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Here to stay

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

BROSSARD – The NHL’s leading shot-blocker sounds off on making Montreal his home for the next six years.

Typically the unsung hero of the Canadiens roster, Josh Gorges began 2012 by getting his due, signing the most lucrative contract of his career – one that should keep him in the bleu-blanc-rouge until 2017-18.

“This has become my home and I’m extremely happy to have been given this chance by the organization to shine here,” began Gorges who met with the media to discuss his new agreement with the team following the Habs’ first practice of the New Year. “With everything going on with the team, it’s also a bitter-sweet and obviously tough timing, but at least now this is over and done with and I can focus even more on winning hockey games.”

Showing every indication that he was capable of bouncing back from knee surgery better than ever, Gorges has been the rock of the Canadiens’ blue line since the puck dropped to kick off the 2011-12 season.

Josh Gorges discusses his new contract.

“It was explained to me very well in the summer that the team needed to do their responsibility and make sure my knee was healthy,” continued to Kelowna, B.C. native of negotiations with the Habs’ GM. “That’s why we were able to get something done mid-season despite it not being Pierre Gauthier’s regular way of doing things – signing guys in the middle of the season – but in reality, it’s more just extended negotiations from the summertime.”

With the contract clearly a display of the Habs’ confidence in Gorges’ future with the team, the Habs’ rearguard didn’t waste any time expressing his own sentiments about what he predicts will be a bright future.

“One of the things that was important for me to know before I signed was what direction this team would be heading in – not just right now, but in the years to come. We’re making steps and making strides to put the right team together and guys like P.K. and Carey are going to be keys to this team’s success in the future,” continued No. 26, who in addition to leading the team with a plus-6 differential, is also on pace for one of the best offensive seasons of his career with 10 points in 39 games. “It’s a matter of playing with the guys that want to win, that want to put the time in, that want to put the right kind of effort in. If you get that right mix of players – guys that want to do what it takes – you’re going to be successful.”

Across the room, Carey Price had nothing but words of praise for Gorges and what his contract might mean for the team.

“He’s a guy that always works really hard; he’s a leader on this team and he earned it. He’s a big part of this group and knowing that he’s going to be here for a long time is a huge moral booster,” said Price of his friend and teammate. “He’s had these great qualities for a long time. He showed that in Kelowna where he led his team to the memorial cup – he was captain there – and he played that leadership role for a long time. I think that’s something you’re born with.”

With an agreement with the team now firmly in place, Gorges will look to refocus his gaze on the only thing that matters – winning.

“I know the team is facing some tough times right now but I think we have a bright future here,” finished Gorges. “There are a lot of great young players coming up and the way we’re trying to put together a team here, I think there’s only good things in the future and that’s why I love being a part of this organization.

“I said right from the start that this is where I want to be. When you start something I think you want to see it though to the end – and for me that’s winning the Stanley Cup. That’s what everyone plays for and there’s no better place to do it than here in Montreal.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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