BROSSARD - The Canadiens held an optional practice on Saturday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, a few hours ahead of their match against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre. Twelve Canadiens players took advantage of the extra ice-time including Mark Barberio, Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, Alexei Emelin, Victor Bartley, Greg Pateryn, Sven Andrighetto, Lucas Lessio, Jacob De La Rose, Devante Smith-Pelly, Ben Scrivens and Mike Condon.
- Acquired from the Blackhawks on Friday night in return for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann, Phillip Danault was not at practice Saturday morning and as of now remains unclear if we will play his first game with the team against the Maple Leafs.
“It’s always unfortunate to see guys that were your teammates leave. Most of us expected moves to happen with guys on expiring contracts, but we got back a young and good player and a draft pick,” noted Tomas Plekanec, who made sure to wish his friend and fellow countryman Tomas Fleischmann good luck on his future with the Blackhawks. “We just exchanged a few texts, I didn’t get a chance to speak with him in person. That’s how competitive our league is, some really good players have to prove themselves on tryouts. I’ve played against Fleischmann before so I knew he was a good player. Fleischmann played very well for us and so did Weisy, we’re going to miss those guys. It was fun to play with Weise, it was a good couple years with Dale. He played very well for us so we are going to miss him.”
- With regards to newcomers Michael McCarron and Morgan Ellis, who were recalled from St. John’s on Friday night, the pair are expected to arrive in Montreal ahead of Saturday night’s game. McCarron has two games of NHL experience from earlier this season, where he collected for penalty minutes. As for Ellis, this marks the first call-up to the Canadiens in his NHL career.
- Sven Andrighetto, who has faced-off against Danault during their time in the QMJHL chipped in with his own scouting report on the new arrivals.
“I played against him [Danault] when he was with Victoriaville. That’s as far as I can remember. He was really strong already back then, a great two-way player. It’s been a while so I haven’t seen him play in a long time,” explained Andrighetto, who also echoed that it is tough to see teammates that you see on an every-day basis move on to another organization.
“It is tough for us as players, but I am sure management will make the right decisions moving forward for the players and the organization. It’s definitely an opportunity for young guys like me to step up. Maybe take on a bigger role.”
- With regards to big Michael McCarron, Andrighetto knows the player well from their time together playing for the St. John’s IceCaps.
“He’s a big forward. A big and strong physical presence, he’s obviously very tough in front of the net but he’s also a really good skater and can make plays as well. I definitely think Michael can handle himself in the face-off circle too, he’s big and strong in the dot. He uses his size to his advantage, in face-offs as well,” continue the Swiss speedster, who also had high praise for defenseman Morgan Ellis. “First of all, I am really happy for him [Morgan] to get the call up. He just works so hard and he’s a leader, he really came on strong this year and has been one of the top defenders in the league this season. He has a really hard shot from the point and makes a great first pass out of the zone.”
- Likewise, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup has also change significantly since the last time the two rivals clashed on January 23. While the Leafs presently sit in last place in the Eastern Conference standings, the Canadiens still have a shot at chasing one of the remaining playoff spots. The Habs could definitely use another two points in the standings, as they look to complete the season series sweep against the Maple Leafs.
- Friday’s announcement that Nathan Beaulieu would miss the next two-three weeks of action, has opened the door for defenders Greg Pateryn, Victor Bartley and Mark Barberio to step up and take advantage of the opportunity.
- Following Friday's announcement regarding the absence of Nathan Beaulieu for the next two or three weeks, it makes three regular defenders on which Michel Therrien will not count for a long time. Already deprived of Jeff Petry and Tom Gilbert, both key to the rest of the season, so this opens the door to other backs who were not used extensively this season to demonstrate their expertise in the last weeks of the regular season.
- As was confirmed by Michel Therrien on Friday, Mike Condon will be back in goal Saturday night against the Leafs. The rookie goaltender will be making his 37th start this season.
- Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcasted on CBC, TVAS, CBC and CITY.