MONTREAL -- Adam Oates has played in hockey arenas all around the world, but nothing, he says, compares to standing behind the bench in Montreal during the singing of "O Canada" before a Canadiens game.
In fact, it’s such a spectacle he invited his wife, Donna, to come to Montreal to see tonight’s game at the Bell Centre [6:30 p.m. Capitals Central, CSN].
“Anybody who has watched a lot of hockey in their life has to come and experience the anthem,” Oates said. “When the kids come out [carrying Canadian flags] I’m almost crying on the bench watching.
“The mothers of those two [flag] boys, they must be balling their eyes out because I almost am and I don’t even have a kid. It’s an incredible experience.”
Oates, who played for Original Six teams in Detroit and Boston, compared playing games in the old Montreal Forum to playing games at in the old Boston Garden, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, calling it a ‘cathedral.'”
In their last 19 games against the Canadiens, the Capitals are 14-3-2 and are 6-0-1 in their last seven visits to the Bell Centre.
“It’s one of my favorite places,” said Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who has five goals and eight assists in 14 career games in Montreal. “The atmosphere is unbelievable, the ice is good. It’s a great place to play.”
Tonight marks the final road game of the regular season for the Capitals, who are 11-10-2 away from D.C.
Braden Holtby [20-12-1] will get the call in goal for the Caps. He said that if you took a poll of the NHL’s 700-plus players, 95 percent would say Montreal is their favorite city in which to play.
Troy Brouwer agrees.
“The crowd is electric in here, it’s a lot of fun,” Brouwer said. “The fans are very enthusiastic. They cheer for good penalty kills. The crowd cues you into things on the ice that you might not know is going on.”