BROSSARD – Gill gets released from the hospital, the Habs announce their third-string goalie, and St-Denis eases into the NHL.
Give ‘em Hal: After seeing their blue line leader conspicuously absent from the Canadiens lineup for last two games, hospitalized with an infection to a cut on his leg, the Habs were all happy to see (and hear) Hal Gill back in the fold Friday morning.
“We all obviously got a little worried when we heard that he was in the hospital, but everything seems to have worked out okay and we were glad to see him today,” expressed Mathieu Darche, who along with the rest of the team initially assumed the veteran blue-liner had been sidelined by a virus. “We walked in today and could hear his voice right away. We were joking that that’s why they released him early.
“He was a little more low-key than usual, but probably just because he was tired,” added Darche with a laugh. “He was still the same old Hal, always joking around and teasing people. He’s a really important part of the team.”
Third-string goalies: When the Islanders’ Evgeni Nabokov went down in the first period of Thursday’s game and was replaced by Rick DiPietro, the question came up of what actually happens if both goalies get injured in the same game? The answer: you dress a regular skater who’s already in the lineup and toss them between the pipes.
“Hal Gill basically plays in net during the penalty kill anyways, so he would probably be a good choice, too,” pointed out Tomas Plekanec when it was brought to his attention that Carey Price had nominated the Czech pivot as the team’s third-string goalie should the scenario ever arise. “I only played in nets a little bit, but only when I was a kid. I really liked it actually. I was always ready to get the pads on so I could go play goalie. I don’t think that would be the case any more though…”
Probably best for everyone involved that Plekanec opted to focus his efforts on offense considering he’s leading the team with 18 points, including four in his last two games.
Right place, right time: After disputing three preseason games with the Habs a few months back, Frederic St-Denis suited up for his second regular-season game in the bleu-blanc-rouge Thursday night – his adjustment into the NHL still a work in progress.
“The execution on the ice is much faster than in the preseason games. The play is always moving fast, and you have to be in perfect position from the start,” explained the young defenseman, who currently owns a plus-2 differential. “If you end up getting caught out of position, it’s over. That’s the biggest difference – the cross-ice passes are always right on the tape, so you need to be in the exact right place to defend.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
The Numbers Game - Nov. 17, 2011
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Canadiens mourn the passing of Eddy Palchak