SUNRISE – With a decade’s worth of NHL experience and a Stanley Cup ring on his resume, George Parros knows what being a good soldier is all about.
The 34-year-old, who has been a healthy scratch for the last 11 games, could see action for the first time since Mar. 5 on Saturday night in South Florida if Tomas Plekanec is unavailable for the tilt against the Panthers after heading back to Montreal for family reasons following Thursday night’s win in Detroit.
On Friday afternoon, the veteran right-winger and former Panther skated on a line with Ryan White and Michael Bournival during a brief practice session at the BB&T Center in preparation for a possible return to the Canadiens lineup. For his part, Lars Eller assumed Plekanec’s spot at center on a line with Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk.
“It’s always tough not playing. I’m always looking for my next chance to get in there. If Saturday’s the day, then it’ll be great,” offered Parros, who has suited up for 19 games during the 2013-14 campaign, amassing one assist and 63 penalty minutes along the way.
While it hasn’t been easy watching his teammates battle for a playoff berth from the press box, especially during physical affairs against Atlantic division rivals like the Maple Leafs and Bruins, Parros has taken things in stride and stayed mentally and physically ready for active duty as he awaits his coaches’ call. That call could come soon enough as Michel Therrien confirmed that the 6-foot-5, 224 lb. forward would be in the lineup on Saturday night if Plekanec was out.
“I always want to be in those tough, physical games. I want to be in every game. It just hasn’t panned out that way,” confided the Washington, PA native, who overcame a pair of concussions earlier in the year that sidelined him for a combined 22 games. “We’ve got a lot of guys on board. The team has been doing really well, so you just sit back and wait. That’s where we’re at right now.”
If Parros does draw into the lineup, he will be a welcome addition against a Panthers squad that has come out on top in two of the three tilts between the two clubs this season. While Florida is among the least penalized teams in the NHL, it never hurts to have extra muscle on board this time of year, especially with Brandon Prust, Dale Weise and Travis Moen all being unavailable due to injury.
“I’m maintaining a good, positive attitude around here,” explained Parros, who has clearly accepted the somewhat limited role he’s been given with the Canadiens since joining the team last summer. “I’m doing what I can to help the team win, whatever it may be. I want to be a good teammate, and that’s what I’m doing.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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