Showing posts with label Patrick Roy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patrick Roy. Show all posts

Monday, August 23, 2010

Late August

"If you are not going to play with heart, stay home. We don’t need you here.”

These are thye words that Andrei Markov supposedly uttered to Carey Price after a particularly shattering loss in late January this past season.

Today is August 23rd and as I settle back into the usual rhythm after trading backpacking for backlighting for a few days, I hear echoes of the quote again.

When I left, I was near certain that a return home would be coincident with a morning spent reading about Carey Price's new contract with the MOntreal Canadiens. After all, Carey is the only player of consequence left to be signed and Montreal is the NHL outfit that he will play with this season. But instead of a torrent of opinion and salary cap implications, there was vacuum. Instead, the only news of Canadiens goatending was of Cedrick Desjardins being traded. The only new of Carey Price was from recent rodeo activity.

To me this is troubling. Not only because this thought-to-be simple contract negotiation drags into one more week, but also because of the stories being rustled about our young cowherd.

January, you know is not that long ago. And January was never the first time that our starting goalie's workout habits were called into question. In a league where players now busy themselves with more training over the summer months than the winter ones, I find it somewhat disconcerting that the player Markov would have identified 7 months ago as among the most in need of a solid summer of training is now playing on horses.

Now, a stray story about a hometown rodeo appearance is not evidence for indictment. (And on the bright side it endorses his natural athleticism, as winning as a rookie in this event can't be easy).

A rodeo event that took up a couple of evenings isn't cutting into training. He could still be doing drills day and night for all we know. My own concern is that Carey might not yet quite grasp that he needs to improve and that in order to improve he must set about doing the hard work.

This is by no means meant to single Carey out. All athletes need to improve from their pre-pro levels if they want to find sustained success. Patrick Roy may have waltzed to a Conn Smythe in his first attempt, but it was the honing of his technique and his work at improving that allowed him to win the most games in NHL history. Hasek was a talented out-of-leaguer, but he had to practice and practice upon his North American arrival to become the stopper he was.

I find it unlikely that even as easy-going a character as Price could miss this. I'm sure he's aware that work needs to be put in. Then my question is: when? The summer of 2008 was fishing, rodeo and fun at home, last summer too. Is this summer another rest from a long season?

Every player at this level got here through a passion for winning and bacause they made an early habit of doing just that. The passion for winning is within all high-level athletes, I'm sure. There's no concern there. None at all. The heart, the passion that I'm worried about (and perhaps Markov too) is the passion to make this sport of hockey the all.

If hockey was the all, would a player risk injury in the off-season? Would a player eschew the top-tier training that could be found in his new hometown or other bigger centres?

My holiday readin included a book by Gare Joyce about the world of NHL scouting. It deals comprehensively with young players and their roads to the NHL. In it, there are stories of all kinds, including those of players whose hearts never doted on the sport they excelled at. Players who ended up in hockey with eyes for football, golf, other pursuits.

I'd never really considered that Carey Price wasn't a hockey player through and through. I've been hard on him getting starts he needs to earn rather than inherit. I've been worried that he gets bored during games and wants to be part of the whole game.

The stories of other juniors, the lingering contract talks, the pursuits he clearly so loves (and can't talk enough about) in the summer. I'm wodering now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Canadiens As Canadians

Olympic Hockey History

When Steve Yzerman chose to take Patrice Bergeron over Mike Cammalleri, the Canadiens missed a chance to send a player to the Olympics for Canada for the third straight time. There's not even a single former Habs player on the team either, though I'd layoff Ribeiro and Robidas too.

It hasn't always been this way. Thought the Canadiens representation on Team Canada over the years hasn't been vast, there have still been 21 players associated withe the organization to don the Maple Leaf under the Olympic rings. I've found some of them for you:

2010, 2006, 2002

Current Habs: None
One-time Habs: None
Future Habs: None


Current Habs: Mark Recchi, Shayne Corson
One-time Habs: Eric Desjardins, Patrick Roy
Future Habs: Trevor Linden

For Olympics 1994 and earlier, only amateur players were eligible, therefore current Habs were not eligible to compete.


Habs Prospects: Brian Savage
Future Habs: None


One-time Habs: (Patrick Lebeau*)
Habs Prospects: Patrick Lebeau*
Future Habs: Joe Juneau, (Jason Woolley – training camp only)

* Had played 2 games for the Canadiens in 1990-91, but was seen as a prospect.


Habs Prospects: None
Future Habs: Zarley Zalapski, Andy Moog


Habs Prospects: None
Future Habs: Russ Courtnall, Kirk Muller, JJ Daigneault


Habs Prospects: None
Future Habs: None

1976, 1972

Canadian Boycott


Habs Prospects: Fran Huck
Future Habs: None


Habs Prospects: None
Future Habs: None


Habs Prospects: Bobby Rousseau, (Harry Sinden – never signed pro)
Future Habs: Cliff Pennington

1956, 1952, 1948

Habs Prospects: None
Future Habs: None


Future Habs: James (Jim) Haggarty

1932, 1928

Future Habs: None


Future Habs: Duncan (Dunc) Munro, Bert McCaffrey

Canadiens Canada Hockey Medals

Gold: 2
Duncan (Dunc) Munro & Bert McCaffrey (1924)

Silver: 6
James (Jim) Haggarty (1936), Bobby Rousseau & Cliff Pennington (1960), Patrick Lebeau & Joe Juneau (1992); Brian Savage (1994)

Bronze: 1
Fran Huck (1968)

[Check out Eyes On The Prize for a good look at some artefacts from the Chamonix Winter Olympics – the inaugural winter games]

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Ten Types of Fans

Leafs And Habs Supporters

A couple of weeks ago, the peerless Down Goes Brown put together a brilliant psychoanalysis of the Leafs nation. Of course, you must read it for yourselves as his humour goes well beyond the group titles. In his analysis of the group he managed to reduce all Leafs fans into ten categories:

1. Mr. Mood Swing
2. The Self Loather
3. “Truculence” Guy
4. “Just One Cup” Guy
5. “Just One Cup” Guy who’s getting older
6. The Youngster
7. Bandwagon Jumper
8. The Fixer
9. The Delusional Idiot
10. The Realist

Reading the piece made me reflect on our own group in Habs fandom. At first glance, one could almost apply the identical groups to the Canadiens support. A closer look, and actually one can see they have to be different.

Take “Mr. Mood Swing”. Yes it’s a descriptor of Canadiens fans. But since I don’t know a Habs fan who doesn’t suffer from uncontrollable mood swings, I take this characteristic to be fundamental to the make-up of a Canadiens fan. Ditto, the Fixer, as we all (even those who sign "In Bob We Trust") ultimately know more than any given GM.

Go beyond those and you can see that others don’t apply at all – the “Just One Cup” group, for example would be mocked right out of the province by all those who continuously believe the next decade will bear much fruit.

So, as a service to all Habs fans, I’ve done my own dissection and applied it to the fans of Canada’s favourite team.

1. The Bandwagon Jumper
Foremost in the Canadiens community due to their sheer number. You know these people, they’re on your trains, and buses, they’re in your workplaces. Every time the Canadiens grab a first period lead, they help the number of fans swell by great swathes. A win is enough to double numbers in my experience and a streak pushes every Quebecer without a lingering obsession for the Avalanche to chant “Ole Ole Ole”. Studies have also shown this bandwagon can reach beyond provincial boundaries, and the evidence shows that a mere 0.500 record over 26 games is enough to loose the bandwagon across the whole country.

1. b) The Paddywagon Jumper
A sub-group of the Bandwagon Jumpers. These most famous of Canadiens fans bypass the bandwagon and wait by police vehicles (preferably paddywagons) until the ultimate last minute. They have no need for the highs and lows of actual game results, as it only delays their higher purpose. They keep themselves occupied in the regular season by practicing vandalism and arson during HNIC broadcasts.

2. The Dynasty fan
This is a special breed of fan that not only looks down on Leafs fans, Canucks fans and other fans, but also on Patrick Roy, Mats Naslund and anything else that came after the great schism in time that was the hiring of Irving Grundman. You won’t find many on the internet, though as they spend most of their days reading newspapers from the 1950s and/or current day Red Fisher columns.

3. The “Just A Few More Dynasties” fan
Unlike the Leafs, we don’t quite yet have anyone looking at the reality of the NHL, doing the math and coming up with the idea that for a team with all the complications (and poor management decisions) of the Canadiens that 1 Cup in a lifetime would be a decent return. Instead, fans look for a return to dynastic status and will be mostly satisfied if they get in another 2 or 3 decades worth of Stanley Cup finals from now till their end of days.

4. The 24 Cup Hugger
Every sign off, username and licence plate this guy owns has something to do with the number 24. Opposition fans cannot argue with “24” because once they make a point that requires a defence, he’ll hold his hand up and reel off “24 Cups” as the answer to the next 67 pleas. They would have done anything to remember any of the 24 Cups they vaunt daily, but have to do their best with the Canadiens greatest game box-set they have been watching nightly since its release.

5. The “Pur Laine” fan
Mostly restricted to a militant arm of RDS, this small group of fans doesn’t even like hockey. The Centre Molson is a place where they can gather with those in their clan, boo anthems and chant for their greats like Richard, Lafleur and Ribeiro.

6. The #1 Fan
Isn’t in elementary school anymore, yet inexplicably has Canadiens bed sheets, wallpaper and mouse pad. Spends so much time telling everyone he’s the #1 fan that he missed Alex Henry’s NHL career.

7. The “Real” Fan
These fans found that in the late 1990s one could turn up to a game 5 minutes before and buy a ticket from a scalper for less than face value. They want the return of these “good” old days where an emptying of the bandwagon means they can scavenge all the Molson Zone beer tickets.

8. The Goalie Worshipper
The Canadiens have indeed been blessed with a run of good goalies over the century. This is not a fact that has gone unnoticed by these fans. They even managed to beatify a goaltender. Everything that goes well turns on the axis of goaltending. Nothing that goes wrong can stick to the goalie. To these fans, defencemen are sub-human, only made necessary by the need to test the goalie with screen shots.

9. The Gentleman (The Lady)
The holdover from a bygone era. The gentleman (lady) still goes to all Canadiens games throughout the year dressed in their Sunday best. They know when to cheer for a goal and a save and know when to remove their hats. Watching a Canadiens game with one of these fans is a pleasure, because they have somehow maintained the love of the team without developing the snobbery of some of their contemporaries or the delusions of their successors.

10. The Almost Reasonable Fanatic

Loosely based on the “Realists” of Toronto. Thanks to 1971, 1986 and 1993, people in Montreal, however, can’t seem to take that final step to realism – they always hold onto a little of the fanaticism. Sure these fans will be telling the others to calm down after a 2-0 playoff series lead, but a big lead in the third game is usually enough for the feeling of destiny to wash over them.

Where do you fall? Maybe there's a category I've missed. There's only so much one can develop by dissecting his own psyche...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Koivu Can't Buy A Winger

Even TSN All-Time Habs Effort Begrudges Him A Scorer

It must be a great honour to make TSN's all-time Habs team. Kind of like making this year's all-star starting lineup.

You start to feel really proud of yourself and your career and then you look over and see Mike Komisarek beside you. It doesn't bear reason.

If you want to look at the piece (which is sure to generate more traffic for their website than had they done a serious attempt) click here. The pathetic reasoning for their choices is here. Their choices here are akin to responding Farhan Lalji when asked who the best hockey media person of all time would be – short on work, long on ignorance.

They threw all their effort into being able to write this (to hook people in):
"What, no Guy Lafleur?"

"Where's Patrick Roy?"

TSN staff watch too much Toronto hockey

Two top right wingers – impossible. 6 defencemen that can play with the puck – never been seen. A second goalie who can step in and win some games when the other gets injured – why bother?

Even their attempts to choose reliable, unspectacular players are silly. Top of that list is Mike Komisarek who can't hold a candle to Eric Desjardins, let alone Tom Johnson or Emile Bouchard. And adding the late John Ferguson would have been fine on the fourth line, but line 2. We know you liked his son, but come on – where's Aurel Joliat.

Koivu gets honoured then stiffed

It's a stretch to put Saku Koivu in as the number two centre of all time for the Habs, especially with Morenz and Lach not even scoring a place at all. But then to give him Ferguson on the left and Rousseau on the right is nothing more than a reminder of his last 8 years on the team – toiling with what he's given.

Had a Hab fan made the team (and kept Koivu), we would have at the very least endowed him with Toe Blake and Bernie Geoffrion, if not Lafleur and Joliat.

Third and fourth lines to shut down their better-thought out all time Leafs

Since when does an all-time team need 2 lines to kill time and penalties. Most decent GMs in the league now know that this strategy is for incompetents who haven't bothered to stock their minor league system for the past 9 drafts (hence, Toronto's initial instinct). I'm scrapping the "energy" line and putting in forwards that played with energy and skill (believe it or not, it's possible). Put Lemaire in there with Riseborough and Lambert for all I care, at least we'd be using some of the assets TSN left on the bench.

All purpose D for me

No disrespect to Mike Komisarek, but he isn't even one of the top three D on the team now. In fact, in domes at LIW he's still in 5th (even without injury, he's been far worse than the top three). I understand that the staff have to watch their own channel and thus only see what passes for hockey in Toronto. But one must cast an eye beyond blocked shots and hits – especially when those actions haven't been helping the team with defending the net by and large.

The Canadiens haven't been as well endowed with defencemen as forwards but I'd still put together this group and pick the pairings later:

Harvey, Robinson, Savard, Bouchard, Chelios and Johnson

If you want a better idea of the top team, have a look at this from a while back.

I rarely read TSN. It takes something really extraordinary for me to bother commenting on something those guys say. So I guess their mission is accomplished. I'll be watching this story with intent, but after that? Maybe a hiatus from their general shoddiness?

Even so, their tactics are interesting – I think I'll talk to Tobalev at getting Racine, Dirk, Traverse and Laflamme back in the figuring for our top 100...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Good One

I never give Leafs fans enough credit. They are funny dudes.

Apparently, the ceremony they thought we should have been watching last Saturday was in the ACC. So hurt by Patrick Roy's withdrawal from that Detroit game (and the manner if happened) he has decided Wendel to be more worthy – well more or less.

Habs fans can have a good chuckle.

After all:
If there was ever a guy who played hockey "the right way," it was Clark. It's probably the ultimate sports cliche, but Wendel left everything out on the ice, every single time he stepped on it.

He did leave everything on the ice most times – including more often than not, the points awarded for wins.

Clearly I am a bit harsh on our Leafs friend, but what can a Habs fan do when provoked so?

Not 30 seconds after posting, Down Goes Brown point me to this related piece of fantasy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Honouring Roy

Patrick's Triumphant Return

To mixed reviews and polarised sentiment, Patrick Roy's 33 will be raised to the rafters in the Bell Centre. And for the first time, the sweater that should have inaugurated the new building will be donned at ice level there.

In honour of the occasion, I have tracked down a few old articles, more poignant than anything I could come up with now, for you to peruse and enjoy. Because love him or hate him, we will all remember Patrick.

Sports Illustrated: October 13, 1986

"I don't want to be a one-year player. I want to have a long, successful career. And the way to do that is to not forget how you got successful in the first place. I once asked (35-year-old defenseman) Larry Robinson, 'How do you stay excited after all this time? How do you stay interested with all the games and all the travel?' And he said, 'Every game is something new, like the start to a career, so it never gets boring.' "

Sports Illustrated: June 21, 1993

"Always Sandstrom is in my crease, bothering me, hitting at me when I have the puck," Roy (pronounced WAH) said. "When I made the save on Robitaille, Sandstrom hit at me again. So I winked. I wanted to show him I'd be tough. That I was in control."

Roy's retirement: Michael Farber
"Roy was very important in the history of the Canadiens, especially with the premature retirement of Guy Lafleur. There was a small game between French-Canadian icons and the torch was passed to Roy. He was part of that continuity."

New York Times: December 10, 1995
"It's too bad sometimes when you lose a player like that," said Tremblay, who does not regret the decision not to pull Roy from the rout earlier. "The thing is, it is not the organization who asked for the divorce."

A game to make a lagend:

And a retrospective of Denis Brodeur's pics of Roy with the Habs.