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Roman Hamrlik Burning With Anticipation

Transcibed from Le Journal De Montreal, August 17, 2007.

The Canadiens most important off season aquisition is burning with anticipation, anxious to start a new season in Montreal.

Roman Hamrlik is presently on holiday in Zlin, in his native Czech Republic. He'll head to Montreal in a few days to begin preparations for the upcoming training camp.

Hamrlik signed with the Canadiens July 3, bagging a four year, $22 million dollar deal.

"I'm anxious to live this new experience", said Hamrlik, "the Canadiens are a young team, but they have solid veterans like Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, and Bryan Smolinski. I feel the team now had all the required elements to make the playoffs. It is truly special, playing hockey in Canada, where the sport holds such importance."

Upon being asked, Hamrlik took his time to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of his new team.

"The team has talent and can defend itself with a collective and consistant effort", said the 33 year old defenseman. I am convinced that all players were left with a bitter taste after having come so close to making the playoffs. After missing out, they will most certainly wish to make amends."

"One thing is for sure, I will be doing everything possible to help the team have a better season."
When asked with whom he expected to be paired with defensively, Hamrlik seemed caught offguard.

"I can't say yet how Guy Carbonneau plans on making use of me, but I'll do all that he asks of me. I just hope that I get to play alot."

"I know that I can give the team a good push, whether it be during the powerplay, or while penalty killing. Whether it is myself or Andrei Markov, the Canadiens won't be powerless from the point with a man advantage."

Hamrlik, who will begin his 15th season this fall, is expewrienced enough to understand that the expectations in his reagard are high.

"I can play with the same efficiency as I did with Calgary, or anywhere else I've played. I'm a fast skating defenseman with lots of experience."

"In Calgary, I was asked to concentrate mainly on the more defensive aspects, but I believe the Canadiens are looking for me to contribute in more offensive ways."

Hamrlik is not unfamiliar with the demands of the hockey mad Montreal populace.

"Montreal is an extraordinary hockey city", he pointed out, "the fans of the Habs are studied and smart. It is very motivating for a hockey player in such conditions. I believe I will greatly appreciate this experience."

Hamlik was the first overall choice of the Tampa Bay Lightening in 1992. His first game with the Canadiens will be his 1000th career game. He are his career stats, courtesy of Hockey Database.