After a tumultuous off-season that saw the team completely restructure their roster, the Montreal Canadiens are hoping to quickly establish chemistry as the team hit the practice ice on Wednesday.
Two of the newest Habs, Scott Gomez and Mike Cammalleri have wasted little time developing rapport away from the rink so that they can become accustomed to each others habits while on the ice.
"When I signed here we exchanged pleasantries,” Cammalleri said. “Once I got here we've hung out and gone to some dinners and tried to get to know each other."
Cammalleri, who has been skating on Gomez's left wing with Andrei Kostitsyn riding shotgun on the right, admitted that the acquisition of Gomez was one of the main reasons that he chose Montreal. He believes that they have already been able to establish chemistry despite the occasional hiccup.
"Today there was one play when I thought that he was cutting and I went the wrong way,” the former Flame admitted. “We're getting there."
While Gomez likes what he has seen so far, he believes that it is still a work in progress.
"Everyone outside the locker room probably thinks it's going to work right away but it takes time," he said.
Gomez hopes that he and Cammalleri are able to establish a similar bond that he shared with long-time linemates in New Jersey, Patrick Elias and Brian Gionta. Also recently signed by the Habs, Gionta enjoyed his best season in 2005-06 when he scored a career-high 48 goals while skating with Gomez. However, it took some time for the that line to come together.
"We usually got benched,” Gomez said. “But one day it just clicked. For two years there we knew exactly where to go and where the guys are going to be."
While it would seem logical to re-unite that combo, Gionta will not be in the lineup Thursday when the Canadiens face the Florida Panthers. Cammalleri has wisely consulted Gionta about his new linemate's tendencies, but he is not willing to divulge that information.
"He mentioned a couple of secrets of playing with Scott to me," he said. "But I'm not going to share them with you guys because then the rest of the league would know them."
It will be interesting to see if any of those secrets get revealed on Thursday in front of a packed house at the Bell Centre, something Gomez is unaccustomed to seeing for a pre-season contest.
"I asked probably the dumbest question today,” stated Gomez. “I asked ‘is it going to be a sellout?' Some of the guys just laughed at me."
After an extremely trying season where high expectations were not met, the sound of laughter in the locker room is likely a very welcome sound to Habs management and fans alike.