BROSSARD – A big morning for Ryan White, Gill addresses trade rumors, and Moen could face the Penguins.
Unleashed: After watching from the sidelines for the course of his season-long recovery from a sports hernia, Ryan White was clearly champing at the bit for a taste of action. One of the highest tempo players on the Habs’ roster last season, White’s surplus of energy finally got it’s release in the first game of his conditioning stint with the Hamilton Bulldogs. The hard-hitting center exploded out of the gate in Hamilton’s Tuesday morning tilt with San Antonio Rampage, scoring two goals on his first two shots in the game’s opening 10 minutes of play – something that didn’t surprise Habs’ teammate Josh Gorges in the least.
“I know he’s been dying to get back in and he’s been working extremely hard to get ready. I know that what that feels like to be sitting on the sidelines, watching everyone else play – and it’s not much fun,” said Gorges who has a better understanding than most of White’s experience after spending the latter half of last season rehabbing from knee surgery.
“I think he’s done a great job of getting himself ready and working through the mental struggles and I’m sure it was a great feeling for him to get out there today and let out some of that competitive nature,” grinned Gorges. “I’ll also bet he threw a few hits in that first shift too. It’s exciting to see him back playing again.”
Home is where the heart is: With only three weeks to go until the NHL trade deadline, the rumor mill has been working overtime to churn out every possible trade scenario under the sun. With his size, Cup-winning experience and ability to smother opposing power plays, it’s no surprise that Hal Gill’s name has been at the forefront of more than a few conversations. After some members of the media informed the super-sized defenseman of the high praise he was recently handed from Penguins’ head coach, Dan Bylsma, Gill chose rather to address the fact that to him, Montreal had become much more than just a place to play hockey.
“It’s funny because when you show up to play with a new team, all you’re thinking about is getting in there, doing your job and trying to help that team win. Now it’s become a lot more for me than just that. Growing up a Bruins fan and everything, I never would have believed it, but I really love it here. For my family and I, this is where our life is,” confessed Gill who is reportedly being eyed by the Penguins, Bruins and Flyers. “It’s nice to know that you’re wanted, but I don’t really want to be thinking about that. I just want to focus on where I am right now, and control the things I can control.”
What’s up, doc?: After missing the Canadiens’ last five games as well as the practices in between, Travis Moen was back on the ice for the Habs’ Tuesday morning skate. Moen’s speedy recovery from an upper body injury should have him back in the lineup any day now, and possibly even early enough to face the Penguins Tuesday night. The gritty-forward may have been sporting a no-contact jersey at practice, but Randy Cunneyworth confirmed that should Moen dress against Pittsburgh, it will be to play a hard, physical game.
“We’re still waiting for the final word from the doctors, but things are encouraging right now. Getting Moen back would be a huge boost to our team for tonight’s game,” said Cunneyworth who would likely rather have Moen back in the lineup than have to roll with eight defensemen and 10 forwards against the fifth place Pittsburgh squad “Moen is a very physical player and a guy with a lot of character. With the rehab he had, if he’s ready to go tonight, he’ll also be ready to play his style of physical hockey for us.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
Canadiens assign Ryan White to the Hamilton Bulldogs for conditioning purposes