MONTREAL – Scott Gomez returns and Rene Bourque arrives on the morning of one of the Habs’ most important games of the season.
It’s been a wild ride for the Canadiens over the past 48 hours. With the dust finally settling around the changes taking place within the team, the Habs can get back to focusing on the only thing that really matters – collecting points. As they face off against the Senators Saturday night, the team can look forward to getting one healthy body back in the lineup as Randy Cunneyworth announced that Scott Gomez had been cleared for action.
“I woke up excited this morning – I’m just really glad to be back. Being around the guys for the last little couple of days has definitely been great for me and now I just want to help things start to get turned around here,” expressed Scott Gomez, who will be suiting up for his first game under Cunneyworth since being sidelined for 21 games with a lower-body injury on Nov. 23 in Carolina.
“I’m going to try and bring whatever I can, whether it’s on the bench or on the ice, just pumping guys up or whatever I can do. We all know the situation we’re in and the time is now to do something about it. We’re in this all together and hopefully things start turning around tonight,” continued Gomez who will find himself playing left wing on a line with center, Tomas Plekanec against the Sens.
“We lost a good teammate, but at the same time we’re getting a great guy coming in here. It’s a tough part of the business and starting today we’ve got other things to worry about and that’s picking up points,” added the Anchorage, Alaska native. “We all still believe we can make it into the playoffs here.”
The new teammate in question was also in action Saturday morning, skating for the first time with his new team after arriving in Montreal at 9:30 p.m. the night before after a whirlwind day of travel. After briefly getting to know the guys on ice, Rene Bourque also got acquainted with the Montreal media -- who he’ll likely be seeing just as much of over next couple of days.
“Where do you want me to start?” asked Bourque with a grin when asked what has been going through his mind since the trade. “I was on my way to the rink for the game and I heard Cammy had been pulled off the ice. I was on the bike to do a workout for the first period and one of the guys came to get me and I knew right away that it was probably for that reason. So, yeah, it was pretty surprising.”
Still sporting his new No. 27, the Habs’ big power forward was clearly still reeling from a busy couple of days. While his time in Calgary is in the past, Bourque is looking forward to his future in Montreal, starting Sunday evening against the Rangers.
“It’s tough and really emotional,” admitted Bourque still in his first 24 hours in Montreal. “You make good friends wherever you play and you’re going to miss them, but I’m looking forward to moving on and getting to know the guys here. I’ve always liked the city of Montreal and I always wanted to play here. I can’t wait to get on the ice tomorrow night in front of all the fans. Hopefully I can help this team out.”
Across the dressing room, Max Pacioretty weighed in on just what it meant to get the steadying veteran prescence of Gomez back in the lineup against the Sens at a time when the Habs need it the most.
“He’s a huge boost to us and is always a help to this team because he’s had so much success. Having him back in the lineup is going to help up tremendously. I think it’s completely irrelevant to look at his stats this season where he’s been battling injuries,” said Pacioretty. “It’ll be interesting to see what he does tonight. He’s a player that doesn’t just help on the ice but a lot in the room. He helps get guys in the right mindset for winning.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
A welcome addition
Changing on the fly
Michael Cammalleri traded to Calgary
The Numbers Game - Jan. 12, 2012
Carey Price among the stars