BROSSARD – With the Habs’ roster continuing to deal with a string of injuries in the final stretch of the season, fans will be happy to know that Mathieu Darche
, Max Pacioretty
and Michael Cammalleri all took to the ice Monday morning to practice with the team.
While defenseman Hal Gill practiced alone with Canadiens’ strength and conditioning coach, Pierre Allard, Darche, Pacioretty and Cammalleri were all busy testing their limits with the rest of the Habs’ squad.
“We're going to have to see how the body reacts tomorrow to know when I'll be ready to play,” explained Darche who missed the Canadiens’ last two games with a lower-body injury. Despite only taking a bit of time off to deal with the wear and tear of the regular season, rumours quickly surfaced that the winger would be out for the year – news that came as a surprise to the man in question.
“The injury was never really a major issue, just something that had been nagging at me for the past 2 months. Someone decided to take the news as season-ending for me, but for someone whose season was supposed to be over, I think I skated pretty well this morning.”
Any Canadiens fans concerned with Pacioretty leaving Saturday’s 3-0 shutout over the Leafs midway though the third period will be happy to know the New Caanan, Connecticut native plans to be back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s tilt against the Sabres.
“I just got a little dinged up and by that point it wasn’t really a close game so the trainer and I decided that it might be best to sit the rest of it out. I seem to play a little better when I’m a little dinged up and I don’t think it will affect my shot, so I should be good to go on Tuesday,” explained Pacioretty, who after leaving a Jan. 18 game in Buffalo by ambulance, came roaring back three night’s later, going on to notch 11 points over the 10 games that would follow.
“I try to have an aggressive style of play and when I do that against the other teams’ top players, it might put a bit of a target on my back but that’s the way I’m going to continue to play.”
Monday’s practice also marked Cammalleri’s first time skating with the team since being sidelined with a separated shoulder in the same Jan. 18 game against Buffalo. While the Habs’ sniper continues to make progress in his recovery, it’s clear that a return date is still uncertain.
“I’m still not ready for contact yet, but it was just nice to get back out there with the guys and be back on the ice,” explained Cammalleri who expressed that he and the Canadiens’ medical staff were currently doing everything in their power to help him get into game shape for this weekend’s heritage classic.
“I would obviously love to play in that game, but we also don’t want to rush anything. We’re just going to have to do everything we can to help me get ready and then just wait and see how my body reacts.”Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.ALSO SEE:Habby Birthday Tommy! Vote for the play of the weekRave reviews White noise