- The Canadiens held an optional skate in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre. Brian Gionta, Max Pacioretty, Rene Bourque, Tomas Plekanec, Ryan White, Francis Bouillon and Raphael Diaz were absent from practice.
The Habs will be in tough against the Lightning, who currently sit atop the atlantic division. Before dropping a 3-0 decision to the Bruins on Monday afternoon in Boston, Tampa Bay had won four straight games. The Lightning, however, will be deprived of Steven Stamkos' services for the foreseeable future after the Markham, ON native suffered a broken right tibia in the team's last outing. Stamkos will be sidelined indefinitely.
"There's no doubt that for their team it's a big loss. When you talk about Stamkos, you're talking about an elite player who is dominant in the NHL," admitted head coach Michel Therrien. "The Lightning are still a good team that's playing really good hockey. You never want to see elite players sidelined for extended periods of time. They attract people to the game."
- Daniel Briere will make his return to the lineup against the Lightning after being sidelined since October 19th with a concussion. The 36-year-old, who missed the last 10 games, had been skating alongside his teammates since last Thursday.
"It feels great to finally be back. When you’re not playing, especially when the team is having a tough stretch like we had with those four losses in a row, you feel responsible. It’s not fun being on the outside," mentioned Briere, who will likely center a line that also features Bourque and Michael Bournival on Tuesday night. "Best case scenario, there won’t be any adjustments and I'll fit right back in. That’s what I’m hoping for and that’s what I’m visualizing. Getting back playing in the middle also helps. I’ve played center for the most part in my career."
- For the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on October 19th against the Predators, Brandon Prust took part in practice with the rest of the squad. He sported a blue “no contact” jersey during the on-ice session. Therrien confirmed that Prust's recovery is progressing nicely and that the London, ON native will participate in regular practices going forward.
- Travis Moen was back at practice after missing Monday’s skate with the flu. The Habs bench boss confirmed that Moen will be in the lineup against the Lightning as will Gabriel Dumont. David Desharnais, however, will be a healthy scratch.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
Words From The Room - Nov. 12
Game preview: Lightning @ Canadiens
BROSSARD - The Canadiens held pratice at the Bell Sports Complex on Monday morning, following a 4-2 win against the New York Islanders the previous night.
Emelin will probably make his long-awaited return to the lineup later this week, while Daniel Briere could be back as soon as Tuesday against Tampa Bay.
Carey Price will get his sixteenth start of the season at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.
Lines at practice
MONTREAL - The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at the Bell Centre on Sunday morning, in preparation for the early evening match against the New York Islanders.
Recalled from Hamilton yesterday, Gabriel Dumont and Greg Pateryn skated with the rest of the Habs players. The 23 year-old Dumont will make his season debut with the Habs and participate in his fourteenth game at the NHL level. He will likely take the place of George Parros, who was one of the last players to leave the ice, in company of Emelin, Briere and Pateryn.
“I talked with Michel this morning and he told me that I will be in the lineup tonight,” Dumont, a right-winger, related. “The coaches told me to play my game, to skate hard and to be solid in my zone. I’ll try to keep it simple.”
Forwards Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, George Parros, Alex Galchenyuk, Lars Eller, Gabriel Dumont, Daniel Brière, Travis Moen, Rene Bourque, Michaël Bournival and David Desharnais were at practice. Josh Gorges, Raphael Diaz, P.K. Subban, Greg Pateryn and Alexei Emelin represented the defensive brigade.
Assistant captain Josh Gorges addressed the team’s recent losing skid after practice.
“We’ve hit a stretch where things have not gone the way we’ve planned. Tonight we have a tough opponent, and we have to play with a sense of urgency, understanding that one shift can make the difference in the outcome of the game,” the veteran blueliner insisted.
“It’s a matter of details. Right now we’re pressing a bit too much at times, and then overcompensate. We just have to make sure that we tighten up our game and go hard to the net when given the opportunities,” Gorges added.
While the Islanders will likely be without sniper Thomas Vanek, who left Saturday night’s game with an upper body injury, Gorges cautions that the rest of the New York squad is still a team to be reckoned with.
“I never look at a team and say ‘they’re missing a player tonight, it’s going to be a different night.’ The Islanders have lots of highly offensive, highly talented players. We have to make sure we’re ready. Obviously [Vanek] is a key part of their team, but our game plan doesn’t change,” the defensive stalwart offered.
Game Preview: Islanders @ Canadiens
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