The notebook - October 13, 2010
The big reveal: Just hours before the opening puck drops at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night, Brian Gionta was able to call on some of his veteran experience to prepare himself accordingly. He may already have eight NHL home openers under his belt, but his ninth will mark the first time he’ll do so wearing the ‘C’.
“It’s special, but it’s pretty special no matter what in this building. You can have a down night and walk out of that tunnel and hear that crowd and it really gets you going,” described the 31-year-old winger. “It’s an exciting place to play and gets your adrenaline going but you still need to maintain your focus. It’s an exciting night for us to be at home for the first time this year. You need to enjoy the festivities but you have to make sure you maintain your focus.”
The best defense is a good offense: All-Stars like Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis may always be looking to celebrate their homecoming in Montreal by lighting the lamp, but Michael Cammalleri isn’t about to let Tampa’s Montrealers spoil the party on Wednesday night.
“When you’re playing an offensive, attacking style of team, if you try and play not to lose or sit back and play a passive style, you’re kind of like a sitting duck,” described the Habs’ sniper. “You’re better off playing a smart but aggressive style. When you play against offensive clubs, you can do your best to eliminate some of their chances, but the probability would say that they probably are going to get some scoring and you’re going to have to score goals to beat them. It’s a fine balance between how much you want to play passively and how aggressive you want to be.”
If the Bell Centre’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’: If Hal Gill learned anything in his year as a Hab, it’s that the only people more excited for a big game than the players are the fans. He expects nothing less in the team’s first game in front of the Montreal faithful on Wednesday night.
“We want to be good at home. We have the best fans in the league and we want to use them, and use them in a good way,” offered Gill. “We want to set the tone and set the pace right from the start. There’s too much at stake now in the league and it’s too tight to sit and take a day off. Every game is a huge game and this is no exception.”
“I don’t want to say that this one game is going to lead up into the 40 other games we’ll play at home this year. It’s another big game, but after tonight, it’s over and done with,” explained the 26-year-old blue-liner. “It’s always exciting to have that first one at home. The fans are always into it and the atmosphere is going to be electric tonight and those kinds of games are always fun to play in.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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