MONTREAL -- The youngest players in the Habs organization had one last chance on Sunday to impress their future bosses. And like the two first days of scrimmages, intensity and thunderous hits were on the menu.
The collision of the day came courtesy of Ryan Russell, who sent all 6-foot-5, 210-plus pounds of Ryan O’Byrne into the players bench with a big-time check. The hulking defenseman took his licking in stride.
“The boards are a little lower here than I’m used to and I kind of tripped,” explained O’Byrne. “That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me and hopefully it will be the last.”
The first game of the day saw Team “A” double up Team “C” by a 4-2 score in a matchup that had its share of offensive flair. Guillaume Latendresse and Saku Koivu each converted on penalty shots with almost identical spectacular moves.
Game 2 saw Team “C” wrap up its weekend in style with a 4-2 win over Team “B”. Defensemen led the way in this one with Mark Streit, Mathieu Carle and Jean-Philippe Cote all scoring for Koivu’s Team “C” squad. Carle’s booming shot to the top shelf especially caught head coach Guy Carbonneau’s attention.
“Mathieu has an excellent shot and the skills to chip in offensively,” noted Carbonneau. “He’s been solid so far and it will be interesting to see how he fares during the preseason.”
With the preseason officially getting underway on Monday night with the Canadiens taking on the Penguins, Carbonneau is anxious to see how all of his young players respond to the pressure.
“The Bell Centre will be buzzing and we’re facing a very good team,” warned Carbonneau, who expects to dress just under a dozen veterans on Monday night. “The kids are going to be nervous and we’ll see what they’re made of. Depending on how the game goes, the veteran guys may have to shoulder most of the load.”
With the intra-squad tournament now in the books, Matt D’Agostini led all players with four goals ahead of Alex Kovalev (3), and Latendresse, Koivu, Maxim Lapierre and Francis Lemieux who each scored a pair. Between the pipes, Jaroslav Halak had the edge by allowing only one goal.
Patrice Brisebois, Ajay Baines and Ben Maxwell all remain on the sidelines. Christopher Higgins meanwhile is expected to sit out at least the Canadiens’ first two preseason games. Intra-squad Tournament:
Team A 3-1
Team B 2-2
Team C 1-3 Team A:
Cristobal Huet, Loïc Lacasse, Andrew Loverock, Andrei Markov
, Ryan O’Byrne, Jamie Rivers, Mike Komisarek, Pavel Valentenko, Jon Gleed, Mathieu Labrie, Guillaume Latendresse, Bryan Smolinski, Andrei Kostitsyn, Gregory Stewart, Kyle Chipchura, Tom Kostopoulos, Ryan White
, Ajay Baines, Duncan Milroy, David Desharnais
, Mathieu Aubin.Team B
: Jaroslav Halak, Cédrik Desjardins, Roman Hamrlik, Andrew Archer, Josh Gorges
, Cameron Cepek, Marvin Degon, Mathieu Dandenault, Yannick Weber
, Janne Lahti, Tomas Plekanec
, Matt D’Agostini, Steve Begin, Mikhail Grabovski, Alex Kovalev, Jimmy Bonneau, Corey Locke, Francis Lemieux, Olivier Fortier
.Team C: Carey Price
, Yann Danis, Francis Bouillon, Mathieu Biron, Mark Streit, Mathieu Carle, Jean-Philippe Côté, P.K. Subban
, Sébastien Piché, Sergei Kostitsyn, Saku Koivu, Michael Ryder, Garth Murray, Maxim Lapierre, Jonathan Ferland, Eric Manlow, Ben Maxwell, Thomas Beauregard, Ryan Russell, Cory Urquhart.