Overtime!: January 2009
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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Canadiens-Kings: Montreal ends losing streak.

This afternoon at the Bell centre, the Montreal Canadiens hosted the Los Angeles Kings. It took a lot of effort and two goals during the last two minutes of play to allow the Canadiens to win this one.

The Kings took the lead during the second period. After the goal by M. Handzus during the first frame, Dustin Brown and Jarret Stoll made the score 3-2 in their favor. Stoll's goal came from a very ugly giveaway. (and a funny sprawl from Carey Price attempting to stop the puck)

The Los Angeles Kings were ahead by a goal after two periods and were looking fine as the clock was ticking down in this third period. But with just over two minutes to go, Christopher Higgins outskated and outworked a defense men to score the tying goal.

The game was due to go to overtime but with only 23 seconds to go to the third period, a loose puck created a battle in front of the net. In an attempt to cover the puck while laying down on it, goaltender Jonathan Quick pushed the puck into his own net. The goal was awarded to Saku Koivu.

The Canadiens really stole that game and two points from their opponents. It was great to finally see Christopher Higgins score a big goal for the club.

Tomas Plekanec during the first period and Andrei Kostitsyn during a man advantage also scored for Montreal.

Final score: Montreal Canadiens 4 - Los Angeles Kings 3.

Montreal plays another afternoon game tomorrow against the Eastern conference leaders, the Boston Bruins.

(Picture: The Montreal Canadiens, Getty Images.)

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Montreal Canadiens: Bob Gainey's dilemma.

The 2008-2009 NHL season is now in a crucial phase. For many teams who plans on being a part of the playoffs, it is now a race towards the finish line.

For teams like the Boston Bruins, the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings, staying healthy is the only condition to be competitive and to have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup. But for a team like the Montreal Canadiens, some help from their General Manager will be needed.

The Canadiens have lost their last three games, many players are currently underachieving and GM Bob Gainey knows too well that his actual team cannot compete and hope to win a seven-game series against the Boston Bruins, the Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils. Only a significant move from Bob Gainey can pick his team up to the opposition level.

Tomas Plekanec, Sergei Kostitsyn, Roman Hamrlik and Christopher Higgins are four players that should give more to the team. More than often, their contribution is timid.

So this is Bob Gainey's dilemma: Who can I get and who am I ready to give away in return? We all heard about the rumors that Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier could be on the market over the last few weeks. But how about his line mate Martin St-Louis? Could he be a solution for the Canadiens?

Other rumors suggests that defense men Jay Bouwmeester of the Florida Panthers is one of Gainey's options. Once again, what is the price tag for this solid defense men?

Gainey also has eight expiring contracts on his hands. Among those eight players we have Mike Komisarek, Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev. Who does Bob wishes to re-sign?

Bob Gainey has work on his hands. Like a game of chess, it is now his time to move a pawn. Canadiens' fans are holding their breath until the trade deadline.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 NHL All-Star game: The artist named player of the game.

The 2009 NHL All-Star game was presented yesterday at the Bell centre. After a spectacular skill contest presented saturday, the fans gathered in Montreal saw the Eastern conference beat the players of the Western conference in a shootout session.

Alex Kovalev of the Montreal Canadiens was named the player of the match after he scored two goals and added an assist. Kovalev also scored during the shootout session. The All-Star game was a great occasion for Kovalev to showcase his talent.

As for the final score, it is the impressive number of goals scored that stands out. A total of 22 goals were scored during the game: 11 by each of the two teams. I will not name each and every player that scored only because it will feel like everyone on both teams scored a goal.

The fans were delighted after the game and everyone will have a little something to remember of this wonderful weekend. The players are now returning to their respective teams and the regular season will resume in the next few days.

(Picture: Alex Kovalev, Getty Images.)

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Memorable evening at the Bell centre.

Yesterday's All-Star skill contest was a total success. The fans gathered at the Bell centre in Montreal saw NHL's finest go into a little competition.

The night was entertaining from start to finish. A pinch of humor was delivered by Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals when he decided to disguise himself during his penalty shots event. A refreshing breath that surprized and amused everyone.

Besides Ovechkin's sense of humor, a new record for the hardest slap shot was registered by last year's winner, Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins. His hardest shot was registered at a blazing 105.4 MPH.

Here is a resume of the different winners in the various events. Each winner's purse was donated to charity to an organism left to the choice of the players.

Fastest skater: Andrew Cogliano (Edmonton Oilers)
Trick shots: Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)
Youth match: Rookies 9 - 2nd year players 5
Accuracy shots: Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Hardest shot: Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins)
Penalty shots: Shane Doan (Phoenix Coyotes)

(Picture: Alexander Ovechkin, Canadian Press.)

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Weekend of stars in Montreal.

The activities surrounding the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal are on their way as we present the ever popular skill contest tonight.

The skill contest consist in a series of individual competitions between the best players of the National Hockey League. The player with the hardest shot, the more precise shot, the fastest skater, the relay, the penalty shots and a few other competitions are scheduled at the Bell centre tonight.

The NHL All-Star game skill contest is now almost as popular as the All-Star game itself among hockey fans. This is where you see the full potential of those great hockey players from around the globe.

Then tomorrow, the players from the NHL Eastern conference will play against the players of the Western conference. For the host team, four players are on the starting lineup. Alex Kovalev, Andrei Markov, Mike Komisarek and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens will be on the ice for the opening face-off. Alex Kovalev is the team captain of the Eastern conference.

Yesterday, Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning was abundly questionned about his possible move to the Montreal Canadiens. The rumor of his eventual trade to the Montreal Canadiens has been intensified a lot those last few weeks and the press tried to grill Lecavalier on this subject. Tampa's franchise player skillfully avoided the traps in front of the crowded members of the press.

Tonight's skill contest should be spectacular and every hockey fan should tune in tonight and tomorrow for the game itself.

(Picture: Vincent Lecavalier, Canadian Press.)

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fire away with new gear for 2009.

Paintball amateurs, check out the gear avaibable at paintball.com.

Everything you need to have a fun and safe match is available out there. I played a few matches myself in 2007 and now I know that the game of paintball also involves equipment. So many times I wished I has this little extra power or larger containers with me.

My glasses and body gear I used weren't mine and I could've felt better with my own ones too. If you like myself are starting to enjoy playing paintball on an occasionnal basis, then a visit at this specialized paintball site will be worth it. Every part is covered, quality stuff like the Tippmann A-5 sets are out there at competitive prices.

As for the site itself, I must say that everything is within a few clicks apart. Very quick and easy to browse and purchase.


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Too little, too late.

The Montreal Canadiens waited too long to start playing at an acceptable level and were defeated by the Atlanta Trashers.

Early on, the Canadiens needed a solid performance from goaltender Jaroslav Halak who was chosen to start the game for a ninth game in a row. The Canadiens were dominated by the 29th ranked team during the first frame.

Halak was beaten between the legs twice and was replaced by Carey Price after a third goal allowed to the Trashers during the second period.

First, Erik Christensen with a shot that Halak should've stopped, opened the score for Atlanta. Then Chris Thorburn doubled Atlanta's lead. Rich Peverly scored a third goal for Atlanta during the second period and forced Montreal's head coach Guy Carbonneau to pull Halak out of the game.

The Canadiens played better after the goalie change but it was too little, too late. Max Pacioretty scored the third goal of his NHL career on a man-advantage and Steven Begin reduced Atlanta's lead to a single goal with his sixth of the season. Begin's goal was a little controversial as he looked to have intentionally redirected the puck in the goal defended by Kari Lehtonen with one of his skates. But after a video review, the referee decided to allow the goal.

Zach Bogosian scored the insurance goal on Carey Price for the final score of 4-2.

Montreal plays the New Jersey Devils tonight.

(Picture: Rich Peverly, Canadian Press.)

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Steelers advances to Super Bowl XLIII.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were facing their division rivals tonight for the second spot in Super Bowl XLIII. Only seven points separated the Baltimore Ravens and the Steelers after two regular season games.

The first touchdown of the game was a spectacular piece from Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger who eluded the pressure from Baltimore's defense and sent a pass to Santonio Holmes who benefited of great blocking to run and dive over the pylon of the Ravens' end-zone for a 65-yard touchdown play.

After taking a 13-0 lead, the Steelers saw the Ravens slowly creep back into the game. Two rushing touchdowns from Willis McGahee brought the Ravens back in the game. Halfway into the fourth quarter, the Steelers' lead was reduced to 16-14.

This is where rookie QB Joe Flacco committed the fatal mistake of this AFC Championship game. In an attempt to hook up with a receiver, Flacco's pass was picked off by Troy Polamalu who ran into the Ravens' end-zone for the final score of the game.

Final score: Pittsburgh Steelers 23 - Baltimore Ravens 14.

So on this February 1st in Tampa Bay, Super Bowl XLIII will be disputed between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I expect a very disputed and interesting game.

(Picture: Santonio Holmes, Getty Images.)


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Cinderella goes to Super Bowl XLIII.

The Arizona Cardinals qualified to Super Bowl XLIII this afternoon with a 32-25 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Cardinals started the game with a flurry of touchdown passes. Kurt Warner hooked up with Larry Fitzgerald three times during the first half (a new NFC record) to carve themselves a comfortable 24-6 lead over the Eagles after the first half.

The Eagles covered the gap during the second half. Donovan McNabb and the Eagles even took the lead 25-24 in the fourth quarter. But the Cards took back the lead with a touchdown pass from Warner to Tim Hightower.

Despite allowing the Eagles to get back in the game, the Cardinals' ride did not change back into a pumpkin when the midnight bell struck. The young team from Arizona hung tight and is now qualified to the greatest show on earth: the Super Bowl.

(Picture: Larry Fitzgerald, Getty Images.)


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Championship sunday.

Today, the NFC and AFC championship games will be played in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Baltimore Ravens while the Arizona Cardinals will host the Philadelphia Eagles.

First in Arizona, the Philadelphia Eagles will try to get rid of the Cinderella team of those playoffs, the Arizona Cardinals and their revived quarterback Kurt Warner. Philadelphia's QB, Donovan McNabb is looking at his second Super Bowl appearance.

I think that this game will be based on offense as both these teams have recently produced a lot of offense. The Cardinals have nothing to lose and will go into this game with the feeling that they have a legitimate shot at their very first Super Bowl appearance.

For the second game of the day, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens will clash as both of these organizations are known for their tough defensive corp. Ray Lewis and the Ravens will try to stop the Steelers offense while rookie QB Joe Flacco will have to face the ''Steel curtain''. Flacco is the very first rookie quarterback to win two playoff games in a row.

This game could also become a field goal competition. The game could also be out of reach quickly should one of these two teams take a ten point lead early into the game.

So get the beer and nachos ready, this is Championship sunday!

(Picture: Donovan McNabb.)


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Friday, January 16, 2009

Ron Dennis will retire on March 1st.

The Director of the McLaren Formula One team, Ron Dennis, announced that he will leave his duties on Mach 1st 2009. Martin Whitmarsh who is with McLaren since 1989 will replace Dennis.

At 61 years old, Ron Dennis has led McLaren as their Director since 1981. During the last 27 years, Dennis helped many drivers like Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Mika Hakkinen, Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton reach the pinnacle of this sport.

Ron Dennis will continue to attend some of the Grand Prix because he became a hardcore fan of the sport. Dennis will also keep his shares (which sum up to 15%) with the company for the moment.

His retirement was scheduled for last year but the events surrounding last year's espionnage scandal and the $100 000 000 fine that the team absorbed in 2007 were good enough reasons for him to stay with the team at least one more year.

(Picture: Ron Dennis, Canadian Press.)


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Promises of better days.

We all have known someone in our surroundings who had or is currently having a problem with alcohol.

Some people cannot control themselves once the first drink has been served at a party while some others cannot go through a single day without drinking alcohol. And there are those, the worse of them, who are drinking and driving without any thoughts about other people's health. Those three examples are omnipresent in our society and we all know someone who could reach out for help and get rid of this bad habit.

This is where the Promises treatment centers comes in to help. With Promises, your alcohol rehabilitation program is in good hands. Located in Malibu and West Los Angeles, the Promises treatment centers offers top quality staff, experience and an exceptionnal site that will insure a successful result.

A simple visit of the website gives you a good idea of what the Promises treatment centers are about. At first glance from the pictures on the website, those centers offers a quiet and peaceful way of life and enough space to do a multitude of outdoor activities like tennis and jogging.

A 24/7 hotline is also available for any questions or emergency. Call 1-866-871-3149 to get support from the Promises treatment centers team. A new way of life is only a click away or a phone call away. This could be the best decision of someone's life.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

NHL Northeast division: Boston beats Montreal 3-1.

The Boston Bruins hosted the Montreal Canadiens for a meeting atop of the NHL Northeast division.

The Bruins with a ten points lead over the Canadiens before the game are screaming for revenge this season, especially for their 0-8 record at the hands of the Canadiens during the last regular season. And of course for their seven game elimination in the first round of last season's playoffs.

Andrei Kostitsyn opened the score during the second period and gave the lead to the visitors but the celebrations were short. Zdeno Chara scored his first goal of the evening and tied the game at 1 before scoring another one while playing five-on-three.

The turning point of the evening is in fact a five minute penalty for boarding to Sergei Kostitsyn. The Habs player deserved a penalty but certainly not a major penalty. During Kostitsyn's major, a second player went to the penalty box opening the door to Chara's second goal of the evening.

David Krejci completed the score for Boston.

Final score: Boston Bruins 3 - Montreal Canadiens 1.

(Picture: Zdeno Chara, Getty Images.)

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Canadiens-Capitals: Montreal scores last and wins.

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Washington Capitals tonight at the Bell centre. Both teams played yesterday but weren't short on the spectacle. An exciting high scoring affair was offered to the crowd.

Both teams exchanged goals at a fast rate during the third period and were tied at 4 when Sergei Kostitsyn scored the winning goal with about 20 seconds to go. The game's first star was Tomas Plekanec who scored two goals, one of them while playing short of a man.

It seems that Plekanec and the Canadiens' man advantage are out of their respective slump. The Habs scored during the advantage in their last three games.

The Canadiens scored a total of four goals during this exciting third period. With the victory, Montreal's head coach Guy Carbonneau will be the assistant coach of Boston Bruins' coach Claude Julien at the upcoming 2009 All-Star game.

(Picture: Tomas Plekanec, Canadian Press.)

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Maple Leafs-Canadiens: Montreal's man-advantage is clicking again.

The Montreal Canadiens hosted their old rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 993th time yesterday evening at the Bell centre.

Montreal's man-advantage is clicking since the last two games. Yesterday, Sergei Kostitsyn scored early into the game, opening the score while playing with an early man-advantage. His brother Andrei also scored during a Montreal man-advantage later in the game, good enough for a convincing victory.

The game was a bit harsh to follow into the second period as referees handed out 10 minutes penalties to four different players before a fight between Francis Bouillon and Brad May broke out.

Sergei Kostitsyn, Maxim Lapierre, Guillaume Latendresse, Alex Kovalev, Andrei Kostitsyn and Max Pacioretty scored on goaltender Vesa Toskala who faced 29 shots during the game.

Toronto replied to Montreal's scoring only twice as Tomas Kaberle and Matt Stajan beated goaltender Jaroslav Halak who started a third consecutive game in net for the Canadiens.

Final score: Montreal Canadiens 6 - Toronto Maple Leafs 2

(Picture: Alex Kovalev, Canadian Press.)

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Habs-Rangers: Robert Lang scores three.

The Montreal Canadiens were at Madison Square Gardens to face the New York Rangers tonight. Robert Lang registered his 13th, 14th and 15th goals of the season to help the Canadiens win by the score of 6-3.

With 30 points this far this season, Robert Lang is becoming a very important part of the team and is now becoming a great acquisition by GM Bob Gainey during the last off-season.

Despite the absence of Saku Koivu, Alex Tanguay, Carey Price and Chris Higgins in the lineup, the Canadiens are still winning games on a regular basis because of the depth of their roster. Young rookies and veterans are mixing it up in a good way right now.

With three games in hand on the Rangers, the Canadiens now are one point ahead of them in the standings. The advantage goes to Montreal at this point should both of these teams battle for the same playoff spot at the end of the season. Alex Kovalev, Guillaume Latendresse and Andrei Markov also scored for Montreal tonight.

(Picture: Robert Lang, Getty Images.)

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

World Junior Hockey Championships: Canada wins a 5th consecutive gold medal.

The 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships was completed yesterday in Ottawa, Canada with a 5-1 victory of the home team over Team Sweden. A fifth consecutive Gold medal at these championships for Canada.

The 2009 edition of the tournament sold 453 282 tickets for a new attendance record. Ottawa also has the single-game record with a crowd exceeding 20 000 fans. A first time in the history of these championships.

As for the Gold medal game itself, Team Canada did not give a chance to Team Sweden at all. The score remained even for 38 seconds in the first period as P.K. Subban pounced on a loose puck in front of the Swede net to put Canada ahead.

Angelo Esposito scored an important goal during the second period when his backhanded shot found the mark upstairs behind goaltender Jacob Markstrom who played good despite the loss. Esposito's goal was the game-winner.

Canada struck early in the third period as only 33 seconds were played when Cody Hodgson scored during a man-advantage to put Canada up by three. Jordan Eberle and Hodgson with his second goal of the game completed for Canada.

Only Joakim Andersson scored on Canadian goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

Gold medal game: Canada 5 - Sweden 1

Bronze medal game: Russia 5 - Slovakia 2

Gold Medal: Canada
Silver medal: Sweden
Bronze medal: Russia

(Picture: Team Canada Jr, Canadian Press.)

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

World Junior Hockey Championships: Canada and Sweden goes to the final.

Team Sweden defeated the cinderella team of the tournament, Team Slovakia, in the first semifinal of the day to qualify for the final.

Team Canada faced Team Russia tonight in the second semifinal and both teams gave a glorious show to hockey fans attending and watching on television. Both teams exchanged goals during the course of the game, as penalties costed quite a few goals in this one.

The game really got alive when Angelo Esposito scored while Canada was playing short of a player to give a 4-3 lead to Canada. Team Russia scored twice and took the lead with mere seconds over two minutes to play in the third period. Things looked grim for Canada who was suddenly down 5-4 with time winding down.

Aggressive forechecking gave Canada a few possessions in Russia's zone. Holding on the at blue line for a clear by the russian defense, Canada sent a shot towards the net. With only five seconds to go to the game, Jordan Eberle tied the game at 5-5 when a russian defense men tried to freeze the puck with his hands in front of his own net. The puck was deflected to the favor of the Canadian player and to the delight of the home crowd in attendance.

The winner of the contest was decided in a shootout session after a scoreless overtime period. Canada's first two attempts during the shootout session were successful while the Canadian goaltender blocked the first two Russian players.

Final score: Canada 6 - Russia 5 (shootout)

Team Canada will play Team Sweden Monday in the gold medal match while Team Russia will play out the cinderella Team Slovakia in the bronze medal match also on Monday.

(Picture: Canadian Press.)

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Habs loses opening game of 2009.

The Montreal Canadiens completed a four-game road trip with a game versus the New Jersey Devils. The Canadiens had won their first three games of the trip but looked a bit tired in this one resulting in a 4-1 loss.

Jaroslav Halak was in net for Montreal replacing an injured Carey Price. The young Slovak goaltender was not in the zone as he looked a bit weak on at least two goals. Marc Denis replaced Halak after the second period with the score at 3-1 for the Devils.

The only good news for Montreal came from rookie Max Pacioretty who scored his very first NHL goal during his first NHL game. A great wrist shot coming off the wing beated Scott Clemmensen who played very well in net for the Devils.

Once again, Montreal's man-advantage did not bail out the team. The slim production of the team working with the power play is really becoming a concern for head coach Guy Carbonneau.

(Picture: John Madden and the Devils bench. Canadian Press.)

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Team Canada qualified for the semis.

Yesterday, Team Canada completed their pool round at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships with a match versus Team USA. A 7-4 victory over the USA sent Canada directly into the semifinal round of the tournament.

Team Canada's indiscipline gave the early opportunity to Team USA who scored three times to take a 3-0 lead. Kevin Shattenkirk, Jimmy Hayes and Jim O'Brien scored on Canadian goaltender Dustin Tokarski who did well after the early American flurry.

But once again, John Tavares was at the origin of the Canadian comeback. Still into the first period, Tavares scored two goals in a span of 48 seconds to reduce USA's lead to a single goal. Then Jordan Eberle tied the game at 3 before the first period was over.

Team Canada took the lead during the second period when Zach Boychuk sent one past goaltender Thomas McCollum during a man advantage. Canada scored a total of four goals on seven attempts on the power play during the game.

John Tavares completed his hat trick in the empty net with only a few seconds to play.

Team USA will play Slovakia in a quarterfinal match.

Other scores:

Sweden 5 - Russia 0
Slovakia 3 - Finland 2
Czech Republic 10 - Kazakhstan 2

(Picture: Canadian Press.)

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