Home, sweet home
A few hours after signing his first-ever one-way NHL contract, White was more focused on the sign of confidence it symbolized from Habs GM Pierre Gauthier than the actual deal itself.
“My goal this summer was to be able to sign a one-way deal,” admitted White, from his home in Brandon, MB, where he’s spending the summer training with other NHLers. “That will help me come back in a better position than I was in last year. The organization has given me a great opportunity to be a part of this team.”
Despite turning some heads with his gritty brand of hockey during training camp last fall, White was the odd man out with 13 Canadiens players already with the team on one-way deals. The 23-year-old winger hopped on a bus to Hamilton with every intention of turning it into a round-trip voyage.
“I think I showed what I was capable of in the games I played last year,” explained White, who recorded a Gordie Howe Hat Trick – a goal, an assist and a fight – on March 20 in Minnesota. “I think I can still get better. I want to be able to push the guys who are ahead of me to get even better. I want to earn my spot in the lineup on a consistent basis.
“From my first game in Ottawa to my last game in the playoffs last year, I think I got better every game,” he added. “The difference in my confidence from my first few games in the league to now is night and day. I’m more comfortable trying things on the ice and I want to keep building on that confidence next year.”
No stranger to hard work, White plans on coming in to camp at his sandpapery best this September. This time, he’ll be making sure his name bar stays exactly where he left it: glued to his stall in the Canadiens dressing room.
“I think you have to come into camp each year with the intention of earning a spot with the team,” offered White, who racked up 8 points in the playoffs with the Bulldogs after the Habs were eliminated last spring. “It’s the same situation I was in last year. I had played a few games the year before and I felt like I could contribute. But it’s the same for every guy: if you don’t come into camp with the attitude that you’re going to earn your spot, you’re going to lose it. It sounds like I’ll have an opportunity to play, but I know I still have to prove myself and earn my spot. “
Alexandre Harvey is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.
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