Return of a warrior: Brandon Prust, who had been out for the past three weeks with an upper-body injury, took to the ice wearing a standard red practice jersey on Wednesday morning instead of the blue 'no contact' sweater he'd been sporting in previous days. In preparation for his return to action, the London, ON native had been working hard with strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard in recent weeks.
“During the first few weeks, Pierre worked me pretty hard, and almost made me throw up a few times. I’d tell him ‘Wait until I can start hitting again!,’” joked Prust.
Having received the green light to take part in full-contact practices, Prust tested out his shoulder at the optional skate.
“I tried it out today against a couple of the guys. I’ll stay away from a guy like Douglas [Murray] for sure before Friday, but for now, Danny [Briere] and David Desharnais are getting a taste,” offered the six-foot, 194-pound forward, who plays far bigger than he looks.
While Prust is not yet at one hundred percent, he is looking to make a return to the lineup over the weekend.
“I want to come back when I’m one hundred percent confident, playing the crash and bang game that [brought me here]. There’s no guarantee that I’ll play this weekend; I am still day-to-day and it could get pushed back to next week,” stated the gritty winger, who is intent on not rushing his rehab, but is quietly targeting the Saturday night tilt against his former team, the New York Rangers, as a possible return game. “It’ll be four weeks [since the injury] on Saturday, and that’s the day I’ve had on the calendar since the start.”
Changing of the guard: Daniel Briere, who scored in his first game back from injury on Tuesday night, had a few things to share about the major management shake-up in Buffalo, the city in which enjoyed standout seasons between 2003 and 2007.
“It’s always tough to see guys you respect lose their jobs,” acknowledged the former Sabres co-captain.
While he did not play for outgoing head coach Ron Rolston, Briere did have a long working relationship with Buffalo’s now former general manager Darcy Regier. The forward understands, however, that winning is the name of the game, and he believes that the move will pay dividends for the franchise in the long run.
“[Newly named President of Hockey Operations] Pat LaFontaine is one of the most respected and one of the most intelligent people I’ve met. He is very composed. I think it’s a great move by the Buffalo organization. It also brings some hope for the fans. It’s been a couple of tough years in Buffalo, but they’ve made some good moves and have a lot of good young players. They’re going in the right direction, but it’s going to take some time,” mentioned Briere.
Jack Han is a writer for canadiens.com.
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