BROSSARD - "Opportunity Awaits". That's the Canadiens' unofficial slogan for the 2017 playoffs.
Short but meaningful, the motto is written on the backs of T-shirts produced exclusively for the players that were distributed on Wednesday morning ahead of Game 1 of their series against the New York Rangers.
The phrase is also written in each player's native tongue. In Norwegian forward Andreas Martinsen's case, for example, it's "Muligheter venter". But what unites them all is the saying featured on the front of the T-shirt under the Canadiens logo - "All in". In poker terms, that means putting your entire chip stack in play and going for the win. In hockey terms, it essentially means the same thing.
"This T-shirt means that we're all in it together and that it doesn't matter who you are or where you're from. Everyone's from different countries here. We have Russians, Finnish guys and Czech guys, among others," stressed Martinsen, one of only two Norwegian-born players in the NHL ranks - the other being the Rangers' Mats Zuccarello.
The initiative was well-received in the locker room, even giving the players a few laughs.
"It's a little funny because everyone is trying to read what's on the back of yours. I had a couple of guys trying to spell this in Norwegian and it was kind of funny. A couple of guys tried to pronounce it and they failed pretty hard. It's all in fun. It just shows that we're all in together," added Martinsen.
The Canadiens' coaching staff came up with the idea. They're hoping that the players can seize the opportunity in front of them, whether in English, French, Czech, Finnish, Norwegian, or Russian…