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First time's a charm

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Brossard – With the Habs’ opening game of the preseason just one day away, the focus in the Canadiens dressing room was on some of the young stars who are set to debut in bleu-blanc-rouge against the Bruins.

Vote of confidence: Jarred Tinordi has yet to play an NHL game, but he has already won over a few fans in the Habs’ dressing room. Veteran defenseman Josh Gorges has had his eye on the 6-foot-6 blue-liner during training camp and the 26-year-old likes what he sees.

“I haven’t had a chance to work with him as a partner yet, but we’ve been on the same team since Day 1 of camp. I’ve already gone up to a lot of guys on the team and said ‘You’ve got to watch this guy play,’” described Gorges. “For how big he is, his ability to skate caught my eye right away. He makes good decisions, he moves well with the puck, he has a great stick and he does all the little things right. He’ll adapt to the pace of play as he goes along but he’s been unbelievable so far.”

Getting his feet wet: Since being drafted 22nd overall by the Habs this past June, Tinordi has enjoyed his share of learning experiences. Now, the 18-year-old is about to get a crash course in NHL 101 when he makes his debut in his new No. 42 on Wednesday night. 

“I never expected this, but you’re working towards this goal when you show up to camp. I felt comfortable playing against guys of that level but of course I’m going to have to adjust to their speed and the way they think on the ice,” admitted the rugged defenseman. “I’ll just go in there and have some fun. I’m hoping to play well and just keep things simple. I’m not going to try too much out there. The main goal will be to get as much experience as possible from the other guys and to get a good feel for what the NHL is all about.”

Ready for prime time: The last time Louis Leblanc sported a Habs jersey at the Bell Centre was June 2009 when the team drafted him 18th overall. He’ll get to pull on the CH logo again on Wednesday night in his first career NHL preseason game. While Leblanc realizes he’ll be under the spotlight during his debut, the 19-year-old isn’t feeling any added pressure.

“I don’t feel nervous. I’ll rest up today and I won’t spend too much time thinking about the game tomorrow. I’m not going to change my preparation; I’ll just keep doing what I always do,” explained the Kirkland native. “I’m really excited to play my first game with the Canadiens. I have an amazing opportunity in front of me here. I worked hard at rookie camp before getting to the big camp and I think that being part of the lineup tomorrow is a reflection of that.”

Wolverines travel in packs: After lining up alongside fellow University of Michigan alumni Aaron Palushaj in practice on Tuesday afternoon, Michael Cammalleri is looking forward to even more bonding with the former Wolverine against the Bruins.

“I’ve been impressed. I’ve only seen him briefly in the scrimmages and today in practice, but from what I saw he’s a speedy player, good shot, good hands and he’s working hard out there,” offered Cammalleri. “Both Tomas [Plekanec] and I were really impressed with him today and we’re excited to be playing with him tomorrow. It’s exciting to get that opportunity when you’re a young guy to play with guys who are established NHL players and you want to make the best of it. I would imagine that all the young guys will be full of energy and have a lot of jam in their game tomorrow night.”

The roster for Wednesday night's opener against the Bruins:

Goalies: Carey Price and Curtis Sanford

Defencemen:  Jaroslav Spacek, Josh Gorges, Hal Gill, Yannick Weber, Jarred Tinordi, Frédéric St-Denis.

Forwards: Tomas Plekanec, Michael Cammalleri, Benoit Pouliot, Maxim Lapierre, Travis Moen,Tom Pyatt, Jeff Halpern, Louis Leblanc, Gabriel Dumont, Aaron Palushaj, Benjamin Maxwell,Andrew Conboy.

Scratches from Team A: Ian Schultz, Olivier Fortier, Sébastien Bisaillon, Dave Urquhart.

Shauna Denis is a writer for

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