BROSSARD - Chris Terry will be making just his second appearance in a Canadiens uniform on Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, but he'll be feeling right at home at PNC Arena.
The 27-year-old forward spent his entire career in the Hurricanes organization before the Canadiens signed him to one-year, two-way contract on July 2.
"The comfort level is pretty good. I know that arena pretty well, obviously. It's exciting. It's pretty special to play against guys that you grew up with in the hockey world. To go back there, it's going to be different, but I think it's going to be a lot of fun, too," confided Terry, before boarding the Canadiens' charter to Raleigh, NC on Thursday afternoon.
Whe he was still sporting Hurricanes colors, Terry was close to players like Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm and Riley Nash.
"Every guy in that locker room is great. Eric Staal was a great leader when he was there, too. Jordan [Staal] as well. The older guys were great. I liked my experience there. It was awesome. I'll get to see them and catch up with them," mentioned Terry, who picked up an assist in his first career game with the Canadiens on Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers.
Terry will always be grateful to the Hurricanes organization because they afforded him the opportunity to become a pro.
"It's the only organization that I ever played for. I grew up in that organization. I started in the minors and worked my way up," added Terry.
A fifth-round selection of Carolina in the 2007 NHL Draft, Terry made the jump to the pros at the age of 20 with the AHL's Albany River Rats. It was only during the 2011-12 campaign that he got his first taste of the NHL, though.
"I learned a lot. I matured as a player. As a kid out of junior who put up a lot of points, but probably didn't know what his own zone was, I learned that there. I learned what it took to be an NHL player and stay in the NHL for the last two years. I owe them a lot," mentioned Terry.
The Brampton, ON native has very fond memories of his time in Raleigh.
"Unfortunately, we never made the playoffs, but we went on some good streaks. Bill Peters was a very good coach. I really, really learned from him. He's a good teacher and a great coach," said Terry, who has amassed 20 goals and 35 points in 139 career games in the big leagues.
Even though head coach Michel Therrien has only seen Terry ply his trade once with the Canadiens, he already likes what he sees and says he's capable of playing in a variety of different game situations.
"One thing I noticed is that he's a guy who plays the game the right way, who does the right things. It looks like he has good experience," praised Therrien. "He has talent and [associate coach] Kirk Muller knows him well. I really liked what I saw from him in his first game. He showed what he's capable of on the power play and on the penalty kill."