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Back to business

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens


BROSSARD – The Canadiens’ power play gets a new look in the team’s first post-Christmas practice.

Cunneyworth’s power play: With a new coach comes new on-ice tactics. In only his second full practice with his team – the others all taking place on game days – Randy Cunneyworth took advantage of the opportunity to try something different. Monday morning’s power play drills had a new look to them, with one player on the point, three in the middle of the zone and another parked in front of the net.

“I don’t know if this is the beginning of the Cunneyworth era, but it a sure thing that the more time a new coach spends in charge of a team, the more you’re going to start to see his influences. Trying something a little different on the power play was something he brought in this morning – now it’s up to us to execute it,” dropped Michael Cammalleri, who will still find himself in his usual place next to the face off circle, ready to blast one-timers. “I think I’m still going to be attacking, and I think Pleky is going to be covering the back, but we’ll have to see. We’re practicing a bit more in the middle and deeper in the zone. We’re going to try and make it all work.” 

The Canadiens back at work.

Home for the holidays: It’s no secret that things haven’t been the easiest for the Canadiens as of late. After a tough three-game road trip, and with another one on the way, the chance to enjoy some holiday cheer over the Christmas break and live a few days outside the world of the hockey couldn’t have come at a better time.

“I think the break was really important. We needed to take a step back from everything and regroup and refocus and I know it was good for us,” explained Carey Price who was confirmed to receive the start in Ottawa against the Senators. “The whole group seemed to feel pretty reinvigorated today. We just came off a tough stretch both mentally and physically so getting a few days off, away from the rink and with our families was probably the best thing we could have done.”

Across the room, Max Pacioretty was singing the same song of his time away from the game.

“When the confidence isn’t there it makes it tough at times. I was still having nightmares about that save that Crawford made against me in the Chicago game, but I also know that when my confidence is high – I’ll score that 10 out of 10 times,” admitted the Habs’ second leading-goal-scorer. “The break was crucial. I got out on the ice today and the second I did, I was really having a blast. That’s when I think we have the most success – and personally that’s when I always have the most success – is when we’re having fun.”

Helping hands: After watching the Canadiens’ last game from the Winnipeg press box, Lars Eller and P.K. Subban will likely find themselves back in the lineup for the team’s Tuesday night game against the Senators. For Eller, who should find himself centering Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty, there were no hard feelings about his coach’s decision.

“Of course you want to be able to play in every single one of your team’s games, but you always need to be ready to do what’s best for the group. I’m just anxious to come back into the lineup and try to help my team. I spoke with the coach about everything, but what was said stays between us,” said Eller.

The 22-year-old forward, is still in the early stages of his NHL career, but that doesn’t mean he can’t see exactly what needs to be done to get back on the road to victory.

“We have to get better in a lot of areas. It all starts with each player looking in the mirror individually and making the commitment to be better. You need to be able to have confidence in the guy next to you on the ice, without hesitation. Finally we need to get the confidence back in our game,” finished Eller. “But all that happened is in the past. We got some time off, far away from hockey – and now we’re back and we’re ready to face the music.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.

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