- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre.
- Before the skate got underway, several injured players continued their rehab work on Brossard’s primary ice rink. Brian Flynn and Daniel Carr – both of whom sported tracksuits – skated with head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend. Then, David Desharnais donned all of his equipment and worked out with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine.
- Following the on-ice session, forward Charles Hudon was re-assigned to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. Hudon played one game during his most recent call-up, logging 14:26 of ice time.
“Technically, he was with us on an emergency recall basis,” explained head coach Michel Therrien. “When a player is ready to return, you have to send a guy down. We would have liked to keep him with us longer, but we liked what we saw.”
- With respect to the players who missed the Canadiens’ most recent outing over the weekend against Minnesota, Lars Eller (flu), Nathan Beaulieu (lower-body injury) and Stefan Matteau (lower-body injury) all skated with the rest of their teammates on Tuesday morning. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed, however, that both Eller and Beaulieu wouldn’t be suiting up against Florida. They will be making the trip to Buffalo following the game, though, but there’s no guarantee that either will see game action against the Sabres on Wednesday night.
- For his part, Matteau will be back in the lineup against the Panthers, and he’ll be going up against a familiar face on the opposing team having spent some time around Jaromir Jagr while plying his trade in the New Jersey Devils organization.
“He’s a source of inspiration for all young players. He’s played for such a long time and been so dominant over the years. I had the chance to skate with him a little bit in New Jersey and I often heard people talk about him when I was a kid,” said Matteau, who watched his father, Stephane, play more than a few games against Jagr during his playing career that spanned 848 games. “I don’t think he could really give me any tips to play against him. He’s a smart guy on the ice, probably smarter than everybody else.”
- While the Panthers find themselves right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Canadiens are on the outside looking in. Gerard Gallant’s squad sits third in the Atlantic Division with 85 points on the year, right alongside the Tampa Bay Lightning. With 13 games to go, there’s nothing the Canadiens would like more than to put a small dent in any momentum their playoff-bound opponents are feeding off of right now.
“It’s obviously going to be a good test. They’ve been a good team since the start of the year. They’ve obviously got a lot of talent on their team. It’s a good chance for us to kind of play spoiler a bit,” said defenseman Mark Barberio, who scored the Canadiens’ lone goal against Minnesota over the weekend at the Bell Centre. “We’ve played some good teams lately. Minnesota’s been battling for a spot. Dallas is one of the top teams in the league. It’s another good challenge for us.”
|Stefan Matteau is one of many Habs players eager to go up against Jaromir Jagr on Tuesday night.|
It’s also another chance for some of the Canadiens’ young guns to showcase their skills against one of the league’s top groups.
“Obviously, circumstances have changed a little bit. If you look around our room, we’re a very young team right now. Looking at that, it’s a good opportunity for our young guys to prove themselves,” explained Barberio. “You want to prove yourself against the best team. Florida right now is battling near the top of the division, so it’s a great chance and a great opportunity.”
- The Canadiens are a team stacked with youngsters, as are the Panthers, though. Five of Florida’s seven top scorers are currently under the age of 25.
“Florida is a team with a lot of young and talented players. The struggles they had for a while helped them draft some really good guys,” mentioned Therrien in his post-practice press conference on Tuesday, referencing the likes of Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, among others. “They’re surrounded by good veterans. And, Gerard is doing excellent work with them right now.”
- Michael McCarron is a newcomer to the NHL ranks, but it hasn’t taken him long to feel confident in his abilities. That’s because he’s been given the opportunity to see ice time in a host of different scenarios, all of which include a measure of responsibility that isn’t always afforded to youngsters with limited experience at hockey’s highest level.
“I think [the coaching staff] is putting me in a lot of situations. They trust me enough to put me on the power play and to take defensive zone faceoffs, the little things like that,” said McCarron, who has averaged 11:31 of ice time through 10 games so far this year, and won just under 52 percent of his draws along the way. “I think they’re slowly believing in me and trusting me. At the same time, I’ve got to make them trust me. It’s a process. I’ve just got to keep going.”
- Mike Condon will get the start in goal for the Canadiens.
- The Canadiens held a Monday morning practice at the Bell Centre ahead of Tuesday night’s clash against the Florida Panthers.
- Coach Michel Therrien's practice, which is typically held at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, took place at the Bell Centre as the club gathered prior to Monday’s skate to take the traditional team picture.
- Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was back with his teammates for practice on Monday, for the first time since being moved to the injured reserve on February 26 with a lower-body injury. His status is considered questionable for Tuesday’s contest, as confirmed by coach Therrien.
- All players were accounted for on the Bell Centre ice with the exception of Lars Eller – who missed the previous game with a virus – and Stefan Matteau who is currently sidelined with a lower-body injury of his own.
Lines at practicePacioretty-Galchenyuk-Andrighetto
de la Rose-Danault-Brown-Hudon
- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Saturday morning ahead of their 7:00 p.m. game against the visiting Minnesota Wild.
- Mike Condon will once again get the start in goal for the Habs following a 3-2 win against the Sabres on Thursday. The 25-year-old netminder has earned points in six of his last eight starts, going 4-2-2 over that span.
“When I got here this morning, I texted my parents to tell them I wasn’t playing because I didn’t see my name on the fourth line,” admitted Hudon, who is making his second stint in Montreal this season. “But when Sven [Andrighetto] showed me I was actually playing on the second line, I texted my parents right back! I wasn’t expecting it, but now it’s up to me to prove that I’m capable of being a Top 6 forward. That’s what I intend on doing tonight.”
- Dietz for his part was paired with Victor Bartley on the back end. Despite getting his first NHL call up, there were a lot of familiar faces in the lineup for the 22-year-old rearguard.
“It’s great to have already played with a lot of the guys around here. It makes things a little bit more comfortable, and it kinda helps calm me down,” underlined the Medicine Hat, AB native, who joins a number of fellow IceCaps call ups in Montreal recently. “I’m going to try to be a simple defenseman, make a good first pass, and follow up on the play and create some offense if it’s available. But mostly I’m going to try to be steady.”
- Dietz was called up to fill in for P.K. Subban, who suffered a neck injury against the Sabres on Thursday. Out of the lineup against Minnesota, Subban will miss a first game due to injury in his career.
“He’s had a very healthy career and has been fortunate to not have to miss too many games. Obviously he’s a very important part of this team and eats up important minutes. It’s going to be different, but we’re going to have to have a next man up attitude,” acknowledged captain Max Pacioretty. “We can’t worry about things we can’t control -- we just have to worry about playing hard.”
That sentiment was shared across the dressing room on Saturday.
“It’s going to be different without him in the locker room. We’re going to miss him, but at the end of the day I’m glad he’s okay,” added Alex Galchenyuk, who is currently enjoying a hot streak to the tune of 11 goals in his last eight games. “It was a scary moment but I’m happy he’s going to be back soon.”
- Facing a Minnesota team that currently sits ninth in the West, just two points out of a playoff spot, the Habs will have home ice advantage on their side in Saturday’s important matchup. Having dropped just a single regulation loss at the Bell Centre since the month of February, the Canadiens have enjoyed a 7-1-1 record over that span.
“We’ve definitely had success at home. I think it’s special for a lot of these young guys to come play in the best building in the League for the first time. A lot of guys are playing either their first NHL game or their first game with the Habs at the Bell Centre. It adds a little more energy on the ice, even for the guys who have been here for awhile,” concluded Pacioretty. “We’ve played some good hockey as of late though, so it doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup. With the system we have in place, we have the ability to outwork teams and it puts us in any game and gives us a chance. We found that out the last two games and hopefully we can keep it going.”
- Saturday’s game will be broadcast on Sportsnet and TVA Sports, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Forward lines and defensive pairings at practice:
De La Rose-McCarron-Mitchell
Following Friday morning’s practice in Brossard, the Canadiens confirmed that forward Charles Hudon and defenseman Darren Dietz have been called up as part of an emergency recall from the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League. The two skaters are expected to join their teammates at Saturday’s morning skate in Brossard, ahead of the Habs match-up against the Wild.
Hudon – who currently leads the IceCaps with 20 goals scored in 56 games – has amassed 43 points in 56 games with St. John’s this year. The 21-year-old forward previously suited up for two games with the Canadiens earlier this season, registering two points in as many nights.
In Dietz’s case, Friday afternoon’s recall marks the first time the blue-liner has been called-up to the NHL in his professional career. A former fifth-round pick by the Habs in 2011, Dietz has collected four goals and added 16 assists in 58 contests with the IceCaps this season.
- Following Thursday night’s 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Canadiens held off-ice workouts at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning.
|Sven Andrighetto was among several players who met the media on Friday to talk about P.K. Subban being released from hospital.
- Just after 10 a.m. EST, the Canadiens provided a medical update on the health status of defenseman P.K. Subban who was carried off the ice in a stretcher late in the third period of Thursday night’s contest after coming into contact with fellow rearguard Alexei Emelin in the corner.
The Canadiens confirmed that after comprehensive testing, Subban had been released from the Montreal General Hospital late last night. He had sustained a non-serious neck injury on the play in question.
- During Friday's press conference, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Subban would be “physically unable” to play on Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild.
“Under the circumstances, P.K. came out of the situation really well. After undergoing tests, he’s day-to-day. The health of our players is a top priority. That’s why he won’t be playing on Saturday night,” said Therrien. “He’ll undergo treatment. We’re not sure when he’ll be back in the lineup.”
- Subban, meanwhile, took to Twitter on Friday morning to reassure Canadiens fans that he's doing just fine.
Feeling good, and feeling the love. Thanks for all the support!!— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) March 11, 2016
- Needless to say, Subban’s teammates were also pleased to hear that the Canadiens’ No. 76 didn’t sustain a serious injury against the Sabres.
“There are a lot of bad thoughts that go through your mind when you see your teammate and your friend like that on the ice. You never want to see that in hockey. It’s unfortunate how it happened. It’s definitely tough,” said Sven Andrighetto. “Everyone was happy to see him at the rink today. We were relieved to see that he was o.k.”
Paul Byron shared similar thoughts with members of the media in the Canadiens’ dressing room.
“It’s good news for our team. He’s an important player for us,” said Byron. “It’s a tough thing to see, but everyone is happy to hear that he’s doing well and that it wasn’t serious.”
- With Subban sidelined for an undetermined period of time, Therrien indicated that the Canadiens should be calling up a defenseman – and likely a forward as well – from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps at some point on Friday.
- Carey Price, meanwhile, continued his on-ice rehab work with goaltending coach Stephane Waite on Brossard's primary rink.
MONTREAL - After comprehensive testing, P.K. Subban was released from the Montreal General Hospital late last night.
He suffered a non-serious neck injury during the game against the Sabres on Thursday night. Subban was transported to hospital for precautionary reasons. He was alert and moving his extremities.
Feeling good, and feeling the love. Thanks for all the support!!— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) March 11, 2016
- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning ahead of their game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre.
- As confirmed by head coach Michel Therrien on Wednesday, Mike Condon will get the start in goal against Buffalo. It will mark Condon’s third career start – and fourth career appearance – versus the Sabres. Condon boasts a 2.69 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage against Dan Bylsma’s contingent. When the two squads last met on February 12 in Buffalo, the Holliston, MA native came on in relief of Ben Scrivens in a 6-4 defeat.
Condon hit the ice about 15 minutes before the rest of the group to work on lateral movement drills with a medicine ball. He then warmed up with goaltending coach Stephane Waite.
- Lars Eller’s status for Thursday night’s contest remains uncertain. After skating with his teammates, the Canadiens’ No. 81 indicated that a decision would be made prior to the game.
“It’s a possibility that I might play. It’s a game-time decision. For me, it’s been one practice at a time, one skate at a time to see how I feel. I feel good enough now to be a possibility to play tonight,” said Eller, who missed Tuesday night’s game against the Dallas Stars due to injury. “There’s no grey zone right now. If I feel good enough to play, they’ll know.”
- The Sabres’ line of Evander Kane, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart is playing solid hockey right now. Over the course of their last four games, they’ve combined for 13 points and scored six of Buffalo’s 13 goals during that span.
“They’re like any other team with a good line. You have to limit their space and we have to use our sticks the right way. Guys like that will always find a way to get their chances, but our job is to limit them,” explained Mark Barberio, who stressed the importance of keeping a close eye on rookie sensation Jack Eichel on Thursday night. “A guy like Eichel is fast and has good hands. You have to deny him space, especially in the neutral zone.”
- While things haven’t been going well for the Canadiens on the road, Michel Therrien’s troops have been enjoying success at the Bell Centre. They haven’t dropped a game in regulation time on home turf in their last seven outings, and have come up short just once during that span in a shootout loss to the Nashville Predators on February 22.
“It’s tremendous to play at the Bell Centre. Since the first game I got here, it’s something special. I even remember when I was 18 years old and there were no exhibition games that year. It was a full house to start the year. It was unbelievable. I’ll never forget that,” said Alex Galchenyuk, who has nine goals in his last eight games.
“Showing up to play in front of our fans is an honor. They’re fully behind us. Hockey is like a religion here in Montreal. It’s awesome to be a part of. It’s something that I cherish. It’s a dream come true to play here,” added Galchenyuk, who ranks fourth on the team with 44 points on the year.
- After playing six games so far during his most recent call-up from St. John’s, Michael McCarron is feeling more and more comfortable in his role with the CH.
“I feel a bit better going into game days now. It’s not as nerve-wracking. I kind of know what to expect and things are starting to go smoother,” said McCarron, who is quickly grasping the noticeable differences between the AHL and NHL ranks. “It’s a lot more taxing on your body. You’ve really got to take care of yourself a lot more. It’s a fast game. You’ve got to come prepared for every game.”
Those differences extend to the systems the Canadiens employ, too.
“The systems are set in place. If you don’t follow it, you’re not going to play. Everyone is in the right position at all times. They know what you’re going to do in all situations,” explained McCarron. “You’re not trying to cover for anybody else. You’re just trying to do your job and it does flow a lot smoother.”
- Before the on-ice session got underway, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu hit the ice once again sporting all of his equipment. For their part, Daniel Carr and Brian Flynn continued their rehab work sporting just their tracksuits, skates and helmets.
- Robin Lehner will get the start in goal for Buffalo.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS.
Words From The Room - March 10
Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Sabres
Seventh edition of the Radio-Telethon benefiting the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation
- The Canadiens hit the ice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard following the club’s dramatic 4-3 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
- All players were accounted for at practice with the exception of P.K. Subban (treatment day) and Andrei Markov (maintenance day), whereas Lars Eller was back on practice on Tuesday where he sported a baby-blue (non-contact) jersey.
- Following practice coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Mike Condon will get the nod between the pipes on Thursday night when the Habs square off against the Buffalo Sabres.
- In addition, the Canadiens also announced that Jeff Petry underwent sports hernia surgery this morning - as performed by Dr. David Mulder – recovery is estimated to be 12 weeks.
On Tuesday night the Canadiens confirmed that forward Brendan Gallagher will miss two-three weeks due to a lower-body injury suffered on March 5, 2016 against the Winnipeg Jets.
Gallagher – who previously missed 17 games earlier this season while rehabbing two fractured fingers on his left hand – has tallied a total of 18 goals and 17 assists in 49 games this season.
- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Dallas Stars at the Bell Centre. Sixteen players took part in the on-ice session, including forwards Tomas Plekanec, Jacob De La Rose, Phillip Danault, Sven Andrighetto, Michael McCarron, Mike Brown, Lucas Lessio, Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk and Stefan Matteau. Also present were defensemen Victor Bartley, Mark Barberio, Andrei Markov and Greg Pateryn, along with goaltenders Mike Condon and Ben Scrivens.
- Scrivens, meanwhile, will get the start in goal for the Canadiens on Tuesday night. The 29-year-old last appeared between the pipes on March 3 in a 3-2 loss against the Los Angeles Kings. He turned aside 28 of 31 shots against in the defeat. The Stars will likely counter with Kari Lehtonen.
- Following the optional skate, the Canadiens confirmed that Alex Galchenyuk would play on Tuesday night against the Stars after being given a therapy day on Monday. For his part, Lars Eller is a game-time decision following a therapy day on Monday, too.
- Galchenyuk is in the midst of a scoring streak that has seen him light the lamp seven times in his last six games – including three multi-goal efforts during that span. Heading into Tuesday night’s contest, however, the Canadiens’ No. 27 isn’t really paying too much attention to his individual stats. Content with his recent success, Galchenyuk realizes there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“I try not to think about that too much. Obviously, the puck is going in for me right now. I’m definitely happy about it. I’ve been working on my offensive game. I’m just trying to keep it going and be as creative as I can be out there and use my skill to create plays,” said Galchenyuk, who is coming off a two-goal effort against Winnipeg last Saturday night. “There’s still a lot of work for me to do.”
Having captain Max Pacioretty by his side has certainly helped Galchenyuk’s cause. Their undeniable chemistry was on full display over the weekend in Manitoba.
“I think it’s definitely important for me to build chemistry with him. We both want to be successful and succeed together. Last game, we made some good plays. He set me up a couple of times,” said Galchenyuk, who was the recipient of a highlight-reel feed from Pacioretty for his first goal of the night in a 4-2 loss at the MTS Centre. “We’re still working, though. There’s time to adjust. I’ll adjust to him and he’ll adjust to me. I’m excited about playing with him, obviously. He’s a big weapon on this team. We’re trying to go out there and create as much as we can.”
- Stefan Matteau will play his first game at the Bell Centre in a Canadiens uniform on Tuesday night. The 22-year-old, who was acquired from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Devante Smith-Pelly at the trade deadline, has been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to don the bleu-blanc-rouge for real on home turf.
“It’s a bit of a new environment. I’ve been at the building as a visitor before, but things will be different this time around,” said Matteau, who has previously played two career games at the Bell Centre with the Devils, with one of those games coming earlier on this season. “I’ve got a lot of people coming to the game. It will definitely be a nice night.”
While Matteau’s excitement level might be at an all-time high, he understands the need to not let it get the best of him come game time.
“It’s the same game and the same league [playing at the Bell Centre this time]. I’m trying not to think about it too much. It’s definitely exciting and it’s big. But, it’s still hockey,” said Matteau, who played in three of the four games on the Canadiens’ most recent road trip. “I’m going to focus on playing well and staying calm.”
Tuesday night’s game will also mark newcomer Mike Brown’s first game in front of the Bell Centre faithful in a Canadiens uniform.
- Back on December 19, the Stars handed the Canadiens a 6-2 loss in Dallas, so it’s safe to say Michel Therrien’s troops understand just how good their opponents on Tuesday night really are. Lindy Ruff’s contingent sits atop the Western Conference standings – alongside the Chicago Blackhawks – with 87 points on the year, in addition to boasting the NHL’s most potent offense.
Having already battled the Stars three times this season with Chicago, Phillip Danault has a good idea of exactly what they’re capable of.
“They’ve got four lines that can put up points. A third-line guy like [Cody] Eakin is really good offensively, too. We’ll have to be very aggressive and solid defensively,” said Danault, who will be playing his sixth career game with the Canadiens on Tuesday night. “Guys like [Jamie] Benn and [Tyler] Seguin complement each other really well. They’re just as dangerous a duo as [Jonathan] Toews and [Patrick] Kane. They’ve got skills that the majority of players in the league simply don’t have. We’ll have to pay very close attention to them.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet East and RDS.
Words From The Room: Mar. 8
Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Stars
Fountain of youth
Mike Condon earns Molson Cup honours for January-February