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Notebook: Nov. 16, 2011

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

BROSSARD – In today’s notebook, Cammalleri is back in the mix, Cole dines with the enemy and Darche stays true to his McGill roots.

Cammalleri returns against the Hurricanes.

The doctor is in: The revolving door to the Habs clinic has seen more players come in than out this season, but at least one patient has been discharged in time for Wednesday night’s game. Hal Gill, Jaroslav Spacek and Andrei Kostitsyn won’t be on the ice to face the Hurricanes, but Michael Cammalleri will be looking to make the most of the green light he received after practice.

“I felt pretty good today. I’ll be playing tonight. I don’t know if I was supposed to say that, but oops,” joked Cammalleri, who has seven points in 11 career games against Carolina. “If you ask anybody in the lineup tonight, they would think we’re a lineup capable of winning hockey games. No excuses as far as personnel. We’ll have to find some combinations that work for us and get some chemistry going and keep it going.”

The insider: No one in the Canadiens dressing room knows the Carolina Hurricanes better than Erik Cole. Of his 637 career NHL games to date, 557 were played as a member of the ‘Canes over nine seasons in Raleigh. With all the recon the 33-year-old winger has been able to compile over the years, it’s no surprise Cole knows the secret to the Hurricanes’ past success in Montreal.

Cole and Staal will be reacquainted on Wednesday night.

“Well, I used to play there,” cracked Cole, who racked up 25 points in 28 games against the Canadiens in his career. “No, like myself I know a lot of the guys enjoy the atmosphere at the Bell Centre. It just seems to be a building a lot of guys on that team get up to play in and get excited to play those games and want to perform well.”

After spending nearly a decade in North Carolina, Cole is clearly well-versed in southern hospitality. With so many former teammates in town, the Oswego, NY native decided to give some of the ‘Canes a personalized tour of his new NHL home.

“Hey, that’s personal,” quipped Cole. “Ok, yeah, I had dinner with a couple of them – I’m sure it’s going to cost me a little bit of extra money on the board tonight for a fine, I’m sure but it’s well worth it; they’re good friends. I always enjoy playing against friends on the ice. It should be a fun game.”

School ties: One of the most heated rivalries in Canadian University sports, there aren’t many proud McGill alums singing the praises of Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières grads. Having played for the Redmen from 1996-97 to 1999-00, Mathieu Darche has taken part in his share of heated games against the Patriotes, but he was willing to bury the hatchet on Wednesday morning – at least as far as one former UQTR star is concerned.

McGill grad Mathieu Darche and UQTR alum Frederic St-Denis represent the CIS in the Habs dressing room.

“Guys can prove themselves anywhere,” explained Darche of Frederic St-Denis, who will be seeing action in his first-ever NHL game against the ‘Canes. “Sometimes guys don’t develop as quickly in Major Junior or you’ll get a late bloomer.

“I played with him in Hamilton and he’s a guy you might not notice on the ice but he’s really solid. I’m really happy for him – that’s another good university player making it to the next level,” described Darche, before adding one playful jab at his new teammate. “If I’m not mistaken, McGill is ranked second in the country [in men’s hockey]. Where is Trois-Rivières, again?”

Shauna Denis is a writer for

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