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Habs notebook: rookie camp, day 4

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL – Rookie camp came to a close on Thursday, with five players returning to their respective clubs.  That leaves 52 players set to arrive at the Bell Centre for medicals and physicals on Friday, marking the official opening of the 2008-09 training camp.

Head coach Guy Carbonneau also announced Thursday that forward David Desharnais and goaltender Marc Denis will suit up for the pre-season contest against the Sabres on Tuesday in Roberval, Quebec, named Hockeyville for 2008.  It will be a reunion of sorts for the pair, both of whom spent their junior days – four and two seasons, respectively – with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens.

“They’re two guys that played in the area and I’m sure the people there will appreciate that,” said Carbonneau, a Chicoutimi alum himself from the 1970s and one of six owners of the franchise today.

While Desharnais learned he’d be seeing pre-season action at least once, three prospects and two try-outs reported to their junior and college teams, including goaltenders Jason Missiaen (Peterborough Petes) and Nicola Riopel (Moncton Wildcats), forwards Danny Kristo (USHL) and Alexandre Monahan (Val d’Or Foreurs) and defenseman Joe Stejskal (Dartmouth).

After four days with the 23 youngsters, Carbonneau was impressed with what he saw.

“We’re trying to evaluate specific elements in their game, including their puck-handling and skating.  We’ve noticed that some players are more physically mature, have a better shot, like (Max) Pacioretty and (Mathieu) Carle,” noted the Habs’ coach.

Though spots on the Canadiens’ roster are few and far between before camp has even opened, Carbonneau feels that all the young guys have a chance.

“We arranged this week so that they would be well-rested for camp,” he explained.  “It’s up to them to make a good enough impression to essentially steal a spot.”

On-ice sessions get underway Saturday morning at the Sportsplexe 4-Glaces in Pierrefonds.

Heather Engel is a writer for

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