By Jeff Vinnick
Gatinueau's not Montreal. And it's certainly not Mexico either. Kind of reminds me of the prairies actually.
We bussed here immediately following the win over the Habitants. It's right across the Ottawa River from the nation's capital. I think the population's maybe 200,000. Kind of feels smaller.
It's got the big blue skies you miss in Vancouver because of the mountains, and the air is cold and crisp just like a sunny winter day on the prairies I remember growing up.
Guys practiced in Gatineua yesterday. Great old rink. Lots of wood and that small-town arena feel. The kind of place where renovations consist of a few new sheets of plywood and a seventh coat of high gloss paint. Guys love it.
Hotel's a different story. Not exactly the Westin Grand, but you can't pick and choose when you're doing the whole rustic thing. Still, it's nice and the people are as warm and accommodating as anywhere.
Think I mentioned in yesterday's blog that Vigneault played his junior hockey here. Lots of old friends. It's a real reunion tour for coach.
Only a handful of players are out for the game-day skate. Mostly stretching and some light rushing drills. The guys are resting up for the big showdown against the Sens tonight. Both clubs are streaking right now so the game holds more promises Toronto and Montreal had to offer - which wasn't much.
Do not quote me on this, but the guys back home asked me for some insider info: think Willie's likely still out with a groin injury, Luongo's fine, and Pyatt's most likely playing with a splint tonight.