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The Habs tee off

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
LAVAL-SUR-LE-LAC – The Montreal Canadiens annual golf tournament is usually considered the club’s unofficial way of kicking off a new season. One-by-one, the players made their way out to meet the press and answer a few questions before hitting the links.

Chemistry 101: When it was coach Jacques Martin’s turn to field questions from the Montreal media, the focus turned towards what he perceived to be the Canadiens’ keys to success in 2010-11. With a returning core of players now more familiar with what to expect from another season in Montreal - not to mention each other - Martin stressed he was looking forward to seeing how the chemistry of his team had evolved.

“Chemistry is going to be a lot better this year,” affirmed Martin. “We need to take the cohesiveness we developed in the playoffs and carry it into this year to have a strong start to the season. We’re still looking to work on certain things like creating more consistent offence, but right now the guys are happy to be back together and excited to get playing.”

In Good Company: After a productive season and an even more impressive playoff run that saw him lead all NHLers with 13 goals, Mike Cammalleri is planning to push even harder in the Habs’ upcoming campaign. When asked about his confidence in the Canadiens’ goaltending, Cammalleri made it clear that the Habs’ road to success depends on the team playing for each other and standing up for one another, both on and off the ice.

“Carey’s a very talented goaltender and a very well-liked and respected guy in the room. We want to be able to play well in front of him, and people need to understand that win or lose it’s never just the fault of one guy,” said the speedy left-winger. “We all really want to support him.”

The Next Step: Before teeing off, centerman Scott Gomez took a moment to sound off on his feelings about last season’s finish, the upcoming year and even the Montreal media.

“We had a great run but we obviously wanted to get into the final and didn’t make it. This year, we really just want to make sure we all stay healthy so we can continue to play together. As long as we win, it doesn’t matter who scores. I’ll tell you, all the guys in the room really love playing here…we’re even getting used to you guys,” he joked, referring to the Montreal media, with whom he tried his hand at French moments earlier. “You’re a pain in the neck, but you’re our pain in the neck.”

Price Change: After a summer of being scrutinized by the Montreal media, a very happy looking Carey Price came out to meet the press. The 23-year-old goalie spent his summer in B.C. accompanied by his goaltending coach, Pierre Groulx. While a large contingent of the Montreal faithful felt that he was too easily handed the spot as the Habs No.1 goalie, Price knows he still has to prove himself.

“I think I’m a little more humble this year, and I know things aren’t going to just be given to me – I’m going to have to earn them. I have to earn my time, because I know Alex [Auld] is going to be pushing hard to earn his,” said Price. “I want the main pressure I deal with to be the pressure I put on myself. I have a lot to prove to myself.”

News To Me: All eyes were on Brian Gionta Thursday morning, amid media rumors that he was slated to be named as the next captain of the Montreal Canadiens. When asked to comment on the subject, No.21 made sure to set the record straight.

“Of course it would be an honor to be made captain,” admitted Gionta, also noting that he had seen the papers as well that morning, but that nothing was confirmed. “I don’t know if being a captain in Montreal would be harder than it would in another city. I’ve never been a captain anywhere else in the NHL, so I wouldn’t really know. I don’t think having the “C” on my jersey would put any extra pressure on me.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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