You wouldn’t have known it by the weather on Friday, but hockey season is just around the corner.
The newest version of the Montreal Canadiens took to the ice in Brossard for the first time on day two of training camp.
Coach Claude Julien’s booming instructions resonated through the Canadiens’ practice facility. He demanded speed and intensity of his team on their first day on the ice.
“We need to play faster, a better pace. I think we’re capable of that and that’s what you see today,” Julien said.
Tomas Plekanec was wearing the CH again after finishing last season as a Toronto Maple Leaf.
With a lot of new young players, he’s expected to be a mentor more than ever.
“It’s kind of a natural thing for him,” Julien said.
Paul Byron was back on the ice — ahead of schedule on his recovery from shoulder surgery
“I’m happy to be back out there with everybody, getting to battle with the guys,” Byron said.
The team’s newcomers attracted some of the most attention.
The third overall draft pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi got the honour of leading a stretch.
Max Domi, who came over in the trade for Alex Galchenyuk, was on the ice with his new team for the first time.
Julien tried him out at centre, a position the Canadiens have long struggled with.
“Max is one of the guys we may need there,” he said. “Maybe he’ll play on the wing, I don’t think any decisions have been made on that.”
Domi, for his part, said he’s happy to play whatever position the team needs him to take on.
“We just harped on the fact it’s a new year, what happened in the past is behind us, everything is positive and we’re ready to go,” he said.
Tomas Tatar is one of the players the Canadiens got in exchange for Max Pacioretty.
He spent time playing with Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault.
Prospect Nick Suzuki also came over in that deal.
“I’m just getting to know a lot of these guys and they’ve been great so far,” Suzuki said.
“All the coaches have been great too. It’s been a great start.”
For those who just can’t wait to catch a glimpse of this year’s Habs, the red vs. white scrimmage is this Sunday morning at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens say the team has sold over 15,000 tickets already.
There are still many available for $5 each on the Canadiens website, and there is even free food involved.