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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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POSTED ON Saturday, 27.09.2014 / 1:01 PM

- After a pair of back-to-back wins over the Colorado Avalanche, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex on Saturday ahead of their tilt against the Washington Capitals on Sunday evening.

- Lars Eller returned to practice on Saturday after being sidelined due to injury. He centered a line with Jiri Sekac and Rene Bourque. Eller indicated that he's ready to return to active duty. He was unaware whether or not he would be in the lineup against Washington. For his part, Tomas Plekanec centered a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.

- Peter Budaj donned a new mask at practice for the first time.

Forward lines and D pairings at practice:

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

Weaver – Beaulieu
Subban – Emelin
Markov – Gilbert
Pateryn –Tinordi

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POSTED ON Friday, 26.09.2014 / 1:23 PM

- The Canadiens held a morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday before traveling to the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City to take on the Avalanche.

- The players were separated into three groups at practice; Group A, Group B, and the group traveling to Quebec City.

- Brandon Prust, David Desharnais, Nathan Beaulieu and Nikita Scherbak will suit up for a second game in as many nights against the Avs, while a number of Habs rookies will also get to experience an NHL game at the former home of the Nordiques.

- Goalies Joey MacDonald and Dustin Tokarski should share the work in goal for the Habs.

- Rene Bourque wasn’t at practice on Friday, benefiting instead from a day of therapy.

- Tim Bozon, who battled meningitis over the winter and is now at the Canadiens main camp, will play his first game in a Habs uniform in Quebec City.

“I’m extremely happy and proud. It’s another step in my rehabilitation. I think about my family and everything I’ve accomplished over the last five months. To wear the Canadiens uniform for the first time is an honor,” said the young forward who should be paired with Gabriel Dumont and Nick Sorkin. “I hope I can produce offensively and see how I stack-up to NHL competition. I’m an offensive player and that’s what the Canadiens are expecting from me, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I’m going to go out and have fun with my teammates.”

If being at camp at all is an accomplishment in itself for Bozon, then getting to play in an NHL exhibition game is an added bonus that the French left-winger is more than happy to undertake.

“I’ve always believed, but I also need to be realistic. I’m coming back from a lot. I told myself that when I’d get the chance to play in a game again, it would be a gift, and tonight it's finally happening.”

- While officially, it’s the Habs versus the Avalanche in Quebec City on Friday, some players are expecting to see more than a few Nordiques jerseys in the stands.

“I think it’s going to be intense tonight. I imagine the fans in Quebec will want to show their colors,” said Francis Bouillon ahead of his first game of the preseason. “Quebec has wanted a team for a long time now, and with a night like tonight, the atmosphere will be electric. I’m eager to see whose side the crowd is on. It could be half-half, but it’s been awhile since the Nordiques left for Colorado. I think the fans will be behind us, but it should be interesting to see.”

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POSTED ON Thursday, 25.09.2014 / 12:34 PM

- The Canadiens held a morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday, ahead of the team’s second pre-season game of 2014-15 opposite the Colorado Avalanche.

- Despite missing practice due to tests, Greg Pateryn should be in the line-up for the Habs on Thursday night. He’ll likely be paired with Davis Drewiske, while Francis Bouillon, who practised with Drewiske in the morning, would be the man out.

- Mike Weaver, for his part, will be paired with Nathan Beaulieu, and the 12-year NHL vet isn’t taking his role as a mentor lightly.

“[It’s going] great. He’s pretty offensive. [...] I think he’s a great skater and great with the puck. He’s learning from a pretty good player who’s teaching him the ropes. That’s what I always found in my first year in the pros, that being around the older guys really helped me out the most,” underlined the veteran defenseman with 602 games of NHL experience under his belt. “[We need to keep] it simple. It’s going to be our first game and the first game is always the toughest to get your legs going and to get into it for three full periods. Just keeping it simple, and for him, to get in on the play at every opportunity and create some offense while being responsible on the defensive side.”

- Rookies Charles Hudon and Nikita Scherbak will both be in the line-up against the Avs. Hudon should center a line flanked by Travis Moen and Michael Bournival, while Scherbak should be reunited with his scrimmage linemates Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk.

Playing his second pre-season game with the Canadiens, Hudon intends to continue impressing the Habs brass one game at a time.

“My goal was to play two games. I’ve achieved that, so now I want more and I want to stand out from the crowd,” said the Canadiens 122nd-overall pick from the 2012 NHL Draft. “I’ve been part of the youth movement here. Marc Bergevin said after his first draft that he wanted to make more room for young players. We’ve seen it with Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Michael Bournival. A lot of young guys are making places for themselves and opening the eyes of the coaching staff. Now it’s my turn to prove that I belong here as well.”

Although Hudon admits the competition has been fierce so far, he’s also been getting some help from the club’s veterans.

“When you’re at rookie camp, everyone’s young, so when you get to the main camp and see the pros, you put them on a pedestal. When they come up and approach you first, it helps put you at ease. The veterans have really been there for us,” explained the 20-year-old who has been learning the ropes from face-off specialists Tomas Plekanec and Manny Malhotra. “I’m always trying to learn new things. I’m not totally comfortable yet, but the harder you work, the more comfortable you become.”

- As mentioned by Michel Therrien during his press conference on Wednesday, Carey Price is set to start the first half of Thursday’s game before trading places with Peter Budaj on the Canadiens bench.

Offensive lines and defensive pairings at practice:

Moen – Hudon – Bournival
Parenteau – Desharnais – Pacioretty
Gallagher – Galchenyuk - Scherbak
Weise – Malhotra - Prust
 
Weaver – Beaulieu
Bouillon (Pateryn) – Drewiske
Emelin – Subban

SEE ALSO:
FROM THE ROOM - Mike Weaver
WATCH - Malhotra vs Hudon
Divide and conquer
Pure Talent
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 24.09.2014 / 11:53 AM

- After downing the Boston Bruins 3-2 in their preseason opener on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday morning.

- Players remaining in training camp were divided into two groups, A and B. Group A was composed primarily of veterans that were a part of the roster during the 2013-14 campaign, along with Nikita Scherbak, Jacob De La Rose, Jiri Sekac, Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu. Defenseman Francis Bouillon, who came to training camp as an invitee, is also a member of Group A.

- Group B features another group of players remaining at training camp, including five new invitees – goaltender Frankie Palazzese and forwards Derek Army, Shane Bakker, Jared Gomes and Maxime Macenauer.

- Michael McCarron and Jeremy Gregoire were added to the list of injured players at training camp on Wednesday. The pair join Connor Crisp, Dalton Thrower, Stefan Fournier, Jack Nevins and Lars Eller.

- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Carey Price will make his first appearance of the preseason on Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche at the Bell Centre. Peter Budaj will also be in the lineup.

- Therrien also indicated that defensemen P.K. Subban and Alexei Emelin would be paired together against Colorado.

- Following practice, Lars Eller skated with Connor Crisp under the supervision of Canadiens head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 23.09.2014 / 3:02 PM

Goaltending prospect Zachary Fucale is the first player to be cut by the Canadiens during the team’s main training camp. The 19-year-old Laval native has been reassigned to his junior team, the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.

The Mooseheads play their next game on September 26, at home against the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.

A season ago with the Mooseheads, Fucale started 50 games, picking up 36 wins while posting a league-best 2.26 GAA.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 23.09.2014 / 10:57 AM

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex on Tuesday morning ahead of playing their first preseason game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre.

- Head coach Michel Therrien won’t be fielding a lineup full of Habs regulars on Tuesday night, opting instead to give a bevy of youngsters a taste of preseason action. Andrei Markov, Rene Bourque, Tom Gilbert and Tomas Plekanec will provide a veteran presence against Claude Julien’s troops, while fans will have the opportunity to see the likes of Nikita Scherbak, Michael McCarron, Jiri Sekac and Jacob De La Rose strut their stuff once again.

- After going up against one another in four separate intra-squad scrimmages over the last four days, it’s safe to say the Canadiens have been eagerly anticipating a matchup against opponents other than themselves.

“I’m happy to be playing that first game, for sure. There are a lot of things that you need to get used to. Timing’s off and you’re a little bit rusty out there,” offered Plekanec, who will line up alongside Sekac and De La Rose on Tuesday night. “You need to get a game under your belt, and I’m happy to play that first one, especially against Boston. Even if it’s a preseason game, it’s always exciting playing against the Bruins.”

Like Plekanec, Gilbert can’t wait to suit up for real in front of the Bell Centre faithful.

RAW: Tom Gilbert

“It’ll definitely be nice to start getting some of the rust off with these preseason games, especially playing against a team like Boston. We feel the crowd. It’ll be my first time playing in front of them in a real game, so it’s going to be fun,” mentioned the veteran rearguard, who has been paired with Markov on the Canadiens’ back end since the start of training camp. “You see the Canadiens-Bruins rivalry all the time throughout the season, and you know every single time these two teams meet it’s going to be a battle. It’ll be nice to get back in the feel of it with the physical play and the speed of the game. I couldn’t ask for a better team to play.”

- If Plekanec and Gilbert are anxious to get the Canadiens’ preseason schedule underway and continue to hone their respective games, De La Rose is out to prove he’s got the goods to extend his stay in Montreal.

“I’ve been looking forward to this all summer, to finally play a real game. I’m going to play my first game, and I’m really excited about it. I’ll do the best I can. That’s the only thing I can control. I had my ups and downs, but now I feel like I’m going in the right direction,” offered the 19-year-old forward, who was selected 34th overall by the Habs in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. “I’m really excited to be playing with two really good players in Pleky and Sekac. Pleky has been in the league for many years now. He’s a good player. I’m going to try and learn as much as possible from him out there.”

- Dustin Tokarski and Joey MacDonald will likely split the work in goal for the Canadiens against Boston. That should come as little surprise given that the Habs will play four preseason games in the next six days.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.

Canadiens Lineup – Sept. 23 – vs. BOS

Goaltenders: Dustin Tokarski, Joey MacDonald

Defensemen: Jarred Tinordi, Magnus Nygren, Greg Pateryn, Tom Gilbert, Joe Finley, Andrei Markov

Forwards: Tomas Plekanec, Rene Bourque, Jacob De La Rose, Jiri Sekac, Michael McCarron, Nikita Scherbak, Jake Dowell, Sven Andrighetto, Christian Thomas, Charles Hudon, Drayson Bowman, Nick Sorkin

SEE ALSO
Strong start
Vincent Riendeau named assistant general manager of the Hamilton Bulldogs 

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POSTED ON Monday, 22.09.2014 / 2:28 PM

Nikita Scherbak, the Canadiens’ first-round pick (26th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, has been traded by his junior club, the Saskatoon Blades, to the Everett Silvertips on Monday in exchange for goaltender Nik Amundrud and a pair of first- and second-round draft picks in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

“He is a big, strong guy who can make plays with the puck and has the ability to score goals for us,” said Silvertips GM Garry Davidson in an official team release. “We’re confident that he will make a big impact for our club offensively.”

Scherbak is currently taking part in the Canadiens’ main training camp and will hit the Bell Centre ice for the first time during Monday’s Canadian Tire Red vs White Scrimmage. Last season, the 18-year-old Russian forward racked up 28 goals and 50 assists in 65 games, earning him the team scoring crown with the Blades.

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POSTED ON Monday, 22.09.2014 / 10:21 AM

- Players skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday morning before contesting the Canadian Tire Red vs. White scrimmage at 7 p.m. at the Bell Centre.

- Fans will be allowed to enter the Bell Centre beginning at 5:30 p.m. They’ll be entitled to a free meal trio that includes a hot dog, a bag of chips and a soft drink or bottle of water.

- Rosters for the Canadian Tire Red vs. White scrimmage:

Team A – Red

Goaltenders: Zachary Fucale, Carey Price

Forwards: Sven Andrighetto, Michael Bournival, Rene Bourque, Jacob De La Rose, David Desharnais, Jake Dowell, Charles Hudon, Michael McCarron, Max Pacioretty, P.A. Parenteau, Nick Sorkin, Christian Thomas

Defensemen: Francis Bouillon, Joe Finley, Tom Gilbert, Andrei Markov, Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi

Team B – White

Goaltenders: Peter Budaj, Michael Condon

Forwards: Drayson Bowman, Gabriel Dumont, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Jeremy Gregoire, Manny Malhotra, Travis Moen, Tomas Plekanec, Brandon Prust, Nikita Scherbak, Jiri Sekac, Dale Weise

Defensemen: Nathan Beaulieu, Davis Drewiske, Alexei Emelin, Magnus Nygren, P.K. Subban, Mike Weaver

- Forward lines at practice:

Team A - Red

Sorkin – Dowell – Thomas

Pacioretty – Desharnais – Parenteau

Bourque – Hudon – De La Rose

McCarron – Andrighetto – Bournival

Team B - White

Moen – Plekanec – Sekac

Prust – Malhotra – Weise

Gallagher – Galchenyuk – Scherbak

Gregoire – Dumont – Bowman

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POSTED ON Sunday, 21.09.2014 / 12:15 PM

BROSSARD - The Canadiens contested their third training camp scrimmage in as many days at the Bell Sports Complex on Sunday morning.

Team A (Red) wasted little time getting on the scoresheet as David Desharnais scored less than a minute into the opening period. Rene Bourque put Team A up 2-0 later in the frame on a terrific pass from Jacob De La Rose, before Gabriel Dumont re-directed a Michael Bournival feed past Carey Price to cut the lead to 2-1. Jake Dowell capped the scoring in the first period, beating Peter Budaj to up Team A’s lead to 3-1.

P.-A. Parenteau lit the lamp under 60 seconds into the second period to put Team A up 4-1, before Nick Sorkin beat Dustin Tokarski to make it 5-1. Dumont scored his second goal of the game late in period to make it 5-2, but that’s as close as Team B (White) would get.

Goals:

Team Red: David Desharnais, Rene Bourque, Jake Dowell, P.-A. Parenteau, Nick Sorkin

Team White: Gabriel Dumont (2)

Goaltenders:

Team Red: Carey Price (7 saves // 8 shots) // Mike Condon (5 saves // 6 shots)

Team White: Peter Budaj (9 saves // 12 shots) // Dustin Tokarski (2 saves // 4 shots)

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