NHL.com continues its preview of the 2013-14 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.
The biggest moment of Jarred Tinordi's hockey life wasn't announced to him. He was left to figure it out on his own.
Defense - MTL
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 2
SOG: 5 | +/-: 5
When the Montreal Canadiens
cut center Gabriel Dumont
and defenseman Nathan Beaulieu
following their final preseason game Thursday night, Tinordi was able to conclude that he had achieved a lifelong dream.
"They didn't mention anything to me, but I saw the cuts that were made and I didn't have a meeting, so it was kind of clear that I was sticking around for a little while at least," Tinordi said. "It was obviously a good feeling, I called my parents right away."
Tinordi is the son of longtime NHL defenseman Mark Tinordi, and dad didn't appear to be quite as excited as his son.
"He said 'Good job,'" Tinordi said. "He doesn't really say a lot. He said 'good job.' and that was pretty much it."
However, the Canadiens are quite excited with the way Tinordi played in training camp, and their hope is that he can force them into making some difficult decisions when it comes to the top-six on defense.
Montreal will be missing physical defenseman Alexei Emelin until at least December, so Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin went out and acquired free agent Douglas Murray to fill that hole. But Murray has been out with a lower-body injury for nearly all of training camp, leaving the door open for Tinordi to perhaps be in uniform when the season opens Tuesday night at Bell Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
However, once Murray is ready to play, the only way Tinordi would be able to get in the lineup would be if coach Michel Therrien decided to sit a veteran on defense.
Tinordi did his best throughout training camp to show that can a viable option for Therrien by playing a physical game while showing good poise in his own end.
"He really grasped that and said to himself, 'This is what they need, and this is what I have to do to be here,'" defenseman Josh Gorges said. "He's committed himself to do what it takes to be here."
Therrien has not committed to how Tinordi and fellow rookie Michael Bournival will be used, stating repeatedly that they are on the 23-man roster and nothing more. When asked if he was comfortable having two young players sit in the press box, Therrien appeared to suggest that if it were to happen it wouldn't be for long.
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"When a young player can't get in the lineup over a long period of time because your team is playing well, that's when you need to make a decision," Therrien said. "But over a shorter period of time it's not that bad, there's no reason to panic. So that's how we made our decisions. Our young players are part of our 23-man roster, and we'll make those decisions afterwards."
Tinordi practiced on Montreal's third pair with Francis Bouillon on Saturday, with Murray skating as the extra defenseman while he gets his conditioning back up to par with his teammates. That may provide Tinordi with the window he needs to make Therrien's decision a difficult one.