And so it begins.
In just a handful of hours from now, on Tuesday evening, the Canadiens kick off pre-season by hosting the Dallas Stars, a team fresh from training camp in Charlottetown, and although the big marathon doesn’t begin until October 6th when the Habs prepare to wallop the Leafs in Toronto, at least the games are beginning after all these months of people doing what people do in the summer.
Drinking beer and ogling the opposite sex.
It’s going to be extremely interesting to see the slightly different Habs in these next eight games. No Roman Hamrlik and Benoit Pouliot now. No Brent Sopel, Tom Pyatt, Alex Auld, Jeff Halpern, Paul Mara, Alexandre Picard, and James Wisniewski.
In their place, Erik Cole and Peter Budaj are newcomers bound for the big club, but no way am I going to attempt to figure out who will graduate from the other dozen or so who are making noises. I’m hoping Alexei Yemelin makes the grade but that’s all you can get from me. Because I don’t have a clue what’s going through the heads of Jacques Martin and company.
This is the lineup for the Dallas game, from Canadiens.com
Goalies: Lawson and Price
Defensemen: Diaz, Gill, Tinordi, Weber, Woywitka, Yemelin
Forwards: Berger, Blunden, Cammalleri, Cole, Engqvist, Kostitsyn, Massé, Palushaj, Plekanec, Schultz, Trotter and Willsie.
The Guardian in Charlottetown reports that the Dallas Stars, the team in for a lousy and painful time at the Bell Centre, enjoyed their stay on the Island and all went well.
“It’s definitely been a nice experience,” said Stars forward Steve Ott.
“Everybody’s been first class and I have only positive things to say and especially being here has been a lot of fun. You want to work harder when you see a crowd come out to support the community and our team and it makes it easier to go out there and try hard.”
First-year head coach Glen Gulutzan agreed with Ott’s assessment of the training camp on the Island and has enjoyed working at the CARI Centre.
“(The facilities) are fabulous,” Gulutzan said.
“We have two rinks side-by side, we have a nice field outside for the guys to do stretching, the weather’s been great and coming (to the Charlottetown Civic Centre) to play in the big rink has been perfect so it’s a real good setup for us.”
Isn’t it going to be funny when the Dallas Stars become fully aware that their orange juice was spiked with copious amounts of ex-lax and Valium because so many of those fun-loving Islanders are Habs fans!
Game time on Tuesday is 7:30 PM eastern, or for me on the other side of the country – 4:30 PM, with the game being shown on good old RDS. In fact, seven of the eight preseason games will be televised. (The Canadiens in Ottawa on Friday won’t be).
A nice win for the Habs to kick things off would be swell. And don’t worry, Dallas Stars, the ex-lax and valium wear off after a day or so.