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Getting the message

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Matt D'Agostini vaulted himself back onto the Canadiens' radar screen with a pair of goals.

MONTREAL – Guy Carbonneau announced this week that he was disappointed with what he’d seen from his rookies so far at camp. Clearly, Matt D’Agostini took it personally.

With a pair of goals including the overtime winner in a 3-2 win over the Islanders, D’Agostini heard Carbonneau’s message loud and clear.

“I think all the young guys took that to heart,” said D’Agostini. “We’ve got to be better and we know that.”

D’Agostini opened the scoring the same way he sealed the fate of the Islanders, by cashing in on a table set by Guillaume Latendresse.

“Sure I scored two goals, but Gui was awesome tonight,” said D’Agostini. “He was all over the ice and made a couple of great plays there for me. As a player, all you ever want to do is make a difference and help the team win. ”

His future head coach definitely liked what he saw.

“He’s not very far from the NHL,” predicted Carbonneau. “He’s a natural goal scorer with an NHL-caliber shot. All he needs to do is get better without the puck. If he keeps it up, he’ll be here soon.”

Don’t expect the 20-year-old to start having delusions of grandeur about what ripple effect his big night will have on his stock at training camp.

“Who knows where things go from here,” shrugged D’Agostini. “This feels really good, but there’s still a lot in my game that I need to work on. I’m just trying to stick around as long as I can.”

However long it takes for D’Agostini to crack the Canadiens’ lineup, you can bet Bulldogs head  coach Don Lever will be smiling wherever he is.

“What can I say about Don, he made me the player I am today,” said D’Agostini. “Last year was my first year pro and he taught me so much and developed my game.

Unable to contain his ear-to-ear grin, Lever looked like a proud hockey dad at a local rink watching his child score the big goal.

“He’s a terrific kid who just has the knack of finding the right spots,” said Lever as PA announcer Michel Lacroix unveiled D’Agostini as the game’s No. 1 star. “Watching Latendresse and Matt coming down the wing like that feels like you’re looking into the future, doesn’t it?”

It sure does. And with Lever still manning the helm in Hamilton, the future couldn’t be in better hands.

Manny Almela is a writer for
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