After spending the end of 2009-10 in Hamilton before exploding out of the gate in Steeltown to start the current campaign, Max Pacioretty seems to be feeling right at home in Montreal at the moment.
“I want to play in this league and I have since the start, but obviously everyone made the right decision for me in terms of my development,” admitted the 22-year-old, who was leading the AHL with 17 goals when he was called up to the big club on Sunday. “I think this season is showing we made the right decisions in terms of the process to help my development and it’s definitely a good feeling to know that.”
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“The coaches and the players in Hamilton have probably been the biggest factors in terms of my development this year,” explained Pacioretty. “The coaches there are really players’ coaches – they played for a long time in the league and they’ve been coaching for a long time and they know how to handle their players really well.
“I also know everyone in the room here and I’ve kept in touch with some of the guys throughout the year,” added the New Canaan, CT native, who added four hits against the Bruins. “And it was a lot easier stepping back in here knowing that I’ve played 85 games or so already in the league. That helped my confidence off the bat and made it easier.”
Experience has been paying off in more ways than one for Pacioretty. Not only have veteran linemates Gionta and Scott Gomez helped the young winger pile up points, they’ve also been giving him a helping hand away from the rink since Day 1.
“I can’t say enough about how much Gomer and Gio have helped me,” shared Pacioretty, who finished his night as the game’s first star. “They’re so vocal with me whether it’s on the ice, on the bench or in the room and that helps so much, especially in my first couple of games here. They stressed to me that when you’re waiting for that first goal of your season, you know it’s not going to be a pretty one.
“It was such a lucky bounce, but at the end of the day that’s what you need to do; just get pucks to the net,” he added. “Once I got that bounce, I started feeling more confident about what I can contribute and how I can help this team offensively. That’s how I felt for the rest of the game after I got that first one and I want to build on that.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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