Notebook - March 21, 2012
BUFFALO – In today’s notebook: The right kind of revenge, the upside of the AHL and finding motivation.
Hit ‘em where it hurts: It’s doubtful that the Canadiens have in any way forgotten about Tyler Myers’ hit on Scott Gomez last Monday that earned him a three-game suspension. While the Habs could certainly pay Myers’ back directly for the incident, the vibe around the Canadiens’ dressing room was that the best way to take their revenge would be to steal a crucial two points from the ninth place Sabres,
“I don’t hold any grudges. He paid his price in the end,” pointed out Ryan White when asked if he would be on the lookout for Myers. “We’re all about sticking up for each other and if there’s an opportunity I’m sure we’ll take it, but for the most part we’re just looking to get the two points and punish them that way. They’re trying to make the playoffs right now, and there’s no better way to hurt them right now than to try and make sure they don’t get in.”
Riding the bus: For many, the American Hockey League is synonymous with long bus rides, long road trips and marathon stints of playing three games in three nights over the course of a single weekend. According to Randy Cunneyworth, however, cutting your teeth in the AHL is an experience every young player could benefit from.
“I think every team is always working on developing amongst their ranks. That’s why the development of players in the American League is very important and very vital for clubs – every successful team does it well,” explained Cunneyworth when asked about the strength of the Sabres farm-team. “I think we’ve seen the benefits of our farm team as well. Case in point – Pacioretty, Desharnais, Louis Leblanc – guys like that paid their dues and did a good job at the American League level. In my view, it’s always a good idea to spend some time there because it makes you appreciate your time in the NHL all the more when you make it.”
We’re back! Again… : After not making a single trip to Buffalo for the first four months of the 2011-12 NHL season, the Canadiens find themselves back visiting the Sabres for a third time in almost a month on Wednesday night. While the game will mark the teams’ first meeting since Myers’ questionable hit on Gomez, playing so many games in such a short period of time is often enough to create a rivalry on its own.
“These are all very intense games now,” pointed out Cunneyworth of the impending tilt. “The Sabres are going to be playing at their best because there’s obviously a lot at stake for them. We have the chance to be a bit of a spoiler here in the position we’re in. Regardless of that, it’s about playing a sound game, playing our system and getting to their goaltender more than we did last game.
“Everyone has a different reason to win and play well and we can add the possibility of being spoilers to our list,” added the Canadiens’ head coach on the subject of his team’s motivation. “We want to make sure that everybody, as individuals, are playing their best, playing for the future, playing for contracts and playing for the win tonight.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.