WINNIPEG - Three Habs will trade in their traditional bleu-blanc-rouge for gold and black at the end of the month in Los Angeles.
Named to the Atlantic Division All-Star squad on Tuesday, Shea Weber and head coach Michel Therrien -- along with previously-named captain Carey Price -- have a "golden" opportunity to show the rest of the league why they're among the class of the NHL.
"It's very flattering. When a coach gets named to the All-Star Game, it's representative of his entire team. The hard work of the players, the coaching staff, and the leadership group are all being recognized. I don't see this as a personal honor," underlined Therrien, who will attend his first All-Star Game after leading the Habs to the top of the division standings halfway through the season. "It's proof that our guys have all done remarkable work, and our leaders have been steadfast through the adversity we've faced so far."
Despite his claims to the contrary, though, the Habs' head coach has rightfully earned his spot behind the All-Star bench.
"Listen, he's the one behind our system, and all of the players here have bought into it," pointed out Phillip Danault, who -- despite not heading to Hollywood himself -- is enjoying a career year of his own under the guidance of Therrien this season. "The players are often the ones in the spotlight, but it starts with the coach and his staff. Credit to Michel Therrien."
Take it from an All-Star expert.
"Obviously success starts from the top -- implementing a system -- and then it comes down to us doing what we're told," stressed Shea Weber, who has become somewhat of a fixture at the league's annual marquee event. "Obviously we're all trying to achieve the same goal."
The All-Star Game might be old hat for Weber given his six career appearances in the event, but this year will be a little different for the two-time hardest shot winner.
"It's a huge honor to represent the league and the Canadiens during my first year here in Montreal. It's special for sure," said the 31-year-old blue-liner, who took part in the 2016 All-Star Game at home, in Nashville. "Last year was totally different, but it's always an enjoyable event."
Fans in L.A. meanwhile will get to enjoy watching Weber fire off his trademark slapper in person, albeit from the comfort -- and safety -- of their seats.
"Hopefully I'll get the chance [to defend my title]," continued the 6-foot-4, 232 pounder, who last year clocked in 108.1 mph. "The Skills Competition is all about having fun. Guys are very good at their craft, and it makes it fun to watch and compete in. It's going to be fun for everyone."
Especially for goaltenders, who for once, won't have to step in front of Weber's cannon.
"I don't doubt [that he's going to win it again]," shared Price, who will make his fifth All-Star appearance this month, and his first since 2015. "He's still got it…"
But while slapshots and hits will be kept to a minimum in the game itself, Price knows he'll still have his work cut out for him -- especially under the event's new offense-friendly 3-on-3 format.
"Well it's definitely going to be challenging, but it's for the fans and they want to see goals," he confirmed. "I'll just try to throw in a save every now and then."