BOSTON -- Michael Ryder and Hal Gill share a common bond in that they have played on both sides of the Montreal-Boston rivalry. Ryder played four seasons in Montreal and was part of two playoff series between the Habs and Bruins (2004, 2008) playing for Montreal and now is set to play in his second series against Montreal as a Bruin. Meanwhile, Gill played in two series as a Bruin and will now play his first as a Hab.
“It’s always been a fun rivalry and for me to be part of both sides and see it from both sides has been fun,” Ryder said. “It’s got so much history and to be part of this is definitely cool. It should a fun and exciting series.”
Gill, who is in his third season with Montreal and wearing an ‘A’ as an alternate captain, would like nothing better than to help his team upset the heavily favored Bruins in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
“It’s nice, being part of this rivalry and this series,” he said. “I feel like I had a great time in Boston, but it would be nice to beat these guys.”
Gill, who grew up in Massachusetts, fondly remembers when the Bruins finally broke the Montreal playoff jinx and beat the Habs in five games in the 1988 Adams Division finals. It was Boston's first playoff win against Montreal in 44 years at the time.
“I think you look at all the games that when growing up, the games that you watched was Sox-Yankees and Bruins-Habs,” Gill said. “There’s a lot of history there and that’s what makes this even better.”
One of the greatest parts of the Montreal-Boston rivalry is the two fan bases.
“At first when I got here I didn’t really know what to expect and then we had a great season and it just went from there, the fans have been great and I was surprised at how great they are,” Ryder said. “They’re loud, they’re into it and hopefully we can get them into it when this series starts.”
Gill was asked to compare the two fan bases in this bitter rivalry and said he may need a little more time to get into the differences.
“Very different, you have an hour to talk about it,” Gill jokingly asked. “There’s a lot of differences but passion is the biggest thing between the both of them.”