Pleky stays put
After seeing over a dozen teammates take a dip into the waters of unrestricted free agency in recent years only to see the current take them to different NHL cities, Plekanec kept his feet planted firmly on the shores of the only NHL home he’s ever known.
“I’ve always said it and I meant it. I wanted to stay in Montreal. I’m extremely happy and excited to be back here for six more years,” explained Plekanec via conference call from his native Kladno in the Czech Republic. “I couldn’t be happier and this is an exciting time for me.”
Not even the lure of being widely considered the second-most coveted free agent center of this summer’s crop behind Patrick Marleau of the Sharks was enough to tempt Plekanec to stray from the Canadiens.
“I don’t think there was any concern about whether or not a deal would get done,” revealed Plekanec. “To be honest, I wasn’t really thinking about July 1 that much. I was confident I would stay and I knew we would be talking. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t get this done.”
Now armed with a lucrative six-year deal, Plekanec has little intention of blinging up his lifestyle or changing what got him here in the first place.
“I will bring what I’ve always brought, I’m a two-way player. My job is to play a two-way game and help the team win,” described Plekanec. “I’ve always worked for all I’ve ever gotten and that’s what means the most to me. I’m proud of what I’ve done here for eight years. My best option was to stay in Montreal. My decision wasn’t about the money. It was based on this city and what playing here means to me.”
The last man standing on a team that has already waved goodbye to free agents from Michael Ryder, Sheldon Souray and Mark Streit to Alex Tanguay, Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev, Plekanec is looking forward to keeping his turtleneck the way he likes it: snug, blue and with a CH stitched proudly onto it.
“I love Montreal and getting to play in front of these fans every night,” beamed Plekanec. “It might sound cliché, but it’s a fact: playing in Montreal is special. Ask players around the league and even for opponents it’s special here. I love it here and this where I want be.”
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.
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