The Montreal Canadiens have announced the recall of forward Mike Blunden from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL.
The 27-year old Blunden took part in six games with the Canadiens this season.
In 66 games with the Bulldogs in 2013-14, Blunden amassed 36 points, including 18 goals. The forward currently shares the team lead in goals with Gabriel Dumont and is ranked third in total scoring.
- After the first 15 minutes of practice, the coaching staff decided to divide and conquer. Players dressed in white remained on the primary ice surface while the other players, wearing red jerseys, headed onto the Complex’s second ice surface to work on the powerplay.
- The Tinordi-Murray and Bouillon-Weaver duos remained with Team White and practiced four-man breakout formations under the supervision of assistant coach Jean-Jacques Daigneault.
- Both teams then reconvene on the primary ice, with Team Red setting up in a powerplay formation and Team White, holding their sticks blade-side up, trying to thwart the attack.
- The team tried out a few different looks on the man advantage, including sending a forward to the opposing blueline on the breakout to facilitate a breakaway pass and getting defensemen to play deeper in the zone to create back-door scoring chances.
- Peter Budaj appeared to be shaken up on a jam play in from of the net, but finished the practice looking no worse for wear.
- Lars Eller, who missed the two previous games, was absent at practice due to illness. Brandon Prust and Travis Moen were also out, but both are on schedules in their injury recoveries.
- Prospects Jacob de la Rose and Mac Bennett are in town. Both players took to the ice in Brossard before the Habs’ practice, met with the team’s medical staff to discuss their respective minor injuries, and had a chance to get acquainted with the team training facilities.
LINES AT PRACTICE
- Following the Canadiens-Islanders match-up on Thursday night, the Montreal Canadiens have announced that forward Alex Galchenyuk suffered a lower-body injury during the game against the Blackhawks the previous night. The 20-year old player will miss the first round of the playoffs.
- Following Thursday night's game, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The Canadiens Hall of Fame unveiled a wax statue of Maurice “the Rocket” Richard, gifted by the famous Grevin museum. In attendance at the ceremony were Geoff Molson, Guy Lafleur, Rejean Houle, Marc Bergevin and members of the Richard family.
“I thought the statue was very well done,” offered Geoff Molson, the owner of the Canadiens. “Especially the eyes. You could really see the passion in those eyes.”
Starting tomorrow, visitors to the Canadiens Hall of Fame can experience the Rocket’s passion first-hand by making a stop at the section dedicated to the Habs’ number 9. The latest addition to the exhibit is a fitting tribute to the franchise’s all-time leading goal scorer, one of the great players in hockey history.
- Only a few players skated at the Bell Sports Complex on Thursday morning ahead of the tilt against the Islanders.
- Defenseman Douglas Murray has finished serving his three-game suspension for a hit on Tampa Bay's Michael Kostka. He will be available for the game against the Islanders.
Only four players skated at the United Center on Wednesday morning as the Canadiens prepare to take on the Blackhawks in Chicago at night.
As Carey Price rests at home in Montreal, Peter Budaj should get his 11th career start against the Hawks on Wednesday night. The 31-year-old netminder has a 4-5-1 record all-time against Chicago to date.
- P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin, who missed yesterday’s practice, were all back on the ice.
- The team’s first two lines worked on powerplay drills under the supervision of head coach Michel Therrien and assistant coach Clement Jodoin at the start of the practice. Daniel Briere alternated with Alex Galchenyuk on a line centered by Plekanec, while Nathan Beaulieu took turns at the point alongside P.K. Subban.
- The only players absent were Travis Moen and Brandon Prust. Moen is recovering from a concussion and Prust is expected to return from an upper-body injury in time for the postseason.
- After practice, Coach Therrien announced that Emelin, Markov, Douglas Murray and Carey Price will not make the trip to Chicago with the team. Murray will be serving the last game of his three-game suspension, while the other three players are staying in Montreal to gain additional rest.
LINES AT PRACTICE
- Josh Gorges and Dale Weise both skated with their teammates and have been cleared for full contact. Both had been out for the past weeks with upper-body injuries.
- P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin had therapy days and did not practice. Brandon Prust remains sidelined. He is aiming to return in time for the postseason.
- Head coach Michel Therrien ran a high-tempo practice focusing on zone entries and breakouts. Meanwhile, goaltender coach Stephane Waite worked with both Carey Price and Peter Budaj on their puck-handling behind the net.
LINES AT PRACTICE
Both goaltenders and 17 skaters, including George Parros, Lars Eller, Andrei Markov, Brian Gionta, Jarred Tinordi, Michael Bournival, Mike Weaver, Josh Gorges, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Plekanec, Douglas Murray, Nathan Beaulieu, Daniel Briere, Rene Bourque, Ryan White, Alexei Emelin, and Alex Galchenyuk took part in the morning skate.
Gorges skated with his teammates for the first time on Friday morning since being sidelined following the game in Anaheim on March 5 with a hand injury.
Tinordi will slide back into the lineup against the Sens after being a healthy scratch against the Panthers and Lightning following the NHL’s decision to suspend Murray for three games for his hit on Michael Kostka on Tuesday night.
|Epic comeback game: March 15|
“I respect the decision. I made a mistake and I have to pay for it. Obviously, I’m disappointed, too. It’s an important time of the year and I’ll be sitting in the stands not helping the team get important points,” admitted Murray, who reached out to Kostka via text message to apologize to the Lightning defenseman for the hit. “I had no intention to hurt him and I had no intention to hit his head. I made contact with his head and I made a mistake, so I apologized.”
Called up following the announcement of the three-game suspension to the hulking blue-liner, Beaulieu practiced with the big club for the first time since being sent back to Hamilton prior to the Olympic break. He won’t be in the lineup against the Senators on Friday, but after earning his third recall from the farm this season, the 21-year-old rearguard is ready to pounce on any chance he gets to impress the Habs brass in person.
“For sure I was disappointed. I wanted to be here, but it would be a problem if I wasn’t upset. I used it as motivation to work hard and eventually get back up here,” confessed Beaulieu, who has two assists in 16 games with the Canadiens this season. “I just have to play like I did before. I’m happy to get the opportunity and if I get the call, I’ll make the most of it. Consistency is the biggest thing. Putting games together is the thing I’m focused on trying to do most. That’s what my goal is here.”
While Beaulieu will be watching the Ottawa game from the pressbox, with just four games left after Friday night before the playoffs kick off, Michel Therrien has confirmed that he’ll be looking to give his rookie blue-liner an opportunity to find his groove down the stretch.
“The goal is to make sure he’s ready,” confirmed Therrien. “For sure we’ll get him into a game, but I can’t tell you right now exactly when that will be. We’ll make sure that when he does play, he’s ready. If we think he’s ready to help us from now until the end of the season or into the playoffs, that’s when we’ll put him in the lineup.”
Facing the Sens for the first time since the epic comeback effort of March 15 that saw the Habs rally back from a 4-1 deficit with five minutes remaining in regulation to beat Ottawa 5-4 in overtime, the Canadiens will be searching for a less dramatic two points in the nation’s capital. Since that game, the team has compiled a 7-2-0 record in the nine games that followed, and Briere is hoping Friday will help keep the team’s confidence levels rolling.
“That’s the game that kind of turned it around for us. It’s a game where we were a little bit on a slide, we weren’t feeling good about ourselves, and we were wondering where we were going a little bit and then those last five minutes kind of turned the whole season around,” described the Gatineau, QC native. “We were battling with teams just trying to get into the playoffs and we’re battling for home ice now. That was definitely a turning point.”
Peter Budaj will get his 20th start of the season when he faces the Senators on Friday night. The 31-year-old netminder has faced Ottawa just once in his regular season career to date.
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Getting the call
- The Montreal Canadiens have recalled defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.
Beaulieu, aged 21, took part in 16 NHL games this season, amassing two assists and totalling a plus-five rating.
In 54 AHL games this season, the defenseman has amassed 25 points, including 19 assists. He has scored four of his six goals on the powerplay, placing him fourth overall on the Bulldogs in that category.
Beaulieu will rejoin the Canadiens in Ottawa and may take part in Friday night’s game.