Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Your Canadiens for October 4, 2011 (Updates from Collingwood)

As the season inches closer, the Canadiens' leadership retreat in Collingwood near the resort of Blue Mountain rolls on. Here are your stories from today:

- Travis Moen returned to practice with his teammates and even slotted into a fourth line role (as opposed to skating with the reservists) which should indicate he'll be ready to play on Thursday.

To clear a roster spot for Moen, Montreal placed Mike Blunden on waivers today to be sent to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

- Your lines from practice today:

Max Paciorett - Scott Gomez - Brian Gionta
Mike Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Andrei Kostitsyn
Mathieu Darche - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Travis Moen - Andreas Engqvist - Yannick Weber

Spares: Mike Blunden - Lars Eller (inj) - Aaron Palushaj

Hal Gill - P.K. Subban
Chris Campoli - Josh Gorges
Jaroslav Spacek - Raphael Diaz

Spares: Alexei Emelin - Jeff Woywitka

Carey Price
Peter Budaj

A lot of fans are unhappy at seeing the name of Erik Cole on the "third line," but it has been apparent throughout training camp that it is Jacques Martin's goal to ice a relatively balanced three line offense. Just because Cole is slotted to play with David Desharnais doesn't mean he won't take shifts on the Tomas Plekanec line in place of Andrei Kostitsyn. Plus, he's on the top powerplay unit as well, so he has far from being used as a traditional "third liner."

With the return of Moen, the team waived Blunden to get the roster down to 23 before opening night, and given the number of d-men around the team, it is likely Jeff Woywitka goes once Lars Eller receives final clearance from doctors (expected this week).

- Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban got into a little confrontation at practice today after Subban extended a knee in Pacioretty's direction during a drill. This is nothing to worry about, as the two are known to be friends, with Subban even attending Pacioretty's wedding this summer. If anything, this shows the players are itching to go and get the season underway!

- Based on the Canadiens website, Alexei Emelin seems to have officially dropped the Y from the spelling of his family name (formerly Yemelin). Prior to his arrival in North America, Habs fans flipped back and forth on the correct spelling, and it appears the Russian defenseman has done the same.

- Also based on the roster page of the site, the Habs have placed the names of Andrei Markov, Brendon Nash, and Hunter Bishop on Injured Reserve. Being an IR would mean they will miss at least a week of action, which is a given in all three cases anyway. The "update" on Markov is that his recovery remains on track and that he might be able to rejoin his teammates before the end of October.

- Here's how former Canadien Marc Denis of RDS sees the team shaping up for the coming season:

- After much speculation, the New York Rangers officially placed the name of Sean Avery on waivers today. No, Habs fans, he would not be a good pick-up, so don't start any rumours. Even if the Canadiens could use his on-ice talents, the show that surrounds the player would clash immensely with the Montreal media. Pierre Gauthier will not be interested in disrupting a cohesive locker room by bringing him in.

More interesting names for Gauthier on the waiver wire are fourth liners Blair Betts and Victor Oreskovich, but with Moen back and Eller close, the GM may be happy with enough with his own 4th unit.

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