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Gonchar happy to be back in Therrien’s system

Sergei Gonchar

Sergei Gonchar


With his career winding down, Sergei Gonchar would like to win one more championship. The fact that it might come with Michel Therrien overseeing him certainly doesn’t hurt.

The Dallas Stars traded Gonchar to the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 11, reuniting the defenseman and coach that last worked together with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2005-09. Apparently working under Therrien’s system is just like riding a bike for Gonchar.

“I feel comfortable already,” said Gonchar, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “When I’m in Mike’s system, I always feel comfortable. It’s good to be back with him. Hopefully, we can win together.”

During their first stint together, Gonchar had 179 points in 210 games. The 40-year-old isn’t the blueliner he once was, but he already has two assists and a plus-two rating in three games with Montreal. Therrien has been giving Gonchar an average of 17:57 minutes per game, with 3:17 coming on the man advantage.

He’s taken defenseman P.K. Subban’s spot on the top power-play unit, but the 2013 Norris Trophy winner doesn’t seem to mind. As talented as Subban already is, he’s hoping to take this opportunity to learn from one of the all-time great offensive defensemen.

“He’s already being very vocal with me,” Subban said. “And that’s a really good thing for me. I’ve actually encouraged him to be as vocal as possible with me. I want to learn everything from him that I possibly can.”

Subban went on to describe Gonchar as “awesome” and “exactly what we thought he would be.”

Montreal has won six straight games to improve to 14-4-1 this season. It’s still early, but the Canadiens have the best record in the league so far.

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