TORONTO – In today’s notebook: The buzz is building, what Blair Betts brings, and Raphael Diaz
on his first game.
: When it comes to rivalries around the NHL there are few, if any, that can create the same amount of buzz this side of the border as a Canadiens-Maple Leafs match-up. Despite the hype surrounding the teams’ season-opening tilt, the Habs are concentrating their energy on staying focused on the two points at hand.
“We’ve gone through the process of playing all our exhibition games and going to the retreat together and now it’s time to get playing,” started Michael Cammalleri, taking in the hectic scene in the visitor’s locker room.
“I think people are definitely excited about this game. If you took a shot of this dressing room right now you’d see that there’s about 10 to 15 media people for every player in the room so that pretty much tells you the story,” added the Habs sniper. “A lot of Canada is probably going to be watching this game tonight and we’re all really looking forward to it.”More movement:
Within hours of Jeff Woywitka being claimed off waivers by the New York Rangers, Jacques Martin addressed the media on the subject of the newest player to join the Canadiens, Blair Betts, who the head coach hopes to see in the Habs lineup within the next few games.
“Blair is currently dealing with a lower body injury. It’s nothing very serious, but it will keep him out of the lineup for tonight’s game,” explained Martin who tapped Andreas Engqvist
to suit up in his place on Thursday night. “Blair is an experienced fourth line player who can do excellent work on the penalty-killing unit as we saw during his time with the Rangers and the Flyers. He’ll bring some more depth to this team in that area.”Mission accomplished
: When training camp began, every prospect taking part had a single goal: to start the season as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. For Raphael Diaz
, that dream will become a reality Thursday night when he dons the bleu-blanc-rouge
and takes to the ice next to Jaroslav Spacek for the season opener against the Leafs.
“Knowing I’m going to get to play my first game in the NHL is an incredible feeling. It hasn’t even fully sunk in yet. I’m especially lucky to get to do it as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. It’s my goal to do absolutely everything in my power to help this team win,” promised the Swiss defenseman. “I’m not too nervous right now. It was helpful to get in a few preseason games and get used to things. Tonight’s game should be a good one.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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