MONTREAL – If the NHL’s preseason is an audition for the regular season, it looks like Mike Cammalleri can expect a call back.
In his first game in front of his new home fans, the speedy winger picked up a goal and an assist and looked pretty comfortable alongside fellow big-ticket newcomer Scott Gomez
. Wearing a beaming smile from ear-to-ear in the dressing room after the game, Cammalleri was just as happy on the ice with Gomez by his side.
“I just learned this the other day but: ‘C’est un plaisir’,” grinned Cammalleri about playing with Gomez. “We’re still familiarizing ourselves with each other, but he’s such a skilled and effective player that we’ll learn to play to each other’s strengths. It just takes a little time.”
A Canadiens power play that went 0-for-7 is not a cause for concern according to Cammalleri, who scored 19 goals with the man advantage with the Flames last season.
“We haven’t even really started working on the power play yet. It’s all about positioning and knowing where we’ll be out there. It will come,” explained Cammalleri. “But seeing [Andrei] Markov back there is pretty fun though. He can sure pass the puck.”
Seeing Cammalleri’s first goal come via a one-timer is something Habs fans and Markov should probably get used to. The left-handed sniper’s favorite weapon is after all his lighting-quick release.
“I try to make it a point to get the puck to the net pretty quick,” said Cammalleri, who admitted to closely watching sharpshooter Brett Hull over the years. “No one did that better than Brett and the goalies in this league are pretty good. Getting the puck on net faster never hurts.”
As he got his feet wet in his new digs and his new uniform, Cammalleri got a reminder of his childhood home when he was named the game’s No. 1 star.
“When I was growing up, my dad would always be saying ‘La premier etoile, the first star!” recalled Cammalleri. “Hearing that tonight and then having my name called was pretty special especially with my dad here in the crowd to see it.” Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.
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