The Montreal Canadiens know they have a lot of areas to improve if they want to make the playoffs this season.
The team with the most Stanley Cup championships has missed the post season in the last two years.
The players and staff members don’t want that to happen again — a third consecutive season of missing the playoffs would be unprecedented for the legendary hockey club.
“The pressure is there to make the playoffs and we’ll start the season with that as the goal and we’ll see what happens,” owner and club president Geoff Molson said Monday morning.
The Habs launched their unofficial opening to the season with the team’s 44th annual golf tournament to benefit the team’s Children’s Foundation and making the playoffs was on everyone’s mind as the players arrived at the event.
“I think the focus is on the 82 games and figuring out what we need to do to give ourselves that opportunity,” said right winger Brendan Gallagher.
General manager Marc Bergevin says he is confident the team will be in the post season.
“Overall, I think our team is excited. It’s engaged,” he said. “And we learned a lot from last year too.”
“I see a lot of positive moving forward.”
A couple of areas the team wants to improve is executing power plays and recovering loose pucks.
“We feel we’re very capable of improving and we’re going to start working on it in training camp,” head coach Claude Julien said.
Team captain Shea Weber is now injury free and ready to lace up in time for this season. His presence should make a big difference, according to goaltender Carey Price.
“He’s a big man. He’s going to be carrying a big work load for us this season. Glad to see he’s well prepared,” Price said.
There are also some new players who have been added to the roster this season, including defenceman Ben Chiarot.
“The guys are great,” he said. “Everyone has been really welcoming. Excited for the season and excited to get going with the guys.”
The main training camp begins Sept. 12 at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. The regular season for the Habs begins Oct. 3 in an away game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
WATCH BELOW: Habs goalie Carey Price weighs in on season (April 2019)