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Return to roots has Ryder excited for future

by Neil Acharya

TORONTO -- What once was old is new again for forward Michael Ryder.

Drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1998, Ryder, 32, has returned for a second stint after being traded by the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

Ryder, who spent his first four seasons with the Canadiens, reflected on how things have changed since he departed from Montreal and signed with the Boston Bruins in 2008.

"As you go around the League, you learn a lot of things and experience is a big thing," Ryder said. "I've been through a lot, won [the Stanley Cup] in Boston, then I went to Dallas -- [I'm] just trying to bring some experience to the young guys here and try to help everyone as much as I can."


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Ryder, on a six-game point streak prior to being shipped back to Montreal along with Dallas' third-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft in exchange for Erik Cole, has six goals and 14 points this season.

After the morning skate Wednesday, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien did not indicate where Ryder would play in the lineup that night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but did say the addition will bolster his lineup.

"We are excited to have him back, he is the type of player that we were looking for," Therrien said. "He is a good shooter, good on the power play, I believe it's a great addition to our hockey team."

An added advantage is Ryder's ability to play under a microscope in a pressure-packed hockey market like Montreal.

"I don't think [the pressure] really got to me when I was here in the first place," Ryder said. "I started here and got kind of used to it; it grows on you and you get adjusted to it. It's not going to affect me too much. I know how to deal with it pretty much anyways."

Ryder had 207 points in 314 games with Montreal.

If Ryder was having any trouble feeling at home again, rookie Brendan Gallagher went a long way in removing any obstacles. The 20-year-old gave Ryder back his old No. 73 and will now wear No. 11.

"That is nice of him to do that, I had that number my whole career," Ryder said with a smile. "I will probably give him something later on after I have a chat with him."

Gallagher joked that he didn't set a price, but that he would gladly take something from Ryder for the exchange.

"The trainers called me this morning and let me know that he was looking to switch," Gallagher said. "I told them go ahead … I'm not too picky; anything with Rolex on it, I will take."

Forward, Max Pacioretty, who leads the Canadiens with 14 points, is looking forward to having another sharpshooter on a team that is first place in the Eastern Conference and has gone 6-0-2 since losing to the Maple Leafs 6-0 at home Feb. 9.

"Obviously, a guy with a shot that can change a game is a guy you want on your team," Pacioretty said. "From the little things I know about him, I know he has a great shot and he can pretty much score from anywhere."

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