TAMPA BAY – Fans can expect to see two new faces in the Canadiens’ lineup on Tuesday night.
With the trade deadline at their backs and the last 19 games of the season ahead of them, the Canadiens welcomed two new teammates into the fold for their morning skate at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Both bringing something very different to the table, Brad Staubitz and Blake Geoffrion donned Nos. 25 and 57 respectively to hit the ice with the Habs for the first time.
“Last night I drove from Hamilton to Buffalo, took a plane from Buffalo here and then took a taxi to the arena,” explained Geoffrion of his route to join the team in the Florida. Catching only the tail end of practice, the Bulldogs call-up was made to feel at home right away, taking center ice for the team stretch.
“It’s a great feeling. When I walked in the door today the first guy I met was Brian Gionta. He’s a great player and he’s played for a long time so that was pretty special for me. Right now, I’m just thrilled and excited to be here,” shared Geoffrion before offering a few words on the process of choosing his new number with the Canadiens.
“My Dad and my family, we talked about it, and the training staff here was nice enough to call me and ask me what number I wanted to wear. I just thought it would be good to honor my grandfather and my great-grandfather, so I picked 57,” explained Geoffrion on his decision to combine the Nos. 5 and 7 of Hall-of-Famers/family members, Bernard “Boom Boom” Geoffrion and Howie Morenz to create his own.
Well aware that he has a certain legacy to live up to when donning the Canadiens’ emblem, Geoffrion seems ready to face the challenge, having exploded with eight points in five games since joining the organization as a member of the Bulldogs.
“I was actually talking to P.K. on the ice there and he told me to use that emotion and play with it – and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m my own player, I’m excited to be here and I’ve met a lot of great guys so far. It’s going to be fun tonight,” finished Geoffrion, who is expected to play on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Ryan White against the Lightning. “We’ll have some good grit on one side and Plekanec is obviously a heck of a player. It’ll be an honor to play with him.”
Picked up off waivers from the Minnesota Wild before yesterday’s trade deadline, the Canadiens’ newest acquisition, Brad Staubitz was also on hand Tuesday morning to take his first strides as a Hab.
“I was a little bit surprised. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen when I was put on waivers. When I found out that I was going to be coming here, I was really excited,” dropped the 27-year-old Edmonton native. “Just to be able to put on this jersey is something special for me – especially being a Canadian. This is a new opportunity here for me now.”
After playing over 200 NHL games split between the Sharks and the Wild, Staubitz is ready to use his size and grit to play a similar role with the Canadiens.
“They picked me up for a reason. I play a very physical game and I hit,” explained Staubitz. “That’s what got me to where I am today, and so that’s the way I’m going to continue to play and try to fit into the game plan that way.”
While it may be Staubitz’s first time suiting up in the Eastern Conference and his first day suiting up as a Hab, there are a at least a few friendly faces in the Habs dressing room to help welcome him to the group.
“I played with Mathieu Darche for two years. I also played with Josh Gorges and Travis Moen in San Jose, so there are a few familiar faces here,” finished Staubitz. “It helps you to feel like you’re part of the team.”
Staubitz and Geoffrion will both make their debut with the Canadiens when the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night in Tampa Bay.
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
Jean Beliveau hospitalized after suffering a stroke
Geoffrion called-up ; Leblanc reassigned
Brad Staubitz claimed off waivers