The Habs held their annual charity golf tournament on Thursday and as always, there were lots of interesting tidbits of information courtesy of the Canadiens’ brass.
GM Marc Bergevin announced that the team will be naming a captain for the upcoming season instead of going with all alternates as they did in 2013-14. While it appears the decision has already been made, the team will not be announcing the decision right away. Bergevin noted that, “Some guys just got in last night. I think it’s important to talk to everybody before.”
When asked about the captaincy, LW Max Pacioretty said he hadn’t heard who it would be but that he’d be honoured to named captain. Goalie Carey Price, who many believe is the unofficial captain to begin with, commented that the “Captaincy is ceremonial. We lead by committee on this team and that’s not going to change because of a letter sewn on a jersey.”
No enforcers on the way
It was only a couple of seasons ago that Montreal was actively seeking an enforcer. At that time, they acquired George Parros who went on to have an injury-plagued season. Last year, they didn’t replace him although with Brandon Prust still on the team, they did still have a fighter. Prust is now gone and it appears they have little intention of acquiring another fighter.
The GM said that he has “…lots of respect for enforcer type guys, but there isn’t a need for them in today’s game.” He has consistently preached team toughness is the way to go in the current NHL and that will be the case again in 2015-16. Head coach Michel Therrien concurred, stating that “Hockey is changing, you don’t have many of those guys anymore. I think it’s changing for the better.”
Galchenyuk to play centre
This one will have many excited as both Bergevin and Therrien confirmed that Alex Galchenyuk will line up at as a centre this season. (At least for the start of the year as of course, things can change.) Bergevin met with Galchenyuk back in June and said that the 21 year old is relishing the opportunity to play centre.
Therrien noted that he plans to try Galchenyuk with offseason acquisition Alexander Semin in camp to see if those two can develop some chemistry.
This means that one of Montreal’s current centres will have to shift to the wing. Currently, the two favourites to move are David Desharnais and Lars Eller. The former noted that he’d be comfortable on the wing despite being a natural centreman.
Plekanec contract talks
Earlier this week, Tomas Plekanec noted that there had been no discussions with the team on a contract extension and that he was waiting for the team to approach him rather than the other way around. In his meeting with the media, Bergevin said that Plekanec is an important player to the team but would not comment on the status of negotiations.
Pacioretty injury update
Therrien was asked about Pacioretty’s injury. The coach noted that it was a serious one (fractures in the tibia tend to be serious) but that the winger is putting in huge hours to try to be ready for the start of the season. Pacioretty skated at Brossard for 20 minutes on Tuesday, the first time he had been on the ice since the playoffs ended. There remains no official timetable for his return but the 26 year old noted that he’s on schedule to be ready a week or so before the season starts depending on how his upcoming bone scans go.
While the Canadiens and their coaches will be on the golf course, the players participating in the upcoming rookie tournament were at Brossard undergoing physical tests. The team will be off to London, ON later on Thursday and will play their first of three games in as many days on Friday afternoon against Pittsburgh.
One notable player who won’t be with the team is 2015 first round pick Noah Juulsen. He will miss the tournament with a concussion sustained in WHL camp. His participation for the main camp is still up in the air. Forwards Mark MacMillan and Markus Eisenschmid will also not participate over the weekend. The Habs have inked Ottawa (OHL) RW Sam Studnicka to a tryout deal to take their place on the roster.