Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Boston Bruins

Bear Essentials On The Road: Montreal, Quebec

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
The Bear Essentials On The Road: MONTREAL, QUEBEC (Bell Centre)

For the first time this year (and one hopes not the last), the Bear Essentials is following the Bruins north to Montreal. From the northern newspapers that I read, and the coverage from TSN, it seems as if hockey season has already begun north of the border and that the Bell Centre expects a full house! All I'll expect is a darn good hot dog.

Monument to Paul de Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve. Photo: Denis Tremblay,
Where are we going?

Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, and the largest city in the province of Quebec.

Originally called Ville-Marie, translated “City of Mary,” the city had come to be known as Montreal by the end of the 17th century, a name (possibly) derived from the French Mont Royal, the name of the three-head hill at the heart of the city. Downtown Montreal lies at the foot of Mount Royal, which is designated as a major urban park, and extends toward the St Lawrence River.

Extending all over downtown is Montreal's Underground City, a set of pedestrian levels built to cross under streets, thereby connecting buildings to each other.

Who are we playing?
The Montreal Canadiens are one of the founding Original Six members of the NHL.

The franchise is officially known as the Le Club de Hockey Canadien. Founded in 1909, eight years before the founding of the NHL, the Canadiens are the oldest continuously operating club in the league, and they have won more Stanley Cups than any other team in the league (24).

The Canadiens have many French nicknames, but their most common nickname is the Habs, coming from “Les Habitants.”

Where are we playing?

The Bell Centre is considered one of the best sports and entertainment facilities in North America and is one of the most booked buildings on the continent.

The Bell Center officially became the new home of the Montreal Candiens on March 16, 1996 following ceremonies closing the Montreal Forum on Ste. Catherine's Street.

Quebec is home to many hockey greats including Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and former Bruins Ray Bourque, Steve Kasper, Gary Galley and P.J. Stock. Quebec can also boast Patrick Roy, Georges Vezina, Martin St. Louis, Luc Robitaile, Mario Lemieux, and Vincent Lecavalier.

When are we playing?
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
Who is playing?

Based on the skate this morning, forwards in white:
Murray, Reich, Kobasew, Schaefer, Lucic, Krejci, Bergeron, Savard, Sturm, Kessel, Axelsson, Metropolit

Defensement in black:
Stuart, Wideman, Ward, Ference, Alberts, Hunwick

Goalies in black:
Thomas, Fernandez from Montreal reports the following:
"Cristobal Huet has been confirmed as Coach Carbonneau's starting goalie Thursday at the Bell Centre against the Bruins.

Patrice Brisebois has taken another solid stride in his comeback bid. Breezer has practiced with his teammates for the first time, and will get into Saturday's Canadiens'game against the Senators in Ottawa, the final pre-season game before regular season. More good news for GM Bob Gainey--all players demoted Monday have cleared waivers, including goalie Yann Danis.

Yann Danis left the Bell Centre early, even before CJAD's Abe Hefter had the building staked out.  Matt D'Agostini did all he could to hide the disappointment in his voice.   But the survivors are in Tremblant for a few days of r&r before the Canadiens hit the ice at the Bell Centre again Thursday night on CJAD 800 -- Carey Price, Ryan O'Byrne and Mikhail Grabovski. 

Headed to Hamilton training camp with the Bulldogs are Sergei Kostitsyn (linemante and big brother Andrei stays with the Canadiens), Jonathon Ferland, Pavel Valentenko and Finnish prospect Janne Lahti."

Is the game on?
CJAD in Montreal are the Canadiens English broadcasters and they are saying that tonight the game is on their station. The game should be available through their feed or through the links on Unfortunately, the game is blacked out on Center Ice online.

Thursday thoughts...
Practice at the Garden this morning was very slight. Not much going on besides getting the guys' bodies moving -- at least for the bunch that is playing tonight: see above.

Bochenski, Allen, Hoggan, Chara, Thornton, Nokelainen, and Thompson are taking the trip, but are not suiting up.

Tim Thomas will get tonight's start in goal and Manny Fernandez will play the club's ultimate preseason game of 2007 on Sunday.

12:59 p.m. I am scrambling to get myself together for what amounts to a four day trip. Today in Montreal, most of Friday and Saturday in Vermont and, of course, home at the Garden on Sunday -- but since I will be home for approximately six hours in that span, you get the idea.

1:11 p.m. You'll notice that Matt Hunwick has made the grade for tonight. Last night I was able to sit down and ask him about playing in Montreal and the Bruins golf tournament.

Matt Hunwick 

1:19 p.m. Marc Savard was in good spirits today after the skate and said that he enjoyed yesterday's golf tourney and is looking forward to the contest tonight. Listen below.

Marc Savard

Around 2: It has been suggested to me, dear reader, that I switch to lighter weight white shirts on 90-degree days, as opposed to the blue cotton Oxford work shirts I wear frequently. Especially since I have taken to wearing blazers.

This has come up because my seat seems to be the only one without AC.


I am pretty much looking like a used packet of tea.

In any case, we made the plane and my seat has AC.

3:40 p.m.
We are descending into Montreal. Today's flight was not as scenic as the two previous puddle jumps to Canada. There was a thick layer of clouds above our route, although I think I saw Lake Champlain.

The staffers around me were also talking about the amazing hot dogs in the Bell Center. In French they are called Chien Chaud.

We just came out the cloud and I think I am seeing some of the farms that I usually drive by on my up in a car. Montreal is in the distance, and it looks as if there haws been some rain.

3:44 p.m Touchdown. Tires intact.

5:01 p.m. I am in the gorgeous Press Lounge on the eighth floor of the Centre Bell. My friend Zach has invited me to his restaurant, but we are just a little too late for me to sneak in.

Next time, though, it's La Brasserie Brunoise!

Lineups are out, but neither team has posted its final roster. In case you need it, here is the Habs numerical roster:

Huet will start tonight for Montreal.
31 Price
39 Huet
41 Halak

3 O'Byrne
6 Kostopoulos
8 Komisarek
11 Koivu
14 Plekanec
20 Smolinski
21 Higgins
22 Begin
25 Dandenault
26 Gorges
27 Kovalev
28 Chipchura
32 Streit
40 LaPierre
44 Hamrlik
46 Kostitsyn
51 Bouillon
57 Murray
59 Grabovski
71 Brisebois
73 Ryder
79 Markov
84 LaTendresse

For good measure, here's ours:

Lucic plays this evening.
30 Thomas
35 Fernandez

6 Wideman
10 Bochenski
11 Axelsson
12 Kobasew
13 Metropolit
16 Sturm
21 Ference
22 Thornton
27 Murray
32 Hoggan
33 Chara
37 Bergeron
38 Allen
41 Alberts
44 Ward
45 Stuart
46 Krejci
48 Hunwick
51 Thompson
53 Reich
56 Nokelainen
62 Lucic
72 Schaefer
81 Kessel
91 Savard

The big debate before getting dressed for the game? Where to grab coffee -- it was pretty evenly split between Tim Horton's and Starbucks. I opted for the press lounge.

5:14 p.m. Shepherd's pie and various pasta for dinner. Nice!

By the way, we got some nice shots of practice, this morning:

5:28 p.m. Pasta to what we Bruins people call the halo. The press box is not actually a floor here. It is a catwalk above the ice, which affords an amazing view -- unless, like some in our party (not me), you are afraid of heights.

6:48 p.m. The hot dogs are still amazing here.

Our Boys should be on the ice for warm ups, soon...I will post our lines and move over to a running recap on the front page of -- story number 1.

7:05 p.m. Here are our lines as I see them in warm ups.

Stuart- Wideman (sg) Thomas
Alberts-Ference (bg) Fernandez
Hunwick-Ward GO BRUINS!

See you on the flip side...
View More