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The devil's in the details

Each taking part in their second Rookie Tournament, forwards Allan McShane and Cole Fonstad are hoping to attract the attention of Canadiens management and earn a training camp invite

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

BELLEVILLE - The Habs' 2018 fourth- and fifth-round picks know the importance of tending to all the little details.

In fact, that's exactly what Allan McShane and Cole Fonstad worked on during their summer training season.

For his part, McShane worked hard in the Bell Sports Complex gym for several weeks following Canadiens development camp to fine-tune his game. The 19-year-old center would like his stay in Montreal to last a little longer this year compared to last.

"Looking at last year, I got sent home a little earlier than I wanted to. Moving into this year, my goal is to have no expectations, play my game, and hopefully management will see and respect the hard work I put in this summer," explained McShane, who finished the 2018-19 season with 34 goals for 69 points with the Ontario Hockey League's Oshawa Generals. "I trained in Montreal this summer with some of the pro guys and picked up on a ton of little things that are important to make you a pro. I think I improved in a lot of areas I needed to."

The native of Collingwood, ON had the opportunity to work with the Canadiens' training staff and some Habs players for a few weeks. According to McShane, he benefited immensely from the experience.

"[Ryan] Poehling was there, [Paul] Byron, guys that I can look up to and just watch in the gym and on the ice, and see the little things that make them tick and what makes them such successful players and also great character guys too," outlined the Habs prospect. "It's nice to see everyone, from trainers, staff, management, everyone are great people. We're in a position: the Montreal Canadiens is a huge name and we should all try to represent it the best we can. It's definitely good to learn off those guys and better myself in all those areas."

McShane acknowledged the pressure that comes with playing in the Rookie Tournament, but he just hopes to take advantage of the situation to maximize his reach.

"There's a lot of pressure. The best thing I can do is just try to manage all of it, try to get better each day. Whether that's a little thing like in the gym, stretching, becoming more mobile. There are a lot of things that go into success and progressing your game," expressed McShane. "Right now, I'm excited. I know there's a lot of hockey in front of me for the next couple of years until I reach my goals. The best thing for me is just to have those goals and shoot for the stars."

Getting an invite

Much like McShane, Fonstad's current goal is to play well in the Habs' final game of the tournament and cash that in for a Canadiens training camp invite next week.

With that objective in mind, the Estevan, SK native also doesn't want to stray from what comes naturally to him.

"That's obviously my goal, but I don't think I should just be focusing on that," mentioned the 2018-19 Western Hockey League champion with the Prince Albert Raiders. "I need to play my game and have fun. That's when I'm at my best. That's what I'm focusing on."

Fonstad and the Raiders also took part in the Memorial Cup last year. It was a busy season for the 19-year-old, but he affirms he's ready and in top shape to take on another campaign.

"Last year was a long season for me. I was a bit tired towards the end of the season so I needed to give myself some time to rest this summer," explained Fonstad, who registered 29 goals for 73 points in 67 regular season games for the Raiders. "I feel much better now. I haven't felt so good to start a season in a few years."

The Habs' prospects play their final game of the Rookie Tournament on Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. at CAA Arena in Belleville against the Winnipeg Jets rookies.

The game will be streamed live on thanks to RDS.

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