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True Grit

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD -- Armed with the first one-way contract of his NHL career Ryan White heads into the 2011-12 season with more experience, more confidence and more to prove than ever before.

By the time he had settled into the frenetic rhythm on which he closed out the Canadiens last campaign, it was clear to Montreal fans that the young Brandon, Manitoba native had indeed carved out a niche for himself within the team. Obviously having no intention of resting on his laurels, White, along with a few other teammates, continued to make the most of the offseason, taking to the Brossard ice to run a few drills.

White's Gordie Howe Hat-Trick
“I’ve just been trying to stick to the same kind of training that I always have this summer. The goal is always to keep getting in better and better shape so I can come back bigger, faster and stronger,” mentioned White of his offseason regiment. “That’s why I’m here early with these other guys – I’m trying to get a little bit ahead of the game and get ready for camp.”

Called up in 2010-11 to provide a shot of size and grit to the Habs offense, White did more than just that, hitting the ice seemingly bent on making every second of every shift count, while making any player not wearing the bleu-blanc-rouge pay the price in the process. White finished the regular season with 70 hits under his belt, good enough to rank 10th on the team in that category – a fact that takes on a new light upon realizing he played in only 27 games, averaged 8:55 of ice time, and almost every player to register more hits laced up roughly 50 more times than he did.

While his new contract may not guarantee him a permanent spot on the roster, it will likely go a long way towards building his confidence even further from last season, something that White admitted was a major contributing factor in his elevated play as the year wore on.

“There’s always a lot to prove no matter what, but it’s definitely a nice feeling to have the contract backing you up a little bit coming into camp. It helps put your mind at ease and let’s you feel like you’re under a little less pressure,” explained White. “But I’m obviously still trying to come in here and earn my spot, and I’m still looking to try and take jobs from guys ahead of me. I just want to keep getting better and help my team win and a good compete level will do that.”

White’s presence in the lineup not only provides the rest of the Habs with a teammate who’s ready and willing to go toe-to-toe with any member of the opposition should the need arise, but also a high-energy skater whose intensity on the ice has the power to swing the momentum of a game whether through a fight, a barrage of hits or a general willingness to sacrifice himself for the good of the team.

While these elements of White’s game are not likely to change any time soon, don’t look for the young forward to complicate his style of play heading into the upcoming campaign – in other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“I’m not looking to put too many personal goals on myself at this point. My real objective right now is just to play the best I can whenever I step onto the ice,” finished White. “If I come in focused and ready to go every night, I should have a pretty good season. My main goal is to help my team win and I’m ready to do that any way I can, every time we play.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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