Welcome back, Sammy

Literally dozens of fans braved a damp, chilly morning to welcome Sergei Samsonov back to Montreal today.

As the parade wound its way down Querbes Ave. in Park Extension, Samsonov, who’s in town with the Carolina Hurricanes, waved to his adoring public, many of whom were privileged to witness each of the nine goals he scored in 63 games for the Canadiens during the 2006-’07 season.

Samsonov, freshly signed to a three-year free agent contract at $3.5 million per, played left wing on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Alex Kovalev, as well as logging considerable ice time on the power play – not to mention several nights in the pressbox.

After a disappointing season in which they fiished out of the playoffs, the Canadiens traded Samsonov to Chicago, where he was scoreless in 23 games before being placed on waivers last season.

Claimed by Carolina, Samsonov scored 14 goals in 38 games and signed a new three-year contract  that’s paying him $2.5 million this season. He is goose eggs and minus-3 in seven games for the Hurricanes.

Samsonov is a Calder Trophy winner who has played for five different NHL teams – exceeded only by Bryan Berard, who’s worn six jerseys but has the excuse of being blind in one eye.

To mark this auspicious occasion, the first 1,00 fans at the Bell Centre tonight will receive a Sergei Samsonov doll. Wind it up and it skates frantically around the perimeter.

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