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With no excuses, proud Canadiens eye playoffs, surge forward into NHL shortened season

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    Montreal Canadiens Ryan White, left, chats with team captain Brian Gionta during NHL hockey training camp Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 in Brossard, Quebec. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)The Associated Press

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    Montreal Canadiens Tomas Plekanec, right, of the Czech Republic, skates off the ice during NHL hockey training camp Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 in Brossard, Quebec. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)The Associated Press

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    Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price slips on his face mask during NHL hockey practice, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Brossard, Quebec. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)The Associated Press

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    Montreal Canadiens' Alex Galchenyuk tries to get past teammate Francis Bouillon during NHL hockey practice, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Brossard, Quebec. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)The Associated Press

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    Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec, left, of the Czech Republic, gets a few pointers from assistant coach Gerard Gallant during NHL hockey training camp Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 in Brossard, Quebec. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)The Associated Press

Written in large letters on the Montreal Canadiens dressing room wall is the slogan "No excuses."

The new management team brought in last summer doesn't want to hear about why the fabled Canadiens finished last in the Eastern Conference last season.

It just wants the losing to end. And veteran defenseman Josh Gorges agrees.

"The No. 1 thing is our attitude," he said this week. "We have to bring back the mentality of what it means to be a Montreal Canadien. There's a winning tradition in this organization and that has to be re-instilled in everyone. To understand that it's not OK to be average. That's not acceptable."

The 2011-12 season saw 24-time Stanley Cup-champion Montreal end a four-year run of making the playoffs. The campaign was marked by injuries and a coaching change, when Jacques Martin was fired on Dec. 17 and replaced by first-time coach Randy Cunneyworth.