NHL

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Habs have new vibe

Storied franchise hoping to rise from cellar-dwelling season

  • Print

MONTREAL -- A new life has sprung out of the ashes of a depressing, 78-point basement-dwelling season authored by the Montreal Canadiens of 2011-12.

Somewhere between despondent and embarrassing, Habs ownership decided on new people -- again -- and GM Marc Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien now have their hands firmly on the steering wheel.

So far, the cards are coming up aces.

Bergevin's good fortune included being in a position to accelerate the buyout of overpaid Scott Gomez, thanks to a push from players trying to take advantage of amnesty buyouts that are part of the league's new CBA.

The Habs have also benefited from some new, fresh faces in the lineup in the form of draft picks Brendan Gallagher, a fifth-round pick from 2010, and Alex Galchenyuk, the third-overall pick from last June. Both were told this week they're sticking around, that the five-game rule about contracts and going back to junior is no longer their concern.

And each already has his first NHL goal.

Now the Habs have gotten their latest crisis out of the way with the signing of restricted free agent defenceman P.K. Subban. After missing the opportunity before the lockout began, Subban finally got his deal late Monday, two years for $5.75 million total.

The Habs are getting all kinds of praise for holding the line, for mostly sticking to their guns that a shorter-term bridge contract was the better way to go for Subban before they might dole out large sums of money and a long contract term to the dynamic defenceman.

Further to the return of the gregarious Subban, there were no balloons or party favours present in the Habs' room at the Complex Sportif Bell, the Habs' practice facility, on Tuesday.

It seemed there was as much happiness he'll be back as relief the contract matter is behind them.

"To be honest, I'm glad that we don't have to talk about it anymore," defenceman Josh Gorges said, not smiling.

Still, the enthusiasm with and about the Canadiens is real.

"It's definitely been a good vibe," Brandon native Ryan White, the Canadiens centre, said Tuesday. "I mean, everything's fresh, even from the paint to the carpet.

"I think we've all kind of run with it so far. We've been working at it and we want to be a better team. We want to push ourselves to be the best we can be and we want to win.

"This is a fresh mindset, yeah, we're all doing the right things for the team and that's the way you have to do it."

White wasn't afraid to talk about last season and it's possible lessons.

"It was tough," he said. "We weren't helping ourselves by any means. We weren't playing that great. I think already we've started to play better and smarter hockey and we're playing a lot better together, using each other.

"And the guys we've brought in, they're good teammates and they've brought a good feel to the rink. That's what we're looking for around here."

We'd tell you how great it feels for Galchenyuk but he said Tuesday he wasn't doing any interviews.

The one thing about Montreal and its Canadiens is that the past is never far away.

In recent times, that includes pain, a reminder delivered quite possibly accidentally by Perry Pearn, the veteran assistant coach unceremoniously fired early last season and who now works for the Jets.

"It's a good start," Pearn was saying Tuesday. "One of the things as a coach in the league I've seen, though, is that it seems like there is some success in Montreal but usually things don't stay the same for very long.

"Usually about three years and then there are some new people working. That's just part of the cycle in the NHL."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 30, 2013 C3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Jets Bogosian-Little-Ladd

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100527-Winnipeg Free Press THe Provencher Foot Bridge is lit up
  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Which Jets prospect has the best chance of making NHL team this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google