Among the sellout crowd at the Bell Centre for the Canadiens’ season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night was rookie Alex Galchenyuk’s father, mother and sister.
“He wasn’t freaking out nervous—he was excited nervous,” 25-year-old Anna said of her 18-year-old brother.
“You could see in his eyes he couldn’t wait to get out there.”
The excitement and joy of watching Galchenyuk make his NHL debut still lit up their faces on Monday as his mother and sister recounted the experience at a downtown Montreal hotel with The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell. (Alex Sr. was at the Bell Centre at the time watching the Canadiens practice.)
“Goosebumps, tears, everything altogether,” Anna laughed, recalling her reaction during the pregame introductions.
You can read Branswell’s story by clicking here.
The Gazette’s Pat Hickey reports that you could almost hear the strains of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Getting to Know You in the background as Canadiens coach Michel Therrien explained his line juggling Monday in preparation for the Florida Panthers’ visit to the Bell Centre Tuesday night (7:30 p.m., RDS, TSN 690 Radio).
“I only started learning my team last week in training camp,” Therrien said. “We had no exhibition games and Saturday was the first time I saw them in competition. I’m learning about them and they’re learning about me.”
Read Hickey’s article by clicking here.
New Habs tough-guy Brandon Prust has been labelled the “new sheriff in town” and wasted no time dropping the gloves seven minutes into the season opener against Maple Leafs enforcer Mike Brown.
The 28-year-old Canadiens winger scored the free-swinging decision, coming on just his second shift with the Habs, when he yanked the jersey over Brown’s head and the officials jumped in.
“The fight was half-decent,” Prust told The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs in self-critique, this not the first time he’s thrown down with Brown. “He’s a tough kid and we battled back and forth. The refs jumped in kind of early, I would have liked it to be a little longer.”
“Maybe next time.”
Read Stubbs’s column by clicking here.
The Gazette’s Brendan Kelly reports that the Canadiens are getting their very own reality series, a behind-the-scenes look at the team à la really cool HBO hockey documentary series 24/7. TV crews have already been following the players and coaches around and 24CH will have its premiere on RDS on Saturday, with the series airing in English on TSN2.
Read Kelly’s column by clicking here.
RDS announced that Saturday’s Habs-Leafs game was watched by 1,286,000 people on the French-language network. More than 3.3 million viewers watched the game on CBC, making it the most-watched regular season Prime East game ever on CBC.
The Panthers and Alex Kovalev, who visit the Bell Centre Tuesday night, were shut out 4-0 by the Ottawa Senators on Monday.
Kovalev told the Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren that he’s happy to be back in the NHL and blamed his problems when he was with the Senators on coach Cory Clouston. Read more by clicking here.
(Photo by Brendan Kelly/The Gazette)