BROSSARD – “I’m sorry… I didn’t prepare a statement,” kidded Hal Gill who was all smiles for his Wednesday morning press conference.
The 36-year-old defenseman can look forward to calling Montreal his home for at least another year following the signing of his latest contract with the Canadiens.
“There were a lot of factors that played into my decision. I had to think about my family and my career. I really like my role on this team and obviously the city itself too. In the end, these are all positives that helped me make my choice,” explained the 6-foot-7 blueliner. “This is a competitive market that plays to win every night and I love being a part of that.”
As the first of the Habs’ free-agents to reclaim his spot on the Canadiens’ roster, Gill admitted his surprise at having a deal inked with the team as early as June 1st.
“It seems that Pierre Gauthier has a plan. He has a tough job to do and he has to do it one player at a time,” expressed Gill when asked if he was surprised to have been signed before even Andrei Markov. “I’m just really happy to have a contract and to get to be able to keep playing hockey here.”
Had he heard his teammates’ comments on the final media day that followed the end of the season, he might not have been quite so surprised. Defensive partners Josh Gorges and P.K. Subban were among the players quick to point out how much Gill brought to the group – compliments that were much appreciated by the hulking rearguard.
“It felt really great to be recognized like that by my own teammates and it was great to hear their comments. I’ve always worked hard to be a team player and to know that that’s how I’m viewed makes me happy,” finished Gill who will get set to kick off his 15th NHL season come October.
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.
See also: Hal Gill highlightsEnd of season assessment: Hal GillAnchorman