Here's an interesting article by Jean-François Chaumont of Le Journal de Montréal, who explains that Tomas Plekanec met with Jiri Sekac the day he was in Montréal to meet with the management team, and they spoke very briefly. They later had a phone conversation to talk about the city and the organization before he accepted the Canadiens' offer.
Tomas continues that he doesn't know Mr. Sekac very well, they being of different ages and never having played together except on a summer celebrity ball hockey game. He adds that he's heard nothing but good things "since the Montréal rumours started", and that he played very well with the Prague team.
Tomas also commented on the other new Canadiens, saying that he's played against them many times. He says that Tom Gilbert is "a good defenceman who moves the puck well". Manny Malhotra "has lots and lots of experience and is excellent in the faceoff dot. He's one of the best in the NHL at this." He concludes by saying that he's sure that "they'll help the team and that they'll probably show good leadership."
We were pretty happy with this free agent signing all things considered, that we can attract free agents to our team and compete against the Rangers and the Kings and other glamourous locales. Sure, the prestige of the Montréal Canadiens still holds sway over young players from overseas, they respond to it more than they would to the Minnesota Wild or Dallas Stars.
But a major attraction now is also the new climate at the New Forum, a lighter, more fun atmosphere, and a dedication to and possibility of winning. The nonpareil facilities and the vibe on a Saturday night, all these things matter to players, and we're seeing tangible results, with players like Tom Gilbert and Jiri Sekac jumping at the chance to play here.
It is a pleasant change from the days when Mike Komisarek jumped to the Leafs for an extra half a mill per season. I don't think this will be happening again anytime soon.
And Josh, thanks again buddy, I totally understand and sympathize with your decision.
EDIT: Mr. Sekac downplayed the importance Tomas Plekanec played in his decision to join the Canadiens, stressing that he made the decision based on his impressions of the city and the quality of the organization.
"It was just my decision. I wasn't making a decision because of someone (else's) opinion," he explained at the 45 second mark of this video of a press scrum after Day 2 of the development camp.