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Guests of honor

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

BROSSARD – The Canadiens hit the road on Friday afternoon with some very special people on board their charter flight to Boston.

In conjunction with the team’s Mother & Son road trip, players and staff members were afforded the opportunity to bring loved ones along for the two-game road swing that will see the Habs battle the Bruins on Saturday night at TD Garden before traveling to New York for a tilt against the Rangers on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

The unique once-in-a-lifetime experience is one the Habs and their lucky guests have been eagerly anticipating for quite some time.

A few moms took in the Canadiens' optional skate in Brossard on Friday prior to the team's departure.

“It will be fun. We did a similar thing with the fathers last year [in Minnesota and Colorado], so now it’s the mothers’ turn. All of the guys were talking about it this morning, and the moms were very excited to be a part of it. It will be fun to show them what our lives are like on a daily basis,” offered David Desharnais, whose mom, Gaétane Côté, will have a chance to see her son and his teammates take on two of the Canadiens’ most recent playoff opponents dating back to last season. “It’ll be fun to be able to give something back to them for all the things they did for us when we were young. To come to games in Montreal is one thing, but to head out on the road with us is something else. They’ll get to see how we live, the travel, the hotels and the food. It’s exciting.”

Brandon Prust shared similar thoughts before the Canadiens departed to contest the first of back-to-back games south of the border.

“My mom and I are both excited. It’s good to reward your parents a little differently for everything that they’ve done for you in your career. The early mornings, the traveling, the sacrifices that they’ve made…It’s amazing to be able to bring them along and to show them our experience,” mentioned Prust, who boasts one goal and five points through 21 games this season. “Last year was my first fathers trip, too. My dad is jealous now that my mom gets to go. He was trying to sneak out with us somehow, but he couldn’t manage it.”

While both Desharnais and Prust were privileged to hit up the Upper Midwest and the Rocky Mountains accompanied by their dads last season, a trip like this one will be a first for Dale Weise, who joined the Canadiens last February in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

“I never experienced a trip with parents when we had one in Vancouver, so it’s going to be a pretty cool experience. It’s good for them to kind of see the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on. I’ll enjoy it. All of us wouldn’t be here without our parents, so it’s pretty special,” confided Weise, whose mom, Barb, flew to Montreal from her home in Winnipeg to experience life on the road firsthand. “I think they have a New York shopping trip planned, so I’ll slip my mom my credit card and tell her to enjoy herself.”

Like his players, head coach Michel Therrien insists trips like these are a perfect way for his troops to show their guests just how much they are appreciated.

“It’s an experience that I truly value. We thank the entire organization for affording us the opportunity to have this chance with members of our family, whether it’s with mothers, daughters, or even sisters in some cases,” praised Therrien, whose club will look to keep the momentum rolling coming off a 4-1 win over the powerhouse St. Louis Blues on Thursday night at the Bell Centre. “When you’re involved with a professional hockey team, there’s a lot of time and sacrifice that goes into it, and our family often pays the price. This year, I have the chance to take my daughter, Elizabeth, along with me. Last year, my son was on the trip, and my daughter was very jealous. Now, my son is jealous. It’s a great experience.”

One that will be made even more memorable if the Canadiens can go into hostile territory and string together a pair of good performances beginning on Saturday night in Beantown.

“I expect the usual atmosphere. It will be pretty hostile. They’re going to be hungry for a win, too. We beat them just last week,” concluded Prust, referencing the Habs’ 5-1 thrashing of the Bruins on November 13 in Montreal. “Obviously, it’s been a while since the playoffs, but I know everybody remembers that pretty clearly. It seems like yesterday. It’s going to be a fun game.”

Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.

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