The Montreal Canadiens hit the ice for the second day of training camp at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.
Players are training for what is set to be a big year with high expectations on young players like 19 year-old centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi and 21 year-old defenceman Victor Mete.
The Montreal Canadiens are pumped to be back on the ice for the first time with some new and familiar faces for the second day of training camp.
“Pretty excited to get back together, build on what we did last year,” said Brendan Gallagher.
“We had some success playing a certain way and it’s nice that everyone can kind of be comfortable within that line. We want to be just as effective if not more, so it’s cool to start from day one.”
Many young players like Ryan Poehling and Nick Suzuki will be fighting for a spot on the roster this season, while some veteran players will see some line changes.
Habs coach Claude Julien switched things up, pairing 21 year-old Mete with veteran Shea Weber.
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Julien says the balance between Mete’s speed and Weber’s strength make them a likely duo for the upcoming season.
“Victor has improved every year. We thought he had a good finish last year,” Julien said. “His mobility and all that gives him a confidence to do that because he knows he’s got a pretty reliable guy that he’s playing with.
“We’re trying to balance things out.”
However, Julien went on to say the pairing is not set in stone and they may switch things up depending on the team they play against.
“You play a team like Washington where you got the Ovechkins and all that — some big guys… well, maybe you move Chiarot and Weber to shut them down that game,” explained Julien.
Former Winnipeg Jets defenceman Ben Chiarot will also be working alongside Jeff Petry.
“It allows Jeff to carry the puck up the ice a lot. It allows him to know that he’s got a good defenceman with him. He also brings a physicality and toughness,” said Julien.
For Chiarot, his game stays the same.
“I’ve always kind of meshed well with a good offensive defenseman and I can be a reliable guy defensively back there for him,” Chiarot reacted.
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Julien says they’re focused on allowing players to prove themselves during training camp. “We’re looking at different things right now that we’re trying to explore as training camp progresses,” he explained.
But the goal, the coach says, is to make it all the way. “That’s our number one goal right now, to get into the playoffs,” Julien said.
The season opener is set for October 3rd against the Carolina Hurricanes.