Plekanec has Cup in his sights

BRIAN DALY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

MONTREAL — Forward Tomas Plekanec, armed with a new $30-million contract, says he’s ready to take the Montreal Canadiens to new heights in 2010-11.

The Czech forward says he’s in fine form heading into training camp this week, adding that there’s only one way to improve on last year’s Eastern Çonference final appearance.

“The Stanley Cup? Why not,” Plekanec told reporters following a training session this week in his hometown of Kladno. “Many of the guys, beginning with me, realized in the playoffs just what it’s like to get so close to our goal. You really can’t put a price on that. I’m sure all the players want to relive it.”

Plekanec says Carey Price’s off-season contract adds to his optimism. Price is now the team’s unquestioned No. 1 netminder, with former Habs rival Jaroslav Halak now in St. Louis. Plekanec says Price should shine now that he has the team’s vote of confidence.

“The last year hasn’t been easy for Carey,” Plekanec said of the former No. 1 draft pick, who lost his starting job to Halak last season.

“Carey has all the tools to succeed. He has a rare talent that very few goalies his age have. We can win the Cup with him in nets.”

Plekanec also has something to prove. He was the team’s top scorer with 70 points but his production dropped off during the playoffs once teams keyed on him. Coach Jacques Martin also asked him to guard the opposing team’s top forward, which might have sapped his energy on offence. But Plekanec says he’s ready to go to work.

“I’ve been asked to play well on both ends of the ice and that’s what I try to do,” he said.

“That’s how I can help the team.”


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