MONTREAL – Currently without a permanent address, Tomas Fleischmann looked right at home in Montreal on Thursday.
Invited to Canadiens training camp on the basis of a professional tryout on September 12, the 11th-year NHL veteran didn’t disappoint in his Bell Centre debut, picking up a goal and an assist in his first taste of game action as a member of the Habs.
“I felt good. The puck was following me on the ice so it was one of my better games, and my teammates helped me out a lot too,” admitted the 31-year-old left winger who flanked David Desharnais opposite Dale Weise in his first preseason start of 2015-16. “[The three of us] practiced together for the first time on Wednesday, and it was great to play with them tonight.”
Named the night’s second star by the media after leading his linemates with four shots and 20:15 of ice time, the Koprivnice, CZ native also made a few new fans within the Canadiens dressing room.
“Fleisch has got some great talent. On his goal, at first I thought he had ran out of room. I was waiting right by the net, but he put it in himself. He’s got some great skills and he’s easy to play with,” dished Weise, who saw the 6-foot-1 forward cut the Capitals short-lived two-goal lead in half just 12 seconds after T.J. Oshie’s first-period marker. “He’s an experienced guy, he’s played in a lot of games, and he’s put up some good numbers. I think he can really help us.”
Assisting on Desharnais’ power play equalizer to tie the game at three apiece, Fleischmann demonstrated firsthand how he intends to do so.
“I think I can also contribute on the P.K. and the power play,” continued the former Capital who almost scored the would-be game-winner with 5:27 left in the third. “That’s probably why I’m here, to create some chances.”
It’s safe to assume head coach Michel Therrien agreed with that sentiment, giving the 63rd overall pick from 2002 NHL Draft close to four minutes of ice time on special teams.
“He’s an experienced player. He’s able to contribute in a variety of situations. With the lineup we had tonight, I was able to evaluate a number of aspects of his game,” explained the Habs bench boss following the 4-3 shootout loss. “We know what type of player he is, but we still have to evaluate the kids. We need to know more about him before we make a decision.”
Fleischmann for his part intends to do everything in his power to make that decision a difficult one for the Canadiens brass.
“I’ve got 20 days to prove something and every day is important for me. [...] I just want to show everyone what I can do, and if they like it they’ll offer me a contract. That’s the way I see it.”Steven Nechay is a writer for canadiens.comREAD MORE
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