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.

Jacques Plante Classic Red Jersey Hockey Figure – Montreal Canadiens

My all time favorite NHL goalie is not Patrick Roy….it is the one and only….Jacques Plante.

Did you KNOW:  Plante was one of the first goaltenders to skate behind the net to stop the puck. He also was one of the first to raise his arm on an icing call to let his defencemen know what was happening. He perfected a stand-up, positional style, cutting down the angles; he became one of the first goaltenders to write a how-to book about the position. He was a pioneer of stickhandling the puck; before that time, goaltenders passively stood in the net and simply deflected pucks to defencemen or backchecking forwards.

Jacques Plante Mask

Plante was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978. His jersey, #1, was retired in 1995 by the Montreal Canadiens.  Finally McFarlane Toys has released Plante’s classic red, white and blue jersey in Series 28.   Just click the image below to buy it online.

Jacques Plante Hockey Figure

Fan throws banana peel at black NHL player

A fan threw a banana peel at black NHL hockey player Wayne Simmonds during a Philadelphia Flyers-Detroit Red Wings exhibition game in London, Ontario Thursday night, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman condemned the “obviously stupid and ignorant action” on Friday.

Simmonds, a right winger, was moving in on Red Wings goalie Jordan Pearce during a shootout when a fan in the upper deck threw a banana peel on the ice as an apparent racial taunt. Simmonds scored anyway but the Flyers lost 4-3.

P.K. Subban NHL Hockey Figure 2012

Lanny McDonald at NHL Heritage Classics Game in Calgary

In this file photo, Joe Mullen, Lanny Mcdonald, Joe Nieuwendyk

Lanny McDonald’s bushy moustache is his trademark, but so were such characteristics as speed, work ethic, and commitment. Those traits, not really counting his facial hair, helped make him a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Toronto Maple leafs made McDonald their first round selection (fourth overall) in 1973, following a brilliant junior career with the Medicine Hat Tigers. His high skill level and intensity enabled him to make the jump directly to the NHL and contribute in 1973-74 straight from junior hockey, an amazing accomplishment for anyone. For Lanny it was simply unreal – he had spent his entire youth dreaming of wearing the blue and white of the Toronto Maple Leafs and now he would get to fulfill that dream.

Evenually, he ended up playing for the Calgary Flames. and as co-captain of the 85-86 Flames team, McDonald led the them to the Stanley Cup finals against the Montreal Canadiens thanks to 11 goals and 18 points. After finally knocking off their rivals from the north – Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers – in a dramatic 7 game playoff series that many would argue was the greatest playoff series ever played, the Flames seemed to run out of gas against a Montreal team that they should have been able to beat.

The Flames would get another chance in 1989 when the Flames returned to the finals and again faced the Montreal Canadiens. By this time McDonald was definitely near the end of his career. For three seasons he became more of a third or fourth liner who was present for his leadership. It was a good year for McDonald nonetheless. He recorded his 500th goal, 500th assist and 1000th point all in the same season. Then in the playoffs the Flames would not be denied and finally captured the Stanley Cup championship. McDonald scored just one goal in that playoff year – in the decisive 6th game of the Finals!

McDonald, one of the classiest gentlemen to ever play in any sport, retired as a champion shortly following the Cup victory. He would be honored as the NHL’s Man of the Year and King Clancy Memorial trophy in the summer of 1989, and would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992 – his first year of eligibility. His number 9 has been retired by the Flames organization as well.

Lanny McDonald Toronto Maple Leafs FigureLanny McDonald Calgary Flames Figure

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.”

Molson Family finalizes deal for buying Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club
The pending sale of the Montreal Canadiens will soon put the hockey team in the hands of a partnership group led by the Molson family, after eight years of majority ownership by U.S. businessman George Gillett.

The partnership group that will be acquiring the team includes Bell, the Woodbridge Company Ltd., the QFL Solidarity Fund, as well as businessmen Luc Bertrand and Michael Andluaer, who owns the hockey team’s farm club. It will take control of the hockey team, the Bell Centre and the Gillett Entertainment Group, which handles concerts and other events at the hockey arena.

The Quebec government provided a $75-million loan so that the deal could go forth.

The deal remains subject to approval by the National Hockey League, and is expected to be officially completed within a few weeks.

The structure of the new ownership group was announced Thursday at the hockey team’s annual charity golf tournament.

Geoff Molson will act as chairman and chief executive officer of the new partnership group.

“As head of the partnership group, I look forward to working with the club’s existing management team as we embark in this exciting new challenge,” Molson said in a statement released Thursday.

According to a news release, two-thirds of the money involved in the deal was invested by Quebec-based partners.

The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, though CTV Montreal’s Daniele Hamamdjian said some reports have placed the value of the sale as being between $575 million and $600 million.

The pending deal was originally announced in June, when Gillett said he had reached an agreement to sell his majority share in the team.

On June 20, Gillett said he was pleased to sell the team back to the Molsons, who have had a hand in Canadiens history for decades.

“Our family has been very proud to be associated with the Montreal Canadiens over the past eight years and particularly to be a part of their Centennial Season,” Gillett said.

“I am fully confident that the Molson brothers, who have been a great part of the heritage of the club, will ensure the preservation and development of this great sports institution.”

Gillett bought 80.1 per cent of the team in 2001, as well as the Bell Centre, for the sum of $275 million.

The remaining 19.9 per cent of the team that is owned by Molson Coors, would be transferred to the control of the partnership group under the terms of the pending deal.

Gillett told reporters that the only thing he regrets about his eight-year stretch as Canadiens owner was that he could not bring back another Stanley Cup to Montreal.

The Canadiens last won the Stanley Cup in the 1992-1993 NHL season.

NHL Hockey Action Figure 2009 Wave 2 (Series 22)

We just got our shipment of McFarlane NHL Hockey Series 22 featuring former Habs Captain Saku Koivu and many others…..check it out.

Habs get Gomez from Rangers for Higgins

Scott Gomez

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired centre Scott Gomez, winger Tom Pyatt and defenceman Mike Busto from the New York Rangers in exchange for winger Chris Higgins and defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko from the Montreal Canadiens.

Gomez, 29, is coming off a down season for the Rangers, finishing with 58 points, his lowest total since 2002-2003.

A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the New Jersey Devils, Gomez was a blockbuster free agent signing for the Rangers last summer. Gomez is signed through 2013-2014, at a salary cap hit of more than $7.35-million, so he represents a significant investment.

In 706 career games, Gomez has 148 goals, 430 assists and 578 points, adding 81 points in 114 career playoff games.

Higgins, a 26-year-old restricted free agent winger, also struggled in 2008-2009, scoring a career-low 23 points in 57 games as he missed a combined 25 games with hand and groin injuries. Prior to last season, however, Higgins recorded three straight seasons of at least 20 goals and he’ll be a more economical option for the Rangers as he earned $1.7-million last season.

Buy McFarlane NHL Hockey Figures at cmdstore.com:
McFarlane NHL Hockey Figures