Max Domi, the newest member of the Canadiens, said all the right things during a conference call with members of the Montreal media Saturday afternoon after being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes Friday night in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk.
Now, Canadiens fans will have to wait until October to see if Domi can do all the right things on the ice once the 2018-19 NHL season begins.
“First of all, bonjour everyone,” Domi said over the phone from New York, where he does his off-season training. “It’s a pleasure to be talking to all you guys. It’s been a crazy last 12 hours or so, but I’m absolutely thrilled.
“Obviously, first of all the Arizona Coyotes have been nothing but first class for me,” he added. “They’ve treated me unbelievable.”
The Coyotes selected Domi — a 5-foot-10, 195-pound left-winger — in the first round (12th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft and in 222 regular-season games in Arizona he scored 36 goals and added 99 assists for 135 points. This past season, the 23-year-old had 9-36-45 totals in 82 games and was minus-7.
“It’s been pretty emotional but, that being said, I can’t wait,” Domi said about joining the Canadiens. “There isn’t a more historical or incredible franchise in all of sports, not just hockey, that comes along with the Montreal Canadiens. So I couldn’t be more excited to join my new teammates and I’m really looking forward to the new journey we’re going to go on here.”
When asked if he were to build a scouting report on himself what it would say, Domi responded: “Oh, gee. I’m definitely not a scout, that’s for sure. I don’t know. … A guy that works hard every shift and leaves it all out there. On the puck, hounds the puck a lot and will do whatever he has to do to help his teammates out.”
Here’s some more of what Domi had to say during the conference call:
Was he surprised to be traded?
“Yeah, a little bit. You know what, there’s been all those rumours and stuff. But it’s part of the game, right. Of course, everyone wants to spend their whole career in one spot and, like I said earlier, I have nothing but good things to say about Arizona from top to bottom. Even just living there is pretty remarkable. But the word thrilled or excitement doesn’t do justice for how happy I am about what happened. I’m going to miss all my teammates in Arizona, but I’m really excited to start a new chapter.
“Of course, I was a little bit shocked. It’s a lot of emotions. Some sadness and mostly excitement and goodness. I can’t wait to get started. I’m absolutely pumped.”
On whether a change of scenery might help him:
“Yeah. I mean, I hope so. That’s the goal, right. I had a rough start last year, our whole team did, and that was unfortunate.
“What’s in the past is in the past and I’m just focused on the future. Obviously, a big summer of training here (in New York) and trying to get stronger and faster and better. So come training camp, we’ll be ready to go and be part of a pretty special group. I’m prepared to step into whatever role I’m asked to, any position. I’m easy, except for goalie. Obviously, I think Carey (Price) has got that one on lock down, but whatever I”m asked to do I’m prepared to do that. I’m very excited and it’s going to be awesome.
“Montreal has an unbelievable hockey team right now. A combination of an unbelievable, good veteran leadership, some great young players and, ultimately, the best goalie in the league. It’s a great mix and I’m just going to try and slide in and give my part in helping this team win in any way it possibly can.”
On last season in Arizona:
“It was a rough year last year, but I’m not too worried about anything in the past that’s happened. I’m just worried about throwing on that Habs jersey for the first time and just playing to the extent that I know I can play.
“It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions the last little bit. But to say that I’ve reached my potential, I’m not totally sure about that. I’d like to think I got a long way to go and the whole journey is going to be a lot of fun.”
On the importance of confidence:
“It comes down to confidence I think in this league. When you go out there and you know you can do stuff, you do it. As soon as you start second-guessing that or questioning yourself to any extent, that’s where you run into trouble. Not to say I was doing that to that extent, but obviously when your team’s struggling and you take a lot of that upon yourself it really adds up and you kind of let it linger.”
On playing with the Canadiens’ Brendan Gallagher as part of Team Canada that won a gold medal at the IIHF World Hockey Championship two years ago in Russia:
“We’re good buddies and he’s an awesome player, unbelievable, his intensity, his work ethic on the ice. He leads by example and he’s a guy that I’ve looked up to for a long time and definitely really fortunate enough to be playing alongside him now. I can’t wait.”
On the reaction of his father — former Toronto Maple Leafs tough-guy Tie Domi — to him being traded to the Canadiens:
“He’s ecstatic. He can’t wait. 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 Western time zone and all that stuff. He’s pumped. My whole life he raised me to obviously watch him and the spotlight that he was in and I saw the way he 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. That’s how I was raised, so he’s excited. It’s a great test and it’s going to be an awesome challenge that I’m very excited to take on.”
On getting to play in an Original Six hockey market:
“I was fortunate enough to grow up in an atmosphere like that in Toronto. It’s a little bit different than Montreal. But Toronto’s one of the biggest hockey markets as well and my dad was a big part of that and he still is. I got to kind of witness that first hand and it was definitely something that I always looked up to and wanted to see myself in those shoes one day. You know what, I think I topped him by coming to Montreal. I’m really excited about that. It’s a huge opportunity. It’s no disrespect to Arizona, whatsoever. I absolutely loved it there, but I’m excited to play in the spotlight of Montreal and listen to all the stuff that comes with that. I can’t wait to get started.”
On playing at the Bell Centre:
“It’s probably the best rink to play in the league, for sure. Unfortunately, we only got to play here at the Bell Centre once a year (with the Coyotes) so that was too bad. But the fans in that rink and the fans in the city of Montreal are the best, not only in hockey but all of sports. I keep saying I’m just absolutely thrilled to represent that jersey and represent that group of fans and that city. It’s a huge honour 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 honour to be a part of.”