NASHVILLE - The Canadiens skated at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday morning in preparation for their game against the Nashville Predators.
- The contest will mark Shea Weber's return to Nashville, the city he called his hockey home for 11 seasons before being dealt to the Canadiens during the offseason in exchange for P.K. Subban, who will not be in uniform to face his former teammates due to an upper-body injury.
It goes without saying that Music City will always hold a very special place in Weber's heart, but he admits that the most important thing right now is leaving Tennessee with two more big points in the bank.
"I'm happy where I am, for sure. I obviously spent a lot of time here. It was my home for a while, but now I have a new home and I'm moving forward," said Weber, who addressed the media during a press conference following the morning skate. "I'm going to prepare like it's any other game. Obviously, it's going to be all business on the ice. I saw some friends last night and talked and hung out a little bit, but today is work and we're going to have to try and win."
If Weber was trying to downplay his "homecoming" of sorts, his teammates certainly weren't. To a man, they understand just how important Weber was to the franchise they'll be going up against on Tuesday night, and that's why they're going to do everything in their power to come out on top.
"Weby played here for a long time. I think it will be an emotional night for him. We definitely want to get the win for him. That's for sure. We'll give everything we have and we'll keep playing the way we are right now," said forward Phillip Danault.
- Speaking of Danault, the 23-year-old was all smiles on Tuesday morning after claiming Molson Cup honors for the month of December alongside Jeff Petry. For a player who started the year off on the Canadiens' fourth line but continued to consistently find ways to contribute, Danault is enjoying the recognition. Still, he says that he wouldn't have been able to have the success without the help of his linemates night after night.
"It's an honor. I never would have thought that I'd earn it at the start of the season. I take great pride in it. I won it with Jeff Petry, which is special. But, I didn't do this alone. The more we win, the better we play. Everybody is a part of winning that award," said Danault.
- Weber isn't the only Canadiens player who will back playing in familiar territory on Tuesday night. For his part, Alexander Radulov will be making his first appearance in Nashville since the 2012 NHL playoffs. After spending the last four seasons in the KHL ranks, the Nizhny Tagil, Russia native says that much has changed since his most recent departure from Nashville four years ago.
"It's good to be back. A lot of things changed. It's good to see some friends, some guys who were working here when I was here. I'm just excited. We've got a goal to win that hockey game. That's the bottom line. Yeah, it's going to be a little bit of a different feeling today, but it's good. I'm excited to get that challenge," mentioned the Predators' first-round selection back in 2004.
Radulov fully expects Weber to receive a very warm welcome from the Bridgestone Arena faithful. How will they react to his presence, thought? Rather differently, he thinks.
"I think they're going to like him. I don't think they're going to like me," cracked Radulov. "That's o.k., you know."
- Meanwhile, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that captain Max Pacioretty would be a game-time decision on Tuesday night after being struck by a puck during a power play drill at the morning skate.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet East and RDS, as well as on TSN Radio 690 and 98,5 fm.