Empire state of mind
While the possibility of being awestruck by playing in the “world’s most famous arena” definitely exists, the young players in the Canadiens dressing room will be more focused on what happens on the iconic ice.
“I’ve never been inside the building, but there’s a lot of history associated with MSG,” offered rookie blue-liner P.K. Subban, who will be playing his first career game against the Rangers. “I’m excited about the idea of playing there, but more about winning those two big points.”
For the veterans who have been around the block and already played their share of games in the historic rink, a game at the Garden is just like any other.
“I don’t think it’s intimidating. Actually, I’m not sure any building is really intimidating anymore,” countered Jeff Halpern, who has racked up 11 points in 14 games in the Big Apple. “I think it’s motivating and exciting more than anything else. When you arrive in New York and all the electricity and energy in the city is transported inside Madison Square Garden, it’s something special.
“It’s one of the most fun places to play in the league,” added Halpern. “I’ve always liked playing there. We haven’t played them yet this year, but they have a good team. It’s always special to play in New York.”
Mathieu Darche may have just three games at MSG under his belt so far, but there’s another variable in the game he knows like the back of his hand.
“Having played for [John] Tortorella, I know they’re going to be a team that works hard,” warned Darche, who played under the now-Rangers head coach in Tampa in 2007-08. “With him, if you don’t work, you don’t play and he’s going to make sure you hear about it. It’s not going to be an easy game, that’s for sure.”
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.
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