- After posting a 1-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at the Air Canada Center, Michel Therrien’s troops practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Sunday afternoon. They’ll travel to Quebec City to battle the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night at the Videotron Centre. It will mark the Canadiens’ fifth preseason game of the year.
Here’s a look at the Canadiens’ lineup for the tilt in Quebec City:
Forwards: Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell, Charles Hudon, Nikita Scherbak, Tomas Fleischmann, David Desharnais, Dale Weise, Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, Alexander Semin, Jacob De La Rose, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher
- Prior to the start of practice, the Canadiens announced that nine players had been reassigned to the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League, including Michael McCarron, Jeremy Grégoire, Darren Dietz, Joel Hanley, Daniel Carr, Bud Holloway, Christian Thomas, Gabriel Dumont and Morgan Ellis. For their part, Holloway, Thomas, Dumont and Ellis must clear NHL waivers.
- There are still 31 players at camp (18 forwards, 10 defensemen, 3 goaltenders), including four injured players: Max Pacioretty, Nikita Scherbak, Noah Juulsen and Michaël Bournival. Pacioretty, Scherbak and Juulsen practiced with the rest of the group on Sunday.
- In his post-practice press conference, Therrien indicated that Juulsen has been cleared for contact and will likely play a preseason game this week prior to returning to his Junior club in Everett.
- After dropping a 5-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, the Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Saturday morning prior to flying to Toronto for their third preseason contest in as many nights.
- Goaltenders Dustin Tokarski and Mike Condon made the trip to Toronto, with Condon expected to play the entire game against the Maple Leafs. The 25-year-old netminder got his first taste of preseason action on Thursday, stopping all 21 shots he faced over 32:57 minutes of ice time against the Capitals.
- Max Pacioretty once again took part in the team’s morning skate, as he continues to recover from an offseason knee injury.
“I’m happy to be playing with Davey. We’re starting to gel. We’ve only played one game with Fleisch so far, but we had fun together,” admitted Weise, who assisted on Fleischmann’s first goal of the preseason against the Capitals. “It’s nice to play a couple of games with the same guys and build some chemistry.”
- For the first time since the start of training camp, Noah Juulsen – who has been sidelined with a concussion – skated with his teammates on Saturday.
“It’s cool to finally be on the ice with the guys. It’s tough to not be able to show the coaches what I can do, but I’m working hard and hope to play at least one game, even if it’s not guaranteed,” explained the Canadiens’ 26th overall pick from the 2015 draft, who also saw his development camp cut short by a shoulder injury. “I’ve been unlucky so far, but hopefully that’ll change soon, especially if I get to take part in a preseason game.”
- Having played 18 games in Montreal a season ago, Christian Thomas hopes to make his stay a more permanent one this year after signing a new two-way contract in July.
“My goal is to stay in Montreal this year,” underlined Thomas, who will take part in his third preseason game of 2015-16. “I’m giving it my all and we’ll see what happens next.”
A native of Toronto, Thomas will suit up in his hometown for the first time as a member of the Habs on Saturday.
“I’ll get to play at home tonight, but unfortunately my parents will be in Tampa,” added the 23-year-old forward, whose father Steve is an assistant coach with the Lightning. “My uncle and some friends will be at the game though, which isn’t so bad.”
- Puck drop at the Air Canada Centre is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on RDS.
- After dropping a 4-3 shootout decision to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, the Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning in preparation for their third preseason contest against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bell Centre.
- For a second straight day, Max Pacioretty took part in the morning skate. The Canadiens’ captain continues to recover from a knee injury sustained over the summer.
- Head coach Michel Therrien’s lineup will include a mix of veterans and young guns on Friday night. Tomas Plekanec, Torrey Mitchell, Devante Smith-Pelly, Brian Flynn, Brendan Gallagher and Zack Kassian will be among those lacing up their skates up front, while Jeff Petry, Alexei Emelin and Nathan Beaulieu will be among those patrolling the blue line. Forwards Jeremy Gregoire, Charles Hudon and Daniel Carr will also play. Carey Price and Zachary Fucale are the designated goaltenders for the CH.
- Following a successful 15-year career in the NHL, including 11 as a member of the Canadiens, defenseman Francis Bouillon made his retirement official on Friday morning. Many former teammates were eager to share their thoughts on the rearguard’s impressive run in the NHL ranks.
“He was a great player and a great teammate with the size that he had. He was tough. He was reliable as a defenseman. It was great to have him on the team,” offered Plekanec, who had two opportunities to play with Bouillon over the years in Montreal, most recently when the 39-year-old re-joined the CH for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns. “He was moving the puck. He was shooting the puck. He was the full package. When you played with him, it was so easy. He had everything - first pass, shot, tough to play against. Everything you can name of, he had under his belt.”
|Nathan Beaulieu is among many players who had great things to say about Francis Bouillon in Brossard on Friday.
Beaulieu offered up similar thoughts about Bouillon, who served not only as a mentor but an important role model, too.
“I played my first game alongside him. Frankie Boo is a special guy. Great career. He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve seen. He’s just a great guy and he’s easy to talk to. He was a great team guy. It sucks to see his career end. I wish him all the best,” shared Beaulieu, who is still in the veritable infancy of his NHL career. “He wasn’t afraid of anybody. He was always there. It didn’t matter the size of the opponent, he always stuck up for his teammates. He threw his body around. He wasn’t the tallest guy, but he had a big heart.”
Needless to say, Bouillon was particularly special to fellow Quebec native David Desharnais.
“When I started training in Quebec, Francis was there. He’s a guy I watched a lot when I was younger. He’s one of the reasons I wear No. 51, too. I’ve got some great memories of him,” mentioned Desharnais, who, like Bouillon, worked his way through the QMJHL ranks growing up. “He’s a warrior. Every time he fought or delivered a big hit, I was probably his biggest fan. When I was younger, I would watch him on television. He was one of my favourite players. I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to play with him.”
- Youngster Brett Lernout will make his second straight preseason start on Friday night. The 20-year-old defenseman, who logged 14:27 of ice time against the Capitals, says playing alongside Nathan Beaulieu helped ease things along in his debut.
“I thought I played really well out there. Nathan made the game a lot easier for me. He gave me a lot more time to make plays and think things out. He’s a great D partner and I’m glad I can play with him [against Chicago],” praised Lernout, who put up 14 goals and 42 points in 72 games with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos last season, before suiting up for six AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs. “I was nervous a little last night, but I feel more comfortable now. I’m going to go out there and hopefully it will be the same thing.”
For his part, Beaulieu didn’t shy away from offering up some words of wisdom to his up-and-coming defense partner.
“I told him not to get too overconfident because he was good the first night,” joked Beaulieu. “He was really good, though. He knows what to do. He’s a big kid with poise. It’s tough to find that. I thought he was great with his first game. I think he’s only going to get better.”
- Training camp invitee Nicolas Blanchard will get his first chance to strut his stuff in front of the Canadiens’ brass on Friday night. The 28-year-old forward – who was a sixth-round selection of the Carolina Hurricanes back in 2005 – will be playing a competitive game at the Bell Centre for the first time.
|Nicolas Blanchard is excited to make his Bell Centre debut on Friday night in front of family and friends.|
“I’m realizing a childhood dream. When I was called up by the Hurricanes, I didn’t get a chance to play here. I’m really excited for the game,” offered Blanchard, who registered three goals and 14 points in 63 games with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps last season. “I’ve got a lot of family and friends who will be there. I’m going to enjoy the moment, take one shift at a time and focus on the game.”
Blanchard, who boasts just nine career NHL games on his resume, is committed to making the most of the opportunity the Canadiens have presented him with.
“The dream to play in the NHL just won’t go away. I’m 28 years old. I know myself as a player. I know what I have to do,” explained Blanchard, who was a teammate of David Desharnais in Chicoutimi while the pair was plying their trade in the QMJHL in the early 2000s. “The last eight years in the AHL have really served me well. I want to force Marc [Bergevin’s] hand. It’s one of my dreams to play for the Canadiens someday.”
- The Blackhawks will be bringing goaltenders Scott Darling and Mac Carruth to Montreal. Up front, they’ll feature the likes of Andrew Desjardins, Viktor Tikhonov, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Daniel Paille, Thomas Kopecky and Marko Dano, while Trevor Daley, David Rundblad, Jan Hejda and Lubomir Visnovsky will be among those players on defense.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS.
Words From The Room - September 25
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Blackhawks
Francis Bouillon officially announces his retirement as an active NHL player
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning ahead of their second preseason game against the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre.
- A notable group of Canadiens regulars will take part in Thursday night’s contest, including Lars Eller, David Desharnais, Alex Galchenyuk, Brian Flynn, Dale Weise, Andrei Markov, Tom Gilbert, P.K. Subban and Nathan Beaulieu. The Bell Centre faithful will also have their first chance to cheer on the likes of Alexander Semin and Tomas Fleischmann for the first time in a preseason contest. Incidentally, both players suited up for the Capitals at some point over the course of their respective NHL careers.
- The Eller-Galchenyuk-Semin line will be put to the test for the first time on Thursday night. Featuring two players – in Eller and Galchenyuk – still trying to adapt to new positions, and another in Semin trying to get accustomed to his new surroundings, chances to fine-tune their chemistry in game situations are invaluable heading into the regular season.
“We’re excited to go out there and play a real game. It will be good for everybody. We’re having fun together. I’ve played with Alex [Galchenyuk] before. I knew I had good chemistry with him before, and Semin has fit in nicely. We’re holding on to the puck, making plays and having fun,” offered Eller, referencing the success of the trio thus far in intra-squad action, and his ongoing adjustment to his new role as a left-winger, too. “I think we can all pass and we can all finish. We’re all good skaters. Semin has shown in the past that he can certainly shoot. I think that it’s the strongest asset he’s got, the fact that he can finish. He can do unexpected things that few players can.”
- For the first time since the start of training camp, Max Pacioretty skated alongside his teammates. He will not, however, be in the lineup against Washington as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
- A few youngsters will try to impress the Canadiens’ brass on Thursday night. Michael McCarron will be back in the lineup after scoring the CH’s lone goal against Toronto, while Christian Thomas, Sven Andrighetto, Connor Crisp, Charles Hudon, Jarred Tinordi and Brett Lernout will also be plying their trade on home ice.
For their part, Crisp, Hudon and Lernout will be playing their first preseason game of the year. Needless to stay, trying to stop superstar Alex Ovechkin should prove to be a tough task.
“I’m going to focus on playing my game. That’s how I went about taking on a player like Sidney Crosby. I need to keep playing my style of game and play like I know I can. I’ve gone up against top players during my career, like at the World Junior Hockey Championship when I played against [Nail] Yakupov. I was responsible for keeping him off the scoresheet. I just need to keep everything I’ve done well in the past in mind and put it to good use,” shared Hudon, who was the Hamilton Bulldogs’ second-leading point-getter in 2014-15 with 57 points in 75 games. “I’m excited to get out there. I feel like I’m gaining confidence with every practice and with every game I play. This game will be good for me.”
- Skating on a line with Brian Flynn and Sven Andrighetto, Hudon has been looking forward to making his preseason debut after putting in plenty of work over the summer in order to secure a roster spot with the Canadiens come early October. The fact that he’ll be able to count on the presence of Andrighetto alongside him could prove very beneficial on Thursday night.
“Playing with Sven will make things easier. We played together since the start of last season in Hamilton. We know each other well, so much so that we really don’t have to talk on the ice,” explained Hudon, who was a fifth-round selection of the Canadiens back in 2012. “When we say something, it’s like we understand each other right away.”
- After Carey Price and Zachary Fucale shared the goaltending duties on Tuesday night against the Maple Leafs, Dustin Tokarski and Mike Condon will get the call between the pipes against Washington. They’ll be trying to deny the likes of Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov, all of whom are making the trip to Montreal.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS.
Forward lines and D pairings at the morning skate:
- After playing their first preseason game Tuesday night, the Canadiens resumed training camp workouts on Wednesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.
- For today’s practice players were split into two teams. The first of which is made up of Canadiens regulars and veterans plus Charles Hudon, Sven Andrighetto, Michael McCarron, and the second group consists primarily of rookies and youngsters.
- Coach Therrien announced that J.J. Daigneault will be running the powerplay this season, while Dan Lacroix will take over penalty killing duties
- Canadiens are still waiting for their turn to try out the new three-on-three format as their first experience was postponed due to a late penalty at the end of the 3rd period of Tuesday night’s game against the Leafs.
- The Canadiens will continue their pre-season schedule on Thursday night at the Bell Centre against the Washington Captials. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
- Here are the line combinations used by Michel Therrien at practice:
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex on Tuesday morning in preparation for their first preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre.
- Prior to the start of practice, Max Pacioretty (Knee), Noah Juulsen (Concussion) and Markus Eisenschmid (Abdomen) hit the ice to work out with strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard and athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine.
- P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov skated with the rest of Michel Therrien’s troops on Tuesday morning, but the pair will not be in the lineup against Toronto. Meanwhile, the Canadiens’ bench boss confirmed that Carey Price and Zachary Fucale will split the goaltending duties in the preseason opener.
- Defenseman Mark Barberio is eagerly anticipating Tuesday night’s matchup on home turf – and with good reason. Barberio, a Montreal native, signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Canadiens back on July 1st. Now, he’s battling for a spot on the blue line with his hometown team.
“It’s definitely special. I’m wearing the right colors now,” cracked Barberio, who’d spent the last two-plus seasons plying his trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the squad that drafted him 152nd overall back in 2008. “I definitely have to jump on opportunities like these. Everyone is here to make the team, but for me it’s extra special with this being the team I grew up watching. It doesn’t change anything for me, though. I have to play my game, make simple plays, and try to win the game [against Toronto].”
It will mark the sixth time that Barberio laces up his skates at the Bell Centre, and he’ll likely have plenty of support in the stands to mark the occasion.
“My entire family is happy [about me playing for the Canadiens]. They were at the Bell Centre on Sunday for the Red vs. White game. They enjoyed it, but I think they’ll find this to be even more exciting,” shared Barberio, who has amassed six goals, 17 points and 44 penalty minutes in 103 career NHL games. “It’s always special to play at the Bell Centre, even if you’re on the opposing team, but it’s even more special when you’re wearing the Canadiens colors.”
- Like Barberio, Zack Kassian is looking forward to suiting up against the Maple Leafs and showcasing the physical brand of hockey he’s come to be known for since making his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres in 2011-12.
“I’m excited. It’s been a long summer, and it’ll be nice to finally get out there and compete against some other teams,” offered Kassian, who was acquired by the Canadiens from the Vancouver Canucks on July 1st in exchange for Brandon Prust. “I think in training camp, especially as a new guy, you don’t want to be running around. There’s a lot of time for that. I think exhibition games are really where you have to ramp up your intensity. That’s really where you have to display your skills. I’m looking forward to that.”
- Regardless of the score at the end of regulation time, the Canadiens and Maple Leafs will play a five-minute, sudden-death, 3-on-3 overtime period. This is being done in order to ensure that players, coaches and officials have at least a minimum of exposure to the new overtime format before the beginning of the regular season.
While the 3-on-3 OT format was the norm in the AHL during the 2014-15 campaign, it’s something new in the NHL ranks and it has peaked the curiosity of everyone involved.
“Every time the NHL makes a change, it’s with the idea of making the game more interesting for the fans,” stressed Therrien, who will have three preseason games within which to fine-tune his new overtime strategies before the regular season gets underway. “I spoke to a few players about it and they’re excited about the format. We watched clips from the games on Monday, and I think it’s really exciting and the play is really wide open.”
Therrien knows full well that being effective in 3-on-3 situations requires that teams exhibit a few key characteristics.
“It takes speed and puck possession. There are good teams in the NHL, and it will be interesting to see the way they go about things in overtime,” offered Therrien, who also addressed the NHL’s decision to implement new video review practices in 2015-16. “We have to be aware of it. We’ll definitely be paying attention to it. We’re ready. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything is going to play out. I hope I don’t have to use it, but you still have to consider the option.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS.
Projected forward lines and D pairings vs. Toronto:
Andrighetto – Plekanec – Gallagher
De La Rose – Mitchell – Kassian
Carr – Dumont – Smith-Pelly
Bozon – McCarron – Thomas
Emelin – Petry
Tinordi – Pateryn
Barberio – Dietz
- After staging an intra-squad scrimmage at the Bell Centre on Sunday, the Canadiens resumed training camp workouts on Monday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.
- Players were divided into two groups on Monday, the first of which was made up of Canadiens regulars and veterans, along with young guns Charles Hudon, Michael McCarron, Daniel Carr and Sven Andrighetto. The second group consisted primarily of rookies and youngsters.
- Goaltender Carey Price met with members of the media for the first time since Max Pacioretty was named captain. Needless to say, the reigning Vezina Trophy, Hart Trophy, William M. Jennings Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award winner believes Pacioretty will excel in his new role.
“Max has all of the qualities needed to be a good captain,” affirmed Price. “He has matured the fastest of all of the guys drafted around that time. He has a really good head for the game.”
- The Canadiens will open their pre-season schedule on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
The National Hockey League has designated certain games on its upcoming 2015 preseason schedule in which the participating teams will test and practice the new ‘3-on-3’ overtime format. This is done in order to ensure that players, coaches and officials have at least a minimum of exposure to the new overtime format, and that they have a chance to practice the new format before the beginning of the regular season.
Here is a list of the 3 preseason games the Canadiens will play that will feature a five-minute, sudden-death, 3-on-3 overtime period – regardless of the score at the end of regulation time:
TUESDAY, SEPT. 22
Toronto at Montreal, 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, SEPT. 26
Montreal at Toronto, 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, OCT. 3
Montreal at Ottawa, 7:00 PM
MONTREAL – Team White posted a 6-2 win over Team Red in the Canadian Tire Red vs. White Scrimmage on Sunday afternoon at the Bell Centre.
Tomas Fleischmann put Team Red up by two goals in the second period with a penalty shot tally at 5:46, before both Alex Galchenyuk and Sven Andrighetto lit the lamp at 6:48 and 12:15 respectively for Team White to tie things up 2-2.
Galchenyuk gave Team White a 3-2 lead just 1:48 into the third period, jumping on a loose puck and beating a helpless Zachary Fucale in close. Lars Eller made it 4-2 for Team White, before Christian Thomas scored Team White's fifth straight goal and upped his squad's lead to 5-2. Dale Weise added Team White's sixth goal late in the final frame.
Carey Price, who started the game for Team Red, made 15 saves on 16 shots against.
MONTREAL – It is with great sadness that the Canadiens learned of the passing of Todd Ewen at the age of 49.
The right-winger, who played four seasons with the CH, was known especially for his tough guy role. He amassed 609 penalty minutes during his time in Montreal.
An eighth-round selected of the Edmonton Oilers back in 1984, Ewen won the Stanley Cup in his last season with the Canadiens in 1993.
A Saskatoon native, Ewen also donned the colors of the St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks during his 11-year NHL career. In 518 games, he scored 36 goals and collected 76 points, in addition to racking up 1,911 penalty minutes.