The countdown is on

Monday, 25.02.2008 / 1:58 PM / News
canadiens.com
MONTREAL – Tick-tock. With the NHL trade deadline almost upon us, there’s no shortage of anticipation across the league right now.

With his name in more rumors these days than Britney Spears, Michael Ryder can’t wait for 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday to arrive.

“I haven’t really followed what’s been said and written lately, but of course it’s tough when your name is being thrown around,” admitted Ryder. “I wouldn’t say I’m nervous, though. I’m more anxious than anything, anxious to find out either way at this point.

“I don’t expect tomorrow to be any different from any other day, unless my phone rings,” added Ryder. “We’re all professionals here and at the end of the day this is a business. I guess I’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Ryder’s difficult season has also taken its toll on good buddy Christopher Higgins.

“Even though Ryds has been hearing his name mentioned in trade rumors all year long, he’s handled it like a real pro and he hasn’t let it affect him,” said Higgins. “He’s one of the first guys I got close to when I made it to the NHL and he’s always been my roommate on the road. It sure won’t be the same around here if he was to leave, but he hasn’t gone anywhere yet.”

Josh Gorges is one player in the Habs’ dressing room who knows what switching teams this late in the season is like.

“It’s not easy, that’s for sure,” recalled Gorges, who was acquired from the Sharks last February in exchange for Craig Rivet. “You walk into a new dressing room and you don’t know anyone. The first couple of days were the toughest. But with this awesome group of guys, my transition was that much smoother. I expect that to be the same this year if we have a new teammate on the way.”

Until then, the speculation will continue, much to the delight of radio talk shows everywhere. Veteran Mathieu Dandenault has seen his share of trade deadlines come and go and he knows that in Montreal, Bob Gainey isn’t the only Canadiens GM in town.

“We’ve got 21,000 general managers sitting right here at the Bell Centre at all of our games,” smirked Dandenault. “We just have to do like the rest of the league and wait. Either way, we’ll have all the answers by tomorrow.”

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com