BOSTON — The Montreal Canadiens never have a shortage of drama with their rabid fan base and media contingent.
The latest episode coincided with the Canadiens’ arrival in Boston on Thursday, one day after Montreal forward Michael Cammalleri made waves with some inflammatory comments about his club by bemoaning the “losing mentality” of the Habs.
After Thursday’s morning skate, Cammalleri attempted to put his comments into a better context after the Montreal media had fanned the flames throughout the previous day’s news cycle.
“[Wednesday] was a little bit crazy,” Cammalleri said. “Obviously I was not happy. It’s an emotional game. We’re sitting in 12th spot. It’s not fun to lose. You want to win, so you always want to do more. That’s all. I made some comments that I thought were pretty PC comments with regards to the competitive advantage that a winning team has, a winning mentality and the lack thereof. I didn’t think it was groundbreaking news. We’re in the 12th spot. We’re not in a winning position right now. It was some pretty impressive journalism to make all that out of that.”
Cammalleri’s teammates also came to his defense.
“We talked about it with him,” forward Max Pacioretty said. “I talked about it with him. I heard his side of the story and it’s always a little bit different than what you read. I think Mike has a good heart and he wants to win games. We all do. Sometimes things get spun out of control, especially when you’re losing games. We’re behind Mike 100 percent. We’re behind everyone else on the team 100 percent. We’ve got to stick together right now, and that’s going to help us win games.”
Habs defenseman Hal Gill agreed and stressed that there was no dissension in the Montreal locker room.
“I don’t think there’s a problem in this room at all,” Gill said. “There’s a lot of frustration, obviously, from everyone. There’s a lot of guys that want to win. We’ve just got to make sure we get out there and get the job done.
“I don’t think it’s an issue at all,” Gill added. “The issue is out on the ice and getting wins.”
Gill also noted that Cammalleri wasn’t incorrect in his assessment of the team, which does sit in last place in the Northeast Division and 12th in the conference at 16-19-7 and is just 3-7-0 since Randy Cunneyworth took over as interim coach.
“It’s truth,” Gill said. “Unless you’re winning, you’re losers. We have to find a way to do the right things consistently so we can get those wins. Then we’ll be winners.”
And Gill added that losing like that can breed plenty of frustration.
“When you lose, it’s uncomfortable,” Gill said. “It’s miserable. Your food doesn’t taste good. It affects your whole life. And it’s frustrating. We want to win. We’re in the business of winning. If you don’t win, then things change and people get upset. It’s no good for anyone. We want to win.”
Cammalleri, meanwhile, made it clear that his comments weren’t a case of him trying to force his way out of town. He wants to remain with the Canadiens, which may be just as well as he could be hard to move with just 9-13-22 totals and a minus-6 through 37 games this season and a $6 million cap hit through 2013-14.
“I love Montreal,” Cammalleri said. “I just built a house in Montreal. I love playing in Montreal. It’s surprising to me. I think I’ve had somewhat of a love affair with the city. Things can change pretty quick, but not for me. I really enjoy it. My family loves it. I really enjoy what it means to play for the Montreal Canadiens, always have.”