It was the moment all fans were waiting for, the return of the dear Montreal Canadiens.
Among the newcomers, Head Coach Jacques Martin decided to dress Mike Cammalleri, Scott Gomez, and Jaroslav Spacek. Among those who will possibly start the season in Hamilton, goalie Curtis Sanford was also in uniform to succeed starter Carey Price midway through the game.
One preseason game certainly does not decide an entire season, but there is no better way to start than on the right foot.
Gomez (1-0), Cammalleri (1-1) and Spacek (0-1) all had their names on the scoreboard. Promising right winger Matt D’Agostini (1-0) also finished the game on a high note with the third star, and team high six shots on goal.
Different sounds animate the crowd at the Bell Center. There is the Coldplay song, “Fix You” on which the players hit the ice. There is “Vertigo” by U2, which replaces Simple Plan's "Generation" as the team's goal song.
Of course there is also the goal horn: finally the sweet sound of a hit against the board which reflects the level of intensity on the ice.
Yesterday, Guillaume Latendresse proved that he intends to make the most of this new season. Midway through the first period, he hit Ville Koistinen along the board, which had 21,273 fans cheering “ooooh” at the Bell Center.
Latendresse, or Tender, has been much criticized in the past for a misuse of his abilities. Being a 6’2” 230 lb. right winger, he was expected to be a hit machine and impose himself as a physical player. However, it has been a painful admittance that the kid lacked some speed.
But a new season announces new chances, and who knows, this one might be Tender’s coming year. We could have called it a “comeback”, but it is not as if he ever really left— he was simply just never there.
Another player also decided to take every chance he had to step out of the crew. Not that he ever had any highlights in the past, on the contrary, he had plenty. Most of them were just for the wrong reasons.
Ryan O’Byrne’s start with the team has been a roller coaster of anecdotes that would have been funny if they weren’t about one of ours. From an animated rookie dinner to a goal in his own net, O’Byrne is the living proof that no matter how long you cover your face on the ice, it won’t hide you from the boos and woos of thousands of fans.
With his place on the team already in the hot seat, those mistakes had his confidence drop from small to almost nothing.
Now it seems, he is back for a fresh start. So it was in a brawl against Greg Campbell that he won the fans’ hearts back, declaring in the post game interview that “it felt nice to hear them support me”.
Questions, however, still arise regarding his destiny with the big club. After all, Mathieu Carle is among those we should not forget, as he is also waiting for his turn after two previous rookie camps that ended with injuries.
The Ottawa Senators, minus Alexei Kovalev, will visit our new edition of the Habs on Friday night. Brian Gionta, Travis Moen, Paul Mara and Hal Gill are expected to be in the lineup.
Kovalev will reportedly be playing his former team on Saturday, as the Canadiens end the back-to-back meeting with the Sens.