MONTREAL - Back with his teammates for the first time in a while, Roman Hamrlik couldn’t have been happier to be battling through a grueling training camp practice.
Sidelined with a persistent flu bug, Hamrlik has been away from camp twiddling his thumbs itching to return to action.
"It was a flu or a cold that wouldn't go away, but I'm feeling better now. It was a sore throat mostly," explained Hamrlik after a spirited practice. "It was hard to be away from the guys, especially with all the new faces this year. You want to be there getting ready for the season and getting to know everyone."
Hardly the lounging type, the veteran defenseman was beginning to bounce off the walls with boredom at home during his recovery.
"Being stuck at home doing nothing was tough," described Hamrlik." Let me tell you, watching movies and downloading music gets pretty boring after a while.
"The last thing I want to do is rush back and then get sick again," continued Hamrlik. "I'm focused on getting my rhythm and confidence back. I want to be 100 percent and I'm hoping to be ready in time for Saturday."
With so many new faces on the roster, Hamrlik can likely expect a new defense partner this season, which isn't fazing the Czech rearguard one bit.
"I haven't spoken to the coaching staff about that yet, but that's not a big deal to me," confirmed Hamrlik. "I just want to get out there."
No sooner had Hamrlik's indifference about his blue line partner left his lips, did former Lightning teammate and current dressing room stall neighbor Paul Mara beg to differ.
"C'mon Hammer, be honest, you can tell them," teased Mara. "It's easy just say 22, you want to play with No. 22!"
After being on the receiving end of a playful shove from Mara, Hamrlik looked like a guy who was exactly where he wanted to be – back in his element. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.comRead alsoJust like old times Best friends forever? Hi, I'm Mike Season preview: Roman Hamrlik