BROSSARD - The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning in preparation for Thursday night's regular-season opener against the Buffalo Sabres in Western New York.
- Prior to the start of practice, defenseman Jeff Petry hit the ice with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine as he continues to recover from his injury. The Michigan native has already been ruled out for Thursday night's tilt.
- For a second straight day, Carey Price was absent from practice with the flu. Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Alex Bishop took his place between the pipes opposite Al Montoya.
- After being placed on waivers by the Canadiens on Monday afternoon, goaltender Mike Condon was claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.
- Following Tuesday's on-ice session, general manager Marc Bergevin met with members of the media to share his thoughts on his hockey club ahead of the start of the 2016-17 campaign.
He began, though, by offering up a huge nod to the Canadiens' fan base for their incredible support throughout the preseason, one that immediately touched the players and made them feel right at home.
"I'd like to thank our fans. They're the best fans and they showed that again. They showed it in the way they've supported our players, including Shea Weber, Andrew Shaw, [Alexander] Radulov, and even the new kids," shared Bergevin. "Even with them, among the players, it really hit home knowing that our fans are really behind them. It feels great."
With respect to the identity of the Canadiens, Bergevin believes this group is well-equipped to handle the inevitable ups and downs that occur during a long and physically taxing season.
"What we went through last year, we fell down, face-first. We have to get up. We weren't able to get up last year. I'm hoping and I believe this year we're better suited because of what we went through last year," said Bergevin, referencing the new additions the Canadiens will be featuring in their lineup come Thursday night. "Adding Shea [Weber], Shawzy [Andrew Shaw], a healthy Carey Price, Max with more experience as a captain, I think all of that will make a difference."
Video: Marc Bergevin on the upcoming season
Meanwhile, Bergevin says young guns Artturi Lehkonen and Mikhail Sergachev both caught his eye during training camp and earned their respective roster spots to start the year. He's looking forward to seeing what they can do at the NHL level.
"The first time I shook his [Artturi Lehkonen's] hand, he's not the biggest guy, but he shook a hand like he's 6-foot-4. So, you know he's a hockey player. Away from the puck in his own end, the way he protects pucks, the way he puts pucks in good areas, the way he goes to the net, he's always around traffic," praised Bergevin, before sharing his thoughts on the 18-year-old Russian rearguard, too. "The upside is huge. Defensemen take longer. That's correct. But, he was already ahead of the curve by the time he got here. We'll watch him closely, but it's fun to have a young defenseman like that with a lot of potential."
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Max Pacioretty - Alex Galchenyuk - Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen - Tomas Plekanec - Alexander Radulov
Daniel Carr - David Desharnais - Andrew Shaw
Paul Byron - Torrey Mitchell - Phillip Danault / Brian Flynn
Nathan Beaulieu - Shea Weber
Andrei Markov - Greg Pateryn
Alexei Emelin - Mikhail Sergachev