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Training camp - Day 4

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD – Despite being held on a Monday morning, the Habs’ third and final scrimmage of training camp still packed the stands at the Brossard practice facility. Hockey-hungry fans were treated to a showdown that saw Scott Gomez’s Team B edge out a 3-2 win over Brian Gionta’s Team C.

Team C finished the first half of the scrimmage with a 2-1 lead with the help of goals from Louis Leblanc and Ryan White, while Alex Henry notched an unassisted goal to get Team B on the scoreboard. But the second half of the game was all Team B as they stormed back to seal the victory with goals from Alexander Avstin and Josh Gorges.

Which Benny?: After strong debut with the Canadiens last season, Benoit Pouliot’s productivity took a noticeable slide as the team made its way toward the postseason and beyond. It’s no surprise then that the question on everyone’s mind approaching the 2010-11 campaign is, which version of the talented left-winger will the fans get to see?

“I know that my end to the last season was pretty flat, but I consider it to be a learning experience. I learned about myself and I learned about my game. It’s all in my hands right now and all I want to do is show I can stay consistent. In the playoffs, it’s not that I wasn’t trying – I had all the chances in the world but nothing worked out. Now, I’ve been strengthening my legs and adding speed and it’s up to me to prove that all the things I worked on all summer paid off.”

Born Again: Even after playing 720 games in the NHL, Habs acquisition Jeff Halpern still feels the same rush he did in his fist big league game back on Oct.2, 1999. The 34-year-old veteran will start the 2010-11 season, proud to be a Montreal Canadien after a career that included stints in Washington, Dallas, Tampa Bay and finally, Los Angeles.

“I feel like a rookie,” admitted the 10-year vet. “You always want to prove yourself to your teammates and your coach. I don’t think I’ve ever taken playing in the NHL for granted. Everyday, every game’s a battle. To be able to keep playing in this league is something special. To be able to do that in Montreal is even better. My father still can’t believe it.”

Staying Sharp: For the rookies, training camp is where you come to prove yourself. For the veterans, it’s the perfect place to sharpen your skills before the season gets underway. When asked just how long it takes to whip himself back into shape at the beginning of a new year, Tomas Plekanec, the Habs’ top point-getter from last season had this to say.

“It depends. Preseason games are always really important for me. I really feel like I need those games so I’ll be ready when the real ones roll around,” explained Plekanec. “Right now, I’m feeling great about my game, and I think it shows on the ice. You can work as hard as you want in the summer, but just working hard doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a 50 goal season.”

Game summary:
Team B: Henry (1), Avtsin (2), Gorges (1)
Team C: Leblanc (1), White (1)

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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