What a load of bull poop, many have said of the rationalizations that followed last Tuesday's vertebra-fracturing/concussing check of Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty by Boston's Zdeno Chara. So how perfect that there really was a load of bovine manure being shovelled out of the Bell Centre Saturday night, a souvenir of the 50 animals that co-starred in the Professional Bull Riders Canadian Cup Series event. A stench to some, perhaps, but Chanel No. 5 to Carey Price, the Canadiens' resident cowboy. (You can't make this stuff up: one of PBR Canada's sponsors is Calgary's Drycleaning By Dave, which specializes in wedding gowns.) The Canadiens' charter home from their 3-0 shutout win in Pittsburgh Saturday touched down just minutes before the first beast was scheduled to snort, and summertime rodeo roper Price had hoped to make it back to the arena to see at least a few cowpokes bite the dust – in the bullring sense, of course. For the record, event winner Josh Ehlers of North Dakota took home $7,514 for his 16 seconds of work, enjoying stylish eight-second rides aboard G-Force and Hard Rock. Probably better than having his boxscore show he'd tackled a four-legged keg of dynamite named Fluffy Bunny. It was indeed a Wild West week for the Canadiens – victories over Boston and Pittsburgh bookending an almost predictable, emotion-drained loss to St. Louis, and the Pacioretty bomb whose fallout won't be dissipating any time soon. The Habs return to practice in Brossard Monday morning, preparing for Tuesday's contest against Washington. The Capitals are riding an eight-game win streak and are 9-1-0 in their last 10 after Sunday's fine overtime win over Chicago. Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier will be in Boca Raton, Fla., Monday through Wednesday, expected to take a lead role in discussions with his 29 NHL counterparts and league brass about the game's increasingly unsafe environment. Certain to come up during the meetings will be Canadiens owner Geoff Molson's boldly stated dissatisfaction with the NHL for not disciplining the Bruins' Chara for his crushing hit on Pacioretty. Back home, the Canadiens will continue to work toward achieving a top-four Eastern Conference ranking, which would provide home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. The Habs have gone to the playoffs 10 times in the 16 seasons since the NHL's 1993-94 realignment into Eastern and Western conferences. But only once have they had first-round home ice; that was in 2007-08, when they won the East before bowing out to the Flyers in the semifinal.
Habs' Carey Price making case for Vézina Trophy
Montreal Gazette | Mar 14