CLERMONT – The verdict is in. Michael Cammalleri has officially been handed a one-game suspension in wake of his Saturday night confrontation with Islanders rookie, Nino Niederreiter.
Cammalleri was made available to comment on the news during the second day of the Canadiens’ closed retreat in the small Quebec community of Clermont.
“The League made its decision and I’ll have to abide by it,” stated Cammalleri. “The only thing for me to do now is look ahead to Saturday’s game and concentrate on that.”
Typically a cool customer on the ice, Montreal’s star sniper was reluctant to rehash the circumstances surrounding the incident in question.
“I don’t think it’s in anybody’s best interest at this point to keep focusing on what happened,” said the Habs winger, who also admitted to continually making the effort to remain even-tempered on the ice.
“It’s something I’m really working on. I always want to keep a good attitude when I play and stay calm.”
When asked for his opinion, Montreal head-coach Jacques Martin avoided any controversy by choosing instead to point out the silver-lining.
“It’s the League’s decision, and it’s something we’ll respect,” said Martin, “This now gives the opportunity to one of our young player to step up and play in the season-opener against Toronto.”
Martin also went on to note that while No.13 may have simply been reacting to what he felt was a blindside check, it’s normal that his actions would draw a disciplinary response from the NHL.
“It’s an instinctual type of reaction. Things like that just happen, and I think he acknowledges that he made a mistake. We’ll of course miss him for the first game, but now he has to turn the page and make sure he’s ready to play in Pittsburgh,” concluded the Canadiens coach.
Cammalleri’s short suspension marks an excellent opportunity for Lars Eller
to prove his worth as he’ll be called upon to fill Cammy’s skates for the club’s first game. He’ll be placed on a line with Tomas Plekanec
and Andrei Kostitsyn.
“It’s great that I’ve had the chance to play all these different positions so far. It’s helped me learn quickly where and how I can play that’ll most help the team,” explained Eller, who will make his regular-season debut with the Habs in Toronto. “I want to be there, I want to make things happen. I want to help this team win.”
He’ll have his chance on Thursday night.Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane. ALSO READ:Habs Fantasy Hockey Pool
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