BROSSARD - For some players who cross the pond over from Europe, the transition to the style of game played on this continent can take some time. In the case of Jakub Jerabek, so far, the transition has proceeded rather quickly.
Just ask his new teammates.
Brendan Gallagher wasn't on the ice for Jerabek's first NHL preseason game on Wednesday against the Capitals, but has taken notice of the Czech rearguard since his arrival nonetheless.
"I've been impressed with him, even before camp when we were doing those skates. He's a smart player, he makes a good first pass and he understands how to help forwards offensively, how to be in good position," praised Gallagher after Thursday's morning skate. "Ever since I've seen him, I've been more and more impressed. I'm sure as he gets more comfortable, he's going to be better and better. He's definitely an exciting player to watch."
Jerabek skated for 17:31 against Washington, including a shade under four minutes of power play time, earning an assist on Charles Hudon's second-period marker with the man advantage.
Gallagher estimates that Jerabek might have issues with the smaller ice size as the intensity level inches up closer to the start of the regular season, but affirms that the defenseman has not been in over his head in the early goings.
"I've had one chance to play overseas on the big ice; it's different, you're always further away from the net. It's a little bit more of a trapping style, you have less time, less space here and you have to make your plays a little bit quicker. But he's had no problem adjusting," explained No. 11. "You see how poised he was last night. The pace of the game is going to get quicker, but I'm sure he'll be able to handle it."
The 26-year-old spent Thursday morning skating with veteran Jeff Petry, who was looking forward to patrolling the blue line with Jerabek against the Devils.
"He seems like he controls the puck well, skates well and moves the puck well," said Petry. "That goes along way in this League."
Petry doesn't believe he'll have to keep too close an eye on Jerabek, but will be there to help him through things on the ice whenever necessary.
"When he's going back for a puck, just make sure you're talking to him," he described. "On the smaller ice, things happen quickly and guys are on top of you a little quicker. I don't think there's too much of an adjustment.
"On the smaller ice, they're on top of you a bit quicker. But like I said, he moves the puck well and I don't think that will be an issue for him," indicated the Ann Arbor, MI native. "[It's about] just knowing that you don't have that extra second to hold on to the puck."
As for Jerabek himself, the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder is taking things day by day and enjoying the ride - and the chance to play with one of the team's top blue-liners.
"I think I'm getting used to things now, and I think today's game will be better," he confided. "Every time you play with these guys, it gives you some confidence and I'm pretty glad to be playing with him."
Carey Price will be tending goal tonight for Montreal, with Zach Fucale also dressing.
In other news, the Canadiens announced that defenseman Noah Juulsen had suffered a broken foot on September 18 in Quebec City and would be out for six weeks.
Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.