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Habs notebook - March 1, 2010

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD -- In today’s Habs notebook, Brian Gionta is an eager beaver, Carey Price names his Olympic All-Star squad and Andrei Markov gives us the skinny on his Russian comrades.

How Brian got his groove back:
Brian Gionta couldn’t wait to hit the ice at TD Banknorth Garden on Tuesday night, chomping at the bit to reunite with linemates Scott Gomez and Benoit Pouliot for the first time in a month.

“We’re really excited for tomorrow’s game. It’s good to have this week of practice to get going since we haven’t played for a while,” explained Gionta of his potent trio, which was on fire before Pouliot went down with an injury last month. “A game against Boston is a great way to kick off a road trip. Tomorrow will be a chance to get back into our rhythm.”

Carey’s stamp of approval:
For the past few practices, the Canadiens have been flexing their offensive muscles against an unfamiliar face in the crease down ice from Carey Price – Cincinnati Cyclones’ goalie Robert Mayer. The young ECHL netminder had been filling in for Jaroslav Halak, whose back is likely still sore from carrying the Slovakians all the way to the bronze medal game.

“Jaro had a really great tournament and to me he was one of the top goalies in the tournament. I think he earned a lot of respect from the rest of the NHL these past two weeks,” said Price of his crease-mate Halak, who will get a well-deserved breather tomorrow night in Boston after playing seven games for his native Slovakia at the Olympics.
Mother Russia’s four-year plan: This just in, the Russians’ lackluster showing in Vancouver and embarrassing loss to Canada didn’t go unnoticed by Andrei Markov or his good buddy Alexander Ovechkin.
“Times have really changed. It’s not like it was 15 years ago. It costs a lot of money for kids to play hockey. I hope we will find a way to get stronger as hockey power again. It’s important to stay positive though,” explained Markov of the once dominant Russians not having won Olympic gold since the NHL began sending players to the Olympics in 1998. “It’s always such a great experience to take part in the Olympics. There’s nothing like facing the best players in the world. Hopefully I’ll still be good enough to get invited to the Olympics in Russia in 2014!”

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Shauna Denis.

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