Fiddler's Facts: Bruins-Habs series is a dandy

Marcel Vander Wier
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Richards upset with New York fans; Maple Leafs keep Carlyle

Boston Bruins’ 1-0 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night was a terrific and fast hockey game, featuring lots of hitting and sensational goaltending at both ends.

The victory prevented the Habs from going up 3-1 in the series and evened the series 2-2. This series is a treat for hockey fans and is reminiscence of the great Montreal-Boston rivalries of the past. Game 5 goes tonight in Boston and it should be a dandy. 

On the much talked-about play in Game 3 of the series where P.K. Subban pushed the net off its mooring in the final 30 seconds, I asked former hockey referee extraordinaire Jamie Kennedy about the call. The loquacious and colourful Kennedy insists the call should have been a penalty shot. That should put an end to that discussion at the local watering holes. Jamie is the final authority on all such on-ice infractions.

In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, Rangers forward Brad Richards voiced his displeasure at the constant booing by the hometown fans every time Rick Nash touched the puck. They also booed Martin St. Louis, but not to the extent they gave it to Nash.

Richards emphasized the game is a team game and fans should have booed everyone and that is partially correct. It was a must-win game for the Blueshirts and they managed 15 shots at Marc-André Fleury, so no wonder the fans in Gotham were riled. Patrons pay big bucks for hockey tickets and have a right to boo, but some of their displeasure should have been directed at GM Glen Sather. Sather traded for the vastly overrated Nash, who makes nearly $8 million per season, two years ago.

Sather you will recall traded centre Brandon Dubinsky, forward Artem Anisimov, defenceman Tim Exiron and a first round draft pick to Columbus for Nash. Dubinsky and Anisimov were terrific in the playoffs for Columbus and right now no GM would trade centre Dubinsky straight up for Nash. The Rangers were shut out back to back in the playoffs for the first time since 1937. I wonder if analyst Doug MacLean and the other Toronto media still think Nash is a superstar. At his best, Nash is a good player, a great one he is not.

The Toronto Maple Leafs surprised a lot of hockey fans with Thursday’s announcement they are extending head coach Randy Carlyle’s contract for two more years. Most Leafs followers felt he would walk the plank into shark-infested waters, but that was not the case. Instead, the Leafs management and new puck genius Brendan Shanahan decided to blame assistant coaches for the Leafs brutal defensive play down the stretch.

A reasonable man, who keeps a close watch on such hockey matters, might draw the conclusion since Carlyle is staying, a number of players are headed out the door via trade. The Maple Leafs were the poorest team in the league defensively at the end of the year and it leads me to two observations: Carlyle is a terrible teacher or he’s in charge of a class of extremely slow learners.

Either way, heading into the 2014-15 season with the same collection of overpaid prima donnas tells me it will be another year of watching the Stanley Cup playoffs on the sidelines and cheering for the basketball Raptors next May.

Condolences

The local sports community lost one of its grand old gentleman with the passing last Sunday of Joey LeClair, who was a standout in Island baseball and hockey from just after the Second World War until the early 1960s.

Joey starred with the 1947 Navy team with guys like Mike Hennessey and Vern Blanchard in the Island league, which consisted of the Summerside Air Force, the Charlottetown Garrison Army team, St. Dunstan’s and PWC. He played baseball with Maritime Central Airways (MCA) Flyers in the old Island Baseball League and later became an expert fisherman.

His son David was a star in the minor ball ranks in the early 1960s. Our condolences to his wife Doris and all connected to this gentleman.

Local harness racing fans lost another of its supporters and owners from the past with the passing of jeweller John Williams this past week.

Williams, who also played baseball in the 1950s here, owned numerous horses including the top mare Chiefs Gal that Clarkie Smith raced both here and in Bangor, Me., and the trotter Love Lee Frost campaigned by Bob Craig.

My condolences to all connected to Johnny.

Island hockey

The Kensington Vipers recently represented P.E.I. at the Don Johnson Memorial Cup in Port Hawkesbury, N.S.

The Vipers lost the semifinal in overtime to Nova Scotia. Logan Garnhum was a standout in the tournament and capped off a great season by earning the best defenceman award in the Island junior B league.

Golf

The golf season has started for real lovers of the game, but I don’t play until the temperature hits above the 15 C range.

Here are a number of early events that may be of interest to sports fans because they are fundraisers for various teams and organizations.

The second annual UPEI basketball team’s golf tournament goes Tuesday, June 24, at Avondale. The cost is $500 per team, which includes a steak, various prizes and draws, power cart and 18 holes at the beautiful Vernon River course. For further information, contact Doug Newson of the Green and White club at 388-1376, UPEI coach Tim Kendrick at 566-0562, or Panther central at 566-0368.

The Paul Jelley Memorial goes Sunday, July 13, at Glen Afton, with teeoff at 1 p.m. All proceeds go to Kidsport P.E.I. More details later.

The Charlottetown Islanders baseball team’s golf tournament is slated for 1 p.m. at Avondale on Tuesday, July 22. Entry fee is $500 per four-person team, which includes 18 holes, golf cart and a steak afterwards. Contact Sean Corcoran at scorcoran@

gmail.com.

Allison Macdonald has done a great job building this young club in the New Brunswick senior league, so lets get out and support them. 

Harness racing

Live harness racing continues tonight at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park with first post at 6 p.m.

The $2,200 feature goes in Race 11 and it includes, from the rail out, Tempo Seelster, Van Zant, Cambest Kisser, Blue Star Outlaw, Every Day, Narragansett, No Best Bfor, Mach It Big and Miracle Matts.

The big boys of the U.S. invitational ranks go tonight at The Meadowlands in the $50,000 first leg of the TVG series. World champion Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) has drawn post position three while Bolt the Duer (Mark MacDonald) makes his debut in this class, which is loaded with the likes of Sweet Lou (Ron Pierce), Dovuto Hanover (Scott Zeron), Thinking Out Loud (John Campbell) and five others.

Two divisions of the $40,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial Invitational Trot will also be contested on the card. World champion Market Share makes his debut in one division while Modern Family headlines the other division.

At Woodbine tonight, P.E.I.-owned State Treasurer (Chris Christoforu) is the favourite in the $34,000 top class, but there’s tough competition with Lucan Hanover (Jonathan Drury), Dapper Dude (Randy Waples) and four others.

Also tonight in Toronto, the $59,000 Princess Final for three-year-old fillies goes in Race 7 where Rock N Roll Xample (James MacDonald) and Bahama Blue (Jody Jamieson) are the likely favourites.

Norman Hall’s Scarlet Chaser was a solid fourth in the $18,000 class last Monday at Woodbine in 1:51:2 and I thought he interfered with in the stretch. Casey Gavin’s Silverhill Shadow finished in 1:54:3 against a good class of three-year-olds.

Fred MacDonald’s column appears

in The Guardian each Saturday. He can

reached at fiddlersfacts@hotmail.com.

Organizations: Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins Pittsburgh Penguins New York Rangers Madison Square Garden Avondale Charlottetown Garrison Army Island Baseball League Don Johnson The Meadowlands

Geographic location: New York, Boston, Columbus Toronto Iceland Gotham Bangor, Me. Port Hawkesbury Nova Scotia Vernon River New Brunswick Charlottetown Driving Park U.S.

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