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Notebook - Feb. 20, 2012

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

BROSSARD – In today’s notebook, P.K. finds a new mentor, Cunneyworth focuses on the now and Campoli isn’t following the rumor mill.

Big brother: Longtime mentor Hal Gill may be working his veteran magic on budding NHLers in Nashville now, but P.K. Subban won’t need to look far to find a replacement. Always willing to help keep his 22-year-old defense partner in line and on track, Josh Gorges will likely be the one picking up where Gill left off.

P.K. Subban talks to the media after practice

“Gorgie is 28 so he’s a little bit younger than Hal. I’m 22 and we’re a little bit closer in age but he’s still a guy who has been around for a while and he’s a leader on this team and an assistant captain,” described Subban, who has played 891:55 minutes alongside Gorges so far this season. “We’re going to be trusted to be playing against the top line every night and the top penalty killing unit. We’re going to be relied on pretty heavily. Our relationship has done nothing but grow since we began playing together. The trust is there; it’s just a matter of time and continuing to grow. For me it’s just about learning and soaking in everything. There are a lot of guys who have a wealth of experience and knowledge to offer me; I just have to drink it all in.”

Dog days of winter: When Randy Cunneyworth says he takes games one at a time, he’s not kidding. Not surprisingly, when asked if he was planning on giving some of his younger players a little extra ice time to expedite their development in the coming weeks, the coach maintained his mantra of planning for the future while living in the moment.

“I think I’m more like a dog. I think in the present and what’s important right now, I really do,” admitted Cunneyworth, who didn’t elaborate on which specific breed of canine best fits his personality. “We’re just trying to think about tomorrow’s game and how do we prepare everybody and how are we going to utilize everybody to be the most effective. Looking into the future, maybe a little bit of that comes into play, but again, it’s about who’s going to defend well back there and who’s going to provide us with the offense. We’re trying each and every day to find the combinations that will bring the things we need.”

Deadline, schmeadline: With the trade deadline just around the corner, any player without a no-trade clause could be forgiven for being a little on edge at this time of year. Having already lived through seven deadline days in his NHL career, Chris Campoli isn’t about to start listening to rumors or keeping a bag packed by the door “just in case”.

“I think we’re just preparing to play. If you’re thinking about the trade deadline, you’re focusing on the wrong things,” confirmed Campoli, who was traded from the Senators to the Blackhawks on deadline day last season. “That shouldn’t have an effect. We have to go out and play. For me, it’s not changing much. Points are more crucial and we know the importance of that.”

Clearing out the clinic: While most of his injured players won’t be ready for action this week, when the Canadiens head to Washington on Thursday afternoon, Cunneyworth is expecting to see a few more passengers on the team plane than usual.

“[Travis] Moen is going to be a little bit longer. [Petteri] Nokelainen has skated with us and will continue to skate with us,” explained Cunneyworth. “[Andrei] Markov will be taking the trip so he’ll be handed off to us within a short time, so that’s progress. He’s been skating with Pierre Allard and now he’ll start to get into some of our work but still no contact. When he gets involved in contact we’ll know he’s getting much closer to playing.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for

Comments: Subban, White, Campoli, Weber, Eller, Cunneyworth
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