PHILADELPHIA – Just over 24 hours after being acquired by the Canadiens, Davis Drewiske will make his Habs debut against the Flyers.
Picked up from the Kings in exchange for a fifth-round selection at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Drewiske will be looking to make the most of his fresh start in Montreal. Leaving the only NHL team he’s ever known, the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion won’t have much time to bond with his new teammates before hitting the ice for the first time as a Hab.
“There are some different things with the system here as opposed to what they do in LA, so this morning [the coaches and I] went over that and what they expect from me,” explained the 28-year-old blue-liner, who arrived in Philadelphia late on Tuesday night, directly from Phoenix where the Kings were playing. “They want me to be a good defender, a good penalty-killer, move pucks quickly and chip in offensively when I can.”
A victim of the number’s game in Los Angeles, Drewiske was a healthy scratch for 15 of the Kings’ last 16 games. The five-year NHL veteran isn’t worried about having to shake off any rust when he hits the ice for the first time since March 12.
“[The Kings] are a good team and I just tried to be a good pro and stay ready and confident. I think I’ve played well when I’ve played and you just have to be ready to go when your number is called,” offered the Hudson, WI native. “I’m excited for this opportunity. I’m leaving a good team, but I’m coming to a really good team here, too. They’ve had a lot of success so far this year and I’m looking forward to contributing to that.”
As has become customary with the Canadiens, Francis Bouillon will serve as the team’s welcoming committee on the blue line for the latest defenseman inserted into the lineup. After breaking in three rookie rearguards in the past month in Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu, the 37-year-old will finally have some extra experience at his side when the puck drops on Wednesday night.
“The guys I’ve played with recently have come in having only ever played in the American Hockey League and they were playing their first games in the NHL so there was an adaptation process that had to happen,” shared Bouillon of his role helping Habs prospect make the jump to the big club. “He’s an experienced guy.
“I’m used to [playing with new defensemen] by now, but it’s fun that he’s not a rookie who’s going to be nervous playing his first game,” added the veteran blue-liner, whose defensive partner already has 126 games of NHL experience under his belt. “He came in this morning in great spirits and he’s a guy who’s going to fit in really well with our defensive corps. I’m excited to play with him tonight.”
While there are still some Xs and Os Drewiske will have to get used to in Montreal, he’s already well-versed in the team concept the Canadiens have been employing throughout the 2012-13 campaign.
“There are different kinds of leaders on teams and a lot of guys just have to lead by example. That’s more my style,” shared the 6-foot-2, 220-pound defenseman. “Work hard and play hard for each other. Guys can learn from that.
“There are a few things that are different in the neutral zone and in our own end, but it’s obviously working for them; they’re having a lot of success,” he added. “I’m just looking forward to getting into it and getting going.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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