BROSSARD -- The injury bug might have reared its ugly head at Canadiens training camp, but several of Michel Therrien’s troops are preparing for a return to active duty.
Forward Travis Moen and defensemen Francis Bouillon and Nathan Beaulieu were back at work alongside their teammates at the Bell Sports Complex on Sunday. Tough guy George Parros, meanwhile, was on the ice sporting a red practice jersey, indicating he was finally cleared for contact.
Bouillon, like Moen, is recovering from what Therrien has termed a training camp injury, which according to the veteran rearguard, isn’t anything serious.
“They are small injuries that don’t happen during the summer months because you might not be pushing yourself as hard. When you start training again, it gets more intense,” mentioned Bouillon, who skated alongside Beaulieu during the practice session. “You’re not used to taking hits or pushing others [when you get back out there], so that happens. It’s a lower-body injury. It’s going well. I’ve had some good treatment and I’m ready to start up again.”
As the pair awaits clearance from the Canadiens’ medical staff, Bouillon is adamant that he feels fine.
“I’ll be ready for [Monday night’s game against the Devils]. I feel really good. I’m one hundred percent,” confirmed the 37-year-old, who saw action during the 2013-14 preseason campaign before falling victim to his injury at practice last week.
While players like Bouillon and Moen are chomping at the bit to get back into the lineup to prepare for the start of the regular season, Beaulieu is looking forward to his return to show the Habs' brass what he’s capable of. Despite suffering an upper-body injury on day one of main camp, the 20-year-old believes that his window of opportunity to make the big club remains open.
“I feel like there’s a lot of time. If the time’s right and everything works out, I still have a chance,” said Beaulieu, who listed himself as day-to-day, but wouldn't specify a time frame for his return. “There’s never a good time for an injury. You work hard all summer and you come to camp and something happens. There’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve got to stay disciplined and do the right things and just jump on the road to recovery."
Parros has done just that. Taking part in contact drills for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff he suffered last March, the 33-year-old right winger insisted that any progress on the injury front is good progress.
“I’m not 100 percent yet. This was another step on the road to recovery. Before you can go out there and play a game, you’ve got to get into some drills and contact and that’s what [Sunday] was about,” noted the eight-year NHL veteran, who boasts 1,007 career penalty minutes on his resume. “Any time you have an injury like this, you’ve got to work on range of motion and you’ve got to work on strength. That's a lot of moving parts and we’re working on getting all of them [healthy again]."
The enforcer, however, was unsure about when he'd ultimately make his first appearance for the bleu-blanc-rouge
“You can’t put an exact date on [my return], so we’re just going step by step,” offered the Washington, PA native, who has suited up for the Kings, Ducks, Avalanche and Panthers over the course of his career. “You have to break down certain barriers. Getting back on the ice with a little bit of contact is just about demonstrating some of the strength that I’ve been getting back. We’re getting there.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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