BROSSARD - It really was a good news - bad news scenario on the Canadiens' injury front on Monday, as Michel Therrien's troops practiced on the South Shore.
After announcing prior to the start of the on-ice session that Alex Galchenyuk would be absent from practice and given a therapy day, Therrien confirmed that the 22-year-old American sniper had, in fact, re-aggravated his knee injury during Saturday night's overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres and that he would be forced to miss Tuesday night's contest against the Calgary Flames.
"He re-injured himself last game," said Therrien, who also indicated that Galchenyuk's status is currently listed as day-to-day. "He was able to finish the game [against Buffalo], but after further and deeper examination the doctors suggested that he shouldn't practice and he shouldn't play [on Tuesday]."
Video: Michel Therrrien's press conference
Meanwhile, Brendan Gallagher hit the ice for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair his fractured left hand on January 5, skating with the Canadiens' special teams units before taking part in conditioning drills with fellow wounded warriors Andrei Markov, David Desharnais and Greg Pateryn under the supervision of strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard.
Unlike Markov, Desharnais and Pateryn, though, Gallagher wasn't permitted to handle pucks - and to keep him in line, the Canadiens' medical team decided to have him out there without a blade on his stick.
That certainly made Gallagher's 60-minute workout far less entertaining, of course.
"Well, I'm not allowed to handle the puck. I wasn't exactly a good patient last year, so they cut off my blade today. It's the doctor's way of not making me touch pucks," said Gallagher, whose expected recovery period was approximately eight weeks. "Apparently, it's in my best interest. It's the least amount of fun I've ever had playing hockey. It was a tough hour."
Video: Brendan Gallagher on his return to the ice
Fortunately, Gallagher says things are trending in the right direction in his case as the mobility in his injured finger is returning faster than it did when he suffered similar trauma last season.
"It's coming along well. It's healing. The finger is becoming more and more mobile. I'm able to use it. I was able to grip a stick today and I was able to go on the ice," said Gallagher. "The most important thing is the bone is going to heal, which is kind of something that's out of my control. Once the bone is healed, I'll be back playing…I'm happy with the way it's going so far."
For his part, Pateryn is also on the road to recovery, albeit a few steps ahead of Gallagher in that department. The Canadiens' No. 8 continues to work his way back from a fractured ankle suffered on December 6 in St. Louis.
If everything goes as planned, the 26-year-old defenseman is hoping to be patrolling the blue line again sometime after the upcoming All-Star break. But, says Pateryn, he won't suit up for game action if he isn't fully healed and prepared to handle the rigors of his position again.
Video: Greg Pateryn on his rehab work
"I have my functional movements back. Now, it's just strengthening everything and getting back to 100 percent. You don't want to come back at 70, 80 or 90 percent. You want to come back at 100," said Pateryn, who has been forced to watch the last 22 games from the sidelines. "I'm just working towards that. I'm not pushing anything. I know my body well."
Like Pateryn, Desharnais was also injured during that tilt in St. Louis. The veteran centerman was expected to miss anywhere between six and eight weeks of action.
"I feel like I'm making progress. Today went really well. I've made progress the last few weeks, so we're taking things one day at a time," said Desharnais, who after taking part in contact drills recently decided to slow things down somewhat with the rehab work on his injured knee - which is clearly paying off now. "It's frustrating not being able to come back to play, but it's just the way things go. [By going through this process] you can avoid surgery."
Video: David Desharnais on his rehab work
It goes without saying that Therrien is eager to see every single one of his injured charges back in full health as soon as possible.
"It's all good news. They're making progress," said Therrien. "We're looking forward to having those guys practice with us again and start playing."