The first observation from the Canadiens' annual charity golf tournament - the unofficial start of hockey season in Montreal - is that European luxury SUVs may be back in vogue among NHL players.
Only a couple of notable exceptions among the Habs rolling up to the clubhouse at Laval-sur-le-lac, including resident jokester Jaroslav Spacek, who rolled in behind the wheel of a massive German sedan.
All the Habs' roster players were on hand, although several didn't golf, including P.K. Subban, who said he's nursing a minor "upper body" injury (isn't it too soon for upper and lower bodies?), Josh Gorges, Andrei Markov, Lars Eller (all recovering from surgery) and Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec, who apparently just don't play the game, presumably because they suck at it.
Goaltender Carey Price was typically relaxed and laid back (money quote from him: "we have to see ourselves as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference"), Scott Gomez was looking noticeably more buff after spending most of the summer working out in California and New York City, and everyone else, including Max Pacioretty and newbie Erik Cole looked fit and anxious to start camp.
"You have no idea," said Gorges, who hasn't played in eight-and-a-half months because of knee surgery.
Winger Michael Cammalleri, probably the best golfer on the team, talked about the birth of his daughter Chloe, who is now a month old. New dads will testify that the first three months of any newborn's life tend to be an exhausting affair, but Cammalleri's not worried.
"Brian Gionta told me he had the best year of his career the year his first kid was born," Cammalleri said.