mean a pair-by-pair bump up in matchups, as well.  Everything’s connected.

They should have kept Martin.

Subban has three goals and four assists in his past six games.

Carey Price and Roberto Luongo are the goalies.  Kevin Pollock and Dave Jackson are the refs.

First Period

Kesler and Plekanec face off.  Into the Canucks zone and then batted out.

Canucks are still playing well.  Hopes of a deep run depend on whether they start Schneider.  Start him and succeed.  Go with the whalish Luongo and fail.  Early.

Montreal ice.

Canucks get control on the boards, Burrows and Henrik Sedin combine.  Montreal ices.  Hamhuis touches it and the whistle brings it back to Price’s left.

Houde noted that Carey Price is in his western duds since the start of this road trip.  Son look d’ouest, says Houde.

Two minutes gone and the Canucks are controlling the puck and the play.

Slow. Calm. Calculated.  See and size.  Shoot and score.

David Booth crosses the blue and peeking just past a defender high-wrists one.  Price Gloves it.

Hometown tickets.  How many did he buy?  Gorges’ story comes to mind.  The defenceman learned in San Jose how much it costs to have local family and friends to the game.  Many attended his first NHL game (as a Shark), a preseason game.  About thirty.

Staubitz is racing.  Luongo sees it and monsters out of his net.  He reaches it.  And clears it to the blue.  No collisions.

And a stoppage.

Canadiens begin hitting.  Leblanc in the deep corner.  Staubitz on the hash.

Canucks pass and shove their way.  Deliberate.

They remain one of the most composed NHL teams.  Sedins are on.

Four and a half gone.  No Markov yet.

Vigneault chews gum at a fast pace to begin.  Let’s assume it’s gum.

Canucks are second in the league.  First?  Vos St. Louis Blues.  And Jaroslav Halak.

Nos Canadiens?  Number 28.

Plekanec.  Cole following.  Bourque just a lane away.  They all turn as the puck escapes Plekanec and the Canucks set it up.  End line pass for Kesler and he torques it all.  Wide from seven feet.  Even the puck didn’t see it.

Pierre interviews Patrice Bernier, a glinting member of the MLS Montréal Impact (soccer) team.  Bernier’s French is fluent and very Quebec-sounding.

Pierre asks Patrice about his own defenceman statistics as the Habs chase the puck.

Pacioretty is game but the hash shot forces Price to his knees for the faceoff.

A Luongo interview is drop-boxed on the screen; the Montreal native commenting on Bernier’s solid team play.  Luongo is fluent, too, of course.

Hey I can’t like every Montrealer.

Booth on the off-wing.  Wrister.  Bouncer.  Cleared.  Stays on the boards.  Palushaj.  Swipes.  Higgins takes it.  Crosses backhanded and lifts it.  Price is on his knees, the puck stays out and Palushaj is called for tripping.

The Green Men await Palushaj’s arrival and he watches the replay as the two long-john silkies make mock and cluck.

It’s all pantomime and good green fun.  The Green Men!

They slither on the glass but we aren’t shown.

First minute sees well-defended ice by Montreal.

With fifteen left, a last entry is chopped down on the blue line and the Canadiens show us all how it’s done.  Candies’ PK ranks first.

Leblanc (recently called up, yet again) takes down one man.  And then Staubitz kabooms a second. Hamhuis was Leblanc’s victim and he rises slowly.  Not penalty material according to the refs, says Houde.

Seven and twenty-five.

Where’s Markov.

Subban circles away from Kesler and away again.  The hook complete, Subban turns up ice with the puck and passes from his zone.  Soon he’ll have earned his room.

Or so I presume.

They’ve found some Bernier hockey footage and Pierre does the “tir et le buuuuuut!” bit for him.  Bernier loses his composure somewhat.  Discomfort.  Tries to downplay it.  Houde enjoys it all.  More Bernier.  He’s boring.

The Canucks are still waiting.  Their fans.  Fifty-four wins and a loss in the final will do that.  They’ll wait for another forty-two years.  They’re a bit like Saskatchewan (Roughriders); it’s their role to lose.

And they do it well.  Unlike, say, the Blue Jackets.  They lose in both sad and sack form.

Raymond over the blue.  Slapshot.  High save.  Bernier calls it a perfect save as he takes his leave of the booth.

Late night coffee.  Urgh.

This is my bed-time.  And we’re still in the first.

I note that Damon Albarn’s pretentiousness is becoming a more known quantity.

Geoffrion fires one and the pad is out for a fine save off the sudden slot shot.

On the other end Price traps one high.

Are we all equal?  I should think so.  Except when we excel in the one thing we might be good at.

Say … twirling a pen.  Or sensing garlic.  What about tracking Gorillaz?

Two oh seven.

The pace is a bit faster from Montréal, just as controlled by Vancouver.

Luongo.  Huge save.  And then Eller kneels and stretches the stick around the potato.  Wow.  What an effort.  He’s stretchy, boy.  He could be a stah.

Bieksa is called.

One forty-three.

Power-play.

Markov starts them out.  I’m pretty sure it’s him.  Isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

Subban on his right.

No.  Kaberle.

Kaberle cross-ice for Cole.  And the shot isn’t difficult.  Held at crest level.  Not too complex for him, says Houde.

Plekanec advanced from the end line but had nothing to do but pause and wait for the draw.

Where’s Markov?

Oh.

There he is.

Left side.

Gomez. Campoli on the right point.

Markov takes it from behind his net.  And a light pass to Gomez is then lobbed up into the corner abut the Canucks get to it first and clear it out.

Ten seconds.  Subban bwhacks Kesler down.  What a hit.

Subban follows with a stick swing into Kesler’s back.  Did something precede?  They’ve been at each other from time (as they say).  Who says?  They says.

Subban shouldn’t have done it.  But he plays rough.

Yet he’s so smoooooth.  The kinda fella that might wear all white to your graduation.

Period ends.  Vancouver led on shots 15-5.

This season.  Complex; one of the most complex in memory.

Is that just a polite way of wiping a rabbit across a bear’s fur?

First Intermission
Montreal 0, Vancouver 0

We should never have lost Markov.  I dunno.  Ask Shiva.

Do you love India?

Do I?

I’m always sick when I’m there. So.  No more getting sick.  I have Youtube.  And I’m sometimes a good listener.

Markov clocked four and a bit.

Second Period
Vancouver 0, Montreal 0

Subban is never done talking.  Now he sits in the box talking with the arena staff dude in there.  Subban makes me smile.  I’m sure he drives them gorgeous in that dressing room.  But hey.  Talkers talk.  You knew what you were signing up for.

Didn’t you.

Didn’t you?

Eller fights and harries at the top right.  And he forces the puck out.  Bourque follows.  Has it.  Shot up and wide.  Off the glass behind.

Forty seconds and Kesler fires it diagonally through the slot.  Nearly deflected.  Price makes a move and looks princely on the play. Plaudit, too.  From Houde, the play-by-play impresario.  Please.

Poutine?

Peut-etre.

Pour-quoi?

Parce-que.

Cette emission is brought to you par la lettre “P”.

Pour Papa.  Et Parashurama.

Two minutes gone.  Higgins meets a body, Cole.

Four games a year.  Two.  The great Christopher Higgins.  Vigneault stated that he and Lapierre have outstanding work ethics.

Pas en Montreal.

They have to leave to get great, some of them.

Kaberle and Markov are paired and the former’s pass to Bourque results in a long puck and icing.

Eller wins the draw.  Markov goes to the disc and is upended.

He looks fine.

Bieksa dumps a man of his own.

Around the net.

Someone falls.

Booth is free and two players just behind, one of both.

Booth is stopped.  Price is very casual getting back into position and the puck caroms behind the end line, the espresso in my stomach refusing to leave; insisting on enhancing the moment.  The puck stays where we need it to and Price is back in place.

I smile.  He’s a laid-back goalie, in a certain way.

Canucks are skating more end to end.

The Canucks can’t hit with Montréal.

Now a fight.

Staubitz and Kassian.  Kassian lands a few.  Then Staubitz unloads.  And continues.  Wow.  Buddy is planted to the icy turf.  Rises and takes some more.  Delivers one or more.

Montreal hasn’t had such a good fighter since before the lockout.  I shake my head.  Should we be pleased?  His teammates, many (most) are.

That doesn’t prove a thing.

Well, it proves one thing.  But that’s not enough.

Un homme fort.

What a stupid league.

Legislated, incestuous violence.  Incubated buffoonery.  Even cigarettes have nice shiny packets.  Don’t they.

And didn’t Capone donate to theatre?

Fourteen oh four.

There would be no perceived (or otherwise) need for fighting if the league had stringent rules against the other stuff (stick-work that some believe increases without enforcers; but the Olympics run counter to that claim with its slick hockey).

Denis says that Markov isn’t one-hundred percent confident in his knee yet and we see some footage to underline this view.  One mistake on a Vancouver exit and another hesitant foot forward in the slot before a swat-away.

Geoffrion.  Leans through two.  And fires.  Luongo flicks the glove at it.  And it’s into the corner.

Now a Cole entry.  Legs too wide, his hands too far apart, he launches even as he loses equilibrium and the puck slides wide to Luongo’s right.  The goalie was quick and compact; to the play.  He’s looking much more confident than last time.  And better than I’ve ever seen him.

His frame of mind is very good.  I watch him for a few moments and he seems to have added to his game, going post to post with a commitment I’ve never seen.

True, I haven’t seen him in more than thirty games over the past six, seven seasons but he’s looking good.  I’ve seen him on Youtube, too.  I suppose that counts.

Ten minutes.

Another big hit.  Right at the limit, says Houde.

Montreal is the hitting team these days.  Not since 1989 have I seen the team so committed to the body game.  Or that’s what it seems.

Of course I missed fourteen seasons in there.  Football.  And hockey pissed me off.

The league mostly.

Hansen is given time to pause on the circle and he slows and takes it.  Fires.  Price is just as calm and he makes the stop seem simple.  Earns praise from Denis for his demeanour.

Kesler gets a pass, a man hanging off him, fires.  And scores.

The big boat horn.

Corner pocket.  And rolls out on hits side after hitting the opposite post.
Vancouver 1, Montreal 0

Eight oh one.

It matters.  It doesn’t matter.  I can’t remember the order and they both rotate, a sprite galaxy of hope and doom in my imagination.

Habs press.

One stint.

And then Plekanec offside.

A lot of American college grads in the Canuck lineup.  Kaberle is checked hard by Kassian.  What, he wants more?

The enforcer mentality is garbage.  We’re going to do what we want.  Because we’ve got this guy.

Then the other team responds.  And the game’s focus is warped.

Mason Raymond.  Such a big man.  Too thin for his stud-light name.  Mason.

Station Johnson.  Tree Lamoomba.  Subwoofer Gupta.

Luongo stops it but can’t control the puck twice.

We’re at fours.

Just under five.

Bieksa interrupts a Plekanec-Cole combination.

Pacioretty is harangued on the deep left boards.  Refs let it go to the same edge as most of the other action.

West hockey.  The refs shouldn’t be dreamers.  Or custodians of CBC’s schmaltz and vision.

Maybe the refs should just wear CBC logos.

Sports at CBC are a bit different from the news.  The sports department is conservative and chuck blarney.  The news division is on point and classic Canadian journalism.  They’re different.  CBC Sports fired their best journalist years ago.  Dave Hodge.  He’s with TSN now.

Blake Geoffrion scores.

Houde trembles trees.

And we’re tied.

Montreal 1, Vancouver 1

Leblanc took the puck off a man deep and slid it to the crease lip.  Stretched stick and a splayed Luongo.  On his seat he looks up and confusion and blame.

Beat under his right thigh, sliding left to right.

Under a minute.

Two on one.

White.  Carries.  To Plekanec.  Way behind him.  White isn’t a finesse guy.

Subban.  Keeping, bumped, bumble-beed and undeterred.  Backhands the puck and the rebound is in front of a tied -up Eller.

Can’t finish.

Faceoff.

About ten seconds.

Subban fires one long.

Taken and cradled.  And the period ends.  Montreal led on shots 12-7.

Second Intermission
Montreal 1, Vancouver 1

Hodge got fired for tossing a pencil in the air.  While on air.  And while criticizing his boss’ decision to go to some dolt program instead of going to a still-airing out-of-town game.

I thought the pen-flip was higher.  And what about “that’s the CBC for ya”?

Hmm.  Video is good for stopping the spread of urban legends.  Isn’t it.  Or at least for correcting aspects.

Third Period
Vancouver 1, Montréal 1

Cole on the right.  One shot.  Back to him.  Backhand.  Sneaks through and even Houde isn’t ready.  He apologizes for the lack of emotion though he did call it.

Montreal 2, Vancouver 1

Funeral(aic) dirge oodles through the evil music smokestacks in this cathedral.

You don’t have to win Cups to be great.  Vancouver is great.  The city.  The team.  The legacy.  Who wouldn’t like the Canucks?  I mean, overall.

And those uniforms!  From Brad Gassoff to Stan Smyl, they’ve always had a way of, uh, fashioning attention.

The crowd is quieter than quiet.

We hear the voices clearly.  The bangs on the boards.  The puck.  The sticks.

Plekanec is on.  To his own crease where Price has beavered low to his dam.  And the crouch causes a whistle.

I find myself wondering which players wake up later than the others.  And so forth.

Would you have a wakefulness schedule knowing that you have two late west coast games a year?  Or do you just jolt yourself for those two games?  Case by case, I’m sure.

I wonder if Jolt Cola still exists. It must.

It does.

They’re Jolt Energy now.  You kids.  Don’t drink that stuff.  It’s bad for ya.

Montreal power-play.

First thirty seconds are sodden.

Now a middle pass is intercepted by an opportunistic Sami Salo.  Cleave surge blades.  And then he leaves off, content to dump it even as he turns to leave the ice.

Another penalty on the re-entry.  Higgins touched it and it left the ice.

Montreal five-on-three.

Higgins sits stubbly goatee shape on his lower face.  One chance.  Cole is fallen.  Puck stays out.  Luongo stops one in spectacular fashion.  Is this the guy everyone once talked about?

But Markov finds Subban and Subban cracks it in.

You heard me.  Read me.

Markov.  To Subban.  Markov smothers Subban in gloves.

Offwing blast from inside the circle top.

No time for Luongo.

Montreal 3, Vancouver 1

Hey.  That’s hockey.  Subban takes a sip of that pink drink.  And I wonder about Montreal’s conditioning yet again.

During a season, there’s no time to build.  You maintain.  It’s the offseason where the work comes to build up your levels.  Same in football.

Fourteen.

Montreal’s man-advantage continues.

Price’s new mask features a silver half C on the side and some ordinary whites along the top.

No neck protector.

Twenty seconds in the advantage.

Pacioretty to the net.  Taken down on the forehand to backhand switch and Habs fans in the group boo.

Subban is very deep.  To Pacioretty and its’ stopped.

Gorges dives to block a Gorges shot.

Kesler comes over toe say something to Gorges.  Subban drops by.  Then Cole escorts a muttering Kesler away.  Hmmm. didn’t see it.

The long pass.  We’re shown Pacioretty and Markov on split screen.  Then Denis says that one element Markov brings back for the team is the explosive first pass, the long pass.  Pacioretty was sent in by Markov on that last falling sequence.

Twelve and a half. Both are on the bench and they watch Palushaj funneled down the column but not before turning and backhanding a puck into choppy ice.  Turnover at the net’s side.

Palushaj.  To Geoffrion.  And the low shot is gloved at ice level.  Luongo turns skeleton eyes at his bench and then upward.  Gets low for the draw.  Must be the mask.

Human bone over human bone.

One of the great masks in league history.

Markov and Emelin low.  Markov gets tone first and chops it ahead.

Another board crunch and Markov is ok, again.  It’s all we can think.  Just stay healthy.  How is that knee?  How much can we trust medicine when we’ve lost our best defenceman twice?  Three times, really.

I ponder five-millions.  Cammalleri.  Toxin.  Gone.  Replaced by a two million dollar guy.  Gionta.  Injured.  Gomez.  Unproductive.  And Markov.  Absent for so long.

How does a team perform minus four big stars?  Its top four players?

Cole scores almost in answer.

Clicked one past and on the offwing faked the pass and beat Luongo through the five and then at the post when it stopped there.  Just flew by to make sure.

Montreal 4, Vancouver 1

Eight and forty-five.

Price makes sure at his right.

Markov is back.

And he’ll make plays.

Just stay in hockey.  Like him or not, and there some who don’t, he’s a very good player.  And like many non-scoring defencemen, only truly appreciated by fans of his own team.

Opponents know.  Teammates.  Coaches.

Markov’s element is passing.  But there should (might still) come a time when he notches significant goals, as well.  It was coming.

Might still.

Might still.

Do any Americans love Golden Earring’s Black Betty?  Or is it just us?  I never hear it much outside of Canadian hockey rinks.  I must be mistaken.  But there are certain songs that only impress here.

That Canadian taste, eh.  Gravy and French fries.

Back bacon on pizza.

Burrows is agitating after the whistle.  Like a washing machine?  No.  Like a knucklehead.

Both Campoli and burrows are in the box.  Burrows affects a pose of accomplishment.  Shines his carabine.

Cole intercepts a direct giveaway and carries into Vancouver ice.

Three men.  One man raises Cole’s leg with a powerful hit.  Now it’s out.  And it’s whistled.

Kesler rests his righteous keester on the Vancouver bench.  Or do you prefer kiester?

Four on four continues.

Now the Canucks try their luck.  They’re not very interested in coming back.

They can afford losing.

Montreal can, too.

But the visitors are solid and responsible to the end.  Even Bourque does his work with a western aplomb we hoped for against Calgary (and got against Edmonton and Vancouver, both).

Marinovich and his right arm tied behind his back comes to mind.  And that cake story.

I wonder what Bourque’s narrative is.  Probably much more banal.  Marinovich does art now.

Foreshadowing.  Does this team dominate the other next season?  It’s two games.  And what about a Canadian division?

Price traps one and I think of both he and Gorges.  They’re the young ones.  It’s the Canucks turn to be old and promising.

Young and promising aren’t just for the young.

Price and two Canadiens in the crease.  It stays out.

Bourque with a last rush; one man against one.  And the goalie.  Angle is too sharp.

Another stoppage.

Seventeen seconds and the hash work sees all five Habs in the screen.  They protect his one-goal result.

Siren goes and Price goes out to shove a man in the back.  Hard.  Each man picks a dancer.

Who was the cause?

No punches. Oh.  Burrows.

Stick to the AHL, buddy.

They congratulate their goalie, so frustrated in these difficult months.

Final Score
Montreal 4
Vancouver 1

HDS Stars: PK Subban, Erik Cole, Roberto Luongo
RDS Stars: Carey Price, Erik Cole, Blake Geoffrion

This team is missing the playoffs.  This team has won two in a row.

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