Team Bonding, Injuries, Cuts | HABS HEADLINES

Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki (Photo by Canadiens.com)

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Team Bonding

With Canadiens captain Shea Weber not being able to play this season due to multiple injuries, leadership will be a shared responsibility. Brendan Gallagher will wear an ‘A’ throughout the season and will be joined by several alternate captains on a rotating basis including Nick Suzuki. 

Following the end of the Canadiens pre-season schedule, Suzuki said that he and his teammates will be engaging in bonding activities including playing a round of golf.

“Friday, Saturday, Sunday I think we have a couple of things planned just to get together as a group with a lot of the new guys coming in, get to know them better,” Suzuki said. “We organized some things so we’ll have fun together. Last year we had a really tight group and we want the same this year, so it will be a good start.”

Injuries Linger

Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme provided a medical update at his media availability.

Carey Price continues to feel the effects of a non-COVID illness that have kept him off the ice while he recovers from off-season knee surgery.

“There’s a progression: getting back on the ice, starting with not going down too much, and then building him up and starting to work with the goalie coach, and then practicing with the team and being ready to play games,” Ducharme said. “But, he’s not doing well right now, so he’s going to take care of that, and then we’ll handle the rest after.”

It is clear that Price will not be ready for the season opener on October 13th.

The news is not positive for defenceman Joel Edmundson. He has not been making significant progress and the projection for his return has been pushed back.

“We found that he wasn’t progressing well enough. The athletic therapists asked to do more in-depth tests, and the news wasn’t very positive. He’ll miss more time than we thought,” said Ducharme. “Last week, I was told that he was day-to-day and close to coming back, but we expect it to be more like two to three weeks.”

Forward Cedric Paquette and defenceman Sami Niku returned to the ice skating with athletic therapist Graham Rynbend.

Here is the Canadiens current injury list:

Sami Niku (concussion) – indefinite
Cedric Paquette (groin) – day-to-day
Joel Edmundson (undisclosed) – two to three weeks
Mattias Norlinder (undisclosed) – day-to-day
Carey Price (knee surgery) – mid-October
Mike Hoffman (lower-body) – mid-October
Paul Byron (hip surgery) – end of December
Shea Weber (multiple injuries) – out for the season

Allen Ready For Game 1

With Carey Price‘s recovery being delayed, it appears that backup Jake Allen will be the  Habs goaltender on opening night. Allen has not had a strong training camp so far but he will get the start in the Canadiens final pre-season game on Thursday night.

“There’s a greater chance of me playing the first game than there probably was a few weeks ago, and it’s completely fine with me. I’m excited for that, if that’s the case,” said Allen. “Obviously, we want Pricer back as quickly as we can, but we want him here for the long haul, too. We want to make sure that he’s here on the right foot. Nothing really changes for me. I’ve played a lot of hockey over my career and this is a unique opportunity. If I get to go in Game 1, then I’ll be ready for it.”

Forwards / Defence / Goaltenders

On Wednesday morning, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard in preparation for their final pre-season game on Thursday. Forward Cole Caufield returned to practice after sitting out last game due to a shoulder injury.

These were the forward lines, defence pairings and goaltenders:

Tyler Toffoli – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield
Jonathan Drouin – Christian Dvorak – Josh Anderson
Artturi Lehkonen / Joel Armia – Jake Evans – Brendan Gallagher
Alex Belzile / Mathieu Perreault – Ryan Poehling – Jesse Ylonen

Alexander Romanov – Jeff Petry
Ben Chiarot – David Savard
Brett Kulak – Chris Wideman / Kaiden Guhle

Jake Allen – Cayden Primeau – Samuel Montembeault

Four More Cuts

The Montreal Canadiens have cut defenceman Gianni Fairbrother and forwards Gabriel Bourque, Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Michael Pezzetta from training camp.

Fairbrother, Bourque, and Harvey-Pinard has been assigned to the AHL joining the Laval Rocket training camp. Pezzetta is subject to waivers.

Rocket Camp Cuts

On Wednesday, the Laval Rocket cut nine players from training camp including forwards Cedric Desruisseaux, Justin Ducharme, Peter Abbandonato, Olivier Archambault, Julien Nantel and Cedric Montminy in addition to defencemen Charles-David Beaudoin, Mathieu Brodeur and Olivier Galipeau. They will report to the Trois-Rivieres Lions of the ECHL.

Goaltenders Alex Dubeau and Alexis Gravel have been released.

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