Dustin Tokarski will make his first start of the season on Wednesday night. In seven career NHL starts, Tokarski owns a 1-3-1 record over two seasons with Tampa. Prior to being called up by the Canadiens, Tokarski had compiled a record of 13-2-1 in 17 games in Hamilton, owning a 2.34 goals-against average and .919 save percentage.
After being traded to the Canadiens for a 2015 fifth-round pick on Tuesday, Mike Weaver joined the Canadiens in Anaheim on Tuesday night and was on the ice with his new team on Wednesday morning. The 5-foot-10 blue-liner was paired with Francis Bouillon for the morning skate and will not play against the Ducks.
Brandon Prust (upper body) and Michael Bournival (concussion) were wearing blue no-contact jerseys at practice and will not play on Wednesday night.
Carey Price took to the ice briefly on his own for the second day in a row as he continues recovering from a lower body injury.
After missing the previous game against the Kings, George Parros will be back in the lineup to face his former team in Anaheim. Parros spent six seasons in Anaheim from 2006-07 to 2011-12 and will be facing his former team in Anaheim for the first time. Lars Eller will not play against the Ducks.
“It’s my first game back and I’m really looking forward to it. The lockout prevented us from coming out here last year so I’m excited to be here,” shared Parros, who won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2006-07. “There are a lot of familiar faces and a lot of good memories, from the security guys on down. I’m looking forward to tonight and hopefully getting a win. They’re on fire this year. Hopefully we can take two points from them.”
After being acquired by the Canadiens on Wednesday afternoon from the Islanders for a second-round pick in 2014 and prospect Sebastian Collberg, Thomas Vanek will not be available for Wednesday’s game but will be in the lineup against Phoenix on Thursday. Vanek will wear No. 20 with the Canadiens.
“Wow, what great news for our team,” mentioned head coach Michel Therrien, who hadn’t spoken to Vanek prior to meeting with the media and wouldn’t confirm who he envisions his new winger playing with. “I look at that move as a sign of confidence from Marc Bergevin to the players for the work they’ve put in since the start of the season. It’s a really exciting addition. It’s important for us to continue doing what we’ve been doing all year now. Thomas Vanek is a prolific scorer who can play on the right side or the left. We all know what he can bring to a power play, too.”
Lines and D pairings at practice
Lines and D pairings at practiceGalchenyuk-Plekanec-Gionta
Game preview: MTL @ ANA
Canadiens acquire goaltender Devan Dubnyk from the Nashville Predators
Changing on the fly
Canadiens acquire defenseman Mike Weaver from the Florida Panthers
Seven players skated at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, CA, on Tuesday afternoon, including Dustin Tokarski, Lars Eller, Brandon Prust, Francis Bouillon, Ryan White, Michael Bournival and George Parros. The rest of the team stayed at the hotel to take part in an off-ice workout capped off by an informal game of basketball.
|Price skates for the first time|
Carey Price was also on the ice for the first time since leaving practice with a lower body injury upon his return from the Olympics. Price admitted he aggravated a lingering injury during the second practice of the Olympic tournament, but was able to play through it. The three-time All-Star worked with Habs goaltending coach Stephane Waite for about 20 minutes on Tuesday afternoon on movement exercises and puck handling after undergoing treatment with the team’s medical staff, but is still considered day-to-day to get back into game action.
“It felt good to get on the ice. It’s coming down to the important part of the year and I want to go into this stretch 100%,” explained Price, who has missed the team`s last four games after returning from Sochi with a gold medal. “I’m feeling good and progressing. The last 20 games of the year are a real mental grind and I want to make sure I’m prepared for the rest of the year and the playoffs. We still have a lot of hockey left this year and I want to make sure I’m good to go. It’s manageable but I want it to be 100% before we go into the important stages of the year.”
Also slowly working his way back into the lineup, Brandon Prust is inching closer to making his return from an upper-body injury, but confirmed he is unlikely to play against Anaheim or Phoenix. While he works on his own recovery, he was happy to see his fellow clinic client back on the ice in full gear.
“I think everybody was kind of watching [Carey] come out and getting excited. I wanted to go give him a hug,” admitted Prust with a laugh after seeing Price step on the ice midway through Tuesday’s skate. “It’s good. We want him to take it slow and do the right things to make sure he’s 100% when he comes back to be ready for a long run. In the meantime, Peter [Budaj] has been doing a great job and we’re really fortunate to have him.”
After playing with Mike Weaver in Los Angeles and Florida earlier in his career, George Parros will once again be sharing an NHL dressing room with the veteran blue-liner. While the team awaits Weaver’s arrival in Anaheim, Parros was able to offer up a scouting report on what fans can expect from the newest Hab.
“He’s a great character guy. He’s short in stature but he packs a big punch,” shared Parros, who spent two seasons with Weaver as a King and Panther. “He can hit guys, he’s got a good pop out there, he’s solid defensively, he’s good on the PK, he blocks a lot of shots and I think you’re going to like him. I know we’re going to like him.”
With less than 24 hours before the NHL trade deadline, Michel Therrien was also a fan of GM Marc Bergevin’s first move of week. While he didn’t confirm whether or not Weaver would be in the lineup against the NHL’s top-ranked team on Wednesday, the Canadiens’ coach is looking forward to seeing what his newest blue-liner will bring to the mix.
“He excels on the penalty kill. He’s not a big guy but he’s physical and he competes. There are a lot of people in the organization who know him and they know he’s the kind of player we need,” explained Therrien, who will also confirm Wednesday’s starting goaltender after the morning skate in Anaheim. “The important thing is that today, Marc made our team better. We wanted a guy who could bring depth to the lineup. He’s a veteran, he’s a competitor and he’s a character guy. DLeftepth on defense is so important because you never know what will happen. It’s a great pick up for us.”
Following their media availability, the team boarded a bus bound for Anaheim and will face the league-leading Ducks at 10:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday night.
RAW: Carey Price
RAW: Michel Therrien
“Carey is still day-to-day,” confirmed head coach Michel Therrien. “As soon as the medical staff feels he’s ready to start practicing, he’s going to go on the ice, but obviously he was not today. He’s just doing treatment now.”
Peter Budaj will get his fourth-straight start on Monday night, having already helped the team pick up five points out of a possible six since taking over starting duties with Price on the shelf. Budaj will look to build on his 6-2-1 career record against Los Angeles, currently owning an all-time 2.90 goals-against average and .894 save percentage against the Kings.
“Every time Buds is in he gives us a very good chance to win the hockey game,” stressed Brendan Gallagher. “He makes saves at timely moments – big saves that get guys excited and he gives us confidence so we play confident in front of him. As a team we’re confident in both our goalies regardless of who’s in the net. Buds has done what he’s always done and what we expect him to do; he shows up, he works as hard as he can in practice every day and when he gets a chance to play he plays as well as he can.”
The Canadiens’ hockey operations department is in California preparing for Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline, but Marc Bergevin did not make the trip following the death of his mother-in-law. The Habs GM will spend the next few days with his family, while working the phones from Chicago. With the deadline less than 48 hours away, Therrien isn’t worried about the possibility of some of his troops not making the return trip to Montreal becoming a distraction between Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon.
“The trade deadline isn’t really a subject of discussion or a distraction with our group,” shared the Habs bench boss. “We’re also pretty far from Montreal out here in California so there’s a lot less talk about it surrounding us. Our preoccupation is preparing for games and that’s what we’re doing.”
Looking back on the last time the Habs and Kings faced off, a 6-0 loss to LA on home ice on Dec. 10 following 9-01 unbeaten streak, the Canadiens have absorbed the lessons they learned from that first meeting and aren’t planning on putting together an encore performance at the Staples Center. Currently the hottest team in the league boasting an NHL-best 7-1-2 record over the last 10 games, the Habs will look to continue that pace during the western road swing, beginning Monday night in Los Angeles.
“We do have to go back and look at that [game against the Kings]. There are a lot of things we didn’t do well and I don’t think anybody wants to repeat the effort we gave that night,” admitted Lars Eller, who will play on a line with Rene Bourque and Daniel Briere with Ryan White making his return to the lineup against the Kings. “We’ve come a long way and fixed that lately and shown a lot of character by coming back in third periods, bouncing back and finding ways to win games. We take it one game at a time and we have a lot of respect for LA, but really it’s all about us and what we’re going to do out there.”
Lines and D pairings at practiceGalchenyuk-Plekanec-Gionta
Words from the room
Game preview: MTL @ LAK
Ryan White, who was out with the flu, skated with his teammates but is not expected to play tonight.
Michael Bournival practiced with the team for a second day in a row, indicating that he is making good progress in his return from a concussion. Once again, he wore a blue “non-contact” jersey.
- Drawing in for White in a second consecutive game will be George Parros, who is looking forward to renewing an age-old rivalry with Toronto after a long Olympic break.
“You never know what’s going to happen after a break like that, but we’ve handled it pretty well,” offered Parros, who saw his team get a point in an overtime loss against Detroit before suiting up against the Penguins and helping the team to a shootout win. “They’re fun games to play in. It’s always interesting when there’s something extra on the line, with the playoff implications of [tonight’s game].”
- Lars Eller also weighed in with his thoughts about the Habs-Leafs rivalry.
“It doesn’t matter what the standings positions are, I think the intensity has always been there. You can always feel the electricity in the building when a team like Toronto is in town. Everybody is pumped up,” said Eller. “It’s a big divisional match-up, we’re very close in the standings and who knows, we might even play against Toronto in the playoffs at some point.”
- Newcomer Dale Weise, acquired just before the Olympic break, is very familiar with the extent of the antagonism between the two Original Six franchises. In fact, as a Vancouver Canuck, catching the end of a Habs-Leafs Saturday night tilt was often part of his pre-game routine.
“Playing out West, we caught a lot of those games before going on the ice. We had the TV on while get dressed up. I’m very familiar with those Saturday night games,” acknowledged the rugged right-winger. “Both teams are comfortable playing a physical style. We’re okay playing it too. I think it’s a lot of team’s game plan when they face Montreal, but our team is very physical as well. We always play hard. We have a couple big bodies, so we can play physical too.”
An occasional healthy scratch in Vancouver, Weise is happy to be able to contribute to his new team on a nightly basis, having played in five of five scheduled games since being traded to Montreal.
“I don’t know if anybody’s counting, but we got nine out of 10 points since I got here,” joked the Winnipeg native.
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Red Wings. The Habs, who lead Detroit by six points in the atlantic division standings, are looking to build on a three-game winning streak.
- Carey Price and P.K. Subban were back at practice for the first time since returning from the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Price, however, left the ice after turning aside a few shots. He did not return for the remainder of the on-ice session.
|RAW: Michel Therrien|
“It’s a lower-body injury that he aggravated during the Olympics. We want to ensure that he’s completely healthy when he returns to the lineup. His situation is one that we’ll be evaluating day by day,” mentioned head coach Michel Therrien, who went on to add that Price will not make the trip to Pittsburgh following Wednesday night’s contest and as a result will miss at least the next two games. “We’ll check on his status for practice on Friday ahead of the game on Saturday.”
- In Price’s absence, the Canadiens have recalled goaltender Dustin Tokarski from the Hamilton Bulldogs.
- Peter Budaj will get the start in goal against Detroit. It will be his 12th start of the season. Budaj has a 5-4-2 record and a 3.10 goals-against average in 11 appearances against Detroit over the course of his NHL career.
“We have complete faith in Peter. His teammates do, too. He always gives us a good performance. We have to take this one game at a time,” underlined Therrien, who will put Budaj between the pipes for back-to-back games for the first time this season. “A guy like Peter just needs to continue playing the same way he has all year. That’s the message Stephane Waite has given him. He doesn’t have to put any additional pressure on his shoulders.”
- After missing the last 15 games with a broken hand, Alex Galchenyuk will return to the Canadiens’ lineup on Wednesday night. The 20-year-old forward suffered the injury back on Jan. 6 in a tilt against the Florida Panthers. Skating alongside Lars Eller and Rene Bourque at practice, Galchenyuk is excited to return to active duty and is looking forward to contributing on the scoresheet as soon as possible.
“I don’t know if my hand is really 100%. Whatever the case may be, what matters most is to know whether I can go out there and perform at the level that I’d like to. I feel good,” offered Galchenyuk. “I don’t know what percentage I’ll be operating at, but I feel comfortable with the moves I make out there on the ice and I can’t wait to play.”
- Jarred Tinordi will also suit up against the Red Wings after being called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs on Sunday. Tinordi, who practiced alongside Douglas Murray on Wednesday morning, last suited up for the Canadiens back on Oct. 19, and has been featured in Michel Therrien’s lineup for six games during the 2013-14 campaign. The rugged rearguard is adamant that his extended AHL stint was time well spent.
“I like to think that there’s a big difference since the last time I was up with the big club. I wasn’t playing my best hockey towards the end of the stretch there. I was sent down to Hamilton with things to work on. I think I’ve done a good job of working on those things. I feel good,” offered Tinordi, who racked up nine penalty minutes during his time with the Canadiens earlier this year. “Now, I’m just going to try and play my game. I want to play physical. I want to play in your face hockey, hold a tight gap and have a good stick. I want to move the puck quickly. I’ve said it 100 times and it’s just a work in progress. There are always things I need to keep working on.”
- The Red Wings have been bitten by the injury bug throughout 2013-14, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a formidable opponent, even without the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Stephen Weiss in the lineup. Knowing full well that Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock will have his soldiers ready for battle, Ryan White put the Canadiens’ upcoming opponent in perspective on Wednesday morning. Needless to say, the 25-year-old centerman has a healthy respect for a team that is looking to earn a playoff spot for a 23rd consecutive season.
“They’re the Red Wings. I’m sure that they’ve got some aces up their sleeve. They’ve got some young kids that can all play. I think Darren Helm has been good for them since he’s been back,” offered White. “We’ve got enough guys to worry about on that team.”
- Brandon Prust skated on the Bell Sports Complex’s secondary ice rink during the morning skate alongside strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard. The power forward continues to recover from an upper-body injury.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Gallagher – Desharnais – Pacioretty
Bourque – Eller – Galchenyuk
Weise – White – Moen
Gionta – Plekanec – Briere
Markov – Emelin
Subban – Gorges
Murray – Tinordi
Drewiske – Bouillon
- The Canadiens were back at practice on Tuesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard preparing for their Wednesday night tilt against the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre.
- Max Pacioretty skated alongside his teammates for the first time since returning from Sochi. For their part, Carey Price and P.K. Subban benefitted from another day off after their Olympic run. Without Price in goal, Sherbrooke Phenix netminder Francis Desrosiers was between the pipes once again at practice.
- Michel Therrien confirmed that Price would get the night off on Wednesday and that Peter Budaj would get the start in goal against the Red Wings.
- Therrien also confirmed that Alex Galchenyuk and Travis Moen would be back in the lineup on Wednesday. Galchenyuk had been sidelined since Jan. 6 when he was injured in a tilt against the Panthers, while Moen missed several games prior to the Olympic break with a lower-body injury.
- Michael Bournival (concussion) skated by himself before the start of practice. Brandon Prust, who is still hampered by an upper-body injury, took to the ice after practice. Both will not take part in Wednesday night's game against Detroit.
Lines at D pairings at practice:
With gold-medalist Carey Price enjoying a much-deserved day off after returning from Sochi, Francis Desrosiers from the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix took to the ice with the Habs. He’ll get some quality goaltending advice from Peter Budaj and Stephane Waite.
Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban, who arrived in Montreal alongside Price on Monday morning, did not skate and will also benefit from a day of rest.
Jarred Tinordi, recalled from Hamilton on Sunday, was at practice with his new teammates.
"It’s always a bit of surprise to get called up; you never really expect it. But I had a stretch of about two or three weeks where I was playing well and feeling good, so it’s good to be recognized for that with a call-up," the towering blueliner revealed after practice.
Michael Bournival (concussion symptoms) did not skate, while Brandon Prust (upper-body) skated on the other ice surface. Both are day-to-day.
LINES AT PRACTICE
Defenseman Jarred Tinordi had been called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL. He should join the Montreal Canadiens for practice on Monday February 24.
This season, Tinordi already played six games with the Habs and 47 with the Bulldogs. He registered three goals and six assists with the 'Dogs.
BROSSARD – While several of their teammates were in Sochi or returning home from their Olympic journeys, the Canadiens held a practice at the Bell Sports Complex, the team’s second since the start of the Olympic break.
New recruits at practice on Thursday include ex-NHLers Jimmy Waite and Sebastien Bordeleau, plus three players from the LNAH’s Laval Braves: Patrick Lapostolle, Vincent Richer and Maxime Mallette. Pierre Allard, Patrice Brisebois, Martin Houle and Ken Morin, who were all on the ice with the team yesterday, were also at practice.
Head coach Michel Therrien was also on the ice after sitting out yesterday.
Forward Alex Galchenyuk has been cleared for contact and is expected to make his return to play following the Olympic break.
BROSSARD – While several of their teammates were in action in Sochi, the Canadiens held a practice at the Bell Sports Complex, the team’s first since the start of the Olympic break.
A few special guests were on hand to fill in for the regulars at practice. Former assistant captain Patrice Brisebois slots in on defense. Strength coach Pierre Allard filled in up front, and Jocelyn Thibault suited up in a Canadiens uniform for the first time in 15 years.
Alex Galchenyuk, on the comeback trail from a hand injury, skated alongside his teammates for the first time in over six weeks.