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Built for speed

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL – Speed kills. With Scott Gomez already on board, Bob Gainey reached out to speed demon Mike Cammalleri to keep up with the Habs' newest centerman.

With the Canadiens burning up the phone lines, making deals beginning with their blockbuster trade for Gomez, Cammalleri was paying full attention to what was going on in Montreal.

“I did my homework and saw what the Canadiens were up to the past few days,” admitted Cammalleri. “Seeing a player like Scott Gomez come to the Habs is a big reason why Montreal looked so attractive to me. Scott’s a highly skilled player and I assume that I’ll be playing with him and it’s all really exciting.”

The Habs weren’t the only NHL team trying to woo the shifty winger, who is coming off a career year with the Flames that saw him notch a career-high 39 goals and 82 points this past season.

“There were about four or five teams interested, but Bob Gainey showed interest right away,” admitted Cammalleri. “I’ve got a ton of respect for Bob Gainey and Jacques Martin. The Canadiens wanted me and showed me the commitment I was looking for.”

A flashy offensive player, Cammalleri has no qualms about playing for a defensive-minded coach like Martin.

“I’ve always believed that good offense comes from good defense,” said Cammaleri who turned 28 last month. “This is a team game and the only way to really be successful is to be successful as a team and work well with your teammates. I’m excited to get started. I assume I’ll be playing the wing, which is what I prefer since I’ve played more wing than center lately.”

A Toronto native who began his career in L.A. before heading to Calgary, Cammalleri expects to be right at home in the hockey hotbed that is Montreal.

“The pressure and passion that exists here is something that excites me,” revealed Cammaleri. “Every kid in this city knows if there is a game that night and that’s what it’s about.”

Following his heart-to-heart with Gainey just prior to signing with the Habs, Cammalleri knows what the Habs’ GM is expecting from his newest winger. Bob essentially had his fresh acquisition at “Hello".

“Bob and I talked about what plans he had for me and those things are why I’m now a Montreal Canadien,” said Cammalleri. “We want to win a bunch of games, be competitive and win the Stanley Cup.”

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