First cuts come at camp
MONTREAL - Less than 24 hours after a 3-2 preseason victory over the Thrashers, head coach Claude Julien made his first cuts from the Canadiens roster. Forwards Jimmy Bonneau, Maxim Lapierre, Francis Lemieux, Duncan Milroy and Cory Urquhart, defensemen Jeff Paul and James Sanford, and goaltender Jaroslav Halak will all report to the training camp of Montreal's minor-league affiliate, the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs, which opens on Friday in Caledonia, Ontario.
One of the notables surviving Monday’s cut was defenseman Kevin Lavallee, the tryout invited to Canadiens camp thanks to the TV series Bell Making the Cut. Speaking to the press after the first half of a four-hour practice, Julien admitted the 23-year-old hadn’t looked all that comfortable during the rookie tournament a couple of weeks earlier, yet had earned his place in camp through the first round of cuts strictly on his own.
A PROSPECT'S DEBUT: After watching from the sidelines on Sunday night, forward Guillaume Latendresse will get the opportunity to show even more hockey fans why the Canadiens traded up to take him in this year’s draft. With his family expected in the stands, the 18-year-old forward, taken 45th overall by Montreal in July, will suit up for Tuesday night’s preseason contest against the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
LINING UP THE BIG GUNS: With the reigning Stanley Cup champs in town on Tuesday, the Canadiens will have their top trio on the ice to make their preseason debut. The chemistry between Richard Zednik, Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev was a major factor in the Canadiens’ historical first-round elimination of the Bruins in the 2004 playoffs. Koivu, Kovalev and Zednik led the team in goals, assists and points and were among the league leaders in those categories as well.
Yann Danis is expected to be the starter between the pipes on Tuesday, while Jose Theodore will take over mid-way through the game. Chris Higgins and Alexander Perezhogin, both of whom played Sunday, were skating on a line together during the practice that involved Tuesday’s potential roster.
REACHING OUT TO RIBS: When Mike Ribeiro first broke into the NHL, he found a friend in Jose Theodore. After Ribeiro’s performance in Sunday’s game, Theodore could see how much his good friend has changed since his NHL debut six-and-a-half years ago.
"I saw that last night, he played with confidence," the goaltender said of Ribeiro. "Every time he was on the ice, he was creating something; he wasn’t afraid to make some nice plays and I think he has improved his strength. I’m not worried about Mike - he’s smart out there and he wants to improve and get better. I’m really happy to see that he’s in great shape like that."
Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com.