Skip to Main Content
The Official Site of the Montréal Canadiens

'We're asking the players to channel their frustration in the right way'

The focus of Monday's practice at the Bell Sports Complex was squarely on correcting some costly mistakes

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

BROSSARD - Some losses are more difficult to digest than others, and the defeat at the hands of the Rangers over the weekend certainly fit that description.

In fact, the unfortunate turn of events at the Bell Centre affected Tomas Tatar so profoundly that he wasn't all that pleased to have Sunday off. 

Instead, he would have preferred to lace up his skates and begin the process of correcting the array of errors that led to the Canadiens coming up short for the fourth straight game.

"I just wanted to come here and work on it. The day off, when you mess up like that, you're happy with a little break from hockey, but it's kind of eating you alive," said Tatar, following Monday's practice at the Bell Sports Complex. "I'm really happy this day is finally here. We worked on things we have to be better at. It's new preparation for a new game, so I'm really excited."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: C'est une nouvelle semaine. De retour au travail. 💼It's a new week. Back to work.#GoHabsGo

The Habs' leading point-getter thus far this season is referencing Tuesday night's showdown with the Atlantic Division rival Boston Bruins in Montreal.

It's a prime opportunity for Tatar and company turn the tables on a tough stretch that began 10 days ago with an overtime loss to New Jersey.

In an effort to right the ship, head coach Claude Julien put his group through a major video session designed to address the defensive shortcomings that have cost the club valuable points in the standings.

"We have to improve our defensive game. With five goals, you should be able to win a game. But when you give up six - and five against Columbus [last week] - you have to tighten things up," insisted Julien. "We looked at some sequences on video. When you see things instead of just talking about them, it's much clearer."

Video: Claude Julien's press conference

For his part, Tatar embraced the practice plan from beginning to end.

"We did exactly the kinds of drills we have to do in order to be better. There were a lot of tracking drills. We have to be better in the neutral zone and help our defensemen," insisted Tatar. "We have to play more and more together like a five-man unit in the defensive zone. But, it's a new day. It's a new challenge for us. We came here to work. I think we had a great practice, and we have to do that against Boston."

While things haven't been going the Canadiens' way of late, assistant captain Brendan Gallagher isn't about to ring the proverbial alarm just yet.

He believes that the necessary corrections can be made rather seamlessly.

"We've been making some mistakes, but it's more mental lapses. It's nothing major. It's an easy fix - but the easy fix is to work harder and to think the game a little bit better. If we correct those things, we'll start to see the results come pretty quick," said Gallagher, who leads the club with nine goals on the year. "We're a team where we can't win unless everyone does their job, and when everyone does their job, we're a tough team to play against. We've just got to get back to that and be accountable to our teammates. When everyone takes care of their assignment on the ice, that's usually when we're playing our best."

Video: Brendan Gallagher on fixing mistakes

As for what Julien is hoping to see against the Bruins, a sense of urgency when they don't have possession of the puck is clearly atop the list.

He's also eager to watch his troops use a collective sense of dissatisfaction to their advantage, so to speak.

"When you lose four in a row, you're going to be frustrated. We've picked up two out of a possible eight points. We know where we are in the standings, and we want to stay there and be among the best teams," said Julien. "The frustration is there, but we're asking the players to channel their frustration in the right way."

To be continued come puck drop versus Boston…

View More