MONTREAL – For the Canadiens, “G” is Brian Gionta
, a modest-sized player bent on doing big things with the Habs.
In search of his form that saw him notch a career-high 48 goals and 89 points in 2005-06, Gionta isn’t walking into the complete unknown by inking a five-year deal with the Habs. He and fellow newest Canadien, Scott Gomez
go back, way back.
“Having people you’re familiar with always helps,” admitted Gionta via conference call. “We know each other really well. Scott and I grew up playing USA Hockey together when we were 15 years old and we’ve always clicked. Hopefully we’ll get that back here in Montreal.
“Everybody knows how Scott can play; he’s a talented player, he sees the ice well and he’s a great passer,” gushed Gionta of his former linemate and good buddy. “Playing with him was exciting and we had great chemistry.”
With his “bromance” with Gomez well documented, Gionta must now find out just how he will mesh with his new teammates. While the answer to the question won’t begin to be answered until training camp at the earliest, Gionta didn’t hesitate when asked to analyze the new-look Habs.
“The team has a ton of speed and we’re well-balanced,” assessed Gionta. “There’s been a lot of turnover, but when everyone comes together and gels, we’re going to have a great team here.”
Short jokes? Gionta has heard them all over the years and the speedy winger isn’t about to let the haters get to him now.
“I’ve dealt with that my whole life,” shrugged the 5-foot-7 Gionta. “It’s really nothing new and nothing to worry about.”
That is unless you’re an opposing defenseman trying to catch him. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.comRead also:Winds of change Extreme makeover Built for speed Habs sign Brian Gionta to a 5-year deal Catch of the day Offseason tracker