MONTREAL – In today’s Notebook: Spacek hits 800, Gill looks at Edmonton and Price has a decision to make.
Jaroslav Spacek will be celebrating his 800th game in the NHL when he and the Montreal Canadiens hit the ice to take on the Oilers on Wednesday night. After a slow start to the 2010-11 season, the 36-year-old defenseman has been back on top of his game in the month of November. He took a moment to talk about the milestone and look back on the beginning of his career in the National Hockey League.
“I feel young…even though I might look old,” began Spacek as he discussed a career that’s seen him play with six different teams – including the Oilers. “Coming into the league, 800 seemed like such a huge number it was hard to imagine ever reaching it. I’m really happy I did. It’s great to hit a big number like that, and now I hope I can hit one that’s even bigger.”
When asked if he remembered his first game in the NHL, the answer was instantaneous.
“Tampa Bay, we won 5-3. I ended up with a plus-2 on the night and was pretty happy with myself.”Youth Movement:
When the puck drops on Wednesday night, the defensive duo of Josh Gorges
and Hal Gill will likely find themselves charged, as they often are, with the task of shutting down the opposition’s top offensive weapons. With Edmonton as their opponents, the pairing will have to be ready to skate against a slew of young-guns – including top-pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Taylor Hall.
“I’m sure it’s tough, I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys. But they’re given the opportunity to play and in the end, that’s all they’re really asking for,” mentioned Gill on the subject of coming into the league shouldering high expectations. “Even though they have a lot of pressure on them, they’re usually the ones who put the most on themselves. Guys like that have to learn as they go, but they’re good enough and skilled enough to make up for the mistakes they make and keep progressing.”
While it was generally understood that most of the Habs would shed their “Movember” moustaches come Dec.1, the moustache generating the biggest debate was the one belonging to Carey Price
. After enjoying a stellar month of goaltending that saw him not only win the Molson Cup for a second straight time, but also lead all netminders in votes on the all-star ballot, people were beginning to wonder if the facial accoutrement might be his lucky charm.
“The fans have been amazing here. I really appreciate them jumping on board and supporting me. It’ll be great if I get in, but I’m just concentrating on winning games right now,” said Price of the 145,726 fans that have voted for him to date. But what about the moustache?
“Me and him are going to have to have a little talk later,” said Price with a quick scratch of his hairy upper-lip. “The ‘stache did some good work there, but it’s going to come off tonight. It’s getting a little itchy…”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com
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