Friday, September 30, 2011

Your Canadiens for September 30, 2011

And the sun still rose over Montreal the morning after what should have counted as a 6-0 shellacking at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, despite a near complete Canadiens roster dressed, a loss that took the team to a 1-6-0 record with the only win coming by shootout. Really, it did. We have proof thanks to this photo posted to Twitter by Hockey Inside/Out journalist Dave Stubbs:

Last night wasn't pretty, so much so that Jacques Martin called for a team meeting one hour prior to practice this morning at 10:00 AM. Yes, "It's only preseason," but that excuse is only valid for another 48 hours. At some point prior to next Thursday, the Habs need to find a way to flip a switch and turn it into high gear, because, at year's end, points lost in October are just as costly as points lost in March and April.

If you want to torture yourself and our piece wasn't enough. here's another similar look at last night courtesy of

The Hamilton Bulldogs are on the ice early today, with the Canadiens scheduled to skate at 11:00 AM. We'll provide updates here as they come in.

This should include, at some point, an update on Andrei Markov's health as he is expected to meet with doctors today. If we don't get an update on his status, it will be cause for concern as it may be an indication the team is concealing the severity of his injury.

UPDATES: - As could be expected, Jacques Martin is very vocal on the ice today and making the players skate hard. Not many smiles on the rink.

- In a strange move, Martin has drastically shaken up his lines. This seems odd with only one preseason game to go. One would expect he would want to give his real lines time to gel. Here is what was seen this morning:

Mike Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Andrei Kostitsyn
Michael Bournival - Scott Gomez - Brian Gionta
Mathieu Darche - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Aaron Palushaj - Andreas Engqvist - Yannick Weber
Mike Blunden - Lars Eller - Brendan Gallagher

Hal Gill - P.K. Subban
Chris Campli - Josh Gorges
Jaroslav Spacek - Raphael Diaz
Alexei Yemelin - Jeff Woywitka

Max Pacioretty was a notable unexplained absent from practice. Following the session, Jacques Martin revealed that he missed the day due to a family commitment.

Alexei Yemelin again appears to be the 7th defenseman for now, again practicing with Jeff Woywitka.

Yannick Weber remains at forward. Martin confirmed he will play there Saturday night.

Seems pretty clear from these lines that Michael Bournival and Brendan Gallagher will actually be returned to juniors. Bournival is a placeholder for Pacioretty in the line-up, while Gallagher skated with the "extras".

I would expect this to be the line-up tomorrow night with Pacioretty in the Bournival spot. It seems weird shifting Erik Cole, who has been amongst the Canadiens best forwards during preseason, off a line he was beginning to click with, but it seems that Martin is committed to three "balanced" scoring lines. Andrei Kostitsyn, coming off a terrible performance, is "promoted" to a top line, but at least perhaps Cole's more consistent physicality and big body presence will create some room for David Desharnais.

- The update on Andrei Markov is that he continues to "progress well." Though added to that now is that apparently the Canadiens "knew he would miss the beginning of the season all along." Nice cover.

- Injured Travis Moen skated by himself two hours prior to his teammates taking the ice.

- The Hamilton Bulldogs have released Josh McFadden, Ben Winnett, and Tony DeHartfrom their try-outs. Thus, of the 6 who attended Habs camp, only Phil DeSimone and Olivier Dame-Malka earned contracts.

- Bulldogs goaltender Peter Delmas is expected to return to action within the next 10 days, after recovering from a concussion that ended his strong camp early.

- The Bulldogs open their preseason schedule tonight in Victoriaville against the Binghamton Senators.

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