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They said it: Defensemen

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD -- Here’s what a few of the Canadiens’ defensemen had to say about the 2009-10 season that was before packing up their gear and heading home for the summer:

All for one: Battered and bruised from his shot-block filled spring with the Habs, a proudly mustachioed Josh Gorges is the embodiment of the fighting spirit the Canadiens showed in 2009-10. The reliable blue-liner still can’t help but shake his head about how far he and his teammates have come.

“There were a lot of new faces that came in this year and I remember everyone asking how long it would take for us to jell and become a team. There was no way to predict how long it would take and it took a full 82 games and then it all just clicked for us at the right time. We’ve got a pretty special group here and we proved that.”

Stepping stones: With his ninth season in bleu-blanc-rouge now officially in the books, the longest-serving Hab on the current roster reflected on the positive results of the Canadiens’ extreme makeover last summer.

“It wasn’t easy at the beginning of the season with an all-new team, but after the Olympic break we started playing good hockey,” described Andrei Markov. “The new guys – especially the veteran guys – brought so much experience for our locker room and they helped us a lot. It’s great for the team and you see the result right now.

“We beat two good teams in the playoffs and played good hockey in the playoffs and the regular season so it’s a good step forward,” added the All-Star blue-liner. “Hopefully it’s going to help us in the future; next year and maybe even after that.”

History in the making: Hal Gill is no stranger to playing on teams with their share of history and tradition, including previous stints in Toronto and Boston. Having experienced life in half of the NHL’s Original Six cities, the king-sized defenseman is particularly impressed by Montreal’s storied past after his first season in the city.

“I learned a lot about the team and the history this year,” offered Gill, who got to rub elbows on and off the ice with some of the Canadiens’ greatest legends leading up to the team’s Centennial this past December. “I grew up in Boston so I always thought Boston was a better team than Montreal. Now I’ve seen the other side of the coin. It’s helped me really appreciate the organization and how much it has accomplished and the rich history associated with it.”

Fitting in: Called in for reinforcement at the start of the season, Marc-Andre Bergeron quickly set about carving out a niche for himself on the Canadiens’ power play thanks to his bullet shot from the point. With his one-year deal with the Habs about to expire this July 1, Bergeron knows exactly what jersey he wants to be pulling on next fall. 

“I’ve never made a secret of it. I’ve said all along that I want to come back to Montreal,” clarified the Trois-Rivieres native. “I think with the year we had and coming off that playoff run, there are a lot of players who will want to come to Montreal. Whatever happens, happens. After today, it’s out of my control. I hope I’ve proven that I belong here in the NHL after this year.”

See also:
Enjoying the view 
They said it: Goalies
They said it: Forwards 
The ride ends here 
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