BROSSARD - The Canadiens held an optional morning skate on Saturday morning at the Bell Sports Complex ahead of tonight’s contest against the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre. All players – with the exception of Mike Brown who took a maintenance day - decided to take advantage of the optional practice in Brossard.
“I just needed a maintenance day. I’ll be ready for tonight. I think initially I didn’t know what happened. I think it looked a lot worse than it actually was. I did the necessary treatment and I fee l good now,” expressed Brown, whose addition to the Canadiens lineup has instilled the club with a newfound level of toughness and physicality. “I was excited to come here at first. Everybody has been great to me here; the staff, management, the players. It’s been a fun ride here. I play the same style no matter where I go. I am still going to play that physical energy role. I’m glad I’ve been able to fit in here so far.”
In a rather bizarre twist, when the Habs first claimed the hard-hitting veteran off waivers from the San Jose Sharks on February 29, all Brown had to do was walk across the hall at SAP Center in San Jose where the Canadiens were practicing for their matchup against the Sharks that very night.
“I’ve only been here a short time so it’s tough, but we have other veterans and leaders in this room. I’m more of a lead by example type of guy. I just have to leave a good example for the young guys to follow with a good work ethic,” explained Brown, who recently laced up his skates for his 400th career NHL game. “It’s always fun to play at the Bell Centre. I found that out when I came in here as an opponent but I’m on the other side now and I have the Bell Centre fans on my side. Always fun to play there.”
- Having missed the last game with an upper-body injury, Sven Andrighetto will be back in the lineup on Saturday night. Andrighetto will replace Lucas Lessio, who is not available for tonight’s game after sustaining an injury against the Red Wings on Thursday night.
“It wasn’t a serious injury. Just an upper-body injury, but I feel great now and I’m ready to go tonight. I don’t know exactly where in the lineup I’ll be, but we’ll see tonight,” noted Andrighetto, who was forced to sit out the Habs last game after absorbing a couple big hits from Ottawa Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf back on March 19. “You obviously have to keep your head up out there. Dion [Phaneuf] is a big guy and I learned my lesson. He’s one of those guys that likes to step up and make those big hits. He jumps up unexpectedly but you have to be aware of him on the ice. Like I said, I learned my lesson on that one. For us we want to win every game that we play. We are professionals and we want to win every night. We’re all very competitive in this room.”
- Though he will not suit up against the Rangers, P. K. Subban skated with his teammates and remained on the ice to put in some extra work alongside Carey Price and Jacob De La Rose. With Subban still out of the lineup, blue-liners like Nathan Beaulieu will have to band together to shut down Eric Staal and the Rangers high-tempo offense.
“He just adds another threat. They were already good before they added Staal. He’s obviously one of the most dynamic power-forwards in the League and he’s proved that over the last ten years. He just makes their team a lot better,” professed Beaulieu, who has already established new career highs in goals, assists and points during the 2015-16 campaign. “For the guys who haven’t played the Rangers before, tonight will be fun to go up against all of their star players.”
- Mike Condon will be back in goal to face the Rangers. Saturday night marks the first time that the rookie starts a game against the Rangers in his career. Though the young netminder did make a brief relief appearance in favor of Carey Price, stopping all 11 shots he faced in a 5-1 win for the Habs.
Greg Pateryn, one of the blue-liners tasked with making Condon’s night easier knows Saturday night will be an important test for the Canadiens.
“Every remaining game is a test of character and we have to go out every night and battle. You can look at tonight’s game as a tough matchup or you can look at it as a good challenge and opportunity for us to show what we have in this room. Every time you step on the ice you have to put your best foot forward. I think we were on our heels a bit against Detroit and they took advantage of that,” added the Sterling Heights, Michigan native who skated 19:39 in Thursday night’s 4-3 loss to his hometown Detroit Red Wings. “The Rangers play an exceptionally fast game and they have a lot of good players but at the same it’s an opportunity to show you can play against the players on the top team. Absolutely tonight is an easy game to get pumped up for.”
The game will be broadcasted on TVA Sports, NHLN-US and SN. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Bell Centre.
Quotes from the room
In the spotlight
The Numbers Game: March 24, 2016
Time for battle
BROSSARD - The Canadiens got back to work in Brossard, electing to hold an optional practice at the Bell Sports Complex. The skate comes just a day after the Habs scored three unanswered goals in an attempted third period comeback that would fall just short against the Detroit Red Wings.
Players who took advantage of the optional skate included Mike Condon, Ben Scrivens, Greg Pateryn, Mike Brown, Jacob de la Rose, Nathan Beaulieu, Michael McCarron, Sven Andrighetto, Darren Dietz, David Desharnais, Joel Hanley and P.K. Subban.
The boys had some fun at practice on Good Friday, bringing both nets to one end of the rink for some high intensity three-on-three drills using the width of the ice.
Following the optional skate, coach Therrien confirmed that Mike Condon will get the nod between the pipes on Saturday night against the Rangers.
In addition, the coach announced that Mike Brown and Stefan Matteau are both available to suit up on Saturday night against New York after both forwards had to head to the dressing room with suspected ailments in Thursday night’s contest against the Red Wings. Meanwhile, Lucas Lessio will require more time to return to the lineup. Therrien also mentioned that Sven Andrighetto could potentially be available Saturday.
Lastly, P.K. Subban continues to practice with his teammates while he waits for the doctor’s green light to return to the lineup.
- The Canadiens skated at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday morning ahead of their 7:30 p.m. tilt against the Detroit Red Wings.
- Ben Scrivens will get his first start in goal on Thursday since March 19 in Ottawa. The 29-year-old netminder has faced a combined 87 shots in his last two outings, making 80 saves over a win and a loss against the Sabres and Senators respectively.
- De La Rose will be replaced in the lineup by David Desharnais, who returns to action from a lower body injury which had sidelined the forward since February 15 in Arizona.
“It’s nice to finally be back and be able to help my teammates,” underlined the 29-year-old forward who has missed the team’s last 17 games. “I’m a bit nervous, for sure, coming back from a long absence like this. As a player, you always want to play and help your teammates win.”
“I’m excited to be back at center, and I want to help the ‘big guy’ over there play well,” cracked Desharnais on the topic of his new six-foot-six linemate. “And he can help me too by taking the draws on his strong side. We’re going to work together to help each other out tonight.”
McCarron meanwhile is eager to take advantage of the veteran presence.
“He’s a veteran guy who’s been in the league quite a long time, and he’s known for being a great player,” dished the 21-year-old. “He can find you and get the puck to you and I’m super excited to be playing with him tonight. It should be a fun time, and a great opportunity for me to prove myself and play with different players.”
- A pair of Habs will enjoy a homecoming of sorts in Detroit when Michigan natives McCarron and Greg Pateryn skate onto the Joe Louis Arena ice prior to puck drop on Thursday.
McCarron will be facing his hometown team for the first time, and expects a huge newly converted Habs contingent on-site for the occasion.
“Upwards of 40 to 50 of my friends and family are coming tonight. I actually turned my phone my off, because I didn’t want to respond to all the text messages and that stuff. My parents are taking care of all the tickets and I’m just focusing on the game and the task at hand,” revealed the Grosse Pointe native. “For as long as I can remember I came to games here with my grandparents and parents. The Red Wings were always my team, so I’m super excited to be playing here at the Joe tonight.”
Pateryn for his part returns to Detroit for the second time this season, but admits the experience is still one he circles on his calendar.
“Being from here and growing up here, I’ve watched a lot games in this rink and watched this team play my whole life, so it’s always a special moment to come back and play in front of the crowd here and against the Red Wings,” acknowledged the Sterling Heights native, who will likewise have some friendly faces in the crowd. “My parents were the only ones in town, so they’ll be coming to the game. I’m trying to not make too big a deal about coming back -- I’m trying to stay humble about it -- but if people come to the game to see me, then that’s exciting.”
- Detroit currently sits nine points ahead of the Habs in the standings, tied with Philadelphia for the East’s final wildcard spot with nine games left to play.
It was no secret on Thursday that the Canadiens intend to make the Red Wings work should they like to keep their 24-year playoff streak intact.
“If we can play spoiler that’s what we want to do. Obviously there are no personal grudges, but we we all have something to prove in this room -- whether you’re a young guy or an older guy trying to stick around,” admitted captain Max Pacioretty. “Everybody in this room has something to prove, and if we can get a couple of wins here, it’ll be a pretty good feeling down the stretch.”
- The Canadiens returned to the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard following their dramatic 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Following practice the team is set to depart for Detroit where a matchup against the Red Wings awaits them on Thursday night.
- After suiting up in non-contact jerseys at Tuesday’s practice, both P.K. Subban and David Desharnais were full participants in Wednesday’s practice, swapping their light-blue jerseys for full-contact ones.
- In addition, Sven Andrighetto made his return to practice after missing the last two games with an upper-body injury. The young winger could potentially make his return to the lineup in Detroit.
- Following practice coach Therrien confirmed that Ben Scrivens will be between the pipes against the Red Wings.
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Anaheim Ducks at the Bell Centre.
- Prior to the start of the on-ice session, Brendan Gallagher, Daniel Carr and Brian Flynn suited up in full equipment and skated with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine. Following practice, Carr and Flynn even returned to the ice to take shots on Carey Price and assist in his rehab work.
- During Sunday night’s game against the Calgary Flames, head coach Michel Therrien elected to put Phillip Danault on the wing. On Tuesday, Danault was skating on a line with Michael McCarron and Stefan Matteau.
“I sat down with Phillip before the last game and I told him why I wanted to see him on the wing,” explained Therrien, who watched Danault pick up an assist on Michael McCarron’s first career NHL goal on Sunday. “A forward who can play different positions is a big asset for us. I think it was his first game on the wing, and he did well.”
For his part, Danault embraced the opportunity to try out something different.
“I didn’t expect to be playing wing when I got to Montreal, but at the same time, the more versatile you are, the more value you have as a player. That’s important for any team,” explained the Canadiens’ No. 24, who was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks on February 26. “I was still taking faceoffs, but to be able to play on the wing is good for my development.”
“We’re hoping to see certain players back over the course of the week,” said Therrien. “P.K. had a high-intensity workout with Pierre Allard. He looked good on the ice. In the end, it’s always the player – in conjunction with the doctors – who decides when they’re ready to return. He won’t play tonight, and I can’t guarantee that he’ll be back in the next game, either.”
- Despite their position in the standings, the Canadiens still have nine games left on their regular season schedule. For some players, especially the youngsters, the remaining contests represent an excellent opportunity to strut their stuff ahead of training camp next year. The veterans, meanwhile, also want to offer up solid performances, too.
“People think we come to the rink, collect our paycheque and go home and spend our money, but that’s not the case at all,” said captain Max Pacioretty. “We want to win. We want to be happy. We want to have good vibes at the rink. That’s definitely not the case. I wish people could see what goes on behind closed doors, the amount of work, the amount of stress, pressure. We want this in this room, even more so than people think. It’s not going to change with what’s being said about our team. That’s not the truth.”
- Bruce Boudreau’s contingent certainly represents a good challenge for the Canadiens on Tuesday night. Anaheim is currently in the midst of a five-game road trip that will see them make their way to Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton after tonight.
“This is a very good team we’re playing against tonight. It’s going to be a good test for us,” said Nathan Beaulieu, referencing Anaheim’s ranking as the top defensive squad in the league. “Obviously, our team looks a little different from the beginning of the year, but it’s just another opportunity. It’ll be a good challenge for us.”
The Canadiens will have to play a disciplined brand of hockey against Anaheim. Not only do they boast the best power play in the NHL, clicking 24.3 % of the time, but they also boast the league’s top penalty killing units, denying the opposition 87.3 % of the time, too.
- Mike Condon will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. It will be his 45th start of the season.
On Sunday afternoon the Canadiens announced that defenseman Joel Hanley has been called up from the St. John’s IceCaps as part of an emergency recall for Sunday night’s contest against the Calgary Flames. The move comes on the heels of the news that blue-liner Victor Bartley will be out day-to-day after suffering a lower-body injury.
In 61 games with the IceCaps this season, the Keswick, Ontario native has registered five goals and added eight assists. The former UMass-Amherst University (Hockey East) product - who is expected to make his NHL debut on Sunday night at the Bell Centre - signed a one-year, two way contract with the Canadiens back in January 2015.
- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Saturday morning in preparation for their game against the Senators. Following the contest, Michel Therrien’s troops will return home to Montreal for a matchup against the Calgary Flames on Sunday night at the Bell Centre.
- After the on-ice session, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Stefan Matteau would be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night. Matteau will play in place of Jacob De La Rose.
“We want to give all of our young players chances to show us what they’re capable of doing,” said Therrien, whose squad will play their 72nd game of the regular season on Saturday night. “When it’s all over, we want to have some answers. Stefan needs to play with the intensity players have to have in order to be successful.”
- In their most recent outing, the Canadiens were involved in an emotionally charged affair against the Sabres in which penalty minutes aplenty were handed out as both teams tried to impose themselves physically. A similar scenario could easily repeat itself on Saturday night given the recent history between the Canadiens and Senators, particularly during postseason play.
“It’s up there [among our rivalries]. I think now it’s the most physical. The last two playoff series we played against each other were very physical. It’s very entertaining hockey, and I think that carried over to the regular season and even in pre-season. I can remember some heated battles as well,” shared captain Max Pacioretty, who will look to stretch his current points streak to seven games on Saturday night. “It’s always fun for us to come here and play against a team that doesn’t like us and we don’t like them. These are the types of games that we enjoy playing, especially on Saturday night.”
Rookie Michael McCarron will get his first taste of the rivalry that seems to be intensifying with every meeting whether in Ottawa or Montreal.
“It’s a big rivalry between these two teams. It’s going to be my first experience with it and I’m super excited,” shared McCarron, who will surely be counted upon to throw his weight around on Saturday night, especially if things get out of hand at any point in time. “I like playing in heated battles. It’ll be a good game tonight.”
And, it’s no secret what the Canadiens will have to do in order to give themselves a chance to best the Senators on their home turf.
“There was some good character in that Buffalo game. Guys stuck up for each other. We need to play with that team mentality,” stressed Pacioretty. “Hopefully, that will carry over to tonight.”
- Like McCarron, Darren Dietz is one of many young guns being featured in the lineup these days. With fellow rearguard Mark Barberio on the sidelines, Dietz returns to active duty after coming back up from St. John's as an emergency recall on Thursday.
“He’s a young defenseman who’s following the right steps. We want him to move the puck well, play solid in one-on-one situations and just play the right way,” explained Therrien, who has featured the 22-year-old Medicine Hat, AB native in two games so far this season. “At the Junior level, he was able to bring some offensive production, too, so we have to give him some chances to chip in on offense at the professional level as well.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
Words From The Room - Mar. 19
Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Senators
A wish come true
Follow the leader
- After a day off on Thursday, the Canadiens returned to practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning before taking the train to Ottawa for their tilt against the Senators on Saturday night.
- Prior to the start of practice, the Canadiens confirmed that defenseman Mark Barberio would be sidelined indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms. He suffered the injury during Wednesday night’s contest in Buffalo, and was forced to leave the game after logging just 8:01 of ice time.
- Meanwhile, defenseman P.K. Subban was back on the ice on Friday morning, working out with strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard. Subban continues to recover from a non-serious neck injury sustained on March 10. While the Canadiens’ No. 76 looked sharp during the on-ice session, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that he would not be available to play over the weekend.
- In his post-practice press conference, Therrien also confirmed that Ben Scrivens would get the start in goal on Saturday night against Ottawa, while Mike Condon would be between the pipes on Sunday night when the Calgary Flames visit the Bell Centre.
- For his part, David Desharnais continued his rehab work, too. He skated with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine on Brossard’s primary ice rink around 12 p.m.
- Earlier in the day, Carey Price also hit the ice with goaltending coach Stephane Waite and special guest – seven-year-old, Nathan Chouinard. The young netminder was a guest of both Price and Waite, who were touched by his story featured on the news in Sherbrooke, QC. Chouinard continues to pursue his hockey dreams while battling ectrodactyly.
The Canadiens announce that defenseman Darren Dietz has been called up from the St. John's IceCaps as part of an emergency recall.
Dietz, who was reassigned to the IceCaps ahead of the Canadiens matchup against the Buffalo Sabres on March 16, makes his way back to the Habs after Mark Barberio suffered an injury in Wednesday night's contest and was forced to leave after playing just eight minutes.
On Wednesday afternoon the Montreal Canadiens announced that defenseman Darren Dietz has been assigned to St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL, after joining the Habs on March 11th as part of an emergency recall.
The 22-year-old blue-liner, who skated a career-high 21:00 minutes in Tuesday night’s matchup against Florida, suited up for two contests with the Canadiens where he registered four penalty minutes. The Medicine Hat, Alberta native returns to St. John’s where he has tallied four goals and 12 assists in 58 games so far this season.