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Youth movement

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
EDMONTON -- Inexperience isn’t about to stop a suddenly young Habs blue line from getting the job done.

Once James Wisniewski went down in the opening period, the Canadiens found themselves with their youngest blue line in some time. With Wisniewski joining fellow injured Habs defensemen Hal Gill, Jaroslav Spacek, Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, the Habs defensive corps counted one bona fide veteran in Roman Hamrlik.

James Wisniewski's injury
Just how green is the Montreal blue line right now? Hamrlik’s 18 seasons are more than twice that of Alexandre Picard, P.K. Subban, Yannick Weber and Brendon Nash combined.

Undaunted, the Habs’ young defenseman aren’t about to make excuses for their sudden spike in responsibility.

“Injuries happen and that’s a part of hockey, but it’s tough to see so many guys going down like this at the same,” said P.K. Subban who logged a game-high 29:29 on the night. “As difficult as this is, it’s also a big opportunity for us younger guys to show what we can do. We need to pull together right now and all do our part to help the team.”

Also among those who chipped from the back end was Weber, who trailed only Subban in ice-time with 27:38 and co-led the Canadiens with four shots.

Accustomed to carrying a serious load himself on a nightly basis, Brian Gionta saw some heavy-lifting on the part of his young blue line on a tough night in Edmonton.

“It’s never easy when you lose a guy like Wiz early in a game like that,” admitted the Habs captain. “Certain guys are going to have to raise their games and that’s what our young defensemen did here tonight.”

Having played sparingly in Anaheim this season before sitting out on Thursday since his equipment was late arriving in Edmonton, Paul Mara will get anything but rest now that he’s with the injury-riddled Canadiens.

“I’ve seen all the injuries the guys have been ravaged with this year on the blue line and it’s been awful,” lamented Mara after looking on from the press box at Rexall Place. “But these young defensemen can play and I didn’t just see that tonight, I’ve watched them play from out west and they’ve got some talented young D here. They can skate, they can move the puck and I’m excited to be here and help out in any way I can.”

Manny Almela is a writer for

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