- The Canadiens skated at Rogers Arena on Thursday morning ahead of their tilt against the Vancouver Canucks. It’s the final game of a three-game road trip. Michel Therrien’s troops will return to Montreal on Friday, and will be back in action on Sunday night against the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre.
- Head coach Michel Therrien indicated that a decision concerning any lineup changes for Thursday night's game has not been made as of yet.
- Dale Weise is one of several Canadiens players who donned a Canucks jersey in recent years. In Weise’s case, Thursday night’s game marks the Winnipeg native’s first tilt at Rogers Arena since being dealt to Montreal last February. The 26-year-old forward, who spent two-plus seasons plying his trade in the Lower Mainland, can’t wait to suit up in his old barn and play in front of a fan base that always made him feel at home.
“I loved my timed here. I’ve got a lot of good friends that are still on the team. I respect the players in that locker room so much, from the Sedins to everybody else I’ve met here. They’re just amazing people. It’s a great organization,” praised Weise, who has two assists in seven games thus far this season. “They gave me a real chance to play in the NHL and get my foot in the door. That’s all you can ask for as a player. I’ve got nothing but respect for this city and the fans. I loved it here.”
One person Weise didn’t necessarily enjoy working with during his time in Vancouver was former Canucks head coach John Tortorella. Utilized sparingly while the temperamental bench boss was in charge, Weise admits that while his desire to best his former team on Thursday night is already quite high, it would be even greater if Tortorella was still running the show.
“It would be a lot higher. Absolutely,” offered Weise. “Obviously, it’s a new coach and a new organization. I’ve got no hard feelings. I love the guys on that team. They’re a great group of guys. Other than this game, I wish the absolute best for every single guy there. I’m extremely motivated to play and to get the win.”
- Former Canucks forward Manny Malhotra shared similar sentiments on Thursday morning. Unlike Weise, however, the 34-year-old centerman already made his return to Vancouver last season as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes. While the tilt might not necessarily be a significant occasion for the Mississauga native, it’s safe to say Malhotra very much appreciated his time in the city.
“I think last year was a little bit more of that nostalgic feeling, whereas this year I’ve kind of moved on,” admitted Malhotra, who is still looking for his first point as a member of the Canadiens. “Obviously, I’ll never forget the good times we had here. I had a lot of good friends over there on that team. The staff is incredible. But once the drops, it’s just another game.”
- Like the Canadiens, the Canucks are off to an excellent start to the 2014-15 campaign, having won six of their first nine games. Willie Desjardins’ contingent boasts a few new faces in the locker room, including Radim Vrbata, who is playing alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin. With a combined total of 33 points between them thus far this season, Michel Therrien knows that his troops will have to keep a close eye on those forwards in particular all game long.
“It’s always a challenge. Every time we go up against the Sedin line, they’ve always been one of the best trios in the NHL. It won’t be any different this time around,” stressed Therrien. “We’ll have to stick to our structure, and play a disciplined brand of hockey especially when they’re out there. With the parity that exists in the NHL these days, every game is big. This game is no exception.”
- Fans should expect a stellar goaltending duel on Thursday night as Carey Price and Ryan Miller will do battle between the pipes. Price, a native of Anahim Lake, BC, has come out on top in four of his last five outings in Vancouver.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST.