Simply brilliant

Posted on 23 July 2014 | Comments Off

MONTREAL – If many Canadiens fans weren’t familiar with Dustin Tokarski a few months ago, it’s safe to say they are now. After Carey Price was injured in Game 1 of the series against the New York Rangers, the general consensus was that the Canadiens’ chances of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals were slim. It was at that very moment that Tokarski made his presence felt, taking on the incredible challenge that came with filling in for Price, who was coming off the best season of his career both with the Canadiens and on the international stage, guiding Team Canada to a gold medal in Sochi in late February. The somewhat controversial decision to go with Tokarski ahead of veteran backup Peter Budaj paid dividends in the end, affording Michel Therrien’s troops the opportunity to keep their playoff hopes alive as the young netminder proved his worth against the Rangers. While the Canadiens failed to down the Blueshirts, who moved on to play the Los Angeles Kings in the Finals, Tokarski had no reason to be down on himself after posting a 2.60 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in five games against New York. The 25-year-old Watson, SK native described the opportunity to compete in the postseason for the first time as a very enriching experience. “It was an incredible experience and a huge opportunity,” offered Tokarski. “It was amazing to get the chance to play in the playoffs, and a real honor to play for this team.” If we recall Tokarski’s standout efforts in the playoffs, we mustn’t overlook his body of work during the regular season. While the Canadiens didn’t call on him often, Tokarski still managed to make his mark by picking up two wins in two starts, including a shutout against the Sabres. While with the Bulldogs, Tokarski posted a 2.22 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage, which, interestingly enough, matched that of Price in 2013-14. The three-time All-Star didn’t hesitate to praise Tokarski once the season came to a close. “He did good work,” affirmed Price. “It’s one of the toughest situations a guy can find himself in and he really excelled. He showed everybody the reason why he’s been a winner at every level. He’s a great guy and I have to tip my cap to him. He did excellent work.” His playoff performances also impressed Montrealers, many of whom began wondering what the future had in store for Tokarski with the CH. Will he serve as Price’s backup next season? Will he head back down to Hamilton? Tokarski, however, isn’t thinking about that too much right now, but he does admit that Montreal is where he’d like to be in 2014-15. “It’s pretty easy to answer that question. I’d love to play in Montreal, but I’m going to focus on what I can control before next season,” confided Tokarski. “I’ll enjoy my summer, work hard, and then I’ll see what next year will bring. I’m not looking that far ahead right now. I’m living in the moment.” If the Rangers put an end to the Canadiens’ dream of claiming their first Stanley Cup title since 1993, they certainly didn’t rattle Tokarski, who moved closer and closer to achieving his ultimate goal of playing in the NHL. “We didn’t come out on top, but I learned a lot, and I’m excited to see what the future will bring,” mentioned Tokarski. “The goal is to play in the NHL. I was lucky to get the call during the season, and you have to be ready to go at any moment. It was a little bit crazy. At that time, I never thought I’d be suiting up for the Canadiens in the playoffs. It was a great experience.” One that ensured Dustin Tokarksi will be a household name no matter where he plays come October. Élise Robillard is a writer for Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.

The Last Word: Gael Garcia Bernal

Posted on 22 July 2014 | Comments Off

Having made his on-screen debut at the tender age of one back home in Guadalajara, Mexico, before reaching full-blown heartthrob status during a stint starring in telenovelas as a teen, Gael Garcia Bernal has spent over three decades in the spotlight. Breaking out in the other two-thirds of North America thanks to his roles in Y Tu Mama Tambien and The Motorcycle Diaries, the 35-year-old is a rising star in Hollywood and recently served on the main competition jury at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. We caught up with the actor/director/producer during a stop in town for the Montreal Documentary Film Festival, where he took a break to take in a Habs game and discuss his love of all things bleu-blanc-rouge. You’ve been to Toronto before for TIFF, but was this your first time in Montreal? GAEL GARCIA BERNAL: This was my first time here. I like it a lot. A lot. I love the softness here. Even though it’s cold and might look harsh, there’s something soft about it. People know each other. It’s a friendly place. You speak quite a few languages. Have you had a chance to show off your French a little while you’ve been here? GGB: Un petit peu. (laughs) Ever been on the ice? GGB: It’s a real shame because with all the time I need to devote to acting, I think the Canadiens are missing out on a great, great forward. (laughs) If the coaches know I’m here, perhaps this could be my opportunity. I already have the jersey and that’s really all you need, right? I’m sure somebody can lend me some skates. Was this your first time at a hockey game? GGB: This was my first game and I hope to understand at least some of the rules. I don’t understand, for example, what a foul would be. They hit each other really badly, it seems. A good tip is if there’s ever blood, that’s usually a good sign it’s a penalty. GGB: (laughs) Perfect, so if there’s no blood, keep playing! You fight until someone puts his knee to the ground. I know the offside works a little like soccer, at least. You were featured in Nike’s Write the Future ad with Cristiano Ronaldo. Are you a big soccer fan? GGB: Huge. I absolutely love soccer. Cristiano is a beast. It’s like he has an extra vertebrae or something. He’s agile as hell and an amazing football player. I get so star-struck with athletes. Other than the Montreal Canadiens, what’s your favorite pro sports team? GGB: In football, my team is Pumas from Mexico City, but they were absolutely awful last year. I know this isn’t how sports works, but sometimes losing can be good because it makes you better. At least that’s what I tell myself when the team is as bad as it was. In baseball, I grew up liking the Dodgers. Y Tu Mama Tambien is one of those rare foreign films that found critical and commercial success in North America under its original title. Were you surprised to see how well-received it was? GGB: I was very surprised. It followed the trend where many films weren’t translated to English for their North American release. I think it’s just a sign of the times we’re living in. More and more people speak Spanish in the United States and even in Canada. There’s more space here for different cultures to flourish, and it makes for an interesting mosaic. You also starred alongside Will Ferrell in Casa de Mi Padre last year. Were you surprised to see Will sign on to do a movie entirely in Spanish? GGB: I thought there was something weird going on like a missed translation, like, ‘Really? Is he going to act in Spanish?’ He actually speaks Spanish really well. We laughed about how he was looking to cross over into Spanish-speaking roles and start starring in movies in Columbia and Argentina. He’s been called for many Spanish soap operas since then, and he’s been turning them all down. (laughs) How hard did you push to make a cameo in Anchorman 2? GGB: The bastard didn’t call me! (laughs) I have to talk to him about that. I could have been the token Spanish-speaking guy! You’ve been on camera since you were a year old and you’ve managed to transition from child star to a critically-acclaimed actor while avoiding tabloids and the circus that often comes with it. If you could give some advice to the Miley Cyrus’ of the world, what would you say? GGB: Ok, yes, I do have some advice. I took it as it was: a fun experience. I had one of the best times of my life, but it was about the journey. I never left school – I kept doing normal things, living a normal life. Back in those days, there wasn’t social media or TMZ or anything, so I don’t know if that’s still possible, but it’s just about taking it as it comes. Have you been hounded by paparazzi since coming to North America? GGB: A little bit, but I’m fortunate because they follow me to the supermarket to buy diapers. They get really bored with me really fast. That’s the real secret: what I do underground, stays underground! (laughs) Catch Gael in Jon Stewart’s directorial debut Rosewater, set to hit theaters in 2014, and keep up with him in real-time on Twitter, @GaelGarciaB. This article, written by Shauna Denis, was published in CANADIENS magazine Vol. 28 No. 5.

Mount Rushmore – Alex Galchenyuk

Posted on 21 July 2014 | Comments Off

If you could sculpt your own Mount Rushmore, what famous faces would you chisel into the iconic rock face? We asked Alex Galchenyuk that very question... Alexander Galchenyuk Sr. He played hockey. I always looked up to him. He helped me a lot growing up. He always told me to be myself. Michael Jordan I always admired how hard he worked and how confident he was in his abilities. When he was in a certain zone, he knew how to make those clutch plays. I just enjoyed watching that. Floyd Mayweather People always judge him based on his lifestyle, but I like to focus on his boxing ability and what he’s done in the ring. Sometimes lifestyle overshadows hard work. The way he trains is unbelievable. He’s just so sharp. Wayne Gretzky He’s the greatest hockey player of all time. He made unbelievable plays, and he was just so much smarter than everyone else on the ice. He had great hockey sense, and he was just so quick and mobile up and down the rink. He was spectacular.

Canadiens sign first round pick Nikita Scherbak to a three-year contract

Posted on 21 July 2014 | Comments Off

MONTREAL (July 21, 2014) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, announced today the signing of 2014 first round pick Nikita Scherbak to a three-year, entry level contract (2014-15 to 2016-17). In 65 regular season games with the WHL Saskatoon Blades in 2013-14, the 6’2’’ and 189 lbs forward collected 78 points (28 goals, 50 assists), and was assessed 46 penalty minutes. Scherbak led his team in goals, assists and points (35 points ahead of the team’s runner-up in scoring), as well as powerplay goals (8). He also led all WHL rookies in scoring by a 19-point margin. Scherbak was the WHL Eastern Conference finalist for Rookie of the Year. A native of Moscow, Russia, Scherbak played for Team Russia in the 2013 Subway Super Series – playing for the first time on the international stage while representing his country. He also participated in the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Prior to joining the Blades, Scherbak played in the Russian MHL U-22 League with the Kapitan Stupino team, posting seven goals and 14 points as a 16-year old in 2012-13. The 18-year old right winger was selected in the first round, 26th overall by the Canadiens at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He participated in his first development camp with the Canadiens earlier this month.

Hab at Heart – Jay Baruchel

Posted on 19 July 2014 | Comments Off

MONTREAL – If you followed Jay Baruchel’s career over the last few years, two things stand out : his outstanding sense of humour and his unwavering allegiance to the Montreal Canadiens. Whether it be on movie sets in Hollywood or on Twitter, the NDG resident proudly sports the bleu-blanc-rouge through both good and bad. The crew met up with the Montreal-based actor to learn more about his love for all things CH. How long have you been a Habs fan? JAY BARUCHEL: That’s like asking someone how long they’ve been Jewish or Catholic. Basically, my whole life. And, I use those two examples because my mom is Catholic and my dad is Jewish, but the only thing I was, was a Habs fan. Even when my family moved to Oshawa, ON, just outside of Toronto, when I was five-years-old, I was still wearing Habs gear at school every day. My dad painted my whole room bleu-blanc-rouge. We represented Montreal the whole time we were in Ontario before we came back here in 1994, the year after the Cup, which was a pretty decent time to come back home. Even in high school, I might’ve been more interested in other stuff, but the Habs have always been a part of my life in some capacity. So you remember the 1993 Cup run? JB: Vaguely. I was nine-years-old. But to be perfectly honest, the thing I remember the most after we won the Cup is my dad being really, really hammered! (laughs) He was screaming and annoying everyone in Oshawa and Kingston. We didn’t hide it. He would drive through the streets and roll down the windows of his car and sing ‘Les Canadiens, les Canadiens, sont là!” Montrealers aren’t really subtle people! What’s your fondest Habs memory? JB: For me, in my generation, we lived through the Cups, but they weren’t a part of our lives. Our Habs are Saku Koivu’s teams. Personally, when Saku came back from cancer after being away for so long, I’ll always remember that ovation and him at center ice. That’s heavy duty. People can say whatever they want about him, but Saku Koivu is my captain. I watched him for more than a decade. What he meant to this team, to this city, it’s unbelievable. I remember being at the Bell Centre when he got hit in the eye by Justin Williams [in the 2006 playoffs]. I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. It’s hard when I go down to L.A. and hang out with my friends who are Kings fans and everybody loves Justin Williams out there! (laughs) Have you ever dreamed about one day suiting up for the Habs? Did you ever play hockey as a kid? JB: I wasn’t playing particularly well! (laughs) I was never a good skater. I played a lot of street hockey. The only organized sports I’ve ever played was softball when I was a kid. Even though you’re in and out of town throughout the year, do you have time to swing by the Bell Centre occasionally for a game? JB: I do, indeed. Actually I used to be a season ticket holder for two years. But, to be perfectly honest, I don’t really enjoy being in a big crowd of people. It’s not really my thing. If I can watch a game at my place in my pajama with my friends over, it’s awesome. That being said, there hasn’t been a year where I haven’t been to at least three games at the Bell Centre. We’ve seen you attending some L.A. Kings games the last couple of years, including some playoff games. How does the atmosphere at the Staples Center compare to the one at the Bell Centre? JB: I don’t want to be disrespectful to the people going to the Staples Center, but it doesn’t compare. I have some really good friends of mine who are die-hard Kings fans. They really love their team. Good or bad, they always watch them and support them. Unfortunately, they’re in the minority. For the most part, the Staples Center makes the Air Canada Centre look like the Bell Centre. It’s a really corporate place and there aren’t a ton of seats for regular people. That’s one of the most beautiful things about the Bell Centre. Other than being the biggest arena in hockey, it’s also the people’s arena. The biggest thing is, in Montreal, people will cheer when the Habs clear the puck while killing a penalty. (laughs) The fans are so hockey savvy. You’re born in Ottawa, but you were been raised and still live in Montreal. Have people from the Nation’s Capital tried to lure you to join the Sens Army over the years? JB: Absolutely not. Let’s be honest, there really isn’t a Sens Army! (laughs) I can tolerate chirping from Bruins fans and Leafs fans all day long. They’ve earned the right to do it. When people from Ottawa or Vancouver try that, it’s not the same thing at all! (laughs) We’ve seen you showing your Habs pride on many movie sets. Do a lot of the people in the industry know where the CH logo comes from and what it means? JB: The smart ones do! (laughs) Every once in a while I’ll have someone say to me ‘Oh, you’re from Chicago’, because of the CH on my shirt! I’m confused because this symbol is over a century old. It’s a global, international symbol. One of my favorite things is wearing it and connecting with people when I’m abroad. I’ll never forget being on the other side of the world in Sydney, Australia, walking through a park wearing my Habs hat and this dude came out of a corner and just said to me ‘Go Habs Go’. You can’t get further away from Montreal than Australia and two complete strangers in a park managed to say Go Habs Go. Seann William Scott once told us that you tried to convert him into a Habs fan while filming Goon together. Is it something you try to do every time you’re involved in a new project? JB: Of course! (laughs) And, it worked! When people are just casual fans or not hockey fans at all and they watch a Habs game with me, they’ll see me go crazy! I try to educate them on the fly between whistles. Interview conducted by Hugo Fontaine.

Abducted by Aliens – P.K. Subban

Posted on 15 July 2014 | Comments Off

It’s no secret P.K. Subban possesses otherworldly-level talents, so we like to imagine his sweet dangles and spin-o-ramas have made headlines even in foreign galaxies. We told the 24-year-old Norris Trophy-winner that in 24 hours, aliens were plotting to snatch him away to help them gain an edge in their future faceoffs against evil. We assume Subban believed us, because he answered our questions about his final day on planet Earth. The last book you’d read: You wouldn’t have time to read a book, so that would be the last thing I’d be thinking about. But, if I had to read one thing, I’d probably read a passage from the Bible. The last movie you’d watch: I’d probably just take it with me and watch it in whatever spaceship I’m going to whatever planet I’m going to. I’d probably bring Wedding Crashers, Anchorman, The Usual Suspects and Rush Hour. If I had to pick just one, I’d say the first Rush Hour for sure. I think Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan are the best couple of actors to do a movie. They just really complement each other well. One destination you’d wish you had visited: The Great Wall of China. It’s a long way away, and it’s unique. I think Asia is so advanced in its technology and its way of living. I would definitely like to go over there and pick up a few things to help better myself and how I live and how I eat. I think you can really learn a different lifestyle out there. The last meal you’d like to eat: I’d probably eat my mom’s chocolate chip pancakes. Get those in you for sure! The last song you’d like to hear: “The Final Countdown” by Europe. Just go with the flow. You know they’re shutting it down. The thing you’d be happiest to never do again: Clean my room. The author you’d commission to write your biography: I’d have to pick Tim Grover because I like the book he just wrote about Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade and Michael Jordan [Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable]. I thought it was pretty cool. The one thing you’d take with you: If I could take one thing with me, I’d take Beyonce. The gift you’d offer up to your abductors: I’d probably offer them Beyonce. The alien translator you’d use to communicate with your abductors: I think it would be Donald Trump because I figure he would know some way to communicate with them. The guy is one of the richest people in the world and he seems to be well-connected. Words of wisdom you’d leave behind for future generations: “Get out while you can!” Good luck, P.K.!

On the road with Max Pacioretty

Posted on 14 July 2014 | Comments Off

Perhaps the best way to get to know someone is to take a road trip with him. Some conversation, a little music and a long stretch of asphalt can form an enduring bond between travel companions. Settle in and buckle up; we’re hitting the road with Max Pacioretty. Leaving from Montreal, what would be your destination for a road trip? New York City. It’s the best city in the world. There’s nothing else to say about that. Where would you stop to eat along the way? I don’t think there are too many fun places along the way. Would who your co-pilot be? I’d bring along my family. I enjoy being around them. What vehicle would you use? It would have to be a Ferrari. I love fast cars. I’d have to have a radar detector on it, though. What would the theme song on your road trip? Nothing comes to mind. What kind of car games would you play? I like to listen to stand-up comedy to make the drive go by quickly, but I generally don’t play any games on those trips. Where would you stop to eat along the way? Wendy’s. During the season, I’m pretty strict about my diet, so I’d indulge in a nice Spicy Chicken sandwich on along the way.

Hab at heart: Alexandre Bilodeau

Posted on 12 July 2014 | Comments Off

MONTREAL – Since making his freestyle skiing debut, Alexandre Bilodeau hasn’t stopped climbing the ranks, capturing a few World Championships, and reaching the pinnacle of his sport by claiming back-to-back gold medals at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Sochi. While he spent much of his time navigating the twists and turns of snow-covered courses the world over at warp speed in recent years, he always made time to watch the Canadiens play when he returned home. The crew met up with the young retiree to learn more about his love for all things bleu-blanc-rouge. How long have you been a Canadiens fan? ALEXANDRE BILODEAU: I’ve been a fan since I was very young. A lot of people didn’t have the chance to experience the last Stanley Cup win, but I remember it well. I started skiing moguls around the same time in 1993. I really started to get involved in sports during those years. What is oldest Canadiens memory you have? AB : The Stanley Cup win in 1993. I also remember going to see games at the Forum with my father and my grandfathers. Those were nice outings. Who was your favorite player growing up? AB: Patrick Roy was a can’t-miss player. I wasn’t a goaltender in hockey, but Patrick was just so good. When he was traded to Colorado, the Avalanche became my favorite team for a while. (laughs) I was so angry that the Canadiens had traded him. Did you play hockey growing up? AB: I played a lot hockey back then. I grew up in that world. My dad played Major Junior. I lived and breathed hockey. I always played hockey outside, and when I was home, I played hockey games on Nintendo. Then, my mom decided to enroll us in more family-oriented sports, so I had to stop playing hockey. I didn’t want to, and neither did my dad, but my mother wore the pants at home and she had the last word. (laughs) I didn’t like it in the short-term, but in the long-term I’d say it was a good decision after all! We know that you’re quick on skis, but if we ever put you on a pair of skates, would you be just as fast? AB: When I play hockey, I’m the fastest guy on my team. But, I have to go in a straight line! (laughs) I’m not the most talented player, but I skate hard and I go in the corners. Freestyle skiing is one of the most physically demanding sports around. At what point is it more taxing than hockey? AB: It’s tough to compare the two because I never played full-contact hockey. On the other hand, you could be the fittest guy around, but after your first run of the year, you’ll feel it at the end of the day. That’s a guarantee. It’s the same thing in hockey when you might need a few shifts to feel comfortable on the ice. Freestyle skiing is also very intense. A run lasts around 23 seconds. I train with hockey players a lot. For the last four years, I’ve trained with guys like Andrei Markov and Maxim Lapierre. Our workouts are very similar. The Canadiens-Bruins rivalry is one of the most intense rivalries in all of sport. Is your rivalry with Mikael Kingsbury similar to that? AB: (laughs) There’s nothing like the hatred between Montreal and Boston. Things are good between Mikael and I. I have a great deal of respect for him. When he’s on the course, he wants to beat me, and I want to beat him. When we’re off the course, I respect him immensely, too. He’s very talented. We’re competing in an individual sport. If I perform up to my capabilities, I can’t wish anything bad on anyone. If I manage to beat him in the process, it’s even more rewarding. Interview conducted by Hugo Fontaine. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski

In the right direction

Posted on 11 July 2014 | Comments Off

MONTREAL – During his third stint running the Canadiens’ annual Development Camp, Martin Lapointe caught a glimpse of many good things to come for the bleu-blanc-rouge. Since beginning his tenure in June 2012, Lapointe made certain to make his presence felt in the lives of youngsters drafted by the Canadiens by traveling to visit them as often as possible in their respective cities. This past week, however, prospects and invitees came to him, as 50 players hit the ice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard where Lapointe & Co. were eagerly awaiting their arrival. “I’m very satisfied with what I saw from the guys over the course of the last few days. They showed up in great shape,” offered the Canadiens’ director of player development. “It’s not always easy for them to come out here the first week of July. They haven’t necessarily jumped on the ice in a while. A few of them might have, but only two or three times. But, in general, I’m very satisfied with them.” At the conclusion of the six-day camp, players won’t have had much time to rest or enjoy summertime in Montreal. They had jam-packed schedules every day with a variety of on and off-ice activities on tap. Every aspect of their itinerary was meticulously prepared in order to help in their preparation and guide them through the pro hockey experience, something many of those in attendance hadn’t yet tasted over the course of their careers. That’s one of the things Lapointe sought to incorporate in the Blackhawks’ culture during his time in Chicago alongside current Canadiens general manager, Marc Bergevin. Both Lapointe and Bergevin wanted to better surround young players by offering them a variety of tools that could prove helpful in their development. A little bit like students who take day courses at night, the Habs hopefuls will head back to their hockey homes with a full backpack. “We definitely took some of the things we learned in Chicago, but we adjusted it in our own way because we wanted to touch on more things than the Blackhawks did. For example, they didn’t have any seminars on nutrition or psychology,” explained the 14-year NHL veteran. “When I got here, we got together and I explained the vision that I had and the plan that I wanted to execute. It’s a big challenge to coordinate all of these things at the same time. But, we get better at it every year. This year’s camp is probably the best one we’ve organized to date. “There are a lot of things that we want them to understand, but there are kids here that are in their second or third camps with us. There are things that repeat themselves a bit and that they’ve already heard,” continued Lapointe. “When they leave camp, they’ll remember it more. There’s no denying that for those players coming to camp for the first time, it’s a lot to absorb at one time. But, from a hockey standpoint, we kept things very simple on the ice. We didn’t talk about systems. I wanted to organize a camp that really focused on fundamentals. Whether you like it or not, it all comes back to basics.” As Lapointe mentioned, those players that had previous development camp experience were generally the standouts during the week. Still, one player who hit the ice for the first time in North America opened the most eyes among the group. “There are those that stood out more so than others. Jiri Sekac is the guy who impressed me the most. I didn’t know him before camp,” admitted Lapointe on the subject of the 22-year-old Czech who signed a free-agent contract on July 1st. “Mark MacMillan also looked good. He’s a lot more confident with the puck. Charles Hudon, too. He’s a dynamic player who sees the play really well, and makes nice plays, too. Jacob De La Rose and Michael McCarron also looked good. Michael knows he has to become more solid on his skates and more explosive. He’s headed in the right direction.” The majority of the youngsters on site this week will be back in Brossard at the start of September for Rookie Camp. Until then, Lapointe and his assistants will provide them with a series of steps to follow for the rest of the summer in order to ensure that they’re in fine form upon their return. That doesn’t mean that they’ll be left to their own devices in the meantime. The Ville Saint-Pierre native will remain in constant contact, and he’ll be available to them, if necessary. “Before they leave, we’ll meet with them one by one. I’ll stay in touch with them over the summer,” concluded Lapointe, who will head back home to Chicago at the end of camp. “I won’t call them every day, but I’ll check in with them from time to time to see how their training is going and see if they need anything. That’s my job.” Hugo Fontaine is a writer for Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.

Hab at heart: Marc-André Grondin

Posted on 5 July 2014 | Comments Off

MONTREAL – Whether he’s on a red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, a movie set in Paris or in his living room in Montreal, Marc-André Grondin always sports the bleu-blanc-rouge with pride. The crew met up with the star of films like C.R.A.Z.Y., The Dumont Affair and Goon, among others, to learn more about his love for hockey, the Canadiens, and the ways he stays up-to-date on the latest sports news when he’s on the road making movies. Did you play hockey growing up? MARC-ANDRÉ GRONDIN : When I was young and we played street hockey, I was often in goal. I never really had the opportunity to play organized ice hockey. I’ve been shooting and making television shows since the age of three. I wanted to play hockey, but I had to choose between the two. In the end, I think I made the right decision. How long have you been a Canadiens fan? M.-A-.G.: I was born in Montreal, so I’ve essentially been a fan since I was born. When I was young, I was a huge Patrick Roy fan. I was born in 1984, so Patrick was the big star at that time. My parents weren’t really big hockey fans. The only person close to me that loved and watched hockey was my grandmother. She watched games religiously. I remember when we went over to her place to eat, she’d suddenly disappear and we’d find her alone in front of the television. She knew all of the players. At some point, I’d sit with her and we’d watch hockey together. I come from a very modest family, so we never really went to hockey games. I skated at the Forum during an album launch party, and saw a period when I was shooting something. I saw my first full game eight or nine years ago when Jay Baruchel couldn’t attend a game and he passed the tickets along to me. So, Jay Baruchel is responsible for me seeing my first full hockey game. What is your favorite Canadiens memory? M.-A-.G.: I remember the last Stanley Cup win. I remember Patrick lifting the Cup. I was living in the eastern part of the city, and I watched everything on TV. There was incredible excitement. Suddenly, everybody had a Canadiens cap. I had a Kings jersey that I stopped wearing from that moment on. I had a Patrick Roy jersey and a Canadian Tire hat with the No. 33 on it. When did you know that something special was happening back in 1993? M.-A-.G.: I don’t think I really grasped just how big it was. I saw everyone’s excitement. Being a kid, I was excited, too, but I didn’t realize just how much. I didn’t really comprehend just how physically and mentally demanding it was to get to that point. In Goon, you play the role of a very talented player. Was your natural talent on the ice equivalent to that of your character in the film? M.-A-.G.: I won’t answer that question…(laughs). To be frank, for a guy that didn’t skate before we started filming three or four years ago, I held my own. I worked with a nutritionist, I worked out in the gym and on the ice. Those are the only things I did five days a week. I was living the life of a hockey player. I was drinking protein shakes. I had the mindset of a hockey player. After filming wrapped up, I continued to play a lot, two or three times a week. When I told people that I learned to skate two of three years before playing, they were very impressed. There’s talk about possibly making Goon 2. Which player would you like to see in the film? M.-A. G. : It’s still a rumor, but the movie is going to happen. It will eventually get done. After the first movie, I met so many hockey players that wanted to be in the film. I think a guy like Subban would have a lot of fun with it, especially if he had a scene with my character because they’re two flamboyant people. I think P.K. would be good. If not, Prust would be a good fit because he’s a fighter. Just how hard is it to follow the Canadiens when you’re on the road filming? M.-A. G. : It’s been about six or seven years since I started working in Europe. I’ve learned what long-distance relationships are like, even if they’re not ideal. When I travel, especially when I go out of town for a while, I always take a Canadiens cap with me. When I was filming during the playoffs a few years back, I got home early in the evening, took a nap and got up around 1 a.m. to watch the game. I watched the game until 4 a.m. before heading back to bed and then going to work. I’m really happy when we film scenes at night in France because I can listen to the game on the radio or on my cell phone. I always have one headphone in my ear during games and I only take it out when I’m filming. Where is the most unusual place you’ve ever watched a Habs game? M.-A. G. : Watching a hockey game on television in Paris is tough. When you’re in Prague, hockey is far more important, so it’s easier to see games. In Paris, there aren’t many sports bars that show something other than soccer. You’d be hard-pressed to find a place that’s showing anything beginning at 1 a.m. I’ve seen a few, especially at the end of the season. They were games against the Maple Leafs. Paris isn’t really a hockey city. And, when you can’t watch a game? M.-A. G. : If I can’t watch a game, I shut everything down at night and open up the next morning. I know the site really well, and I hide the scores so I don’t see anything until I get to the page featuring game highlights. I watch the highlights. It allows me to get involved in the game. Interview conducted by Vincent Cauchy. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.

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