MONTREAL - It's been said that you don't know what you've got until it's gone.
Tomas Plekanec didn't need to leave Montreal to realize how much he loved his first NHL hockey home, but his absence did make his heart grow fonder when it comes to at least a few of his favorite things in the city. We caught up with the longtime Hab - who will enter 2018-19 just two games shy of hitting the 1,000 games played benchmark - and asked him to list the five things he missed most about Montreal prior to re-signing with the Canadiens as a free agent on July 1.
1. The restaurants: I really like Mandy's. I got into it last year - either the one on Crescent or in Old Montreal. I went there with a couple of guys last season. Jacob de la Rose is also a big fan. I go with the Belle Salad, usually, with mock chicken, half-dressed. I also like Portus 360. It's in the EVO building on the top and the view is great. I usually take people there when they come from out of town.
2. The Atwater Market: We always went as a family because my son had a gymnastics class there. I would always drop him off and then spend some time at the market walking around. It's a pretty cool spot to hang around for an hour or two.
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3. Nuns' Island: We love living on Nuns' Island. It's like living in the city without living right in the city. Everyone knows each other. It's just a perfect spot for us. We've lived there for eight years.
4. The Bell Centre: Being in Montreal for so long, you see how unbelievable the fans are at the Bell Centre. It's such a fun building and a great place to play. I missed the Bell Centre, for sure.
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5. The goatee: I grew it back, so I obviously missed it. (laughs) I didn't actually mind being without - it was weird at first, but I got used to it. The hardest thing was that I had to shave every three days.