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Notebook - Jan. 4, 2011

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD – In today’s Notebook: Practice makes perfect for Price, home is where the heart is for Gionta and James Wisniewski on his new island.

Practice makes perfect: Coming off the longest road-trip of the season that culminated in a stretch of four games in six nights, Carey Price and the rest of the Canadiens are looking forward to a little home-ice advantage. As Price pointed out, a lighter week and a few days of solid practice may be just what the doctor ordered.

“It should be a good thing for us to have a little bit of time off between games. It feels like we’re either playing everyday or getting the day off because we need it. This week we’re lucky enough to have a lot of practice time and that’ll be a great chance for us to work on getting back to doing all the little things that brought us success in the first half of the year,” explained Price on the team’s opportunity to get a minor tune-up, and his own performance between the pipes.

“We all knew that there were going to be stretches over the course of the year that weren’t going to be as easy for us. There are times where I might not be playing great but the rest of the team will really step up and get us a point, like in the last game. Other games I’ll be playing better and maybe help steal us a few points. We had a good start to the season though and we just have to turn the page on the last month and keep pushing.”

Home is where the heart is: After displaying some notable grit and perseverance in their last two matchups against the Panthers and Thrashers, Habs captain Brian Gionta was quick to dismiss the notion that his team’s recent slide was in any way a result of an overworked starting goaltender.
“It’s that time of year where everyone drags a little bit. Carey has given us a chance to win every night though, and it’s really just a matter of us picking things up, playing well in front of him and playing with confidence,” noted Gionta, who along with the rest of the Canadiens will enjoy a month of January that sees seven of 11 games played at the Bell Centre. “Especially coming off a tough few weeks that also happened to be on the road, we have to take advantage of all the home games we’re about to play, show some consistency and get those points.”

Brothers in arms: The newest Hamilton addition to the Canadiens, David Desharnais had some impressive moments during his first game of the season with the Habs. Linemate Mathieu Darche, who also skated with Desharnais last year as a member of the Bulldogs, had nothing but positives to say about the team’s newest forward.

“He’s a really talented guy with a great work ethic. If you take a look at all the goals he scored in minors, they all happen right around the net. He’s able to get great placement on the ice and find a way past defensemen,” explained Darche. “I thought he played a great game on Sunday. It’s easy to be nervous for a game like that, but he’s just going to keep getting more and more comfortable out there and play better and better.”

A different atmosphere: Having gotten his first game in front of a Montreal home-crowd under his belt on Sunday, defenseman James Wisniewski is learning that when it comes to the Bell Centre, no matter who the Habs happen to be playing or what time of day they play them, the atmosphere is always electric.

“The crowd seemed to be really into that game on Sunday. I’ve heard that weekday games are even crazier, so I can’t wait to see that,” admitted the Canadiens’ newest acquisition after practicing in front of a packed house at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. “It was incredible – it almost felt like a game in Long Island. There were what, 500 people? It was really exciting to see.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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