BROSSARD – In today’s notebook: P.K.’s excitement is building, Pacioretty on his return from injury, and Gallagher discusses matinee hockey.
Support System: While no decision has been made as of yet on when defenseman P.K. Subban will make his return to the Canadiens’ line-up, the Toronto native said he’s been skating hard over the past several weeks in preparation for his season debut. As part of his preparation, he's also enjoyed the great support he’s received from teammates such as Francis Bouillon since rejoining the Habs earlier in the week.
“It’s great to work with him out there,” said Subban of his D partner on Friday. “I remember when I came to Montreal, he was one of the first guys out there to greet me and he’s obviously a great guy off the ice. It’s awesome. He told me to just kind of feel it out and get used to being back on the ice again, the timing, and he’ll support me, so I feel pretty good.”
Since rejoining the team, Subban has worked on understanding and integrating himself into head coach Michel Therrien’s new systems. Needless to say, the Belleville Bulls product was restless to get back into the thick of things with the Canadiens once he inked his new two-year deal.
“I’ve been extremely anxious for a long time to get back on the ice and I was talking to Prusty [Brandon Prust] about how good I felt out there and just to be back on the ice,” mentioned Subban.
“We have a great opportunity this year. It’s a shortened season and it’s anybody’s season to go out and make the best of it. It’s a sprint, not a marathon. The quicker I can get back on the ice and feeling good and being a part of the team, the better off I’m going to be.”
Magic Max: No stranger to beating the odds when it comes to recovery time from injury, Max Pacioretty took part in his first full team practice Friday since undergoing an emergency appendectomy last weekend. Eager to get back in the lineup as soon as possible, Pacioretty has already been back in the gym, and was excited at the prospect of being put through the paces alongside his teammates in Brossard.
“I was doing pretty much everything,” said Pacioretty, referencing Friday’s practice session. “[The doctors] told me to settle it down if I start to feel it, but once you’re out there practicing, the intensity’s going. I’ve been dying to get back here. I know it’s only five or six days, but I didn’t feel anything, so I feel really good.”
Despite his eagerness to get back into the lineup, Pacioretty understands the importance of affording his body the necessary time to heal, explaining that he’s “been resting at home for a while, doing a good job of letting it heal up, [and] doing the right things” away from the rink.
No timetable has been set for Pacioretty’s return, but the 24-year-old power forward will undoubtedly be prepared when the time comes to return to action.
“I want to get back on the ice as soon as possible and the doctors kind of put it in my hands,” said Pacioretty. “I can’t make it worse, so I guess I’m going to go out there and push it as hard as I can so when I can play, I can be ready.”
Changing Routines: While hockey players are creatures of habit, the prospect of playing in his first set of back-to-back matinees for the Canadiens won’t have much of an impact on the way 20-year-old rookie Brendan Gallagher prepares to take on the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators this Super Bowl Weekend.
“I mean, it’s a little easier for me because I don’t nap before games, and guys won’t get to nap. It’ll be that little change, but it’s not that big of a deal,” said Gallagher. “We’ve all played afternoon games before and it’s nice to get them out of the way for me. I enjoy them because you think about it the whole day and that’s all you’re thinking about, and it’s nice to get it out of the way early.”
As for his pre-game meal, chicken and pasta aren’t out of the question because of the earlier than usual start time to both contests.
“I’ve done that before, played a one o’clock game and woke up and tried chicken and pasta, but it wasn’t too good. Two o’clock maybe, so we’ll see. I might try and get two meals in.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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