BROSSARD - The Canadiens held a practice at the Bell Sports Complex on Saturday morning. The team will have a rare Saturday evening off, but are back at the Bell Centre to face the Islanders on Sunday.
-Daniel Briere practiced wearing a white full contact jersey. It’s his second time participating in regular practice since suffering a concussion.
-The coaches organized an up-tempo practice session featuring several odd-man rush drills designed to hone the team’s skating and passing abilities. They followed up with two on two “battle drills” in front of the net.
Lines at practice
Defenseman Greg Pateryn was reassigned to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs this morning. The 23 year-old from Sterling Heights, Michigan was recalled from Hamilton on October 28th, but did not appear in a game with the Habs since being called up.
Elsewhere, the Canadiens had a day off on Friday. The team’s next practice session will be held at the Bell Sports Complex at 11AM on Saturday November 9th.
- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata. Sixteen players took part, including both goalies. Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges, Ryan White, Tomas Plekanec, Raphael Diaz, Francis Bouillon and Max Pacioretty did not practice.
- Daniel Briere participated in his first practice with the team since suffering a concussion on Oct. 19 against Nashville. With no set timetable for his return to the lineup, the 36-year-old is dutifully following protocol to make sure when he does finally get back into action, he’ll be fully recovered and ready to go.
|Briere practicing with his teammates|
“I don’t have a precise date yet. I’ve followed protocol and things have been getting better. I can do a little more every day,” shared Briere, who took an Eric Nystrom elbow to the chin in the team’s eighth game of the season. “The hardest thing is just being patient. With the way I’m feeling, I feel like I could play tonight but I know that wouldn’t be the best thing to do. We’ve seen in the past what happens when guys come back too soon and they get hit and then they’re out for even longer. I’m following the doctors’ orders; they know what’s best for me, but it’s hard to be patient and wait.”
- Travis Moen skated on Thursday morning and will suit up for his first game since fracturing his orbital bone on Oct. 26 after taking a puck to the face. Moen will be sporting a visor for the immediate future and will flank Ryan White and George Parros on the team’s fourth line.
- Carey Price will get his 14th start of the season on Thursday night. The 26-year-old will look to build on his 14-5-3 career record against the Sens.
- About to square off against the Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre for the first time – preseason excluded – since Game 4 of the first round of the 2013 Playoffs, Michel Therrien is expecting to see a typical rivalry game in Ottawa. Having failed to leave the nation’s capital with a win since December 27, 2011, Therrien is hoping to snap that streak on Thursday night.
“When you play against teams in your division, you’re used to playing against them and there’s always a little more emotion in the air when you face them than when you’re playing teams you don’t play against very often,” admitted the Habs bench boss. “We know how important games like these are and we’re starting a stretch of the schedule where we’re facing a lot of teams within our conference and our division. We know them better and they know us better, so that always makes for more interesting games.”
After Tuesday night’s game versus St. Louis, the team announced that forwards Louis Leblanc and Martin St-Pierre will be reassigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Alexei Emelin and Travis Moen both practiced with full contact jerseys.
The coaching staff shuffled the forward lines at practice. Pacioretty slotted in with Plekanec and Gionta, Eller was back with Galchenyuk and Gallagher, Desharnais centered Bournival and Bourque, while Moen was reunited with White and Parros.
Carey Price will make his fourteenth start in Ottawa on Thursday.
Daniel Briere will make the trip and practice with his teammates for the first time since suffering a concussion against Nashville.
The recovery of Emelin and Brandon Prust are on-schedule, but there are no fixed date for their return as of yet.
Lines at practice
- Forwards Louis Leblanc and Martin St-Pierre have been assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs this morning. They will travel to Rochester today.
BROSSARD - The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex on Tuesday ahead of their game against the St. Louis Blues.
- For a second day in a row, Brandon Prust skated before practice.
- Seventeen players took part in the morning skate, including forwards Michael Bournival, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Louis Leblanc, Lars Eller, David Desharnais, George Parros, Martin St-Pierre and Travis Moen. Defensemen Raphael Diaz, P.K. Subban, Douglas Murray and Francis Bouillon also took part in practice along with goaltenders Carey Price and Peter Budaj.
“The coach told me yesterday to be ready in case I play, and confirmed with me this morning. It’ll be a great experience,” stated St-Pierre, who has eight points in seven games with the Hamilton Bulldogs this season.
The 30-year-old will be skating for his fourth NHL club, having already dressed for the Blackhawks, the Bruins and the Senators prior to signing with the Canadiens over the summer.
“It’s been four years since I last played [a regular season game] with the Senators, so it’ll be a lot of fun to have another chance tonight,” noted the Ottawa, ON native.
- David Desharnais will not see action against St. Louis. While it’s always a hard decision to bench an established player, head coach Michel Therrien asserts that the decision to leave Desharnais out of the lineup on Tuesday night was a difficult one.
“It’s never easy to make those types of decisions because the goal of the exercise is to make sure that your players are at their best. When you don’t see results, you need to make decisions,” affirmed Therrien. “My main concern is to make sure that all the players in the lineup give a good effort and win this hockey game.”
“My approach will be the same. I’ve learned in the past that things don’t stay the same for long. We have all the assets to do well as a new line,” mentioned Eller.
For the 24-year-old, the game against the Blues will be a special occasion. St. Louis drafted Eller back in 2007, before trading him to the Canadiens in 2010.
“Even though I only played seven games with them, I still spent almost three years in that organization. Of course it’s special. There will be many familiar faces in the lineup, guys I’ve played with in the past,” acknowledged Eller, who will take on his former club for the third time in his career.
Projected lineup vs. STL
- The Canadiens skated in Brossard on Monday morning after a day off on Sunday following their two-game road swing to Minnesota and Colorado.
- Called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs on Sunday, Martin St-Pierre took part in practice at the Bell Sports Complex. The Ottawa, ON native is currently tied atop the Bulldogs’ scoring list with eight points on the year in seven games.
- Travis Moen took part in his first practice alongside his teammates since suffering a fractured orbital bone on Oct. 26 against the Sharks. Moen sported a blue ‘no contact’ jersey during the practice session.
- Alexei Emelin took part in practice alongside his teammates again in Brossard. This time, however, Emelin was wearing a white jersey indicating he is eligible for contact.
- Brandon Prust and Daniel Briere skated on the secondary ice rink at the Bell Sports Complex on Monday morning. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Briere is no longer suffering from symptoms related to the concussion he suffered just over two weeks ago in a game against the Nashville Predators.
- Therrien also confirmed that Carey Price will get the start in goal against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Bournival – Plekanec – Gionta
Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Gallagher
Leblanc – Eller – Bourque
Desharnais – White – Parros
St-Pierre – Moen
Diaz – Gorges
Markov – Subban
Murray – Bouillon
Emelin – Pateryn
The Canadiens assigned Michael Blunden to the Hamilton Bulldogs this morning.
Later in the day, the Canadiens recalled forward Martin St-Pierre from Hamilton.
- The Canadiens held an optional skate on Saturday morning at the Pepsi Center in Denver ahead of their game against the Avalanche. Seven Habs players took part in the skate, including Max Pacioretty, Ryan White, Michael Blunden, Greg Pateryn, George Parros and goaltenders Peter Budaj and Carey Price. Goaltending coach Stephane Waite was on the ice as well for the duration of the on-ice session.
- Budaj will be making his third start of the season for the Canadiens on Saturday night against the Avs. The Slovakian netminder holds a 54-37-13 lifetime record at the Pepsi Center with a 2.63 GAA. Saturday night’s tilt will mark Budaj’s first career start in the building as a member of the Canadiens. He called the Pepsi Center home as a member of the Avalanche for six seasons.
- Max Pacioretty will return to the Canadiens lineup on Saturday night for the first time since suffering a left hamstring strain on Oct. 15 in a game against the Jets in Winnipeg. Absent for the last nine games, the power forward, who has amassed two goals and three points in five games thus far this season, has been chomping at the bit to return to action.
"A few days ago, they made a plan for me that I would play one of the two games on the trip. Obviously, I wanted to play them both. I have to do everything I can to help the team win tonight," affirmed Pacioretty, who as of the morning skate hadn't been made aware of his linemates for the tilt against head coach Patrick Roy's squad. "I felt bad for about a week after the injury. I’ve been feeling 100 percent for around a week now. I’m ready to play my game."
- Prior to the start of Saturday night’s game, the Avalanche will raise defenseman Adam Foote’s number 52 to the rafters at the Pepsi Center. Foote spent 17 of his 19 NHL seasons in the Nordiques/Avalanche organization. The ceremony will be held at 6:55 p.m. MT.
Game preview: Canadiens @ Avalanche
Top - Patrick Roy
24CH: Flash #15
Onward and upward
- The Canadiens skated at the Xcel Energy Center on Friday morning ahead of their tilt against the Minnesota Wild.
- Prior to the start of practice, players lined up for a group photo alongside their guests who accompanied them on the Father & Son Roadtrip to Minnesota and Colorado. Twenty fathers were on site at the rink on Friday morning, along with countless sons, friends and relatives of Canadiens players and staffers.
For Brendan Gallagher, any opportunity to play in front of his father, Ian, is something the 21-year-old looks forward to. The Edmonton, AB native believes that having family and friends in attendance at the Xcel Energy Center provides added incentive for the players to put on a good show and pick up an all-important victory.
“You always want to play well, but when you have people that are very important to you and special to you and that meant a lot to your career, you want to bring your best. You want to show up, you want to play hard,” acknowledged Gallagher, who has five goals and eight points in 13 games thus far this season. “I know the guys in here will do that because each and every one has talked how much our dads gave up so much for us to be where we are today. So, tonight hopefully we can go out there and pay a little bit back to them and reward them with a win.”
- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Carey Price will make his 12th start of the season for the Canadiens on Friday night. The Habs bench boss also confirmed that Peter Budaj will be between the pipes against the Avalanche to close out the road trip on Saturday night in Colorado. He also indicated that Max Pacioretty will likely make his return to the lineup against the Avalanche. The New Canaan, CT native had been sidelined since suffering a left hamstring injury in a tilt on Oct. 15 in Winnipeg.
- George Parros will make his much-anticipated return to the Canadiens lineup on Friday night against the Wild. Parros suffered a concussion on Oct. 1 in the season-opener against the Maple Leafs.
Back on the ice in the Twin Cities sans his trademark mustache, the 33-year-old is prepared to return to active duty.
“I feel lighter and quicker [without the mustache], but less manly,” joked Parros, who shaved off his mustache in honor of Movember prior to the team’s departure on Thursday. “I feel good. I’m at the point where I can get back to playing with confidence. I’m not going to rush it. That’s important when it comes to this type of injury. I’m ready to play.”
- Michel Therrien will be coaching across from a familiar face on Friday night in Wild bench boss, Mike Yeo. The pair spent seven years together in the Pittsburgh organization. Therrien has the utmost respect for his coaching counterpart, who also just happens to be the youngest coach in the NHL.
“We worked together in Wilkes-Barre. When I got to Pittsburgh, we moved up together. I really enjoyed my time with Mike Yeo. He’s got great work ethic. He’s a smart hockey mind. He’s really well-respected by his players,” offered Therrien. “I really enjoyed my time with him. I tried to help him and he certainly helped me, too. I’m really pleased with the success he’s had with the Wild. I knew that down the road he would eventually get a shot to be a head coach in the NHL.”
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Wild
Words from the room - Nov. 1