BROSSARD – In today’s notebook: Eller looks for more finish, Gill sets a bad example and Subban gets patriotic.
Moves like Eller: It didn’t wind up on the scoresheet, but Lars Eller’s nifty dangle to split the Islanders defense made for one of the Canadiens’ prettiest chances on Tuesday night. Isles blue-liners Mark Streit and Dylan Reese may have been surprised by the slick move, but no one was more intrigued by the highlight-reel deke than the Danish forward himself.
“I saw it on TV this morning when we were eating breakfast,” admitted Eller, who caught a clip of himself on Sportscentre from the Habs practice facility in Brossard. “Man, seeing it made me feel a lot worse because it would’ve been pretty sweet to put that in. I’ll just have to get another chance sometime.”
Do as I say, not as I do: Hal Gill is an authority figure in the Canadiens dressing room. Never afraid to share his opinion or instill strong work habits in his younger teammates, the Habs assistant captain has been a steady veteran presence on the blue line since his arrival in la Belle Province in 2009. Not surprisingly, after floating an insurance marker into an empty net to give the Canadiens a 5-3 cushion late in Tuesday’s game, Gill wasn’t thrilled to have added a 36th career goal to his record.
“I was actually aiming for their blue line or to just get it into their end, but not across the goal line,” explained the 14-year NHL veteran. “It probably wasn’t the smartest play. If you take an icing in that situation it’s a pretty bad play.
“My first thought was ‘Gorgie [Josh Gorges] is going to kill me’ because that’s the cardinal sin in hockey – you never ice it with the goalie out,” explained Gill with a laugh. “My second thought was, ‘Oh man, now P.K. [Subban] is going to think it’s great to shoot it down the ice!’”
O, Canada: Hockey Canada announced its official 22-man roster for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton and Calgary on Tuesday and three Habs prospects made the cut. With back-to-back World Junior gold medals from 2008 and 2009 on his resume, P.K. Subban had some advice to share with his fellow countrymen who kick off their own quest for gold on Dec. 26.
“I remember during a TV time out just sitting by the bench and you can hear the crowd and you know there are more than 22,000 people in the building and a few million more watching at home,” recalled Subban, who made the tournament All-Star team in his second appearance wearing the Maple Leaf. “It’s an opportunity to show Canada what they can do and it’s against the best Junior players in the world. I’d say you feel even more pressure than in an NHL game because it’s an entire country rooting for you, not just a city. To be a part of that is great. It should be a lot of fun and I hope they win it, because the experience is that much better when you win.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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