- After a day off on Wednesday, the Canadiens were back at practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning. Michel Therrien’s troops won’t be in action until Saturday night, though, when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
- Prior to the start of practice, goaltender Carey Price hit the ice with head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend to continue rehabbing his lower-body injury. Once again, Price wasn’t sporting any of his equipment.
- Paul Byron and Nathan Beaulieu didn’t practice on Thursday due to injury. Jacob De La Rose, meanwhile, didn’t suit up because of the flu. Andrei Markov, meanwhile, was given the day off from practice.
- General manager Marc Bergevin addressed the media following the on-ice session. He confirmed his complete confidence in Therrien and his staff, indicating that they will all remain in place for the remainder of the season regardless of the Canadiens’ record. Bergevin also indicated that he addressed the team for about 20 minutes prior to the start of practice.
- With respect to Price, Bergevin confirmed that the Canadiens’ No. 31 would be sidelined for another three weeks to one month before being able to return to active duty.
The Canadiens assigned defenseman Victor Bartley to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps on Wednesday morning. Acquired on Friday in a trade involving both the Nashville Predators and Arizona Coyotes, Bartley has been a healthy scratch for the last three games. The IceCaps will play two games over the next three days, battling it out in Bridgeport on Wednesday before hitting the ice in Albany on Friday.
- The Canadiens returned to practice in Brossard ahead of Tuesday night’s clash against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre. All players were present and accounted for including newly acquired Victor Bartley who skated alongside Greg Pateryn at practice.
- Following practice coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Devante Smith-Pelly will make his return to the lineup, replacing Jacob de la Rose. Smith-Pelly’s return to the lineup comes after the 23-year-old was left out of the lineup for the previous three games.
"We want to see what Devo can do. We know he can be physical, he is able to finish his checks hard on the fore-check,” clarified coach Michel Therrien, on his decision to reinsert Smith-Pelly in the lineup. “That's what we expect out of him. He can be very tough to play against.”
- After the Bruins held an optional skate at the Bell Centre Tuesday morning, coach Claude Julien confirmed that David Krejci will not be in uniform tonight against the Habs. Krejci has been on the shelf since December 27, 2015 after suffering an upper-body injury.
- As the Canadiens are looking to break out of a four-game losing streak, a matchup against the rival Bruins could not have come at a better time.
“With the Bruins it’s always a fun rivalry. At the end of the Winter Classic it got a bit heated and physical, so we have to come out with that emotion from the start,” expressed captain Max Pacioretty, who will lead his team into battle against the Bruins for the final game between the two rivals this season. “We have to find a way to find that confidence that we had in our room earlier this year, show that we are able to make plays and play the right way for 60 minutes.”
- Though it can be easy to doubt yourself in the midst of a slump, captain Pacioretty maintains a positive attitude.
“You know we’ve played this game for a long time. I’ve played this game for 21 years I don’t think one month or six weeks should completely shatter my confidence and I know that everyone else in this room feels the same way,” noted Pacioretty, who collected three points in two games this past weekend on the road against the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. “Our system has been flawless in the past when we have executed it the right way,” concluded Pacioretty.
- With a big two points on the line, the club could turn to Massachusetts native Mike Condon, who has a 2-1-0 record in three career starts against his hometown team. In fact, Tuesday night’s game at the Bell Centre comes with just one point separating the Canadiens and Bruins in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
“The standings are so tight that every game matters so much, but if you look around the room, that’s all the motivation you need. You don’t want your teammates to be traded and you don’t want your friends to be gone,” explained Brendan Gallagher, who has registered five points in seven games since returning to the lineup on January 1, 2016, where he scored a goal and added an assist in the Winter Classic against Boston. “We need to start winning hockey games and playing for each other. Come together as a group, we enjoy coming to the rink everyday together as a group but the only way that stays the same is if we win hockey games.”
- Having averaged 38 shots on net in their last four contests, the Canadiens’ goal scoring struggles are not due to a lack of effort.
“It’s a job driven by results. It doesn’t matter how many things you do well, if you don’t come away with the win then you’ve failed,” noted Gallagher, who fired seven shots on net in Saturday night’s loss to the St. Louis Blues. “It is a big game tonight, we need to show up and compete because it’s going to be a battle.”
- According to defenseman P.K. Subban -who also contributed seven of the 49 shots the Canadiens directed on Blues netminder Brian Elliot in Saturday's 4-3 loss - the solution to finding the back of the net is to stick to the game plan.
“I think it is just about bearing down. We’ve been focused before games, I just think there are these lapses in the game. I don’t know what it is but we have to be prepared, we have to be ready to go. Once the puck drops we have to be ready. You can’t just assume that good things are going to happen. You have to play well and make things happen,” added Subban, who extended his personal five-game point streak to five games with an assist on Sunday night against the Blackhawks. “I think we have to think about one shift at a time, not one game, but one shift. It’s not games that have been costing us, its shifts. Everyone just has to focus on their job and doing it every single shift. For us, we just need to pay that much more attention to detail.”
- Puck drop for tonight's contest is set for 7:30 p.m.
Lines from practice
Galchenyuk – Desharnais – Weise
DSP – Mitchell – Flynn
Gallagher – Plekanec – Pacioretty
Byron – Eller – Fleischmann
De La Rose
Subban - Markov
Petry – Emelin
Barberio – Beaulieu
Bartley - Pateryn
Words from the room: Jan. 19
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Bruins
Struggling in the Midwest
- The Canadiens skated at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Saturday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Blues. All players were present and accounted for during the on-ice session, except for newcomer Victor Bartley who arrived at the rink a short time before the skate began.
- Bartley, who was acquired in the Jarred Tinordi trade on Friday, met with members of the media in St. Louis to share his thoughts on the transaction.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to play for the Montreal Canadiens. It’s a dream come true to be able to play for a Canadian team,” shared Bartley, an Ottawa native, who’s been plying his trade with the Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate in Milwaukee this season. “I was kind of just lying in bed there in San Antonio [when the trade happened], and friends just kept calling me at the time. I didn’t know what was going on yet. I kept seeing things on Twitter about it, and then my agent called me about 20 minutes later to give me the good news. When I heard it was Montreal, I couldn’t have been more thrilled.”
Given Nashville’s depth on the back end, the four-year NHL veteran played in just one game with the big club this season. Interestingly enough, the 27-year-old is familiar with former Habs rearguard Francis Bouillon, who used to patrol the blue line in Music City USA, too.
“I met him in Nashville a few years ago and I saw him play,” shared Bartley, who amassed one assist in 14 games with Milwaukee in 2015-16. “We definitely have similar roles. We’re both smaller players, good skaters with good battle level and we like to compete. It’s definitely an opportunity I’m looking forward to.”
For his part, head coach Michel Therrien believes Bartley can be an important asset on the back end.
“He has a certain amount of NHL experience. He’s a defenseman that people within the organization really like. He plays well defensively and makes a good first pass,” explained Therrien, who wants to give Bartley a bit of time to learn the Canadiens’ system before giving him a start. “He brings some depth to our D core.”
- Captain Max Pacioretty, meanwhile, was very complimentary of Tinordi on Saturday morning following his departure for Arizona.
“Jarred Tinordi has been one of my favourite players to play with in my entire life. He’s such a good friend and teammate,” praised Pacioretty, who was sorry to see the towering defenseman go, but happy for him being given a new opportunity with the Coyotes. “He wanted to show what he’s made of. There’s never a hard feeling with Jarred. I don’t think anybody could have handled the situation like he did this year. He’s a true professional.”
- Dale Weise returns to the Canadiens’ lineup on Saturday night after missing the last four games with an upper-body injury. To say that No. 22 has been chomping at the bit to return to active duty is an understatement. You’ll recall that Weise suffered the injury during the Winter Classic back on New Year’s Day.
“It’s been frustrating, just not being a part of it. Regardless if we’re winning or losing, you want to be a part of it, you want to be around the boys,” mentioned Weise, who has 11 goals and 20 points in 40 games so far this year. “When you’re injured, you’re kind of on your own program. You come in early and you don’t see the boys a lot. That’s my favourite part about this. You get to hang with the boys every day, so I’ve definitely missed that.”
“Dale has a very important role on our team,” praised Therrien, who is counting on the line to bring some added scoring punch on Saturday night. “He brings energy, he plays a physical brand of hockey, and it’s tough to play against him. David and Dale have good chemistry together.”
Having taken in the last few games from afar, Weise insists that getting back on track begins with another strong effort similar to the one the Canadiens managed to string together in their previous outing against Chicago on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
“I really liked the way we played against Chicago. If we play like that, we’re going to win hockey games. We’ve got some guys that can score in here that aren’t scoring right now. It’s only a matter time. It doesn’t take much to get that confidence back,” offered Weise, who will be looking to pick up his first tally since Dec. 28 against Tampa. “One game, you start scoring, and everybody is feeling good about themselves. We’re looking at the positives. We want to come out tonight, have a good effort, and just try to build something and get going here.”
- Jacob De La Rose, meanwhile, will be back in the Canadiens’ lineup for the first time this season. Called up on Friday from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps, De La Rose will play alongside Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn on Saturday night.
“I’m really excited. I worked hard so I’d be good enough to get here,” shared De La Rose, who has two goals and nine points in 24 games with Sylvain Lefebvre’s squad this season. “I think all players want to be in the NHL, the same for me. I knew it could happen, and it happened. I’ve been working on my game in the minors. I’m just excited to be here again. The most important thing for me is that I play the right way out there and help the team to win.”
- Mike Condon will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. The Blues will counter with Brian Elliott between the pipes.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on TVA Sports, Rogers Sportsnet, Fox Sports Midwest and the NHL Network.
Probable lineup against St. Louis:
De La Rose-Mitchell-Flynn
Words From The Room - Jan. 16
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Blues
Statement from general manager Marc Bergevin regarding Friday's trade
Canadiens announced the acquisition of Victor Bartley and John Scott from Arizona
Just a few hours after being being traded to the Canadiens, newly acquired defenseman Victor Bartley has been recalled from the St. John's IceCaps and will meet the team in St. Louis.
- The Canadiens held a morning practice at the Bell Sports Complex before traveling to St. Louis to face the Blues on Saturday night.
- Prior to practice, the club confirmed that forwards Sven Andrighetto and Daniel Carr have been reassigned to the St. John's IceCaps and should be available to coach Sylvain Lefebvre ahead of the IceCaps game against the Marlies on Saturday night.
- In addition, the Canadiens also announced that forward Jacob de la Rose has been recalled from the St. John’s IceCaps and is expected to join the team in St. Louis and should be available for Saturday night’s contest against the Blues.
- Goaltender Carey Price and defenseman Tom Gilbert skated again before practice, under the direction of the Canadiens athletic therapists. Price skated for almost an hour with head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend, while Gilbert donned full equipment and increased the intensity of his workout sessions. Though a return date has yet to be specified, the defender is nearing his return to the lineup.
- Coach Michel Therrien announced that injured forward Dale Weise is good to go after missing the last four games and could make his return to the lineup on Saturday night against the Blues. An update on Weise’s availability will be given by the Habs’ bench boss on Saturday. The Manitoba native was originally expected to miss 2-3 weeks of action after suffering an upper-body injury in the 2016 Winter Classic.
- The club also announced that Mike Condon will be back between the pipes on Saturday night in St. Louis, which marks his third consecutive start. The rookie netminder has yet to face the Blues in his NHL career.
Carr played every game with the Canadiens since December 5, registering five goals and two assists over 17 outings. The 24-year-old Albertan notably scored his first NHL goal on the first shift of his first NHL game, on December 5 in Raleigh.
During his most recent call-up, Andrighetto played two games with the Habs, registering two shots on goal with a minus-1 differential. Overall, the 22-year-old has played 17 games in Montreal this season, scoring four goals with one assist.
The IceCaps play their next game at the Mile One Centre in St. John’s on January 16, against the visiting Toronto Marlies.
- The Canadiens also announced that forward Jacob de la Rose has been recalled from the St. John’s IceCaps and will meet the team in St. Louis ahead of Saturday night’s contest against the Blues.
In 24 games with the IceCaps this season, the 20-year-old has amassed two goals and seven assists.
- The Canadiens held an optional practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Blackhawks at the Bell Centre.
- After receiving a therapy day on Wednesday, captain Max Pacioretty was back with his teammates at Thursday morning’s skate. All players were accounted for with the exception of P.K. Subban, Torrey Mitchell, Paul Byron, David Desharnais and Jeff Petry.
- Thursday night’s game comes on the heels of four days’ rest for the Canadiens, who used the break to recharge their batteries and prepare for their battle against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
“We have not had an easy schedule lately. When things are going well, you are eager to play and things just kind of fall into place. When you are in the midst of a tough stretch, you need to work hard to get through it,” preached coach Michel Therrien, who opted to hold an optional practice Thursday morning following back-to-back practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. “It’s important to run through x’s and o’s and review tape in video sessions, but I’ve always had the principle that it is better to practice 100 times than it is to repeat myself 100 times. The practices we held this week were necessary for us,” concluded Therrien.
- Dale Weise returned to practice for the first time since being placed on the injured reserve on January 3, 2016 after suffering an upper-body injury against the Boston Bruins in the Winter Classic. Originally expected to miss two-three weeks of action, Weise was a full participant in Thursday morning’s skate. The Manitoba native will not play against the Blackhawks but is nearing his return to the lineup.
- On Wednesday, coach Michel Therrien announced that Mike Condon will be between the pipes for Montreal on Thursday night. The rookie netminder is set to face Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks for the first time in his career. In contrast, Crawford sports a 3-0-2 record complimented by a save percentage of .954 in five career starts against his hometown team.
- In addition, Therrien also confirmed that Jeff Petry, Sven Andrighetto and Tomas Fleischmann will all be back in the lineup against the Blackhawks, while Devante Smith-Pelly will sit out. In Fleischmann's case, the Czech forward returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous two games.
“I wanted to get my game back to where it was at the start of the season. I had the chance to rest and work out in the gym to try and get a little faster. I just need to get back to making the kind of plays I was making at the beginning of the year. That’s what I’m looking for,” commented the 31-year-old winger, who is one of seven Canadiens players with eight or more goals this season. “Being out of the lineup is more of a mind game. It always helps to get a bit of rest and I’m just looking forward to jumping back out on the ice and to start playing. I don’t get extra motivation out of it, because we are playing the defending Stanley Cup Champions so it’s always easy to find the motivation in that.”
- Furthermore, Petry’s return to the lineup affords coach Therrien the luxury of monitoring Andrei Markov’s minutes, to ensure the veteran is fully energized for the second half of the season.
“Every time players play with P.K., their ice-time will go up. Tonight we need to be at our best against a quality hockey team. We’ll have Jeff Petry back in our lineup, which will help our Top 4,” clarified Therrien, who gave Markov a season-high 28:27 of ice time during Saturday night’s close contest against the Penguins. “This is something that I’ve discussed with Jean-Jacques Daigneault. We want to manage his ice-time. This is a marathon, and we want to make sure that he gas left in his tank at the end.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the match will be broadcasted on RDS, Sportsnet East and NBCSN.
Words from the room: January 14
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Blackhawks
Putting it behind him
Labor of love
- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday morning to continue preparing for Thursday night’s tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bell Centre.
- Prior to the start of practice, Carey Price hit the ice on the South Shore for a third straight day with the Canadiens’ head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend to continue rehabbing his lower-body injury. Price skated without any equipment on.
- Injured defenseman Tom Gilbert also skated on Wednesday. Sporting full gear, Gilbert worked out with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine. He remains sidelined with a lower-body injury.
- Captain Max Pacioretty didn’t take part in Wednesday’s on-ice session. He was given a therapy day.
- In his post-practice press conference, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Mike Condon would get the start in goal on Thursday night against Chicago.
- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning to continue preparing for Thursday night’s tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bell Centre.
- Prior to the start of practice, goaltender Carey Price hit the ice with head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend. Price skated without equipment on. He continues to recover from a lower-body injury that will keep him out through at least the NHL All-Star break.
Price’s teammates were excited to see him take another important step on the road to recovery.
“We had the same feeling [when it came to] Gallagher. He started skating on his own, and then he slowly got into practice. Once that happens, you know they’re on the track to coming back,” offered defenseman Jeff Petry. “Hopefully things progress well and he’s back in action soon.”
- Meanwhile, defenseman Tom Gilbert also skated before the Canadiens took to the ice for practice on Tuesday. Sporting all of his equipment, Gilbert worked out with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine. He is still out with a lower-body injury.
- For his part, Dale Weise worked out with strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard on Brossard’s secondary ice rink. He remains sidelined with an upper-body injury.
- Petry, meanwhile, took part in Tuesday’s practice and skated alongside his teammates after missing last Saturday night’s contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins due to a lower-body injury. It looks as if the Michigan State grad could be back in action on Thursday night against Chicago.
“Things went well today. We’ll see how things progress,” shared Petry, who has four goals and 13 points in 40 games so far this season. “But, if everything feels good, I fully intend to be back in the lineup on Thursday.”
- Following practice, several players took the time to address the incident involving Alex Galchenyuk and his girlfriend over the weekend, indicating that the issue had been dealt with internally.
“That’s a personal issue between Alex and his girlfriend. It’s not something we’re going to talk about at this time,” shared Gallagher. “The team addressed the situation. They made us aware of what’s going on. Like I said, it’s going to be handled by the parties involved. It’s not something that we’re all that worried about. We’ve got a very tough team coming in here in a couple of days. That’s what we’re focusing on.”
Lines and D pairings at practice: