BROSSARD – With their fifth game in six nights, the Montreal Canadiens are beginning to take shape. Some of the players that took on the Wild Sunday night are back for more against the Panthers on Monday as the second wave of cuts is expected to be announced.
Throwing yourself in a front puck that’s travelling at over 100 km/h and getting slashed at with a hockey stick while guarding your net are just a few things a good NHL defenseman will face on any given night. These are responsibilities that obviously come with their fair share of pain, as any of the number of cuts and scars covering Hal Gill’s body will tell you. He received his latest after taking a high-stick to the face in Saturday night’s game against the Senators.
“I took a stick to the face that actually made its way up and underneath my eyelid. It was a bit swollen for about a day-and-a-half, it seems to be better now,” assured the hulking defenseman of his newest badge of honor. “The first blocked shots of the season always hurt. You get cut, you get bruised – there’s always a new kind of pain to deal with, but by the end of the season, you don’t even feel it anymore.”
|Carey Price and Maxim Lapierre at practice before taking on the Panthers in Monday night's game. |
With Monday night’s game against the Panthers on the horizon, the question on everyone’s lips is: Will Carey Price
be able to shake off the rust in his second full preseason game? According to Habs’ rearguard, Josh Gorges
, that’s a question that should be directed not just at the young goaltender, but at the team as a whole, and anyone who isn’t doing that, isn’t seeing the big picture.
“People seem to be ignoring the type of goals that have been scored. How many breakaways were there? How many 2 on 1s? You can’t blame every goal that goes in on the goalie. There are five guys out there, all just as responsible, all just trying to shake off the same summer rust and be at our best for the first game in Toronto. This situation is affecting everyone’s thinking right now, but we’ll work through it as a team and be ready coming out of the preseason.”Two for Two:
There’s a certain consistency that’s beginning to develop among players in Teams A and B as they prepare to merge after cuts expecting to be made by the coaching staff this afternoon. This means that tonight will mark the first time this season that certain players will be taking part in back-to-back games – something that will take place 16 times over the course of the 2010-11 season. For Lars Eller
, it represents a chance to show people what he’s capable of.
“I’m looking to play as much as I possibly can at the moment. Sometimes towards the end of the season it gets a little tougher to play two games in a row, but right now everyone’s rested and feeling good so it shouldn’t be much of a factor,” said Eller who’s expected to play in Monday night’s game on a line with Michael Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec
. “Either way, I’d rather play any day than be stuck sitting in the press box.”Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.SEE ALSOPanthers-Canadiens Game PreviewGrinding it out Wild-Canadiens Game Recap