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Canadiens sign one-year deal to bring back defenceman Brisebois

The 36-year-old defenceman signed a one-year contract as an unrestricted free agent Friday. Financial details were not released.

"I think I can bring a lot of stuff to that team - leadership in the room, I think more depth for the team," Brisebois said during a late-afternoon huddle with reporters. "Maybe I'm not going to be a top four, maybe fifth or sixth, maybe killing penalties.

"I don't know how they're going to use me but you know I'm going to give everything for that team, my heart and soul. I always did that. I'm 36 years old, I still have the passion for the game, I want to compete and I want to help that team to win and make the playoffs."

Brisebois said he also thinks he has a role to play as a mentor to the younger players and says he will be there to give the benefit of his experience to "the kids" both on and off the ice.

Brisebois said he decided to return to the Canadiens after a lunch with general manager Bob Gainey two or three weeks ago.

"It's Bob Gainey, a person I respect so much," Brisebois said.

Describing Gainey as a "gentleman" and saying he appreciated it when he stuck up for him with the fans, Brisebois said he was excited when Gainey suggested his future might be back with the Habs.

"I was really happy," he said, and negotiations began after that.

He said he's looking forward to playing for coach Guy Carbonneau, saying he was his first roommate on the Canadiens and his former captain.

Brisebois played the last two seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. He is expected to help bolster the team's power play after the loss of a free-agent defenceman Sheldon Souray to Edmonton.

"I really enjoyed my two years with the Avalanche," he said. "The first year was excellent.

"I played really, really great hockey. Last year, unfortunately I had back surgery."

Brisebois said that his back has healed and he's ready to play again. He takes to the ice again on Monday.

"I feel great. I feel happy. I'm really anxious to start the season, put the sweater back on and jump on the ice," he said, describing Montreal as "the best place to play hockey."

He's optimistic about the team's chances this year, saying there is a good chemistry among the players.

Brisebois broke into the NHL with the Canadiens in 1991 and was a member of their 1993 championship team.

He was the target of Bell Centre boo-birds for his occasional defensive lapses and Montreal opted not to pick up the option year of his contract for the 2005-2006 season. He then signed with Colorado.

Brisebois said he's not worried about the Montreal fans.

"I'm here to play hockey," he said.

Brisebois has 90 goals and 301 assists in 904 career NHL games.


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