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Call of the Wilde: Montreal Canadiens dominate the Ottawa Senators – Montreal

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With only one win in their last six games, the Montreal Canadiens are at a crossroads.

They have to find a way to put some positive momentum together, or the playoff spot that seemed a possibility only two weeks ago could soon become a bridge too far. The Habs are still holding onto the last wild card spot, but positive change has to come as soon as now.

The Ottawa Senators were the opposition at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.

READ MORE: Call of the Wilde — Montreal Canadiens beat New York Rangers

Wilde Horses

Jonathan Drouin and Max Domi have that certain something that you just can’t create — it’s either there or it’s not.

It’s chemistry. Last season, Max Pacioretty and Drouin tried so hard to find chemistry, they even skated in September at Lower Canada College in NDG to get to know each other. That chemistry never happened. This season, Drouin and Domi had chemistry right from the first moments, and they are gaining even more as time passes.

Both players may have breakout seasons in their careers. They’re at the right age to break out. The fourth season is usually the season where the player who has been searching finds it.

WATCH: Call of the Wilde — Breaking the losing streak?






Here are the numbers: Domi had three points against Ottawa for 30 on the season in 28 games. Domi is on pace for 88 this season. His previous best was his rookie campaign with 52 points. Drouin, who has counted three points for 25 in 28 games, is second on the team in scoring. Drouin is on pace for 73 points. His best season was 53.

It appears both of these players have not yet hit their hockey ceiling. Wouldn’t that be something if they could sustain this points pace? And if they do, wouldn’t that be a reason to praise Marc Bergevin for these two difficult and controversial trades?

The fans were polled on Twitter the night that Domi was acquired for Alex Galchenyuk and were 89 per cent in favour of Arizona winning the trade. Fans and media alike also panned the deal that saw Mickael Sergachev move to Tampa Bay. All in all, this chemistry that Drouin and Domi have with each other makes Bergevin look as good as he has for a long time.

Artturi Lehkonen certainly is a streaky player. He was stuck at two goals for most of the year. His 19-goal rookie season seemed like something that was Finnish mythology. It felt like he would get 19 more goals in 19 more seasons.

Suddenly, though, he scores three goals in a week, and his fifth of the season was a beauty. Jesperi Kotkaniemi broke hard to the net and slid the pass over to a hard-charging Lehkonen, who tapped it home — both of the Finns with a beautifully constructed goal.

It was a vital one, too, as it made it 4-1 after two periods and took the game out of reach for the Senators.

READ MORE: Call of the Wilde — Montreal Canadiens continue losing streak against Buffalo Sabres

No one is going to mention Carey Price in a romp of a game that has a final score so lopsided, but when this one was tied at a goal apiece, Price had to be strong to keep Montreal in the game. There were about 15 minutes that Montreal, looking slow and tired, was in trouble. Price had to make strong saves, with the best one in tight off of Brady Tkachuk. The Senators rookie shot from three feet. Price got a shoulder on it and then it went off the cross bar.

It was a key moment in the contest that Price shone.

READ MORE: Call of the Wilde — Montreal Canadiens come up short against San Jose Sharks

Jeff Petry had an extremely strong game for the Habs as he broke up play after play.

Petry is an enigma. One night he is amazing, another night he is lost. After watching him for many seasons, however, the key seems to be that he can’t play too many minutes. When Petry is tired mentally and physically, his level of play drops considerably. When he is alert and mentally strong, Petry is a strong defender.

But with the return of Shea Weber, there is every chance that Petry will play his best hockey the rest of this season. Petry’s minutes are down four per game since Weber’s return. The trickle-down effect of Weber returning makes everyone better, as they get fewer minutes and face easier opponents.

When the Habs get a first pair defender on the left side, the improvement will be even greater for those second and third pair defenders in the line-up.

READ MORE: Call of the Wilde — New Jersey Devils embarrass Montreal Canadiens

Though Brendan Gallagher didn’t find his way on to the scoresheet with his shift midway through the second period, it was that shift that changed the tenor of the game.

It was 1-1 and the Habs were doing very little, with the Senators taking over the pace of the game. Gallagher then had a shift where he kept the puck behind the net and would not be denied.

The Habs spent their first shift in Ottawa’s zone. They then rolled for three straight quick goals. In the third period, Gallagher did get on the board with a great shot into the top corner, making it 5-1. The Habs then got another strong performance from the assistant captain. He has this type of strong game so often that he barely gets noticed for it anymore; he’s a terrific player. You can see how much he loves the game.

READ MORE: Call of the Wilde — Montreal Canadiens lose to the Boston Bruins

Wilde Goats 

There really were no players that stood out for criticism in this contest. The club did struggle at times, especially early, but individually, there were no passengers. Each player worked hard for a result doing his part. Up and down the roster, there were no issues.

WATCH: Call of the Wilde — Mixed results 






Wilde Cards

The NHL will expand to 32 teams in the year 2021-22 by inviting the city of Seattle to the Pacific Division, with a team yet to be named. The Seattle ownership group will pay $650 million to join the league. This follows the $500 million that the city of Las Vegas paid to join only last season. That means Geoff Molson and his ownership group is one of 30 owners to share $1.15 billion. The Habs cut on that is over $38 million.

Seattle joining the league means that in 2021, the Phoenix Coyotes will move to the Central Division.

World Junior Championship nations are announcing their rosters for the Christmas/New Year’s event.

WATCH: Call of the Wilde — The Price is wrong






The Habs will be well represented in the event. For Canada, Nick Suzuki and Josh Brook will attempt to make the team. The American team will have Ryan Poehling on it, for sure, and likely also Cayden Primeau.

The Finnish team will likely have Jesse Ylonen on it, but not likely Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who it’s presumed will stay with the Habs.

Alex Romanov is likely to make the Russian team, while Jacob Olofsson should be a lock to play for Sweden. For Habs fans, the Vancouver event promises to be as exciting as any year in the history of the event.

On the injury front, Noah Juulsen practiced with the club Tuesday and he may be available for duty as early as this week. Juulsen suffered a facial fracture after being hit by a slap shot. With the return of Juulsen, the Habs will be healthy and stronger on the right side than they have been in at least two seasons.

Weber, Petry and Juulsen make an outstanding three on the right.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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Anglais

MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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Anglais

Birdhouse Wingerie & Bar is the Latest to Hatch in West Island’s Bubbling Restaurant Scene

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Wings are the thing at the latest restaurant to make its mark on Montreal’s West Island: Birdhouse Wingerie & Bar.

At the buzzy new Dollard-Des Ormeaux eatery, the bird limbs come aplenty, with a menu listing eleven “wet & messy” wings, including smoked apple habanero, sriracha lime, and cherry cola BBQ; and four — cacio e pepe, ketchups chip, Nashville hot, and the garlicky, lemon pepper “vampire slayer” — dry rub flavours. They come 10 for $18 or 20 for $34, plus the option of ranch, parmesan, or blue cheese dipping sauce.

Tacos, nachos, poutines (one made with bone marrow, another with tater tots), smashed burgers, salads, and a classic buttermilk fried chicken dinner are just sampling of the other dishes that round out the offering. On the drinks side, there are cocktails, sangrias, and spiked milkshakes in popular chocolate bar flavours: After Eight, Skor, Bounty, or Reeses.

Opened on July 5, Birdhouse is among a recent influx of restaurants to grace the island’s western end, including birria taco slinger Tacos Don Rigo and barbecue joint Smoke Box — a double whammy in the same Pierrefonds area strip mall. That comes in addition to plans for Fairview Pointe Claire’s incoming “District Gourmand” (slated to usher in Tommy Café), and, of course, a number of the area’s longer-standing stalwarts — from southern belle Bistro Nolah to old-school casse-croûte Smoked Meat Pete — that have helped bolster the West Island’s culinary credentials.

The brand-new Brunswick Boulevard restaurant is the brainchild of Montreal entrepreneur Lorne Schwartz, restaurateur George Massouras (of Madisons and Arahova Souvlaki), and among the other partners involved, Brahm Mauer, son of the founder of beloved buffalo hot wings expert Wings ‘n’ Things. Mauer has tried his hand at reviving the original Wings ‘n’ Things recipe — the restaurant originally opened in 1986 — over the years, including with a Royalmount Avenue location in 2012, then as a roaming summertime food truck and NDG pop-up. That same truck has now been made over with a Birdhouse-branded livery to be deployed for private events.

A likely draw to many, Birdhouse is reprising the “famous flavours, untouched” of the once-upon-a-time NDG staple, represented on its menu as “The Legendary WNT Buffalo” chicken wing.

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