If you live in the great city of Montréal, and have followed the Canadiens for any length of time, then there’s no doubt you know the name Abe Hefter. If you don’t live in Montréal and are unfamiliar with Abe – then you don’t know what your missing.
I can’t say that I have been much of a radio guy for a long time now – but when I saw the Tweet from @hefteronthehabs inviting comments on the CJAD Radio Dagwoods post-game show, I jumped at the chance to be heard.
I haven’t missed a post-game show with Abe since. His knowledge of the sport, and spot-on commentary, has me believing in radio again. And the class with which he treats his call-in guests is second to none.
So I was thrilled when Mr. Hefter agreed to do an “over the internet” interview for BBBR.
Here’s how it went:
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to “sit on the other side of the table” for once. I’m not sure I qualify enough to be asking the questions, but I’m keen to hear your in-depth analysis on the Canadiens post season.
So, Game 1 is in the books, and by no means does it cement the outcome of this series. But based on what you witnessed last night – who were the stand out and sit down players on both sides of the ice?
“The obvious game stars last night included Brian Gionta, with two goals, Scott Gomez with two assists, and Carey Price, with the shutout. I thought Tomas Plekanec was dangerous all night long and skated miles out there. Ryan White established a physical presence early; and Brent Sopel did everything but catch pucks in his teeth, in blocking four shots. I also thought Lars Ellers brought his ‘A’ game to the rink.”
The Bruins obviously will be looking to make some changes for Game 2. What adjustments do you expect to see from the Bruins on Saturday to try and ensure a series split leaving Boston?
“I think the Bruins will try to establish a physical presence early in game two. None of the nastiness that we saw in the 8-6 game in Boston earlier in the season…but the kind of gritty play that we saw out of the Habs’ Ryan White in game one”
On the topic of nastiness, there’s been a lot of scrutiny on the play of Zdeno Chara after his regular season hit on Pacioretty. The league has referred to him as a clean player with no history. Does his late game play against Tomas Plekanec at the Bruins blue line show us a truer picture of his game?
“Zdeno Chara is no goon. I think the play on Plekanec at the end of the game was as a result of a frustrating night for both Chara and the Bruins. Chara was beaten at every turn of the puck last night. He looked old. He looked tired. And he took it out on Plekanec.”
Scott Gomez (who I referred to as ‘Scape Goatmez’ during the regular season) as you noted, had 2 assists, and was clearly a defining player in game one. Does this exonerate him from his regular season play? What else do you expect to see from him throughout the balance the of the playoffs?
“Scott Gomez seemed to work hard enough out there during the regular season, but he generated precious little offense. The problem with Gomez is the fact that — fairly, or unfairly — he will always be tied to his salary. Making $8 million a season doesn’t guarantee you an 80-point season. Gomez had a very good playoff last season. The Canadiens need him to have a very good playoff THIS season. Last night was a good start.”
One last one for you … the 7-0 shellacking the Bruins placed on the Habs seems to have been absolved. Based on the results of Game 1, can this team drive deep into the playoffs and make a serious run for the Stanley Cup? What will the keys for that success look like?
“Going into this series, I called the Canadiens in six. Why? Let me take you back to my original series prediction, which I posted on CJAD.COM prior to game one:
‘Carey Price will be the difference in this series. I don’t care how well Tim Thomas played this season, the Canadiens will beat him like a rented mule in this series. Here’s something else to chew on: all you Jacques Martin bashers will eat crow after Martin out-coaches Claude Julien. And if you’re looking for the next Claude Lemieux or Bobby Nystrom (my all-time favourite playoff hero), try this name on for size: Mathieu Darche.’
I believed that then…and I believe it now.”
I truly feel privileged to have you do this with me – Thanks Abe …. You’re a kind soul!
So there you have it. Concise and to the point. And if there’s one comment that stood out the most to me, and that I couldn’t agree with more – it’s the thought on Mathieu Darche!
Now we move on to Game 2 against the Boston Bruins and try to steal two before coming home.
After the game on Saturday, make sure you do yourself a favour, and tune into the Dagwoods Post-Game Show. You won’t regret it one bit. Who knows? You may even hear a mention of Bleed Bleu, Blanc, Rouge!
I leave you now, with this snippet of Abe Hefter in action …
*Abe Hefter is a long-time Sportscaster and Show Host on CJAD Radio in Montreal who can be heard talking Habs weekday mornings and after each game, on the post-game Show; on the air, and online. He’s been in the radio sports biz for 30 years and has covered hockey extensively. Everything from the Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid, to the Edmonton Oilers’ Stanley Cup dynasty teams of the 80s, and, of course, the Montreal Canadiens.
You can follow him on Twitter: @hefteronthehabs