The Diachronic Barber Pole Observations of a Recovering Hockey Exile

Montreal Canadiens vs. Florida Panthers

March 28, 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 (29-34-13) host Florida Panthers (36-24-15)

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Game Seventy-Six (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 chips.  A unique way to re-experience the game.

click here to expand post (it looks prettier)


I have a guest.  Le Pilote.  My oldest friend’s younger brother.  The last time I saw him, he was about eight months old.  Now he’s 34.  We’ve talked on the phone a few times.  Le Pilote tells me that he bought his first hockey card when he was twenty.  A Miroslav Satan card.  About a buck and a quarter.

He wishes that Satan had ended up a Devil.  Just because.  The name.

Scott Clemmensen is the goalie.  And Price for Montreal.

Marc Joannette and Brian Pochmara are the refs.

First Period

Le Pilote asserts that the presure that Montreal players face is nothing compared to what NFL players face.  To what Premiere soccer (futbol) teams face.  He adds that hockey is a fourth-tier sport and the players can get away from the game in the offseason.  Suck it up is the message.  You’re not facing pressure.

He shoots down my recent (morose) theory that maybe nobody can play in Montréal and succeed.

Kids are watching.  Play well.  Others would love to be in your position.

Interception at mid-ice.  Leblanc.

We continue.  NHL players have no right to complain about the pressure. I ask him to explain “suck it up”.  Pro players come from relatively affluent backgrounds.  Where are we going with this?  Hockey players are whiners?

“Yes!”, he says.

He outlines the plights of poor players from countries in soccer.

I ask which poor soccer countries produce great players.

Brazil, Africa, Paraguay; help form his long list.  Most, soccer-playing.

When you come from an upbringing like that where you know what real misery is and you get thrown twenty-five million dollars…

Net drive.  Pacioretty.  Shot.  Rebound.  A crowd of five.  Another save.

And it stays out.  Panthers skate away.

How do we challenge ourselves to keep these things in mind.

Le Pilote met Jarome Iginla in Afghanistan and the talk turns to the Canadian gold (2010 Olympics).  He thanked Jarome for getting us the gold.  Iginla asked him what he meant. The pass.  It was the pass, on his back that was the golden moment.  Without the pass, the goal doesn’t happen.

Le Pilote says Iginla’s grounded.  Iginla’s Calgarian.  Loyal.

Another loyal man?  Le Pilote surprises me with his list.  Alfredsson.  Kovalev.  And Iginla again.  Le Pilote gives points for all of that.

Miller should have had it.  And Crosby was screaming for it.  Just a reminder.

Ten and fifteen.

Le Pilote continues in his vein; is Alfredsson a good captain? He still thinks not.

Le Pilote doesn’t watch as much as he’d like but when he’s watching, he’s paying attention.

Commercial break.  Serge Savard’s Assante commercial glimmers by as Le Pilote tells me about the hockey knowers he’s friends with.

The Panthers start eleven Canadians.  So says RDS as the puck goes out of play in the neutral zone.

Weiss and Desharnais face off.  Won by Panthers.

Neutral zone. Pacioretty reaches a long stick but Weiss is away and passing on the left side.  Mild shot is stopped by Price.  Held.

Weiss leaves the ice.

Bourque is still on.  That’s four games now.

Right side entry.  Wolski.  Offwing riser.  Ting.  And in.  Under the crossbar.

Florida 1, Montréal 0

Montréal responds.

I have the wrong roster up.

And it’s saved under a third name, also wrong (Ottawa).

Here’s a whistle.

Weiss is called.

Holding.  Subban.  Ticky-tack.

Montreal gets a break.

Subban rounded his net, left side and was held for a second or two.

Montreal scores.

Cole.  Under.  End line.  Pacioretty.  Cole.  Writer.

People give Cole space.  Le Pilote.

We discuss Edmonton and Calgary and their respective xenophobic personas.  Just the knuckleheads.  Pie-slice comparison.

Four oh eight.

Calgarians should know better, being more white collar, more educated according to Le Pilote.

The drug of choice is an issue, Le Pilote notes when I stress my observation that Edmonton feels less safe than Toronto in pockets and in moments.  Meth.  It’s more prevalent out west.  Fair point.

Eighty seconds.

We discuss meth some more. Toronto’s drug of choice is coke, opines Le Pilote.  A rich yuppie’s drug.  Again, it’s a slice of the pie.

Eighty bucks a gram.

Clemmensen traps one (a puck).  And the period ends.

First Intermission
Florida 1, Montreal 1

I chortle.  This is one of the strangest musings I’ve written.

Le Pilote recommends Breaking Bad, a television show.

Le Pilote continues the lecture with my living room affiliate who has returned from work.

I contemplate Renaud Lavoie’s upwardly-mobile body language and watch a young fella (amateur) face a goalie in the Bell Centre.

The goalie makes the first three saves.

And a fourth.

Olivier Gamache is the name on the huge cheque presented to the young man following.  Ah, the muted television.  I can make up whatever I want.

I unmute it and contemplate the frozen okra in my kitchen.  Bhindi.  It’s instant, yo.

Nobody makes my dinner but me.

And that’s the way it is.

It takes a university degree to break an airplane.  It takes a high school diploma to fix it.  So shares Le Pilote.  We’ve heard this before.  It’s delicate.  On the front lines, the practical answers are easily known, repeated daily as they are. Theoreticians are better paid and better educated.  But the industry of education argument is shifting the weighting.

I wonder about today’s education system.

Second Period
Florida 1, Montreal 1

Le Pilote continues.  Employers are going to hire who they damn well want to in the end, anyway.  Require, require, require all you want.  Pervert the educational system. I’ll still go after the kid that can get it done.

Is hockey exempt?  Possibly.  Interviews and pieces of paper don’t matter.  Just get it done.

I beam inwardly as the two continue to discuss.  Sports are exempt.

The skill is the thing.  More or less.  But that’s the way it is.

Plekanec line.

Five in the screen.

Goc sneaks past the side of the square.

Pass bloops over his stick.

And no follow-up.

Habs respond.

They’re after it and shooting but the long pass and trajectories are turnover-prone.  And they’re defending again.

Two and a half gone.

Desharnais sluices the ice.  Around the net.  He’s in the corner. Sends it along.  Waits.  Has it again and then emerges.  Water-bug steps.  Quick-quick and then the pass attempt.  Into legs and Panthers closed to the entry point.

Doors close and tails twitch.

Gudbransson ends the Florida response, dull and efficient with a right point shot.

Faceoff to Price’s left.

Bench shot.

Jose is shown, he’s grinning.  Next to him a haggard Panther pulls on an orange drink bottle. The drops fall untended on the sticky rubber below.  More Panthers, hair messy and uniformly  open-mouthed, they line the visiting bench.  It’s a pleasure to have expansion teams.  Really.

Too bad they chose the wrong team colours.

Puck goes out of play.

Le Pilote is talking about P over IR with the living room affiliate.  And I learn that computer grads are also exhibiting strange gaps in knowledge.

Champix comes up as we discuss doctors, dads and smoking.

And then Wolski is free.  One stride.  A second. The slot.  The deke.  Right to left.  And the tuck-under.

Price is bricks and mortar.  Clam.  Across.  Complete.

Montreal is called moments later.

The league’s number one penalty-kill takes the ice.

Le Pilote is on his gadget and misses my idle (ok, desperate) boast regarding our lone area of prowess.

Yes, “our”.  Yes, “we”.  We have only six games left.

Yes, I’ve been looking forward to summer.  Yes, the losing has been a bit much.  But I’ll die a little as I do every end of season.

And this season is no different.  Worse as it was.  Is.

Shorter as it will be.  The team will miss the playoffs.  And we’ve known of some time.

Vincent Damphousse has known even longer.  He was right.  Called it in December.

Florida leads 7-1 on shots.  And the penalty ends.

Ten and a half.

The team slows.  The arena wilts and I contemplate the hot sun outside the Bell.  It’s there, isn’t it?  Isn’t it?

Isn’t late March supposed to be pleasant?  <insert grumble>

Leblanc.  Open.  Complete.  Right sideline.  Covered.  The wrister.  And a soft pad responds.

Puck is cleared.

Emelin.  Gives it away on the hash.  Chases.  Has to hook.  And Kopecky.

And Montreal is on the penalty-kill again.

Cross-ice diagonal.  And Price is across, the glove wiping high.  But it hits the post and symmetry in hockey has eluded us again.

Symmetry is a pyramid.  Atop is a lion.  Son nom est Maurice.  Ou Guy.  Ou Jean.

And the silver river he reaches into is ours.

Eight.  Thirty in the penalty.  Panthers pause.  They contemplate the Montréal diamond, one up high, Bourque and two flanking.  One man, Subban in the low slot.

Then they pass again.  And the puck is smothered.

Deep right.  Panthers win it.

Right point.  Across.  Campbell.  The park and pivot.  He’s so mobile.  So dangerous.

Then it’s in the corner.  The penalty ends.  And it’s out again.

Panthers enter, three and three across.  Canadiens needle and knit.  The gaps tighten and the wool meets.  Symmetry again.

Suddenly Cole hits a man and Bergenheim is free.  Two chasing.  In stride.  Flanked.  Shoots.  Turned away. It’s out, it seems.  But no.  It’s in the corner and Bergenheim responds with a whisker and a flick of the shoulder.  Chases into the corner.

And it’s gone again.

Clemmensen makes a save on the other end.  Houde notes the closed door.

Crowd is observing.  Digesting.  Contemplating in it own way.  The 2001 season.  The last missed postseason; 2006-07.

Five and ten.

Subban is deep right.  Sees it bounce off his stick.

Now on the eight.  And back into the Panthers zone

Some booing.  Nokelainen whaps at it.

The board battle is won by Florida.

Here’s pressure.  Save low.  Emelin takes shot from the blue.  Fakes.  Shot-pass to the hydrant.  But it misses all.

Lines change.  Palushaj.  To Staubitz in the high slot.

Jason Garrison draws a vicious smile from Staubitz.

He skates off the ice.  Calls someone a “fucken homo.”  Like milk?  What.  What.

We have to purge that language.

It will take time.

That Burke video.

Le Pilote raises eyebrows and I agree.  Why are we even at this point?   This should be a non-issue.   But the video is great.

And it’s refreshing to see hockey take the lead in such a way.  Once again, Brian Burke is not Pat Quinn.  There are some similarities.  But the differences are enough.  Enough to separate the two.

Circumstances are an artifice of a kind.  But if they lead to genuine behaviour-change, then we must accept this.

Le Pilote’s Spezza example comes to mind.  The surly centre is very active in the Ottawa community.  Le Pilote thinks that his life may have been touched in some way; a relative struggling with a disability, perhaps.  But he’s great with kids and does a lot of work in hospitals and with charities.

A point made in the first.

Fair enough.

Cole is the comet around the valley.  This valley is too cold.  And the thunder-trundle is good.  Backhander fails.

Now three on none.  No Panthers. But Clemmensen.

Leblanc leads.  Ignores all.  Carries.  Deke.  Goal.

His fifth goal of the year.

St. Denis sent him along.

Montreal 2, Florida 1

I apologize for my exuberance.  The subwoofer.  The flashing light trick.  I justify it.  It’s been a long season.

Le Pilote reminds me that the Leafs have suffered more this year. I sigh.  Somehow, it’s true.

Florida led on shots 13-4

Second Intermission
Montreal 2, Florida 1

We debate the merits of graph presentation versus columnar.  Radial plot diagrams make the conversation.

Third Period
Montreal 2, Florida 1

Leblanc is rewarded with a spot on the opening line joining Plekanec and Bourque.

It’s a new pairing (Plekanec and Leblanc) and intriguing.

Le Pilote relates a recent visit from his French cousin.  Yes. From France.  He’s a soccer guy.  Le Pilote He found our hockey fascinating.  Le Pilote took the time to stress the following about our game:  Every record, every statistic, every accomplishment and every feat is done on skates.

I think about it phrased that way for a few moments.

Fight.  White and Gudbransson. Frightening.  White is short-armed and short everything.  It’s a mismatch.  And I’m relieved when it ends.

White leaves the bench area and walks on his own down the tunnel to the trainer’s room. His gait is almost ungainly and men’s room drunk.  I hope he’s alright.

Sixteen left.

Panthers up the pace.  Campbell weaves across and fires.  It’s up and out of play.

Karlsson’s lead over the other defenceman is shown.  It’s huge.  You gotta go back to Coffey to find a lead like that, says Le Pilote.

Montreal power-play.

Subban keeps and then he’s around the net.  Returns to the right point.  Now he has it after a hash pass.  Wide.

Panthers surround and castle.  Two men change spots.  The box stays plain.  But it’s enough.

Samuelsson scores while we discuss various vexations including how the affluent vote  decided both the Toronto civic election and the recent national one.  Canadian.



Someone’s wrong on the internet!

I mention that I’m done with correcting people’s English.  Le Pilote is proud to say he isn’t.

Florida 2, Montreal 2

Florida goes back to the power-play.

Subban takes a stick to the face.  Exaggerates for a moment. Then remembers that acting isn’t permitted on the man-down and takes his spot on the low left.


Ting off the post.  Wolski (hard to read the digit) from the right circle.  Price was lucky.

Penalty drains.

Two oh eight.

Montreal chases.

Blunden’s number forty-five hazes for a second and I see 46.  The illusion ends and we’re back to the end of this dismal chapter.

One oh three.

What meaning is there?  The meaning we give.


Lines change.  And the advantage shift s to Montréal.  It matters because it’s Montreal.

The crowd wants it.  The players hear it.  Cole powers through all with a speed we never think he has.  Yet he does.  He’s powered by will.

Seconds tick off.  Puck stays o the perimeter.

And the siren.

Florida led on shots 11-8.

Montreal 2, Florida 2

Price puts the hat on.  He’s at the bench.  Clemmensen is back in his net after the break.  Price makes his own way.

Dineen and assistant Craig Ramsay discuss something.  Ramsay provides his honest opinion, shaking his head all the while.

Four on four for five minutes.

Plekanec and Leblanc.  Again.


St. Denis and Campoli low.

Campoli is driving. Returns to the blue then drives down again. He knows how to play on the four on four from the pivot.

But the Panthers are out and shooting.

Now it’s Subban rushing.  Across.  Desharnais.  It’s there.  The lane. The crest.  The fear.

And it’s slapped high and wide.

The crowd quiets again.

Another Montreal rush.  Cole.

One man against two on the right side.  Loses the puck.

Three oh four.

Offwing entry. Pacioretty.  Speed.  Drive.  Stubble.  And the under-pad jam attempt.  Takes the net off.  Clemmensen is sound.  The geometry of calm.


We resume.

Pacioretty.  Intercepts.  Offwing.  Accelerates, the chicken-leg stride.  And fifes.

Can’t we score? <expletive deleted>

Two oh five.

Four great chances. No goals.

Where’s Kaberle?  Hey.  Hey.

Bourque. Backhander.  A second.  The pass from under the end line.  And Clemmensen has it.  Gorges passed from under the end line.  Gorges!

This is how four on four should run.  Risks and rage.

The glide kind.

Ninety seconds.

I remember to hit record.  Great.

Another chance.


Panthers get an idea.  Retain on the boards.  It lasts five seconds.

Thirty –five.  They’re exited.

And the clock betrays the best hockey played on the night.

The shootout is next.

Florida 2, Montreal 2

The two goalies’ shootout stats are compared.

Price is still not in the top thirty.

Bourque is helmetless for a few moments.  He looks much younger without.

Budaj is talking it up with the shooters.  Laughing.  Then exchanging his goalie insights.  Tips.

Why not put in Theodore?


Price lowers. Head down.  Clemmensen stands and adjusts his mask with his blocker hand, the large scythe goes above his head for the quiet moment.


Left.  Right.  Left.  The sudden brake and crease jam is stopped.


Some nice moves.  And the light wrister after a quick-spoon cleaner in the crease lip.

Plekanec.  Shoots low and left.

The pause, the leg up, the wrister.


Samuelsson.  Keeps.  Shoots.  Right pad save.  All reflex.


Swoop, left to right.  He tries.  With might.  Stopped.

Final Score
Florida 3
Montreal 2 (SO)

HDS Stars: Scott Clemmensen, Louis Leblanc, Wojtek Wolski
RDS Stars: Wojtek Wolski, Louis Leblanc, Erik Cole

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