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Notebook - Jan. 6, 2011

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD – In today’s Notebook: Gill wants that winning feeling, Desharnais: power-play specialist, and Subban on losing a bet to Markov.

That winning feeling:
With a slew of scoring chances and three of four points earned in their last two games against the Panthers and Thrashers, the Canadiens will be looking to continue their upward trajectory as the Penguins roll into town. The Pittsburgh squad arrives at the Bell Centre Thursday night in the wake an 8-1 romp over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“They’ve got a great lineup and we’re going to have to play our team game as best we can – especially against this group. We need to pay attention to the things that they’re trying to do and what their tendencies are while supporting each other, making those quick, short passes and trying not to stretch each other out too much,” explained Canadiens’ rearguard and former Penguin, Hal Gill. “Right now the important thing is to build on the last two games, really establish that winning feeling again and get back to consistency.”

Desharnais in the mix:
David Desharnais has earned himself the reputation of being a power-play specialist. The Canadiens are hoping that distinction holds true against the Penguins, as Desharnais practiced Thursday morning as part of a power-play unit consisting of Kostitsyn and Cammalleri, with Plekanec and Subban on the point.

“I hope that I can bring the same production on the power-play here as I did in Hamilton, but obviously things are going to be a little different now. In Hamilton, I was the one controlling the play a little more, but I’ll probably have less of that responsibility here,” noted Desharnais who racked up 21 points with the man-advantage in 35 games with the Bulldogs. “While I might have a different role on this unit, I still think I’m going to be able to bring a lot to the table offensively.”

Subbanov: When a two-time gold medal winner at the World Juniors is sporting a Team Russia sweatshirt the day after a huge upset over Canada, it’s safe to assume he probably lost a bet. That’s exactly what happened to Habs’ defenseman P.K. Subban as he approached his stall after practice to find a Russian hoodie and hat hanging there to greet him.

“It was a friendly bet with Markov. I never thought I’d be here putting on a Russian sweater and hat like this,” admitted Subban, as he donned his new gifts to face the media. “A lot of people don’t realize that it’s really not an easy tournament to win, even if Canada makes it look easy a lot of the time. I thought they had it, but goes to show you never know what can happen. Coming back like that to win 5-3 against Canada is a huge accomplishment.”

If nothing else, Russia’s come from behind victory over the Canadians Wednesday night put a grin on at least one member of the Montreal squad.

“Marky seemed really happy and I don’t remember the last time I saw him smiling and laughing that much. With all he’s been dealing with lately, if I can bring him a little humor with this, I’m happy to suck it up.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for


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