BROSSARD -- On the eve of their first playoff game against the Bruins, the Habs board their flight to Boston, ready for war.
Following a short Wednesday morning skate at their practice facility in Brossard, the Habs took time to address the media before departing to face the Bruins. Beyond all the talk of strategy, it was ultimately trust in one another and confidence in the team that was the focus of conversation for the Canadiens.
“They can try to intimidate us, but in the end, this is the time of year where you find out what you’re really made of. This group of guys has always been able to step up as individuals when it’s been required of them. Because of that, I have a lot of trust in my teammates and know we’ll be able to do just that,” expressed veteran Hal Gill who stood out as a defensive pillar for the Habs during their 2009-10 playoff run, blocking 68 second-season shots, the second most of any player in the league.
“There’s really no panic button with this group. We’ve been though adversity and proved that we could come back from a 3-1 deficit like we did last year, and you can be sure we’ll put the same determination in this year because experience counts for nothing if you don’t find a way to use it.”
Despite not yet being a member of the team during last season’s march to the Eastern Conference finals, James Wisniewski is quickly getting a feel for the Montreal playoff frenzy as he gets set to step into the middle the Original Six rivalry.
“The ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup and there’s no other place to do it than in Montreal,” said Wisniewski, whose booming slap shot will be an integral part of the Habs finding success with their special teams. “It’s the time of year when an individual’s success is really a team’s success and this is something we need to do as a unit. We have to get into the tough battles, sacrifice, and make sure we hit them as much as they hit us.”
After a baptism by fire style introduction to the playoff last year, only having disputed two regular-season games in the NHL, rookie defenseman P.K. Subban
is looking forward to being able to take a little experience in with him this time around.
“Last year I got thrown into this same kind of mix and I knew I had things that I needed to improve on. If anything, I guess I can always remind myself that I’ve been here before, because all it takes is an opportunity and given that opportunity you can really make an impact,” pointed out the 21-year-old in the lead up to his second tour of duty with the team.
“We’re all feeling good right now. It helps to know that we’re going into this with the same core group from last year. People seem to forget how so many guys in this room completely elevated their game during those playoffs. Guys like Gomez, Moen and Gionta really helped carry the team on their shoulders,” finished Subban.
“In this room, as a player, I know the kind of guys I’m going into to war with and I’m pretty happy to able to go with those guys.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.ALSO SEE:
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