Canadiens bury Maple Leafs after Mats Sundin has jersey retired

Canadiens bury Maple Leafs after Mats Sundin has jersey retired

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Not only did Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens crash the party, they did their best to spoil it.

Carey Price FigurePrice turned aside all 32 shots he faced Saturday as the Habs hammered the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-0 on a night the team honoured long-time captain Mats Sundin.

It was the third straight loss for the Leafs, who remain in eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. Montreal has won four games in a row and now sits seven points back of the final playoff spot.

Erik Cole, Rene Bourque, Max Pacioretty, Lars Eller and Mathieu Darche scored goals for Montreal (23-24-9).

The Maple Leafs saw their record drop to 28-22-6 with their most embarrassing loss since getting beaten 7-0 by Boston on Nov. 5.

Mats Sundin figuresThere was more emotion than usual on a night that started with the Maple Leafs raising Sundin’s No. 13 banner to the rafters at Air Canada Centre. During a thoughtful speech, Mats Sundin urged fans to embrace their young team because of how difficult it can be to play hockey in Toronto.

Less than two hours later, the Leafs were being booed off the ice after 40 minutes.

Montreal seized control during a second period that saw it score four times on seven shots against James Reimer.  Cole started the barrage at 5:01 with a shot through the goalie’s legs, Bourque made it 2-0 less than two minutes later with a one-timer and Pacioretty squeaked a shot past Reimer at 15:54.

That goal came with Leafs forward Tim Connolly in the penalty box for slashing — making it the first time in 18 games the team had surrendered a goal while shorthanded.

For good measure, Eller made it 4-0 at 18:54 after skating right around Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and beating Reimer, prompting a loud series of boos from the sellout crowd.

Jonas Gustavsson FigureRon Wilson sent Jonas Gustavsson out for the third period, no doubt reviving the goaltending debate in the process. The Monster fared only marginally better than his counterpart, getting beaten by Darche on a breakaway just 1:29 into the period.

Price secured his fourth shutout of the season after seeing two Toronto shots hit the post in the final 20 minutes. He also stood tall during a late power play.

The Habs goaltender had to be sharp in the early stages of the game. He stopped a tricky Clarke MacArthur shot in the opening minutes and denied Phil Kessel on a partial breakaway shortly after.

Toronto goalie, James Reimer was also tested a couple times during a first period that saw the Leafs outshoot the visitorsJames Reimer Figure 14-8. He looked solid until Cole opened the scoring.

It was just one week ago the Leafs registered an impressive 5-0 victory in Ottawa and looked poised to make a climb up the standings. But after beating Edmonton on Monday, they dropped a game in Winnipeg on Tuesday and Philadelphia on Thursday and now face a tough three-game swing through western Canada.

Montreal dug a big hole early in the season but is doing its best to keep slim playoff hopes alive. The Habs return home to face Carolina and Boston next week and need to keep winning.

Notes: It was the 16th shutout of Price’s NHL career … The Leafs had US$7.5 million in salary in the press box with Colby Kobe Bryant FigureArmstrong and Mike Komisarek scratched. Both players are alternate captains for the team … Kessel and Mikhail Grabovski each wore an “A” in their absence … Travis Moen, Ryan White and Yannick Weber sat out for Montreal … Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was among the announced crowd of 19,685.

Bob Gainey at the 2011 Heritage Game in Calgary

Who is the best hockey player ever? If you ask the Russians, they will tell you it is…Bob Gainey. Gainey had a lot of tools. He could skate, stickhandle, pass and check. Marking the best players in the league, Gainey covered them like a blanket, emerging as one of the NHL’s top defensive forwards in his career. Unlike many of his peers, he rarely resorted to tactics that resulted in penalties. He was a very special player and person!  His jersey number (23) was retired by the Habs in 2008.  I found the following article very interesting….read on….

Article from The Canadian Press.

Bob Gainey Hockey playerBob Gainey has no regrets about his decision a year ago to step down as the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens.

Gainey, who spent 16 years as a player in Montreal before eventually serving as the team’s GM for seven seasons, commended Pierre Gauthier on his performance after taking over for Gainey.

“I think Pierre Gauthier’s insertion into that position last year in February had a real impact on the team,” Gainey said Saturday. “I understood when I left my job last February that you walk away and you leave the good parts behind and you leave the not-so-good parts behind.

“There was some crap that I left behind that Pierre had to clean up and there was some good things I left behind that he got to take care of. I can say easily Pierre took what was left to him and he’s done an excellent job with it.”

Gainey left as GM for personal reasons but remains with the club as a special advisor to Gauthier.

Gainey travelled with the team for Sunday’s Tim Hortons Heritage Classic outdoor game and coached the Canadiens’ alumni team Saturday night against their Flames counterparts.

Gainey said the time was right last February to take a less prominent role with the Canadiens.

“It was a big change,” he said. “My day-to-day responsibilities and my day-to-day habits changed.

“I had a lot more freedom and a lot more time, which I enjoyed.”

Similar to Craig Conroy’s new role as a special assistant to acting Calgary general manager Jay Feaster, Gainey does his best to keep tabs on Montreal’s farm team, the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.

“I see quite a few home games and I have stayed in touch and up-to-date with the team in Hamilton so that I can speak to Pierre with an idea of all the players in the organization,” said Gainey.

He approved of Gauthier’s decision to retain goalie Carey Price and trade last season’s playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues in the off-season. Montreal drafted Price fifth overall in 2007 during Gainey’s tenure as GM.

“(Price) had to earn his way past skeptics and some of his play from last year,” said Gainey. “I think he’s done a really fantastic job of just hunkering down and taking care of his work and really being a solid pro. Montreal’s lucky to have him.”

Montreal rookie defenceman P.K. Subban has been a polarizing player in the NHL because of his brashness, but Gainey doesn’t want Subban to change his style.

“I think he should have fun and he should play and some of those people should shut up and play against him — just keep their mouths shut and play,” Gainey said. “Anyone who’s met him knows that his personality is outgoing, overflowing and it hasn’t yet been tempered with full maturity.”

Gainey went so far as to compare Subban to a former Canadiens’ defenceman who went on to a long and successful NHL career.

“One player who came into our team at one point and had impact like that, a huge impact, was Chris Chelios,” he said. “I think Montreal’s lucky to have him, the NHL’s lucky to have him.

“He’s difficult to play against. He’s the kind of player on a team you play against that you have to be conscious of him and you know he can hurt you.”

Carey Price NHL Hockey Series 26 White Jersey Variant Chase Figure

Montreal’s next up and coming superstar who is expected to carry the Habs to the Cup is….Carey Price.  Check out the white jersey variant chase version (which is limited to 1,500 pieces):

Carey Price White Jersey FigureNow we also have the classic red jersey version below:

Carey Price Red Jersey FigureI know what you are thinking….hey, that pose looks very familiar!  Now check out the picture of Roberto Luongo below:

Roberto Luongo Canucks Jersey Action FigureWait, don’t leave yet….Now check this Team Canada Figure:

Roberto Loungo Team Canada FigureTwo different players….in four different uniform colors….but all in one identical pose.  What do you guys think?  Please post your comments.  What do you collectors think?  Does it bother you?  Are you cool with it?  I would like your feedback.

McFarlane NHL Hockey Series 26 Figures

So happy that I peed in my pants

I was just playing Call of Duty Black Ops with my buddy Thuan (see pic above) when I heard the good news that we will be getting our NHL Series 26 figures on Monday.  I was so happy that I almost peed in my pants (well….just a little bit came out).  I just have one thing to say before I talk about the new NHL hockey figures….Sailor Uranus Rules!  By the way, Thuan is a Big Sailor Moon fan (and he has this hair wig fetish which I am cool with).

You can place your orders for the new hockey series this weekend and we will ship out the orders on Monday.

McFarlane Toys NHL Sports Picks Series 26 hockey figures contain the following player assortment:

Ryan Kesler
Alexander Ovechkin
Zach Parise
Mike Fisher
Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Carey Price
Ryan Miller

NHL McFarlane Hockey Series 26 Figures

todd mcfarlane

Series 21 of McFarlane’s NHL Action figures!

The latest addition to the awesome line of NHL action figures from the folks at McFarlane Studios has now arrived at our online store.

Boasting the high levels of detail and the stunning likenesses of its predecessors, Series 21 includes

– Sidney Crosby 3

– Jason Spezza 2

– Mats Sundin 3

– Roberto Luongo 3

– Paul Stastny

– Carey Price

– Alex Tanguay

– Sheldon Souray

For collectors, we’ve also got a Carey Price variant with a white mask, found here.