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POSTED ON Wednesday, 08.10.2014 / 1:23 PM

- The Canadiens skated at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Wednesday morning ahead of contesting their 2014-15 regular-season opener against the Maple Leafs. It’s the first of four straight road games Michel Therrien’s troops will contest in the next six days. They’ll also make stops in Washington, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay before returning home to Montreal for the home-opener on October 16th at the Bell Centre.

- Wednesday night’s tilt in Toronto marks the fifth consecutive time the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs will do battle in the season-opener to kick off an NHL campaign.

“It’s one of the biggest rivalries out there, not only in the hockey world, but in all of professional sports. I think we’re lucky to be a part of it. Our philosophy is to take things one game at a time. You’ll often hear that. That’s our approach. But, the first game of the season is always special,” underlined Therrien, who is counting on leaving the Air Canada Centre with the Canadiens’ first two points of the season. “We’re hoping to have a better result than in the last two seasons, because the games didn’t turn out in our favor. But, it’s always special to play on opening night, especially against the Maple Leafs.”

- Czech forward Jiri Sekac will play his first career NHL game on Wednesday night. He’ll suit up on a line with Lars Eller and Rene Bourque. Even if the left-winger boasts 133 games of KHL experience, Michel Therrien is convinced the Kladno native might be somewhat nervous when the time comes to hit the ice in Toronto.

“We talked to him during the week. We congratulated him on making the team, and for having a good training camp. This will be a very special experience for him,” underlined Therrien, who will also feature several other youngsters in his lineup on Wednesday night, including defenseman Nathan Beaulieu. “For all of the players beginning their NHL careers, these are special moments both for them and their families and friends. He’ll remember this experience for the rest of his life.”

If Therrien is satisfied with Sekac’s play to a point where the 22-year-old will don the CH on opening night, the Canadiens’ bench boss insists that his work with the young phenom has only begun.

“The biggest challenge for Sekac was to adapt to the style of play in North America. He needs to play a style that is North-South instead of East-West. He’s been used to playing on larger ice surfaces. But, he’s progressing nicely. He’s a young player with a lot of character, and his work ethic is exemplary. He always gives his all, and he’s getting better every game,” explained Therrien.

RAW: P.K. Subban

- The Canadiens kick off the season with 10 players aged 25 or younger in the fold, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the ingredients necessary to be a success story in 2014-15. What Michel Therrien’s troops might collectively lack in age, five-year NHL veteran and newly minted assistant captain P.K. Subban believes they certainly make up for in skill and know-how.

“I think we’re a younger team, but I think we also have young veterans that have experience. Obviously, over the past two years we’ve had a lot of success, and we want to continue to build on that. We’re a team that has to play in your face every night, and we have to play the right way. That’s the important thing,” offered Subban, who should suit up alongside Russian rearguard Alexei Emelin on Wednesday night in Toronto. “Since I’ve been here, our team has had success because we’ve played together as a team and we’ve played the right way. That’s the most important thing moving forward.”

That being said, the 2013 Norris Trophy winner is also adamant that the key to the Canadiens’ success will also come down to spreading the responsibility of leadership around. Fortunately, the 25-year-old believes that’s already the case inside the locker room.

“I think there’s a lot of leadership collectively as a team. We have a lot of guys who are ready for the opportunity to step up and take advantage of those leadership roles, and I think we’ve established who our leaders are going to be,” stressed Subban, who led all Canadiens defensemen with 10 goals and 53 points in 82 games in 2013-14. “[Andrei] Markov said it in training camp. We need 22 leaders for this team to be successful, and he’s exactly right.”

- Carey Price will get the start for the Canadiens. He boasts a 13-13-1 record, a 2.73 goals-against average, and a .914 save percentage in 27 games against the Maple Leafs over the course of his NHL career.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

Lines and D pairings at practice:

Pacioretty – Desharnais – Parenteau
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
Sekac – Eller – Bourque
Weise – Malhotra – Prust
Moen – Bournival

Subban – Emelin
Markov – Gilbert
Beaulieu – Weaver
Tinordi

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 07.10.2014 / 1:13 PM

- The Canadiens practised for the final time on Tuesday in Brossard before flying to Toronto in the afternoon ahead of Wednesday’s season opener.

- The Habs open the season on the road, playing four games in six nights before returning to Montreal on October 16 to host the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre.

- Head coach Michel Therrien announced following practice that rookie forward Jacob De La Rose has been assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs, finalizing the Habs’ regular season roster at the allowed 23 players.

“We’re very pleased with the camp he had,” added Therrien in regards to the 19-year-old Swede. “I loved the way he carried himself on the ice for a player of his age.”
 

OFFENSIVE LINES AND DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS AT PRACTICE

 
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Parenteau

Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher

Sekac – Eller – Bourque

Weise – Malhotra – Prust

Bournival – De La Rose – Moen
 

Emelin – Subban

Markov – Gilbert

Beaulieu – Weaver

Tinordi

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POSTED ON Monday, 06.10.2014 / 1:02 PM

- After enjoying a day off on Sunday following Saturday’s final preseason game, the Habs were back at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday for a morning practice.

- The entire team was on the ice at the Canadiens practice facility, including Lars Eller, who confirmed that he will be ready to suit up for Wednesday’s season opener in Toronto.

- Prior to the start of the morning skate, the team announced the release of defenseman Francis Bouillon. Thanking the organization and its fans during a press conference, the veteran blue liner admitted that he was at ease with the decision and was ready for both outcomes.

- Marc Bergevin also held a morning press conference to discuss his club’s most recent moves, acknowledging that the decisions surrounding Bouillon and goaltender Peter Budaj were difficult to make.
 

OFFENSIVE LINES AND DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS AT PRACTICE


Pacioretty - Desharnais - Parenteau

Galchenyuk - Plekanec - Gallagher

Bourque - Eller - Sekac

Prust - Malhotra - Weise

Bournival - De La Rose - Moen
 

Markov - Subban

Gilbert - Beaulieu

Weaver - Tinordi

Emelin

SEE ALSO
From the room
Canadiens release Francis Bouillon
Canadiens trade Peter Budaj

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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.10.2014 / 11:49 AM

- The Canadiens held an optional morning skate in Brossard on Saturday, ahead of the team’s preseason finale opposite the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre.

- Following Friday’s late return to Montreal from Ottawa, 17 players took part in the optional practice, led by coaches Clément Jodoin, Dan Lacroix and Stéphane Waite.

- Carey Price is expected to get his third full start of the preseason against the Senators. The Canadiens’ star netminder has allowed just three goals in two games since the start of training camp.

- The final game of the preseason schedule will also be a final chance for four Habs hopefuls to make their mark on the team’s coaching staff as defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi, and forwards Jacob De La Rose and Jiri Sekac are all expected to see ice time.

Despite the added pressure surrounding the exhibition contest, the European forwards are nevertheless taking the pending finale in stride.

“I think every practice and every game during this camp has been important,” explained De La Rose. “I’m just trying to show how good I am because that’s all I can do – play the best I can and see how far it takes me.”

His young linemate throughout camp shares a similar mindset.

“It’s really important, just like every game,” insisted Sekac, heading into his fifth preseason contest with the Habs. “I got to rest last night so I’ll be 100% tonight and play my best.

I’m happy that I’m still with the team at this point of training camp. I’ll do whatever it takes to stick with the team for the whole season.”

- Since the beginning of training camp, Manny Malhotra been getting better acquainted with his new teammates, paired in turn over the course of the past two weeks with Brandon Prust, Dale Weise and Travis Moen.

“Regardless of who you’re playing with, you always need to be ready, but between us four, any pairing seems to work,” said Malhotra, who played his previous two games on a line with Moen and Weise. “We play a simple style of hockey with a lot of forechecking. It works for us.”

Even if Malhotra knows that it’s still preseason, he's nevertheless aware of the fact that Saturday’s game will be a good preview of what’s to come on Wednesday in Toronto.

“Even though it’s a bit like a practice, we don’t really have an ON/OFF switch. A good part of our starting lineup will be on the ice tonight. It’s our final test before the season begins and we all want to do our best to show off what we’ve learned during camp in a game situation.”

Goaltenders : Tokarski, Price, and Budaj

Defensemen : Weaver, Beaulieu, Bouillon, Markov, Tinordi, and Dietz

Forwards : Sekac, Prust, Thomas, Moen, Eller, Bournival, De La Rose, and Malhotra.

SEE ALSO:
From the room

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.10.2014 / 10:56 AM

- Canadiens players who are not taking part in the game against Ottawa on Friday night skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.

- Those players suiting up against Ottawa did not skate on Friday morning, as they made their way to Ottawa by bus.

- Michel Therrien confirmed that Peter Budaj will get the start in goal on Friday. Carey Price will get the start on Saturday.

- The players taking part in the first game of the home-and-home series against Ottawa are:

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POSTED ON Thursday, 02.10.2014 / 1:37 PM

- After besting the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 on Wednesday night in the Windy City, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday afternoon. They’ll close out their preseason schedule with a home-and-home series against the Ottawa Senators. Michel Therrien’s troops will travel to Ottawa for a tilt on Friday night, before battling Paul MacLean’s contingent again on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

- The Canadiens reassigned five players to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League on Thursday, including forwards Sven Andrighetto, Jake Dowell and Gabriel Dumont, and defensemen Davis Drewiske and Greg Pateryn. There are still 28 players at training camp (16 forwards, 9 defensemen, 3 goaltenders). The Bulldogs are currently holding training camp in St. John’s, Nfld.

- Lars Eller was absent from practice on Thursday. He was given a therapy day. For his part, training camp invitee Drayson Bowman did not take part in practice as he is currently in contract negotiations with the Canadiens.

- Carey Price was announced as the recipient of the Jean Beliveau Trophy for the 2013-14 campaign on Thursday. It is awarded annually to the Canadiens player who best exemplifies leadership qualities in the community.

- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Peter Budaj will get the start in goal against Ottawa on Friday night.

Lines and D pairings at practice:

Parenteau-Desharnais-Pacioretty
Weise-Malhotra-Prust
Galchenyuk-Plekanec-Gallagher
De La Rose-Thomas-Bourque
Sekac-Bournival-Moen

Gilbert-Markov
Weaver-Beaulieu
Subban-Emelin
Dietz-Tinordi-Bouillon

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 01.10.2014 / 1:05 PM

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex on Wednesday morning just ahead of their departure for Chicago where they’ll go up against the Blackhawks at the United Center on Wednesday night. Michel Therrien’s troops will return to Montreal immediately following the game in the Windy City.

- The Canadiens will field a lineup consisting primarily of young guns in Chicago, but several veterans will make the trip as well, including Brandon Prust, Rene Bourque, Dale Weise and Lars Eller. Youngsters Jiri Sekac, Sven Andrighetto, Jacob De La Rose, Christian Thomas, Jarred Tinordi, and Darren Dietz will also suit up on Wednesday night.

- Sven Andrighetto is one of several prospects currently battling it out for a spot up front. Set to make his third appearance of the preseason on Wednesday night in Chicago, the 21-year-old right-winger is taking things in stride as roster cuts loom in the coming days.

“You never know when it’s your last chance, so I’m going to go out there, do my best and have fun,” offered Andrighetto, who finished second in scoring for the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2013-14, registering 17 goals and 44 points in 64 games. “You’re always under pressure, but it just motivates you. It’s all about how you take it. I think pressure is a good thing. It pushes you harder, and makes you play your best.”

Andrighetto, who has one goal, two points and a plus-1 differential in two exhibition tilts thus far during the preseason, is eager to don the CH in Chi-town. The opportunity to play at the United Center is something the Zurich, Switzerland native has been looking forward to for some time.

“I’ve never played in Chicago, but I’ve heard about the building,” confided Andrighetto, who could hit the ice on Wednesday night on a line with Jacob De La Rose and Christian Thomas. “I’m actually really excited to play there. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

RAW: Brandon Prust

- Brandon Prust is one of just a handful of veterans who’ll go up against Joel Quenneville’s contingent on Wednesday night. The 30-year-old left-winger, who is just 31 games shy of reaching the 400-game mark for his NHL career, can’t wait to kick off the regular season campaign in just seven days’ time in Toronto, but he fully appreciates the importance of contesting preseason tilts.

“I think we’re all ready and we’re wishing the season would start right now, but those preseason games are good to get your timing back and get warmed up,” offered Prust, who is set to begin his third season in Montreal in 2014-15. “It allows us to make sure that we’ll be ready to go when the puck drops on October 8th.”

- Carey Price will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. It will be his second straight start. Dustin Tokarski will serve as Price’s back-up. For their part, the Blackhawks will counter with Antti Raanta. The Finnish netminder will be making his second start of the preseason and will play the full game.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EST.

Probable forward lines against Chicago:

Bourque-Eller-Sekac
Bournival-Prust-Weise
De La Rose-Andrighetto-Thomas
Bowman-Dowell-Dumont

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 30.09.2014 / 11:45 AM

- After a day off on Monday, the Canadiens returned to practice on Tuesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. The team will travel on Chicago on Wednesday afternoon for a preseason tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center at 8:30 p.m. EST. Michel Therrien’s troops will return to Montreal immediately after the game.

- All 34 players remaining at training camp (20 forwards, 11 defensemen and 3 goaltenders) hit the ice on Tuesday morning on the South Shore, practicing as a group on the same ice surface.

- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that he will field a relatively young lineup against the Blackhawks on Wednesday night, and that Carey Price would get the start in goal.

Lines and D pairings at practice:

Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
Prust – Malhotra – Weise
Parenteau – Desharnais – Pacioretty
Sekac – Eller – Bourque
Moen – Bournival – Bowman – Thomas
Andrighetto – Dumont – De La Rose – Dowell

Markov – Gilbert
Weaver – Beaulieu
Emelin – Subban
Tinordi – Bouillon
Drewiske – Pateryn – Dietz

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POSTED ON Monday, 29.09.2014 / 1:27 PM

- Canadiens players still attending training camp were given the day off on Monday.

- After reassigning and/or releasing a total of 17 players on Sunday, the Habs’ brass elected to reassign goaltender Joey MacDonald to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. Carey Price, Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski are the only netminders that remain with the big club. Twenty forwards and 11 defensemen are still taking part in training camp.

- The Canadiens will be back at practice on September 30th at the Bell Sports Complex before making their way to Chicago for a preseason tilt against the Blackhawks on October 1st.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 28.09.2014 / 11:56 AM

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Sunday morning ahead of contesting their preseason game against the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre. It was an optional practice for players who will suit up on Sunday evening.

- The Habs will dress just three prospects on Sunday evening, including forwards Jiri Sekac and Christian Thomas, and defenseman Jarred Tinordi.

- In the Canadiens’ last preseason outing on Friday night in Quebec City, head coach Michel Therrien fielded a relatively young lineup against the Colorado Avalanche. That won’t be the case on Sunday evening, however, as the Habs’ bench boss will give his regulars a chance to get back to work against the Capitals in front of the Bell Centre faithful. For their part, Washington has also elected to bring a host of veterans on the trip to Montreal, including Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Orpik, among others. That suggests that fans will be treated to a good matchup with the start of the regular season just 10 days away.

While Therrien’s troops are cognizant of which players they go up against on any given night during the preseason, they aren’t necessarily game planning around them, per say, focusing instead on fine-tuning their system and how they play as a cohesive unit.

“The fact that they’re coming to town with a veteran lineup doesn’t change anything for us. We don’t put too much thought in terms of who’s in the other lineup at this point in the season or throughout the entire season,” offered Manny Malhotra, who boasts 933 games of NHL experience. “Our mentality has to be on what we have in this room, how we play, the effort we bring and how we execute. You never really think about who they’re bringing to town. It’s all about us.”

Nevertheless, the 15-year NHL veteran fully expects Washington to bring their ‘A’ game come Sunday evening, even if it’s only a preseason matchup. It’s only natural given that the 2014-15 campaign is set to begin in early October.

“I think games automatically do step up. There’s that feeling of urgency as those games start winding down and game one of the regular season starts creeping closer,” confided Malhotra. “Guys get a little bit sharper. The intensity is upped out there. The physicality is upped out there. I don’t think anything needs to be said or spoken. It’s just something that happens.”

RAW: P.A. Parenteau

- After suiting up for both preseason tilts against the Avalanche, David Desharnais will get the night off against the Capitals. In his absence, Alex Galchenyuk will assume the veteran pivot’s spot at center between Max Pacioretty and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau.

“It will be fun to play with Galchenyuk. He’s had a good training camp up until this point, and he’s done some really nice things at center,” praised Parenteau. “That’s how training camp works. David played in Quebec the other night, and I think he deserves his day off. It will be fun. They’re different players. Patch and I are ready for that.”

Having spent the last two seasons competing in the Western Conference as a member of the Avalanche, Parenteau also chimed in on what impact he believes new Capitals head coach Barry Trotz will have in the District of Columbia.

“I think Barry Trotz will really change the identity and the overall strategy of the Capitals. He’s proven that his system works, and what he brings to the table has worked everywhere he’s been,” offered Parenteau, who went up against Trotz’s former club, the Nashville Predators, time and again during his stint in the Mile High City. “They’ll be a better team because of it. I don’t doubt that. It will only lead to good things for Washington down the road.”

- After being given the night off against the Avalanche on Friday, goaltenders Carey Price and Peter Budaj will be back in the lineup for the Canadiens on Sunday evening. Braden Holtby and Justin Peters could split time in goal for Washington.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m. EST.

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