Axe falls at Canadiens training camp
Kyle Chipchura will head back to the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders after being cut from his first Canadiens training camp.
MONTREAL - And then there were 32. The news out of the Canadiens training camp on Monday morning was the announcement of six cuts as the team prepared to face the Bruins on Tuesday night.
Headlining the list of players receiving the bad news were the Canadiens' most recent top draft picks, Kyle Chipchura and Carey Price. Chipchura, who was selected 18th overall at the 2004 draft, was a long shot to make this year's squad and will now return to the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders as Chipchura shifts his focus to his final year of junior hockey.
Price, who was the fifth overall pick at this summer's draft and the highest netminder chosen by Montreal since Michel Plasse went first overall in 1968, looked solid throughout training camp and more than held his own in preseason action. Always a fiery competitor, Price's disappointment upon hearing the news that he was heading back to the WHL's Tri-City Americans is a testament to his drive and determination.
Like Chipchura and camp survivor Guillaume Latendresse, Price is on the shortlist to represent Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Vancouver in December.
Rounding out the cuts on Day 14 of camp was forward Michael Lambert, defensemen Andre Benoit and Jonathan Aitken, as well as goalie Olivier Michaud; they will all head to Hamilton for the Canadiens' AHL affiliate's training camp.
With more cuts still to come before the roster is trimmed down to 23 in time for the regular season, the Canadiens' four remaining preseason games will go a long way in determining who will make the team. Still alive at camp are Corey Locke, Andrei Kostitsyn, Andrew Archer, Jonathan Ferland, Ron Hainsey, Mark Streit, Raitis Ivanans, Marcel Hossa, Tomas Plekanec, Alex Perezhogin, Chris Higgins and Latendresse, who will make his return to lineup against the Bruins on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
BACK IN THE SADDLE: Out with an injured ankle since Sept. 16, RW Michael Ryder returned on Monday for the team's two-hour practice. He'll be back on the ice again tomorrow and said he hopes to be in the lineup for a couple of the remaining preseason games.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com