Mike Cammalleri Powers Montreal Canadiens Playoff Push
If you had any doubts about Bob Gainey's offseason re-workings of the Montreal Canadiens, then you may want to think about why.
If the additions of the likes of Hal Gill, Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Travis Moen, and Jaroslav Spacek haven't boosted the Canadiens to a Cinderella playoff run so far in the 2010 playoffs, then the after burner boost comes from 5'9" Mike Cammalleri.
Through 13 games in these playoffs, Cammalleri leads the Habs with 11 goals. He is the first Hab to score 11 or more goals since Vincent Damphousse did in 1993.
And we all remember what happened in 1993, right?
Criticized for only being a 39-goal scorer in Calgary last season due to playing with a superstar in Jarome Iginla, Cammalleri has shaken off the critics of his play and has blossomed into a beloved Canadien.
And why not?
Prior to Monday night's Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against Pittsburgh, Cammalleri was sitting on the Habs bench visualizing the game.
Visualizing his spot.
Visualizing the puck on his stick.
And then visualizing it in the back of the net.
Remember when Guy Lafleur used to mock the players that wore le bleu, blanc, et rogue? Well, Lafleur cannot mock Cammalleri's heart.
Because Cammalleri's heart is on his sleeve every night.
Not only was he the poster boy for the new Canadiens overhaul on The Hockey News cover last fall but he has taken the burden of the offensive attack of the Canadiens on his own shoulders.
And he has relished every moment of it.
After scoring his 10th and 11th of the playoffs, Cammalleri had to just remark of how great an atmosphere the Bell Centre is.
The greatest part of it is that Cammalleri's five year deal will have him around for another four years.
Or even more.
While many will give Jaroslav Halak the benefit of the doubt when it comes to who his the Canadiens playoff MVP so far, Cammalleri is not far behind.
Cammalleri, along with Gionta, Gill, Moen, and Gomez, as well as many other Canadiens, have given the Canadiens something they have lacked in the last decade and more: heart and determination.
And that's what makes Stanley Cup champions.
But most importantly: That's what makes Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup champions.
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