-- First, they became Canadiens. Now a trio of Montreal Canadiens
' prospects are members of Team Canada.
of the Shawinigan Cataractes will join Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Nathan Beaulieu
and Brendan Gallagher
of the Vancouver Giants in Canada's quest for gold at the 2012 World Junior Championship. All three survived Canada's final cuts Wednesday morning and were named to the 22-man roster that will open the tournament against Finland on Dec. 26.
The thought of playing alongside future teammates in Montreal excites Gallagher.
"It's going to be really exciting," said Gallagher, who has 24 goals and 46 points with the Giants this season. "Obviously we've grown up together in the Habs' system and we've got to spend some camps together. For the three for us to play on this team together it'll be really special and something we talk about for years to come."
Beaulieu, the most recent addition to Montreal's stable after being selected with the 17th pick in last June's NHL Draft, appreciated the significance.
"It's special," he said. "I met them in the summer and they're two good guys. It's cool having this opportunity spending it with a couple fellow prospects."
Before making the team, all three had to survive camp.
That may have been more stressful on Bournival and Beaulieu than Gallagher, who was kept out of the team's final scrimmage, an indicator his position on the team was safe heading into final cuts.
"Obviously not playing it gives you a little bit of hope, but at the same time they didn't say anything," Gallagher said. "The nerves were still there, the indecision was still there. It's fun to wake up the next morning and get the news we did."
"It's going to be really exciting. Obviously we've grown up together in the Habs' system and we've got to spend some camps together. For the three for us to play on this team together it'll be really special and something we talk about for years to come." -- Brendan Gallagher
Bournival and Beaulieu got a little less sleep Tuesday night.
"During the night I woke up six times to check the clock," Bournival said. "I was pretty excited when I knew I made the team. It's a great honor."
For Beaulieu, nerves set in waiting for the call to tell him he'd been cut -- or the knock on the door to tell him he'd be spending Christmas with Team Canada.
"Very nerve-wracking, waiting for the phone to ring or a knock on the door," he said. "I didn't know what it was going to be."
Fortunately for Beaulieu, he got a knock. Now he, Gallagher and Bournival have an opportunity to earn Canada's first gold medal since 2009, something Bournival isn't taking lightly.
"I want to represent my country the best I can," said Bournival, who was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche
in exchange for defenseman Ryan O'Byrne
a year ago. "I want to win the gold medal."
Gallagher has similar aspirations.
"It's a chance to represent your country and the only real expectation is a gold medal and as players that's what you want so we're looking forward to that," Gallagher said.
And while fans will see the Canadian threesome wear the red and white of Canada's flag at the World Juniors, perhaps a little bleu could be in their future as well.