Hours before facing his former teammates for the first time since being traded, Canadiens defenseman James Wisniewski expressed gratitude for the opportunity he was given early this season with the Islanders.
The Islanders traded him to Montreal December 28 in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2011 and a conditional fifth rounder in 2012.
"It was great. They gave me the opportunity to show my offensive ability in running the power play. Montreal traded for me to bring that aspect after [Andrei] Markov went out for the season. I came to Stanley-Cup contending team, whose goal is the same as when I was with the Islanders," Wisniewski said. "They gave me the opportunity to show what I had all along. They brought it out in me."
Wisniewski said it was an abrupt change his first couple of days in Montreal--getting recognized on the street made him feel "like a movie star" he said--but so far he loves the city's energy, passion and commitment to hockey.
"It's been great. This city is unbelievable for a hockey city. They're just die-hard fans. You're number one in the city and you come to the rink every day knowing it's going to be sold out that night."
I also asked Wisniewski if he's learned any French. His response:
"I've been taking classes, so, Oui."