Notebook - Jan. 10, 2011
From all sides: With the ups and downs that are bound to take place over the course of a grueling 82-game NHL season, it’s important to get motivation from wherever you can; whether it comes in the form of a pat on the back or a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking.
“I think I’ve picked up my game a bit since the beginning of the season. If I start slowing down, the coach and the assistant coaches kick my butt back into it and get me going again. We’re the kind of team that tries to push each other all the time and bring our game to the next level,” explained Jaroslav Spacek. “We have to keep bringing more emotion and more heart to the ice with every game. It was a good point for us when we got the win over Florida but now it’s our job to prove that we can be better than the top teams too.”
Back in the mix: After watching the Habs’ last three games from the press box, forward Lars Eller will be looking to make his return to the Canadiens’ lineup Tuesday night to replace an ailing Michael Cammalleri who won’t be making the trip to New York. The young Dane will have his work cut out for him as he prepares to play alongside Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn.
“I know what Jacques and the rest of the coaches want out of my game. I know what I have to do,” dropped Eller. “I’m well rested, I’ve got fresh legs and I’m feeling good to go. It’s been about a week that I haven’t played so it’s going to be my job to make sure that I’m still sharp out there. I’m excited to play tomorrow – it should be a great game.”
As advertised: After assisting on the tying goal en route to the Habs’ come-from-behind victory over the Bruins Saturday night, newcomer James Wisniewski was treated to a first-hand taste of the energy a Bell Centre crowd can bring to a hockey game. Wisniewski took a moment to talk about what he hopes to continue to bring to the table and the prospect of facing Rangers’ agitator Sean Avery a few more times in 2010-11.
“Montreal’s something different. You really feel the energy and the passion of the crowd. It’s easy to feed off something like that and I think it was a big part in us coming back at the end against Boston,” expressed the former Islander of his experience at the Bell Centre Saturday night. “I’m working hard to do what I was picked up to do and that’s get some points and bring a physical game. You never want to hurt anybody, that’s obviously not the point, but anything you can do to help your team win or stick up for your teammates is always important.”
When questioned about his infamous gesture towards Sean Avery that saw him receive a two-game suspension, Wisniewski opted to keep things diplomatic.
“It’s nothing I planned out or anything, I was just something stupid I did that I should never have done. I’m just going to go out there and play hard against him without pushing it too far.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com
The Numbers Game - Jan. 8, 2011
The Last Word: Owen Wilson