- After holding off-ice workouts yesterday in Brossard, the Canadiens returned to the ice at the Bell Sports Complex Tuesday morning for practice. The Habs used the ice time to prepare for their upcoming match up against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night.
- Massachusetts native Mike Condon will start in goal for the Canadiens, after defeating the Bruins on November 7, 2015 where he made 25 saves in a 4-2 victory at the Bell Centre.
- The coach also confirmed that Dustin Tokarski will get his first start of the 2015-16 NHL season Thursday night against the Red Wings in Detroit
- After practice, the Canadiens confirmed that forward Alexander Semin has cleared waivers and has been reassigned to the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League.
- The Montreal Canadiens players are scheduled to visit the kids at Sainte-Justine Hospital and the Montreal Children's Hospital this afternoon as part of their annual tour of children's hospitals.
Lines at practice:
Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Andrighetto
Eller – Plekanec – Byron
Fleischmann - Desharnais - Weise
Carr – Flynn - Thomas
Subban – Markov
Emelin – Petry
Gilbert – Beaulieu
Tinordi - Pateryn
The Canadiens announced Tuesday afternoon that Alexander Semin has cleared waivers and has been reassigned to the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League.
The Russian sniper was placed on waivers on Monday after being removed from the team’s disabled list.
In 15 games with the Canadiens this season, the winger scored one goal and added three assists.
- Following the Canadiens 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on the road Saturday night, the Habs returned to Brossard where they held an off-ice workout at the Bell Sports Complex Monday morning.
- Torrey Mitchell, who has been sidelined for the Canadiens last eight games while rehabbing a lower-body injury, skated in Brossard Monday morning and is nearing a return to the lineup.
- Recalled from the St. John’s IceCaps on Sunday, Dustin Tokarski joined his teammates in Brossard where he participated in the off-ice workout and later addressed the media. In two games with Sylvain Lefebvre’s IceCaps last week, Tokarski earned a 0-1-1 record with a 2.45 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage in starts against the Binghamton Senators and Albany Devils.
- Brendan Gallagher also spoke to the media for the first time since undergoing surgery on November 23, 2015 to repair two fractured fingers on his left hand suffered while blocking a Johnny Boychuk shot against the New York Islanders the previous night. The tenacious winger explained that he has yet to resume skating as he is awaiting the green light from the doctors before returning to the ice. Though he did not give a specific return date, Gallagher did mention that the recovery process is going well thus far.
Canadiens fans will likely see some of the team’s top prospects compete at the 2015-16 World Junior Championships as 2015 first-round pick defenseman Noah Juulsen has been added to team Canada’s selection camp, while center Lukas Vejdemo was added to Team Sweden’s preliminary roster.
Juulsen, who previously won a silver medal with Canada Pacific in the 2014 U17 World Hockey Challenge, will be in attendance when team Canada’s selection camp kicks off December 10, 2015 in Etobicoke, Ontario.
Vejdemo, the Habs 3rd round selection in the 2015 entry draft, earned his spot with his impressive play thus far in the SHL where he has three goals and seven assists in 23 games with Djurgården this season.
Both Team Canada and Team Sweden are expected to trim their rosters before the tournament begins on December 26.
MONTREAL -- The Canadiens announced on Sunday that goaltender Zachary Fucale has been reassigned to St. John's in the AHL, and that goaltender Dustin Tokarski and defenseman Jarred Tinordi have been recalled from the IceCaps.
Fucale was called up last Monday, November 30, and was Mike Condon's back up for three games, although he did not see any ice time.
Tokarski went 0-1-1 with a 2.45 goals against average and 0.925 save percentage over his two-game stint in the AHL.
Tinordi was assigned to the IceCaps on November 26 for conditioning purposes, registering a pair of assists over six games with St. John's.
- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning a few hours before traveling to Carolina to battle the Hurricanes on Saturday night.
- Prior to the start of practice, Torrey Mitchell hit the ice in his track suit to skate with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine. You’ll recall that Mitchell suffered a lower-body injury on November 19 in a tilt against the Arizona Coyotes. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Mitchell has been sidelined a little longer than expected, but his recovery is on the right path.
- Clément Jodoin, Jean-Jacques Daigneault, Dan Lacroix and Craig Ramsay ran Friday’s practice session, focusing primarily on special teams work.
- The Canadiens held an optional skate on Thursday morning ahead of their tilt against the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre. Thirteen players hit the ice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, including goaltenders Mike Condon and Zachary Fucale.
- Forward Michael Bournival cleared waivers on Thursday. He can now be assigned to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps.
- The Capitals’ most lethal forward since being drafted in 2004, Alex Ovechkin remains a constant threat on offense, specifically when he goes up against the Canadiens. The Russian superstar boasts 38 points in 36 career games against the CH. This year, Washington’s No. 8 has amassed at least one point per game, registering 12 goals and 22 points in as many outings.
“I grew up in Moscow playing for the same team he did,” mentioned Alex Galchenyuk. “I grew up watching him play. Now, I’ve had the chance to play against him for the last few years. The first time was even more special. You get used to it over time, but he’s still a dangerous player when he’s on the ice.”
Ovechkin scored a pair of goals in his last visit to the Bell Centre on April 2 in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Canadiens. He’d actually been held off the scoresheet in the two meetings before that, though. On a side note, the Canadiens will also have to pay close attention to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who at 23 years of age is Washington’s top point-getter with 26 points in 23 games.
- The Canadiens will also have to play a disciplined brand of hockey on Thursday night, as the Capitals arrive in Montreal with the second-best power play in the league. Barry Trotz’s club has clicked 26.8 percent of the time with the man advantage so far this season. They’ve also scored six power play goals in their last three games, and picked up five straight wins.
- If the Canadiens are among the NHL’s top teams in terms of goals scored per game with an average of 3.42, the Capitals have enjoyed similar success in that department with an average of 3.22 – good enough for third spot. Washington’s forwards aren’t the only players chipping in on offense, though. With 18 points on the year, defenseman John Carlson has been leading the way from the back end.
“I haven’t had a chance to play against the Capitals much because I spent the majority of my career in the Western Conference. But, every time it happens, you can tell he has really good vision, he skates well and he’s a constant offensive threat,” explained Jeff Petry, referencing the 25-year-old defenseman. “You have to be prepared for a fourth guy joining the rush. It’s not just Carlson, though. They’ve got other dangerous guys on defense, too.”
- The Canadiens’ recent string of injuries afforded Christian Thomas another chance to show the team’s brass what he’s capable of. The 23-year-old Toronto native will play his third straight game for Michel Therrien’s troops on Thursday night, assuming a spot on the fourth line with both Brian Flynn and Devante Smith-Pelly. So far, Thomas believes it’s been a good fit.
“I think it’s great. A lot of teams like to put tougher guys out there, guys that are big, to try to push guys around. For us, I think we have a really fast fourth line,” shared Thomas, who has played 22 games with the Canadiens over the last two-plus seasons, while shuffling between the NHL and AHL ranks. “I think we catch other fourth lines off guard. Hopefully, we can keep doing that.”
Coming off a game in which he registered the first assist of his NHL career on a perfect pass to speedster Paul Byron, Thomas is feeling confident right now. Before arriving in Montreal, the former second-round selection put up seven goals and 14 points in 18 games with the IceCaps, so things appear to be clicking for the 5-foot-9, 175-pound winger wherever he goes.
“I think I’ve improved a little bit of everything [since last season]. I think the No. 1 thing is my consistency. I thought I had a better start this year compared to my other years playing in the American League,” mentioned Thomas. “I think that’s translated well here, and hopefully I can keep it going.”
- Mike Condon will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. It will be his 15th start of the year, and his first career start against the Capitals. The Holliston, MA native boasts a 2.11 goals against average and a .918 save percentage on the season.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and City Montreal.
Probable lineup against Washington:
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Weise
Eller – Galchenyuk – Andrighetto
Fleischmann – Plekanec – Byron
Smith-Pelly – Flynn – Thomas
- After registering a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, the Canadiens were back at practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday.
- All players were present and accounted for at practice, except for Andrei Markov who was given a therapy day. Alexander Semin, meanwhile, who is still dealing with a lower-body injury, also took part in the on-ice session.
- Head coach Michel Therrien featured the same lines at practice that he did in Tuesday night’s tilt against Columbus. David Desharnais skated on a line with Max Pacioretty, while countrymen Tomas Plekanec and Tomas Fleischmann were paired together on a line with Paul Byron.
- The Canadiens also announced that forward Michael Bournival was placed on waivers on Wednesday afternoon. If he isn’t claimed in the next 24 hours, he’ll report to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps.
Forward lines at practice:
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Bell Centre.
- Prior to the start of practice, forward Alexander Semin hit the ice for a brief skating session. Semin, who remains on injured reserve, suffered a lower-body injury on November 25 against the New York Rangers.
- Head coach Michel Therrien – who will be behind the bench for his 700th career NHL game – confirmed only one lineup change for Tuesday night’s contest against Columbus. Alexei Emelin returns to active duty after missing the last two games. He will take Greg Pateryn’s spot on the back end.
- Life without Carey Price in goal begins for real on Tuesday night. Deprived of the All-World netminder’s services for at least the next six weeks, the Canadiens are well aware of the challenge that lies ahead. It’s a test they’re prepared to handle head on, coming to work with the same approach that has helped them reach the top of the NHL standings through seven weeks of play early on this season.
“We’re handling this like professionals. For young guys or inexperienced guys who’ve never gone through this before, where you have injury problems and guys need to step up, this is where we get to see what we’re made of as a team,” explained defenseman P.K. Subban, who currently sits tied for third among all NHL rearguards with 20 points on the year. “I think that any team in this league, when they lose their No. 1 goaltender – or a couple of their top players, like with Gally and Mitchy that we’re missing, too – the onus is on us to respond the right way as a group. If we have the right attitude, we’ll be fine.”
In fact, the 2013 Norris Trophy winner believes a little hardship isn’t necessarily a bad thing right about now.
“Quite frankly, I’m happy that our team is going through some adversity at this point in the year. It’s good for us. Come playoff time, there are going to be things that happen, too. It’s better for us to face it now and learn how to deal with it the right way,” admitted Subban. “We have the right leadership in this room that’s going to hold this group accountable. Everybody’s got to step up and contribute.”
- After being called up from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps on Monday afternoon, goaltender Zachary Fucale took part in Tuesday’s morning skate on the South Shore. The Rosemere native has performed brilliantly in the early stages of his professional career, posting a 7-2-1 record, a 3.12 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in 12 appearances so far this year.
“After getting the call, I had an instant smile on my face. I smiled pretty much the entire day. It’s very exciting, but at the same, it’s just another step forward. Like management said, I just need to stay ready. I’m not here on vacation. I need to work hard,” offered Fucale, who will serve as Mike Condon’s back-up on Tuesday night with Dustin Tokarski having been reassigned to the IceCaps on Monday. “This is a good opportunity for me to be around the pros. It will be beneficial both now and when I head back to St. John’s. My goal right now is just to learn and absorb as much knowledge as I can.”
Following the morning skate, Therrien expanded upon the Canadiens’ decision to send Tokarski back to St. John’s and bring Fucale up to the big club for the first time.
“Tokarski hasn’t played much in the last month. He needs to play before we’re going to use him. It wouldn’t be fair to throw him out there if he hasn’t played for almost a month. We want to make sure he’s going to play,” shared Therrien, referencing the fact that Tokarski will tend goal for the next three games with Sylvain Lefebvre’s squad, seeing game action on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. “For his part, Zach has done a wonderful job in St. John’s. I talked to him this morning. He has to be a sponge. He needs experience, but he’s also got to be ready [to play]. That’s his job. He’s a good kid with a good attitude.”
- Speaking of attitude, the Canadiens will surely be looking to avoid any sort of letdown once the puck drops on Tuesday night against John Tortorella’s contingent – even if 19 points currently separate the two teams in the standings.
“I don’t think you can look at the standings when you’re playing teams. They don’t reflect how tough this league is, especially with teams at the bottom of the league. The way this league is designed is any team can beat any other team on any given night if you’re not prepared or not playing the right way,” offered Subban, who has two goals and seven points in eight career games against Columbus. “Hockey is that type of game. If we don’t come out with the right attitude or the right performance, they’re going to beat us. It’s that simple.”
Therrien’s assessment of the Blue Jackets, meanwhile, is a good indicator that he isn’t taking the likes of Ryan Johnasen, Brandon Saad, Nick Foligno or Brandon Dubinsky, among others, lightly either.
“This is a team that a lot of people put in the playoffs. They had a bad start. They’ve played some good hockey lately, though, and they’re tough to play against,” offered Therrien. “They’ve been taking more chances and having some success. It’s going to be a hell of a challenge for us again tonight.”
- Mike Condon will make his 14th start of the year for the Canadiens. Sergei Bobrovsky will be between the pipes for the Blue Jackets.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet East.
Words From The Room: December 1
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Blue Jackets
This Holiday Season, the Montreal Canadiens reach out to the community with different initiatives
Following practice Monday afternoon in Brossard, the Canadiens announced they had recalled goaltender Zachary Fucale from the St. John's IceCaps, while Dustin Tokarski has been reassigned back to the Habs’ AHL affiliate.
In 12 outings this season with St. John's, Fucale has a 7-2-1 record with a goals against average of 3.12 and a save percentage of .907. Fucale, who is in his first season of professional hockey in the AHL, earns his first call up to the NHL.
Tokarski has not seen action since being recalled by the Canadiens on Thursday November 26. He last made an appearance in relief of Mike Condon on November 14, allowing two goals on 13 shots. The IceCaps will play three games in the next few days, hitting the ice on December 2, 4 and 5.