Max Domi didn’t waste time trying to make friends in his new hometown.
A day after the Arizona Coyotes traded Domi to the Montreal Canadiens for Alex Galchenyuk, the 23-year-old forward praised the arena, the city and the fans on Saturday.
“The fans in that rink [Bell Centre] and the fans in the city of Montreal are the best in not only hockey but all of sports,” said Domi, via NHL.com. “And I’m just absolutely thrilled to represent that jersey and represent that group of fans and that city. It’s a huge honor and it’s something that I’m really, really excited about. It’s arguably the most iconic and winning team and franchise in all of hockey, and to see some of the names that have worn that jersey and the names that are wearing the jersey right now, it’s just an honor to be a part of.”
Upon joining the Canadiens, Domi agreed to a two-year, $6.3 million contract. Domi has 36 goals and 99 assists in 222 games with a minus-13. He was taken 12th overall in the 2013 draft.
One name that has never before graced the back of a Canadiens sweater is Domi. In fact, Max’s father, Tie Domi, was anything but a fan favorite in Montreal during his 12 seasons with rival Toronto.
“Oh, he’s ecstatic,” Max said of Tie’s reaction to the trade. “He can’t wait. You know what, it’s very close to home so he’ll be able to tune into a lot more games, he won’t have to stay up as late to watch the [games in the] Western time zone and all that stuff. ... My whole life he raised me to obviously watch him and the spotlight that he was in, and I saw how well he had performed and guys like Mats Sundin and all those other guys on the Leafs that really kind of showed everyone that performing under pressure is a skill and that’s kind of in their DNA. And that’s how I was raised, so he’s excited.”
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said the younger Domi’s bloodlines could actually help him deal with the Montreal spotlight.
“We all know Tie, he’s a hard-nosed player,” Bergevin said. “He’s different than his dad, Max is, but he has a hockey background and his dad played in a hockey market too, so I think this is going to help him.”
Reaction to the trade from Canadiens fans has been less than enthusiastic thus far, with Galchenyuk a popular player since the franchise selected him No. 3 overall in 2012. In 418 career games, he has 108 goals, 147 assists and a minus-34 (though much of that is thanks to his minus-31 last season).
Domi tied his career-low with nine goals and had 45 points in 82 games last season.
“I had a rough start last year, our whole team did and that was unfortunate,” Domi said. “I took a lot of that, you take that upon yourself when you expect yourself to be a big part of that team and ultimately creating a winning culture there ... but we finished off great with the young core and started to play a lot better and you feel like yourself a little bit. It was huge for the confidence.
“And Montreal has an unbelievable hockey team right now, a combination of an unbelievable group of veteran leadership, some great young players and ultimately the best goalie in the League (Carey Price). So it’s a great mix and I’m just going to try and slide in and do my part in helping this team win in any way it possibly can.”
—Field Level Media