BROSSARD – The Canadiens were hard at work Thursday morning, getting in some fine tuning before heading to New Jersey to take on Martin Brodeur and the Devils.
While the news surrounding Georges Laraque’s departure from the team dominated headlines, there were a few other items of note going on in Brossard. In a sight for sore eyes, a healing Sergei Kostitsyn joined his teammates for a full practice for the first time since injuring his ankle. That’s great news for the thousands of Habs fans impatiently awaiting his return to action.
“Sergei’s situation is encouraging. He could be back as early as tomorrow or Saturday. He’s just waiting for the green light from the doctors at this point,” confirmed head coach Jacques Martin.
On the defensemen-playing-forward tip, Ryan O’Byrne may have been up front during Wednesday’s game, but he was sporting the same color as the rest of the blue-liners during Thursday’s practice. Where he’ll be lining up on Friday against the Devils remains to be seen.
“I remember Chris Phillips played forward when I was in Ottawa and he’s developed into an excellent defenseman,” noted Martin. “Ryan is a young guy and he can adapt. I want players to be ready to play and that’s why he’s there in the lineup.”
Between the pipes, the Habs had an easier time than usual scoring during practice, as goaltending coach Pierre Groulx strapped on the pads in place of Carey Price
, who was receiving treatment in the team’s clinic. Luckily for Habs fans, Price’s therapy was for something minor, so Groulx will be sticking to his day job – coaching the guys in the net instead of defending it himself.
Near the end of the practice, the guys put some of their best dekes on display, having no trouble lighting up their coach on a few breakaway attempts. No doubt they’ll be taking that goal-scoring confidence with them to New Jersey tomorrow night, looking to make Brodeur look a little more like Groulx in the process. Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.See alsoÀ la croisée des chemins 28 jeunes hockeyeurs honorés Les Canadiens remettent une somme de 159 553$ pour Haïti Le Tricolore rappelle Mathieu Darche