The Diachronic Barber Pole Observations of a Recovering Hockey Exile

Montreal Canadiens vs. Carolina Hurricanes

April 5, 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 (30-35-15) visit Carolina Hurricanes (32-32-16)

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Game Eighty-One (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 tofu.  A unique way to re-experience the game.

click here to expand post (it looks prettier)


Cam Ward and Peter Budaj are the goalies.  Well, one is.

First Period

Immediate pressure. Immediate penalty.

Subban is called. Hurricanes power-play.

First minute is hazy.

Always shocked at how huge Eric Staal is. A man as big as his hubris.

He’s parked on the right hash and stays on, an intimidating presence throughout.

Canadiens kill the penalty with little crowd reaction.

I find myself wondering about a certain would-be interviewee. I met him once and he was unpleasant. Others have always reported him pleasant. He’s left several call unreturned. An icon and somewhat unimpeachable, it would never occur to me that he might have untoward feelings toward a harmless scribe such as moi.

But tonight, I wonder.

Emelin’s injury allows Tomas Kaberle to make a long-awaited appearance. It’s long-awaited for someone, I’m sure. Kaberle comes to mind.

Small skirmish at mid-ice. Dumont checked Tim Brent into the … uh … what is that? Some hole between the benches. A large boxy gap. Nobody wants anything to do with Staubitz. His recent addition has emboldened our other melee-minded men. And relaxed the puck, skate and stick types.

The team has had Ferguson, virtually pioneering the enforcer notion. In a league that refused to protect its Franco players, the Canadiens solved the problem themselves.

Beliveau’s single year of fighting “to get space on the ice” drifts through my hazy brain-filmic recollections. The gentle giant racked up over a hundred out-of-character penalty minutes as he fought all comers for a full season.

He was able to rest his knuckles for the remainder of his career. Ferguson’s arrival certainly helped.

Montréal goes to power.

They, too, are unable to engineer fear.

A late wide shot closes the sequence and I ponder the relative quiet of this alien rink.

We’re in Raleigh Carolina. The beastly red home jerseys are in direct contrast to the wearers’ lack of pride and lack of emotion.

This strange team. The problems seem atmospheric. And, like many problem teams in hockey history, this one can be symbolized in their choice of captain.

Surly, combative, immature, limited in talent but large of frame, emboldened by his accolades and surely full of the wrong kind of testosterone, Eric Staal is nearly everything a captain shouldn’t be.

I like his frame. And, when he isn’t frustrated, his effort. He makes up for poor stick-handling and skating by going to the net and fighting for every inch.

That’s it.

Twelve in the first.

Cole turns the boards and lightly skips a puck to Pacioretty. Centred. Hard to tell. And a whistle.

More silence. What kind of rink is this.

The Hurricanes will be missing the playoffs. New head coach, our very own Kirk Muller, hasn’t been able to turn it around. Yet. He may never.

Staal is on the two-minute log.

First sequence ends in a Patrick Dwyer fire-down.

Another missed puck in the deep right corner and another fire-down. Leblanc appeared to turn away from contact.

After my diatribe, I find it somewhat understandable.

Carolina isn’t the fierce outfit it once was when Weight and company were here. But they still wield sticks like ancient lacrosse players.

Or so we are told about ancient lacrosse.

That, too, is subject to debate.

Ten oh eight.

Skinner breaks up a break-out and now turtles forward against the current, puck in his sights. It takes three Habs to slow and dissuade the talented forward.

Geoffrion upends a man and is called as the penalty ends.

Jamie McBain fell over Geoffrion in the team’s left corner, chasing the puck.

Budaj traps a long Spacek pass gone pinball. Spacek wears number eight and the culture has quickly infected him, his demeanour understandably more fierce. Spacek is going to want revenge in this game, as well.

He was alienated in at least one way on departing, being made to wait for an hour after being informed of his trade by former general manager Pierre Gauthier (fired last week after a mixed two-year tenure). Gauthier didn’t tell him where he was headed, a faux pas and not well-received by fans, media or other players.

A replay of a point shot sees Jussi Jokinen deflect the puck from the low slot into Budaj’s pads.

Something Dave Feschuk said today occurs. “You can’t tell the whole story at once.” It’s true but I’d never heard it phrased this way.

The first period is often a bucket mess of Lego that needs to be poured out. It’s all important. Each piece is number one.

Everything must be shared.

Themes. Storylines. Accessibility. Consumption speed.

Yeah, it’s nothing new. And this site’s belligerent format(s) continue to make sense.

I ignore my inner editor.

Finally some action from the visiting team.

And the Canes take exception. I watch Geoffrion paw at his adversary while retreating. Blunden is in thereto help.

Commercials and their accompanying music. Theme music. Cars need a beat. Death and its pleasant fifties time-signatures.

I suppose the tyrants have it right. They’re not going to be around when the smog billows down. The supreme atheists, the crime stylists are con bosses gone brawn.

We can understand the small-brained dinosaurs’ demise. What about these organisms? Too many pleasure receptors, one might guess.

High stick. Pitkanen.

Blade to the face. Pitkanen feigned ignorance. As if you can’t feel flesh at the stick’s end. And the sudden stop in motion.

Was it retaliatory? The moments preceding aren’t easily reversed.

Superman whizzing around at super-speed. And Sept-Iles’ Margot Kidder survives, time-travel the solution.

She played Lois Lane in the Superman movie of 1978.

You wonder. And I wonder. Where do the boys go? Where are the racists hiding?

Some are in the comments section of the Winnipeg Sun. Putrid.

Others continue to fund all nature of niaiserie (I originally had “niezerie” … reminiscent of Nazi. Somewhat appropriate. When I was a kid reading Captain America comics (among others) I thought it was pronounced Na-Zai. I was surprised (and etymographically offended) to learn its actual enunciation.


Or was I orthoepically offended?

Muller stands shoulders broad, chest out like a red-jacketed Aquaman and observes his troops and his rink.

What I sometimes forget is that not everyone is as equally fascinated with the truth.

Period ends. His jacket is actually dark.

Shots on goal favoured Montreal 11-6.

My informal game of guessing shot totals prior to their announcement continues. In losing fashion. I’m never close. And usually wrong about the most basic elements. Like who led.

It felt like 15-3, Carolina. Felt like. That’s the difference between an old-school charioteer GM and a new-school cap wizard and business-minded ivy league hockey-GUI grad.

One feels. One thinks.

First Intermission
Montreal 0, Carolina 0

I listen to Guy Carbonneau discuss the pros and cons of the current system and wonder if he now thinks in English more than he does in French. It’s just a thought. Maybe I’ll ask him.

Something in his recollection pause.

French is his first language but after years of working in English (the language of the workplace in the NHL is English), he may have morphed. It’s not uncommon. My father and many other immigrant folks come to mind.

A dopey voice from my internal parliament totters forward, suggesting my three French games a week with no other English television.

I smile. But then I think about it. This eighty-two game a year experiment is winding up its seventh season and I’ve noticed moments when I’ve begun thoughts in French. Growing up in Sept-Iles, I spoke in all three languages (French, English and my parents’ language) with little thought to separation. The kids in the neighbourhood rolled with it.

I wonder.

And I wonder again. The brain is a great loan for us pleasure-seeking, villainous organisms. We don’t deserve them.

Second Period
Carolina 0, Montreal 0

Penalty. Against Carolina.


Back to fives.

Blunden shots from the left hash. Rebound. Geoffrion. Inspired. Inspirational.

Takes it and rounds the net, curves on a tree-break ankle … and scores.

It’s all net. It’s all echo.

It’s all right.

Montreal 1, Carolina 0

To Hades with Spacek’s notions of revenge. To bed with Kirk Muller’s aspirations.

And to the neck for all hockey Lugosis.

Staal rounds the net and misses a wrap-around of his own.

Marc and Pierre review the East standings. Caps are tied for the precarious eighth spot.

If you want to talk Montreal tradition, you can say that that spot is traditionally ours.

You could get a verbal snow-wash, though.

What depths we plumb.

Eighth. <insert gravelly snort>

The team’s twenty-four Stanley Cups glitter in the thick media guide section of my rather sports-heavy internal hard-drive.


It’s not much of a hard drive. I’m no Cornelius.

Dumont looks for Staubitz, parked at he net. The rare offensive stab is annulled. Puck doesn’t get there.

This is the so-called energy line. It’s the thug line, really.

Blunden, White and Staubitz are the Tim Bits. Tonight, White is replaced by Gabriel Dumont, another Tim Bit.

Think about it.

Then think about it one more time.

They’re low on options, high on fuel. And with a heavy payload.

Who says muting commercials works.

Heavy payload. As if I know what that means.

Fricking commercials. Combustion engine fumes.

Carolina ties the score.

Power-play. Larose sweeps out from the end-line, beating Gorges and the chuck-in is complete.

He raises a fist and then, taking a seat, receives congrats from Muller.

Under ten.

Desharnais line. Pacioretty signals a man at the cage and goes to the boards behind his net.

Pacioretty’s first trials are complete. He’s grown. And it shows.

He’s learning the work-a-night lesson so many before him have.

Some don’t ever learn.

How’s your buddy Higgins doing? What about D’Agostini?

I do wish them well. There’s nothing like using one’s ability to the full. Why bother with anything else?

I wonder what William Carlos Williams would think.

Ok, bp nichol, then.


Well, that Wordsworth guy can kiss my pen.

Attacking the dead. Very nice.

My inner hangman glares at me. Or at least I think he’s glaring at me. That hood is so dark.

And I only light the inner parliament with candles. It’s all rather complicated.

And needless.

Wait. Don’t open that.

Skinner is in with company. High shot. Just.

Houde says he’s so explosive. What speed.


He’s the best of the lot. The Canes.

The Canes.

Beyond sugar-cane, there’s better. The christian myth has a few interesting references, for example.


The amount of plagiarism in those books is epouvantable. Worthy of expulsion. Forget suspension.

Ok. Maybe one chance. But one chapter later; it’s done.

Habs can’t control. Another two-on-two.

I’m not accepting any of this. Montreal should have the puck about 75 percent of the time.

I shrug. Set em high or don’t set em at all.

As the Maverick might say; thanks for comin’ out.

Desharnais has the empty net. Puck on his stick a perfect opportunity. The shot. And Ward reaches with the stick and only the stick. The blocker deflects it.

Lucky. And good.

Ward laughs after the whistle.

Ward is magic against Montréal. Or has been.

It’s been a while.

Staal scores.

Wait. Budaj has it in his pads. He knew he was beaten.

He never knows anything.

He’s good at being liked. And that’s it.

Good for him.

Not good for us.

Be likeable in parliament or something. Go win over our buddy Stevie. Ebenezer him.

Don’t waste our time here.

This is beanzo journalism.


Dumont is followed by Reseau’s adroit lensmen.

Pierre says we’ll sort it out after the break.

For such a preeminent, luxurious, grandiloquent, world-saving product, cars sure require a lot of commercials.

Don’t they.

Repetition is my hallmark <insert tedium>.

Practice makes perfect <insert wink>

I need more funk albums.

Palushaj is called.

Canes are one of three.

Denis calls it the outcome of a brouhaha. Pierre rejoinds* with a rififi reference. Rififi!

I haven’t heard that in years.

I wait for the guffaws.

I have to settle for my own wormy chuckle here in this suburban dungeon ante-room. Carpeted and comfortable.

I’m no Bluebeard.




Plekanec is free. Three feet. Four. Eight. To the crease and the left toe up as he ski-brakes with the right boot and nearly sneaks it in under a spray of snow and a magic, battered right leg pad.

Penalty ends.

*Yeah, rejoinds isn’t a word … but it oughta be. Hey, irregardless is a word. So.

Desharnais reaches high with a glove and taps it down.

Canes cover. I sneer

Maybe all I need is an easy chair.

Why am I craving home-made burgers with dhanya and ketchup.

I haven’t eaten meat in quite some time. It’s gone beyond a streak.

I wonder which site will show which goalie started each game for the Flyers’ thirty-five game run. Or was it thirty-three? It was Pat Quinn behind the bench.

And Pete Peeters wowing us all.

But who was the other goalie?

I watch Skinner slam his stick onto the ice. Desharnais was haranguing him in the Montreal low slot.

Now Skinner is twelve-pinned over by the net. He was already off-balance.

He doesn’t rise like a rotted volcano. More like a red-faced reed.

The refs ignore his splutter and flubber.

Poor little guy.

Period ends. Cains led 13-8 and shots are tied 19-19, overall.

Second Intermission
Montreal 1, Carolina 1

What kind of hero wears orange? Orange.

Aquaman did. I’m sure his outfit’s much cooler now.

Uniform changes. The new Spider-Man. Third uniforms. Madonna and the corporate magic of re-invention. <insert living room belch>

For about ten years, there, everyone was obsessed with blacks and silvers. Whites, too. It was torturous. Luckily, most everyone forgot and moved on. It’ll happen again, though.



Guy and Benoit review some second period highlights. Someone is never tired, we’re told. Qui?

When is someone going to hire Guy? Someone should.

Of course, we’d never see him again. Until he retired.

On a les tapes, I suppose.

Les mpegs. Les avi(s). Why are my games thirty-six gigs at the highest quality? I’d like to know. I must be doing something wrong.

I know, I know. A Mac. I have two. But one’s keyboard isn’t quite right. The other is a Mini. Can it be converted. I find the keyboard response slower with Macs. I’m sure it’s my configuration.

I’m rambling.

This is a musing.

Rink Mason suggests a curve ball.

What. Like an editor?

Like a filter?

I may as well just work for a pro league again, then.

I pause.

No, thank-you. Not right now, thanks.

I like this.

You know.

I’m rather unprepared for the end of this season. I’m just starting to get into it.

This isn’t the ride I thought it would be. <the metal sarcophagus rattles up the joyride rails slowly … a mellow clown observes from below … organs are optional>

I need PVR, too. I’m not ready for the period to start again. What.


Insert almond tray. And olives. This one is figurative.

Third Period
Carolina 1, Montréal 1

Pierre discusses whether Staal might want to represent his country. Ask me what I think.

Early incursion. Two Canes bumble, the five are clumped and the gap opens. I watch Desharnais, hoping for shark-tank chomps.

But he can’t control the floopy thing and the Canes splash it out just at the blue. Pacioretty long-sticks it and isn’t beheaded for his vulnerable angle.

Canes play a cleaner brand.

Here’s an entry. I watch the post. And it hits the post.



It stayed out.

Harrison’s shot was a clean strike.

Even Price is human. There have been too many uncooked particles throughout 11-12. The coppers of enameling aren’t rich. We wait to see who will stoke the kilns next.

And coppers aren’t the only metal we like.

Faceoff deep right. Staal isn’t worthy of the jersey. Nor is your buddy in Ottawa. He oughta be in Stornoway. Or maybe just a comfy super-jail.

About three gone.

Sent long. Campoli has it and passes to Kaberle under the end line. Kaberle is playing out of sorts and low on confidence.

What’s he read. He doesn’t read to know.

How many contracts can one team buy out?

Gomez is seven million. Kaberle is four. Does the team retain Gionta? Probably. But he’s five.

Can Plekanec be traded? You betcha. People trade for quality, if they can.

But with no large centre forthcoming, the team may be forced to go with three small ones. They have two right now; Plekanec and Desharnais. Gomez is the other but it’s unlikely he’ll make it through the summer.

It’s time.

He’ll be better and better off elsewhere. He did try.

Give him that much.

I watch Kaberle chase with little verve. His lack of anything valuable really stands out tonight. The team is much better than it was five weeks ago and his lassitude is much more evident as a result.

Too bad for him. And too bad for us. The season must be closed with flavour and power.

I was thinking a royal, marble vanilla. With swirls of silver savoury.

Why not.

It carries into the offseason. Well, at least for a few days, no?

Just win. Just work. Just care.


Subban responds. Wipes out a man like an elephant ragdolls an evil mahout. Whuppa-whup-a-whupp-whupp. He’s down. Rolled. And what. Called? Called? For what.

Agh. Subban added an effect.

Legit whistle.

Threw him down to finish. So, holding.

Faceoff to Budaj’s right.

Why not start Mayer? Let’s see what he can do. We know what Budaj can’t do. So. Let’s get more info.

Ninety seconds in the Carolina advantage.

Habs are looking like themselves. Challenging. Swiping. Meeting. Interrupting.

The best penalty kill in the league.

Now an open net. Budaj is slow. Campoli isn’t. What a save.

Campoli has found new life since “the altercation”. He was yelling back at coach Cunneyworth during a game. They cleared it up and he’s played better and better ever since.

Houde says that Campoli has had some rough moments in recent games, however.

Fair enough.

I was, uh, talking macro.

Accidental. Penalty. “but tonight, the refs are seeing everything,” says Houde.

I begin chuckling like a man on death row. Someone has to laugh at Pierre’s little asides.

Why not me.

Stonkroom Homme.

Padding and paper meals.

C’est moi.

Plekanec. Leading. Waiting. Deliberate, the stick pointing down, keeping it away with the confidence of a champion ringette centre. And the perfect line across. Blunden can’t finish.

Plekanec is back. Yes, I’ve said it before. But we’ve needed this. He’s needed this.

Yes, it’s all too late.

But so what.

It all matters.

It’s all connected. And nous sommes tous pour ces jours-la … Canadiens.

Penalty rhymes out on the boards. More good work from Bourque.

Two on two, Carolina. Brent. Budaj shoulders-up, the blip-blip rabbit. And the puck is off his upper chest.

As opposed to his, um, lower chest.

Whatever. You try thinking this fast.

A slithering, near-bourbon giggle escapes me. I’ve never tried writing these with a drink in hand. I think maybe once. But it’s no good. Writing and alcohol don’t go together.

Now, writing and coffee …

Under seven.

Sabres are tied at one with Philly.

Out of town updates. Big music. Inanely similar music. It’s playoff time. And we’re not invited.

We blew out all four tires and had all the wrong guys locked in the trunk.

And the usual egg-throwers and taken cops, besides.

Pull over there, Gaston.


Watching the puck is now way to watch this game. I try to watch like a younger fella. NO wonder I couldn’t tell what was happening.

Markov. Through the trees. Weaving. Right in. Misses. Lots of traffic but his steering was like a guide through marsh.

Are there gators in Carolina? Ok, what about lions.

Under four.

Skinner from the muzzle.

Eller with Geoffrion. Blunden in the slot. He can’t trap a simple pass from under the end-line.

Why couldn’t we have kept Kostopoulos?

Darche is absent. Moen, too.

This league.

I’m like a Christian. Living in a microcosm. Going from one Christian-friendly environ to another. Christian movie night. Christian day camp. Christian study hour. Church!

Me? Only Montreal games. Montreal channels. Montreal conversations. Montreal books. Cathedrale!

Aaah. Microcosms. <pour self-satisfied beverage>

Montreal’s power-play gets a fifth chance. Zero of five tonight.

Markov loses a puck. Markov reaches. The stick is caught.

Staal is struggling. And he’s flopped on the ice, Budaj with the puck.

Staal wants a penalty-shot.

Staal always asks. His sense of entitlement is typical of his ilk.

Will he change? Who cares.

He looks like a skinny Gordie Howe. I’ve long thought that. It’s something in the expression and demeanour. The way he looks out from under his brow.

I’ll take Howe. You can have all eight Staals. Or however many there are.

Markov seats himself.

Now Larose is called.

Le porte s’ouvre, says Denis. I chortle. That’s Pierre’s material.

Four on three.

One oh seven.

Kaberle carries from around his net.

What happened to Tomas Kaberle? He was so good once. Vital. It mattered. He mattered.

Disconnected from Toronto, where he was once their best player, he’s been drifting ever since

Montreal controls. Around the boards. Staal gets to one and clears it.

One oh one.

Spacek. Another likeable guy.



Gorges hits one off the pads.

I never said I’d be consistent.

My inner hangman shambles closer.


Desharnais is taken down.

Canes time-out.

Is Randy Cunneyworth really head coaching material? I wonder.

Gaston Therrien says no. Others have said yes. After all these years listening to Gaston’s wisdom, I’ll take a sentence off and go with Gaston.

Off the draw, Plekanec. The shot. And Ward. It’s five on three.

Larose is free. Here it all ends.

I watch Budaj. I watch Larose.

The backhand. The poke. The save.

Budaj read it and jammed the pad easily across. Good save.

And the period ends.

Carolina led on shots 10-8. And the home team led 29-27, overall.

Montreal 1, Carolina 1

Montreal is 2-4 in four on four overtime. Carolina earns a factual gasp from Pierre for their 3-10 mark.

Four on four. More space. More offence and more …… wait. Four on three for ninety seconds.

Montreal establishes, fifteen seconds wasted.

Just score.

Desharnais to Pacioretty, parked at the hash. The shot is wild and wobbly.

Markov on the blue, now.

They share on the left and one pass becomes too many and the puck escapes Markov.

Twenty-three as Kaberle loses one deep right.

Cole in on the right.

Seven seconds.

Cole. Across. Tries a shot. Felled. Puck goes awry.

Bourque on the offwing. Mild wrister. Into pads. Rebound. Equally mild outcome.

Penalty has ended.

The crowd is at last palpable, their interest peaking.

Two minutes.

Action slows. But the spaces are sudden and one man can cost his team the game.

As always but worse.

Ward plays one behind his net. Two passes. Turnover.

Spacek blows it at his left circle. Cole is near. No.

Cole grocery-bags Harrison into the glass.

End to end.

Two on one. Pacioretty. Looking for Desharnais.

Can’t send it.


Montréal ice.

St. Denis. Lots of ice time lately. Long pass. Bourque on the right side, hash-deep. Markov. Left point shot. Save.

Ward. The great Cam Ward. Where is he against the rest of the NHL.

Period ends.

Montreal 1, Carolina 1

Shootout numbers are shown. Both Budaj and Ward are poor.

Budaj ranks around thirtieth in the league. Hey. Maybe he’s the best of the backups in this element. How very nice.

Eller starts. Carolina chooses.

Eller is to the crease and fakes losing control. Can’t move Ward.


S shapes. And then the fake and quick shot. Bhoof.



Advances. Fake. One hole. No.

Ward got the pad across.

Just no room. Ward has been good.


Jokinen turns and swoops from the right point. Across and then the leave-reacher. And it just misses. One long arm. One long stick. And a tap that fails.


Hands. Quick. Ting. Oh, the ting. He knows Cam Ward. And ward was beaten.


His awkward fake works. Budaj must go.

Over his glove.

Too easy.

Too loud.

Too red.

Final Score
Carolina 2
Montreal 1 (SO)

How embarrassing.

HDS Stars: Tomas Plekanec, Cam Ward, Eric Staal
RDS Stars: Eric Staal, Peter Budaj, Cam Ward

How many ******* games are we supposed to lose.

And **** taboo words.

Who’s Yakupov. No clowns.

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