Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Your Canadiens for December 13, 2011

Updates from a reasonably busy morning in the hockey world:

- Travis Moen was back at practice this morning after taking a therapy day yesterday. He will play tonight.

- As I mentioned yesterday, Scott Gomez suffered some form of setback in his training. He was not on the ice this morning, and nor was Brian Gionta, still considered out indefinitely, at least a week.

- Chris Campoli practiced alongside Raphael Diaz on the second powerplay unit this morning. He will return to the line-up on a pairing with Tomas Kaberle, meaning Alexei Emelin will be a healthy scratch. Thus, this marks Campoli's regular season Bell Centre debut, since he was injured in the season opener in Toronto. I look forward to seeing what he'll bring to the table, as I thought he looked quite solid in his 1 preseason game and first half in Toronto.

It should be noted that despite being dressed on Saturday, Weber received no powerplay time. The Canadiens really only used 3 d-men on the PP: Tomas Kaberle, P.K. Subban, and Diaz.

Now about Emelin being a scratch... I'm sure anyone that reads this site is well aware of my take on the issue. I think this roster move is beyond excusable on the part of Jacques Martin. Yes, Emelin is young, and he does take risks that lead to occasional errors. Admittedly, he is far worse on the right side (where he would play when paired with Kaberle) than he is on the left. But there is no doubt that he brings a crucial set of tools that the Canadiens do not have anywhere else in their roster. His size, toughness, and physicality are important on a team full of small puck-movers. Emelin won't develop and continue to improve by sitting in the stands. He can be an important part of Montreal's future, and MUST play. Let's hope this is just part of a rotation to give Campoli some action, and that we'll see Emelin dressed again on Thursday.

- Speaking of the powerplay, the top unit at practice was:
Mike Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Andrei Kostitsyn
Tomas Kaberle - P.K. Subban

While Kostitsyn brings some size, it's interesting that neither of the team's powerforwards (Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole) are on the top unit. They flank David Desharnais on the 2nd unit, just as they do at even strength.

- Updates from Team Canada World Junior Championships Selection Camp: None of Nathan Beaulieu, Brendan Gallagher, or Michael Bournival collected points in yesterday's 2-0 Team Red win. Few players have done much to separate themselves from the pack so far, as both sides have failed to generate offense. Bournival was solid, but mostly unnoticeable, while Gallagher was noticed for bad reasons, taking two offensive zone penalties and being on the receiving end of two large hits. Beaulieu had a few good shifts on the powerplay, patrolling the blueline well, but failed to produce.

Still, as expected, all three survived the first wave of cuts, which included Mark McNeill, Zack Phillips, Matthew Dumba, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Michael Ferland, Max Reinhart, and Brenden Kichton. With 31 skaters remaining in camp for 13 forward and 7 defensemen spots, the pressure remains on both Beaulieu and Bournival to impress tonight. Gallagher's spot is seemingly the safest of the three, likely penciled into a third or fourth line role.

A good article on Gallagher published last night can be found here:

- Another good prospect article today is this feature from the AHL about community work done by the injured Brendon Nash and Hunter Bishop:

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