Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
April 4, 2012, 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 (29-35-15) host Tampa Bay Lightning (37-35-7)
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
Game Eighty (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 stained coffee. A unique way to re-experience the game.
click here to expand post (it looks prettier)
Vincent Damphousse, with a phone call to owner Geoff Molson this morning, withdrew his candidacy for the GM post. The former Canadiens captain cited time needed to take care of his two sons. He’ll be staying on with Reseau des Sports in his analyst role.
The general manager’s role is the full fourteen hours a day, seven days a week. Balance can’t be had. And Damphousse’ choice will be respected.
Regardless, he lacked the experience and skills needed for strong candidacy. Considered thoughtful and calm, that wouldn’t have been enough.
His recent acrimonious and very public divorce must certainly have weighed in his decision. His about-face makes me wonder if a phone call had been made. A lawyerly, friendly-warning phone call.
The team has suffered 410 man-game lost to injury, most in the league. Not the first time. The latest? Emerging star goalie Carey Price, a victim of a “light” concussion in practice. The over-his-head Peter Budaj will start the team’s remaining three games. Tonight is Tampa. Tomorrow, Carolina. And Saturday, the ever-bitter Leaf fans and their team, the Toronto Maple Leaves.
A bitter many, shall we say.
Lightning sharp-shooter Steven Stamkos is gunning for 60 goals. Only nineteen others have reached the seasonal plateau.
Can it get worse? Sure. Hire a coach worse than Martin or Cunneyworth. Hire a general manager worse than Gauthier. Both are possible.
Sebastien Caron starts in net for Tampa. Budaj, a winner of three in fourteen starts, is in the other net. Wes McCauley and Don Van Massenhoven are the refs.
Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavalier and youngling Lars Eller face off.
Subban ripples the still image, moving slightly at his blue line spot as the puck is dropped.
Mike Blunden is in early and hitting his man against the end boards. Gone are the days when Saku would bloom legal shoulder violence to begin a game, sending a message to his delighted fans and red-shirt teammates.
Blunden’s hit was average and produced nothing. No puck. No wilting. No imagination.
The Marcellian David Desharnais. In. Across, through the circle. Around the net. Finds Emelin. Skates forward and shoots. Finds his rebound in the crease. Deposits.
Montréal 1, Tampa Bay 0
Every goal is meaningless and thus more meaningful than ever.
We say something when we nod. They say something when they skate.
We’re fire across the flowers and blue blood gone wild in ice gardens of desire. It’s a game and means nothing. It’s nothing and means everything. All and none. Finity and infinity.
The rink bends for a moment and the puck tilts to the Tampa end. Only red despite five white. Subban across the low slot. Keeps. A move. Another. JT Brown can’t compete. And the puck escapes up the left-side gutter boards.
Five oh five gone.
Houde wonders if too many men will be called. They let it go.
Cole. Right side. Cuts to the net from the circle-top. Fires. Is angled to the ice as the shot itself is into skates. I watched the back of the net like a hopeless fool.
Gorges rounds one up in the mid-ice area. Sends it down. Bourque emerges from behind the net. And his slot pass is smothered.
Centripetal. Wired. Connected. Collected. In this basement and from screen to screen, these fond wishes are connected.
We’re shown some Caron highlights.
He’s 31 and back after an absence. The German league.
Subban. Left hash. Like a clock, like a reptile, his stick and skates form bootflesh magic. Again nobody can take it from him. He’s like Orr.
End to end.
Budaj is at the left circle. Turns. Gives it to Lecavalier in the slot. The captain puts it in.
Let the Carey Carey chants begin.
Lecavalier’s expression is predictable. Unmoved pleasure.
What a mistake. Right on Lecavalier’s stick.
Denis and Houde remain uncritical. Why bother? The entire province immolates the fulcrum.
Tampa Bay 1, Montreal 1
Yvon: Quelle mauvais jeu de Budaj.
Emelin. Another shot. Eller is in the crease and closes his stick against the puck, against the pad. It stays out. Two Other Habs re allowed into view. They mingle sticks but the puck stays out.
Now a long puck is called for icing against Montréal.
Caron has poise.
Desharnais wins the draw. Coe from his blue line makes an L of his lane, an S of his body. The sweeper stick works as a keeper but the puck is lost as he veers and leans across the blue.
Canadiens are pressuring in ways they haven’t since 08-09. Big spaces, big shots and wheeling and turning in the offensive zone rather than up and down like slotted table-hockey prisoners.
Lightning are showing why they’ll miss the playoffs this season. Little care for their own zone and a lack of zest for extra.
Exceptions include Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. And some others. The usual.
The Lightning riddle is more than one sheet-light across the hockey sky. It’s up to Brother Steve to guide them through this offseason of change. Tampa is going to change, believe me.
Purcell. Left side. Thee Habs, two across and one to the forward. And the puck is cleared from tape.
Lecavalier absorbs a hit and underneath, in the corner to Budaj’s right is Markov. His gait and stance are more than ever, the classic style. The best player on the Canadiens is earning his way back.
Whistle. Mid-ice hotheads. Dumont is discussing things. And Staubitz is speaking in the language of bones.
Staubitz goes to the box. It’s Dumont’s first game for Canadiens this season.
64 5 13 18 -4 79 0 0 1 128 3.9
I shake my head.
The league is the reason these hockey dropouts get any pro ice time.
Four on four.
The Ville de Dégelis native is wearing thirty-seven tonight.
One Montreal incursion. Broad-stick-handling. Handled.
Montreal ice. Budaj scoops low and the puck is trapped.
Art as entertainment. As escape. Hip-hop ruined. Movie theatres nutmegged.
I see a mountainside of knuckleheads. With buckets of bitumen. Bus em out. Send Ralphie first.
Denis interviews the other assistant. His first talk-at this season. Groulx. The team’s goalie coach.
Campoli takes a swig of ’O and we resume. The final seconds of four-on-four end. Cole watches a puck bate from his sphere and the Canadiens are forced back. Cole gets into position and the stitched-up lanes are protected.
Blunden on the left side boards deep. Met by two. And relieved.
Action slows on the boards. Subban works and struggles. Loses one board battle. Follows and loses a second under the end line. Left point shot as the positions fray. Budaj turns it away and Subban is still out of sorts.
Lines change as the puck is vectored out.
Campoli sends it on along diagonal.
Here’s a photo. Stamkos and Subban at the age of eight. They played on the same team in the Toronto area. Subban was the captain. Soobey as our friend Randy Ladouceur likes to say.
What’s MY nickname?
Long shot. Wide and a blasted splat off the end boards.
Canadiens continue to pressure, to press.
They’re free of worry and their better side shows, because.
Campoli plays one outside the Tampa blue retreating and the puck is off Pyatt’s stick and into the crowd.
Lecavalier’s recent numbers are shown. Fifty-two goals. Then forty. And then four twenty-something season. Houde says he’s still only thirty-one.
So what happened?
JT Wyman’s shot from the slot, covered is off a blade and into the amphitheatre sky.
Cole takes a chair and fiddles with his tape. Removes a strip from the haft end. And then gets to work on the blade-point.
In the corner. Leblanc. Brakes and turns. Keeps. Lobber.
Somehow Bourque is to the crease. And he turns and reaches but is bodied down.
Siren’s high keen and the period closes. Montreal led on shots 13-6.
Montreal 1, Tampa Bay 1
I’m alerted that our illegal “government” is going ahead with Bill C-30 and I have trouble staying on point with Alain’s question regarding Montreal’s org chart. Crete is concerned that Timmins’ role is so over-arching. He cites the long-time issue of Montreal’s development and wonders if Timmins should be wearing both hats.
Benoit replies that it’s a cost-saving measure of a sort. But that’s not the story. And that’s not the concern. It’s a valid position to question having the same man in the same role.
Player development should be in different hands. And Denis Gauthier lists examples of teams at this level and others that don’t use this approach.
Now is the time to be critical. And they’ve taken it up. Good.
Tampa Bay 1, Montréal 1
JT Brown’s dad, Ted Brown is mentioned and thumbnailed by Pierre. The former Viking. Remember?
More Brown minutiae; the son this time. Some NCAA MVP. Most pros have great resumes. Unless they fill this profile: Ontarian, multi-hundred PIM and expert interviewees in the style of any good mayoral candidate.
Canadiens spider in. Cole is on the right circle top. Desharnais finds him for the instant timer.
Black-kow! Caron can’t get across.
About a foot under the crossbar. His thirty-third, a season-high total for the burly winger.
One of Gauthier’s very good moves. He had a few. Like him or not.
Montreal 2, Tampa Bay 1
Pierre and Marc share a laugh. And I laugh, unrelated. The cookie.
Emelin is in the box.
Delay of game. The puck was scooped errantly over the glass from his own zone. In the old days, it was a way of reducing pressure.
Grainy images of Fouts and Marino flip-zipping oblongs to the chalk-side rotate through my inner projection screen.
Lightning control with unexpected freedom.
No shots. Perimeter passing. And with ten seconds left in the penalty, Plekanec intercepts one at his left hash and sends it flipping long.
Cole crabs out moments later following a Lightning reset and his right-lane trundle ends in a wayward backhand puck from too far away and from too sharp an angle.
Brett Clark advances in his adroit manner. Fires long. Misses all and the Canadiens are out. Geoffrion is circling in the slot. Now he drifts to the boards. Campoli advances to help. Now Geoffrion has it from under the end line. Keeps and five feet later dumps to and advancing St. Denis near the right point. Turnover follows.
Habs are pushed out. Lightning are whistled on a puck infraction. And the network turns up the volume for some sponsor junk.
Photos of fake food and clowns in green vests sparkle as they suggest low-nutrition “food”.
Subway, eat dreck.
Freedom of speech? Or freedom of expression? Who cares. Keep both.
Lightning assistant Martin Raymond is shown. The former McGill Redman head coach is lips anteatered and concentrating on the surface. I like him immediately.
Hey. I could be wrong.
Yzerman’s open-mindedness occurs to me again. And not for the last time.
Now we see Desharnais tripped. Lecavalier.
Around the net. Hooking. Desharnais was tripped following the hook. Houde thought it might have been two penalties.
Five on four.
Cole line starts. Pacioretty’s hash pass is missed by Subban and he hangs his head as he watches teammates flow back to correct the error.
They’re back in. Now a left point pass is intercepted. Markov. Still acclimatizing.
Faceoff to Budaj’s left. Won by Montréal.
Campoli carries. Drop pass to the wing, Plekanec. Return pass is into coverage. And then the puck is lost on entry.
St. Louis carries, is touched and signals for a penalty.
One last incursion. Twenty seconds.
St. Denis on the blue. Plekanec and Bourque share the puck.
Bourque takes it, back to the goalie and turns it to the forehand. And can’t slap it.
Puck is cleared. And Leblanc is called.
Went looking for a musing desk today. Always interesting to see who follows me around, suspicious glares, all the while. There are certainly patterns amongst these failed security guards, many of them shop owners.
Flip through a Canadian mugshot book sometime. You’ll learn something. The diversity is astounding. And you don’t see many Homme de Sept-Iles types. The shocker for me was the number of elderly folks. My goodness.
Montreal creates the first good chance. Tampa slithers back and the chance is funnelled somewhat.
A musing table is something that could better function than my current beanbag and lap-keyboard set-up.
Tampa is woeful.
Stamkos needs two goals to reach sixty. He has three games to do it.
Six and a half left.
Don’t bother doing it against us. We have more pressing concerns than some South-East gunslinger’s stats.
Tim Wallace. Cross-checked a turning Emelin in the Tampa slot. Wallace shakes his head in the box. Removes his mouthguard. Elicits little sympathy from your literary goon.
Desharnais wins the draw.
Clark blocks a hash shot.
Reseau tries a behind-the-net view.
I like it but it will take some getting used to.
Pacioretty from the hash. Advances. Drops for Desharnais. To the blue. Shot. Pads.
More perimeter passing
Little tyke is cute in his ignorance. His father moves his arm as the little fella is unaware of the Kladno crack.
Montreal 3, Tampa 1
Canadiens fans won’t care but Leaf fans will: if Montreal wins its last three and Leafs lose their last two, Habs finish ahead of the Leafs. Have a laugh.
We missed the playoffs. We didn’t win the Cup. Nothing else matters.
But Leaves like tracking these things. So much resentment from that magpie blue.
Habs continue the good work.
Lightning may lose resolve. Four and a half.
Corner work. Lightning escape. Right-side pass for Malone. Dumped down
I wonder who our backup is tonight?
Eller tangles sticks with Mikkelson. The large defender moves away with it.
No matter, Canadiens take over at mid-ice.
Action stays on the edge.
Now Stamkos is open in the slot. Fires. Post-like sound.
Denis confirms following a break in the action
Three oh four.
Plekanec down the right. Lofts a long backhander across the slot. Bourque can’t reach it. Kept in
Bourque loses a puck and then accelerates, catches the man and whams him into the boards. His good work has reached five games in a row and my commendations are absorbed by the carpet fibres around me.
And another Tampa penalty.
Rene Bourque. Ca peut arriver.
I watch Markov. Desharnais turns and sends it to number 79 on the left point. A second time. Right point. Plekanec is posted. The unusual set-up again. Hey, it’s working.
Plekanec drones forward to keep a puck in play and his follow-through is a flourish I haven’t seen from him in months. His confidence is repaired.
Bourque form the slot. Just wide.
The Montreal Canadiens are the Montréal Canadiens. Two periods in a row.
We’ll take it.
Puck is cleared.
Subban powers over the blue. Keeps past the circles. Turns a loop at the end boards.
Pass. Munged up.
Two on one emerges.
And Budaj is across on the fleet saucer pass. And. And.
The puck is wide.
One more Tamp entry is funnelled into the boards.
And the period ends.
Stamkos tried the deke and couldn’t mark.
Fell into the end-boards.
Montréal led on shots 6-5. Mostly this reflects our weak power-play and Tampa’s time in the box. But there’s been some good work. Team game.
Another soapy voice extols the virtues of the carbon rex. Go home. To the mountain.
Montreal 3, Tampa 1
Plekanec’ goal was actually credited to Cole; waist-high stick tap.
Montreal 3, Tampa bay 1
Cole line. Subban and Gorges underneath.
Gorges is pushed back off his feet and the net goes off a few feet away. Whistle.
First 60-goal man was Phil Esposito. Some dramatic Ranger footage accompanies Marc Denis’ anecdote.
Whatever. Hockey boor.
Both teams are working. Long Montreal puck is touched by Mikkelson who bends down to pick it up for an official.
Martin St. Louis’22:34 per game is second amongst NHL Forwards. Kovalchuk is over 24, per.
Faceoff to Budaj’s right.
Sharp shot from the hash. Puck bounces. Gervais swings a stick. It loops up. And into the net. Bad luck, says Houde.
Bad goalie, says Homme de Sept-Iles.
Montreal 3, Tampa Bay 2
Well? Where’s the glove? Where’s the hand-eye? Where’s the puck-tracking?
Tampa follows with another possession.
Montreal’s response is a near thing. Caron traps a puck in mid-air. With his glove. A muzzle shot.
With his glove. From the air.
He appears to be wearing his German league mask.
When was he called up?
High hash shot. Gorges. Rebound. Pacioretty. Finds it, a fallen Lightning defender across the moat.
Backhander is in.
I don’t like the Bell Centre goal music. It’s a high-trumpet, Safety Dance high march. Yeah, yeah. Ivan and all that. So what.
The shots of the Olympic Stadium become my inner footage. That video. And the Concordes logotype across the greensward.
Hmm. Maybe I should hold off on judgement.
Montreal 4, Tampa Bay 2
Ou vont les garcons?
It’s an example of a song title lost in translation. I wonder if they knew.
Ou est Ivan maintenant? I tried to find him for an interview about two years back and reached his brother or brother-in-law. But no Ivan. Maybe I can follow up again. Tu pense qu’il est Canadien?
Another one lost in translation.
I’m down to zero English television. Just three games on Reseau a week. Et c’est tout. Curious about what English blammo waves will be like after this year off. I’ll be watching some (forced) English playoffs, I imagine. As much as I can in French. But. Ce sont les playoffs.
So I’m stuck.
Well, at least I can enjoy Elliotte and Kelly. And the TSN stalwarts.
Caps control their destiny. So says Houde. Denis says the Caps aren’t as good a system as Buffalo and he’s intrigued with the final few days. The two are tied at 88 points. Caps don’t deserve much better. But they’ve been playing better in spurts. What more?
Speaking of German goalies.
Before the formulas of MTV ruined it all.
Lecavalier trips Eller and it’s called.
Boucher slouches over to his assistant and asks a question, hands in pockets. His job is assured, as it should be. But not for many more months. The whiz kid has struggled in recent years.
Hockey is a simple game. You have to move the puck quickly. I’m paraphrasing Andrei Markov as I watch him nimbly move the disc following a mis-timed pass. He understands the diagrams and thinks on ice. The body is complex. But the blood flow is direct.
I understand. But the point requires elaboration.
Habs are forced out. And the puck goes out of play.
Cole brakes and sparks shavings. The ice sprinkles upward and I’m in admiration. Spins out and around, accelerates with rarely-used fifth-gear rocketry and fires a pass seconds later.
The flow, the show and over the blue.
Pacioretty scores looking the other way. Great play. High Wrister.
Something new. The look-away. Offwing entry. Over the shoulder. Caron doesn’t have a book on the winger.
Not even a line.
We’ll take it.
Montreal 5, Tampa Bay 2
The Gary Carter banner is shown. Houde mentions tonight’s game between Miami and Saint Louis. Baseball.
Four and twenty-three.
Denis says that Markov has been very relaxed tonight.
Houde adds that the Fedotenko knee-on-knee against Rangers the other night hasn’t had a long-term effect. Maybe we can hope.
Leblanc is called.
Subban carries off the first draw to Budaj’s left.
Clark carries. Purcell. Left for St. Louis. Around the boards. And then a strange bounce out.
The Ole Ole chant begins. Robert Mayer is in the building. First time backing up for the young fella. I was wondering who. He’s wearing number 35.
Mike McPhee! Big mustaches!
Mayer is moustache-free.
Back to fives after a tepid Lightning sequence.
Two minutes in the game.
On joue pour la forme.
Desharnais loses the draw but gets help from Pacioretty who moves it up. It’s slapped down. Icing.
Desharnais and company stay on. Two on one. Three on two. Desharnais. Keeps. Slot bound. Lobber. Bounces too much and Pacioretty can’t golf it in.
One minute left.
Around the net, Brewer floats out. Turns left and passes short to Purcell.
Brewer leaves the ice.
St. Denis pinches and has backup, Gabriel Dumont. Puck stays on the edges. Dumont whacks it around the boards.
One last check by Brett Connolly attracts some attention but nobody raises a glove.
They congratulate their goalie
Plekanec has a particularly bright smile for Budaj.
Mayer, white baseball hat on his head, is also out to congratulate number thirty.
Tampa Bay 2
HDS Stars: Erik Cole, Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty
RDS Stars: Erik Cole, Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais
Two more to go.