MONTREAL - Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien was on hand on Tuesday to kick off the 27th edition of the “Je Garde Mon Sport en Santé” campaign, a Quebec-wide initiative to lead the fight against drug and alcohol use at the Midget AAA level.
Since recreational and performance-enhancing drug use in professional sports has been making headlines recently, the Canadiens’ bench boss saw an opportunity to be part of the solution.
“As a parent, I find it’s important to make sure our youth is given the right guidance,” explained Therrien. “It’s important to us that players are healthy, not only for the benefit of their respective careers, but also for the good of the team and the good of the game.”
With training camp just around the corner, Therrien is already back at his desk, strategizing about how to best utilize the team's newest acquisitions, Daniel Briere, George Parros and Douglas Murray.
“[All of these players] decided to come here for the right reasons," he described. "They want to play in Montreal.”
While the absence of Alexei Emelin for the early part of the season will surely be felt, Therrien knows he can count on Murray to chip in on the blue line.
“I’m very happy about the [Murray] acquisition," offered Therrien, of the bruising blue-liner. "He's a solid, physical defenseman who can sacrifice the body to block shots.”
Of course, top prospects including Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi will try their best to make the head coach’s decision difficult when it comes to who to keep in Montreal and who to send down to Hamilton, but Therrien isn’t overly worried about making tough choices.
“There is no such thing as having too many good defensemen,” he stressed.
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