Teeing off a 100th season

Tuesday, 02.09.2008 / 12:41 PM / News
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Teeing off a 100th season
Alex Tanguay got acquainted with his new teammates and the media at the Canadiens annual golf tournament.
MONTREAL – The golf season may mark the end of the hockey season, but it also signifies the start of a new Canadiens campaign, as the Habs held their 33rd annual golf tournament on Tuesday.

While it was a reunion for most players on hand, it was time to make a first impression for someone who needed no introduction: newcomer Alex Tanguay.

“There is more media here for this golf tournament than there was when I played in the Stanley Cup Finals,” said Tanguay of the media throng that engulfed him when he first arrived. “This is the type of attention I expected. After all, coming to play for the Canadiens is like playing for the Yankees.

“The pressure I'll be putting on myself will be far greater than the pressure that will come from the media,” he added. “This is already a really strong team and I’ve said all along that I’m not coming here as a savior. I’m just here to help the team win.”

Upon being acquired from the Flames by the Canadiens in June, Tanguay was contacted by a few Habs who were thrilled to welcome him back to his home province of Quebec.

“I spoke to Steve Begin, Francis Bouillon and a few other local guys and they had nothing but great things to say about playing for the Canadiens,” said Tanguay. “The job that Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau have done with this organization speaks for itself and I have a lot of respect for them. It means a lot to me to now be part of it.”

Now that he’s offically in Montreal, the question remains: who will Tanguay be playing with  come training camp?

“There’s so much talent on this roster that I’m not too worried about that,” admitted Tanguay, who has nonetheless begun to imagine what it would be like to play with one Hab in particular. “I mean sure, playing with Saku would be a great fit, but then again playing with him would be a great fit for anyone.”

Tanguay’s eventual linemate isn’t the only question left to be answered. The slick winger is also still without a number to sew on to his Canadiens jersey.

“I’m still not sure what I’ll have as a number,” explained Tanguay. “Like I’ve said all along, I’d like to wear the number 13, but it would be my great pleasure to give the No. 13 someone else.”

While like Mats Sundin in that he wasn’t in attendance, Georges Laraque was still a popular topic among his new teammates.

“Even without stepping foot in the gym this summer, all of us gained 20 pounds when Georges signed with us,” said Steve Begin with a smirk.

Equally pumped about Laraque’s arrival in Montreal was Mike Komisarek, who will be among those most affected by the heavyweight’s addition to the lineup.

“I met him in Colorado just before he signed and he’s a really likeable guy,” said the Habs' bruising defenseman. “He holds that heavyweight belt and he instills fear in his opponents across the NHL. I expect him to have another strong season.”

Speaking of another strong season, the Canadiens are now faced with following up their surprise success of a year ago.

“Our situation is much different than last season,” said GM Bob Gainey before hitting the links. “Last year we proved the critics wrong. This year it’s up to us to prove them right.”

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com