Was it just me, or did this seem like the longest off season ever?
Be it what it was, it was anything but dull considering the overhaul the club went through.
On Monday, the rookies were the first to hit the ice for scrimmages in Brossard, followed by a group of veterans who worked out in the afternoon, getting ready for the big camp later this week.
I'd have loved to have there checking it all out. For now, here's a scoop of news found from various sources, of which I will link to or provide translations for.
RDS speaks with Pacioretty, Subban and Weber, prior to them hitting the ice.
Pacioretty, the player with the most NHL game experience, discusses his chances of making the grade this year.
"To be honest, I've had trouble sleeping the past two weeks because I spend two hours a night laying there thinking about getting a spot on the team. If I get one, it will because I have earned it. If not, I'll just have to work harder to get there one day."
It is often cited that P.K. Subban and Yannick Weber are the two closest defensemen in the organization to the NHL. While Weber has six games NHL experience, it looks as thought both are heading to Hamilton for further grooming. Based on the numbers in Montreal, they would be eighth and ninth on the organizational depth chart.
"There have been so many changes on the team, not to mention the coach", says Weber. "It presents a new opportunity for me. I just have to work hard and fight for a job."
For Subban, the upcoming season will be his first at the pro level, after four illustrious campaigns with the Belleville Bulls.
"I've worked extremely hard this summer to remain in shape to play at this level. Training camp serves to prove whether we are this calibre. I'll make the best of this occasion."
Subban was asked if the acquisition of defensemen Hal Gill and Paul Mara were seen as hurting his chances of perhaps making the grade as the team's seventh defenseman.
"All that is in my control, is that I am ready to play here. The Canadiens are my favorite team, so I undertsand that these acquisitions are for the betterment of the team. This team will enjoy success, so I'm not worrying about those things much."
Weber's take on the question is similar.
"It's good for the organization that it adds players such as Hal Gill, who has won a Stanley Cup. I'm still young and it's normal that the team looks to add experienced defenseman. I'm in the same situation I was in last year. I have to work hard and wait for my chance."
Centreman Ben Maxwell is also in the picture, he who had a strong first pro campaign in Hamilton in 2008-09.
"I'm hoping to make the club, and it won't be easy with the players ahead of me. It wouldn't both me to play on the wing."
Shortly after noon, 16 veterans on the team took the ice, including Gill, Scott Gomez, Jaroslav Spacek, Travis Moen and Mike Cammalleri. The official training camp begins Saturday, with the first weigh in and medicals taking place. Others on hand included Roman Hamrlik, Maxim Lapierre, Guillaume Latendresse, Sergei Kostitsyn, Georges Laraque, Glen Metropolit, Shawn Belle, Matt D' Agostini, Gregory Stewart and Jaroslav Halak.
Of 29 rookies invited to take part, 27 were on the ice while the injured Dany Massé and Gabriel Dumont were on hand for rehabilitation purposes. The players by position are goaltenders Cédrick Desjardins, Robert Mayer, Jason Missiaen, and Petteri Simila; defensemen Chad Anderson, Mac Bennett, André Benoit, Michael Busto, Mathieu Carle, Frédérick St-Denis, Joe Stejskal, P.K. Subban and Yannick Weber; centers David Desharnais, Olivier Fortier, Mikael Johansson, Benjamin Maxwell, Tom Pyatt, Ryan Russell, Dustin Walsh and Ryan White; right wings Eric Nielson and J.T. Wyman; and left wings Andrew Conboy, Max Pacioretty, and Brock Trotter. Left winger Philippe Lefebvre of the QMJHL Drummondville Voltigeurs was the lone camp player on a tryout.
Of 29 rookies invited to take part, 27 were on the ice while the injured Dany Massé and Gabriel Dumont were on hand for rehabilitation purposes.
The players by position are goaltenders Cédrick Desjardins, Robert Mayer, Jason Missiaen, and Petteri Simila; defensemen Chad Anderson, Mac Bennett, André Benoit, Michael Busto, Mathieu Carle, Frédérick St-Denis, Joe Stejskal, P.K. Subban and Yannick Weber; centers David Desharnais, Olivier Fortier, Mikael Johansson, Benjamin Maxwell, Tom Pyatt, Ryan Russell, Dustin Walsh and Ryan White; right wings Eric Nielson and J.T. Wyman; and left wings Andrew Conboy, Max Pacioretty, and Brock Trotter. Left winger Philippe Lefebvre of the QMJHL Drummondville Voltigeurs was the lone camp player on a tryout.
Fans Fill Brossard For Opening Of Camp - La Presse
Assistant coach Kirk Muller put 27 rookies through the paces in what is described as a high intensity for day of camp. Players hoping to receive an invite to the main camp were doing their best to grab attention starting on day one.
For P.K Subban, who is now into his third camp with the Canadiens, making a good first impression is not everything.
"I think everybody wants to look good right off the start, but you can't spend all your energy on day one. It has to be managed. After this camp, there is still the main camp and exhibition games to play."
For Yannick Weber, the enthusiam of the first day has all to do with the desire to get going.
"It's the first day, so everyone's anxious to hit the ice. Of course, the first day is no picnic. Everyone has to play hard if they want to play in Montreal or hamilton next season."
The most in demand player, media wise, on the day, was winger Max Pacioretty, who dressed in 34 games with Montreal last season. One question directed to him asked if he felt he had a job to lose.
"I'm not looking at things from that angle. I think that I can be a part of this team if I give the best of myself. If I do, I'll make the team."
Pacioretty also noted that he worked hard during the summer months, to add muscle to his frame.
"I have good size and I want to be able to use it. I want to prove to the coaches that not only can I score, but that I also bring a physical presence."
The 21 year old American was one player helping set the tone on this first day, particularly against Subban.
It's important for me to prove that I am ready, right now. Each time I'm on the ice, I want to be the best out there. If someone wants to compete against me, that's even better. P.K. is a competitor, and having to go up against a player such as him is motivating."
Habs prospect Carle has had his two camps cut short the last two seasons. In 2007, he injured his knee in an exhibition game against Pittsburgh and last season he was kayoed by the Red Wings Tomas Kopecky. This time out, he hopes fate is much different.
"I'm not even going near the infirmary", Carle says with a laugh. "Actually, it's not on my mind constantly. It's in the past. It's a new training camp and I'm in great shape. I'm hoping to make a name for myself and get past the first shift of an exhibition game."
Asked if he feels he hasn't been afforded the opportunity to do himself justice thus far, Carle responds affirmatively.
"Certainly, because I've yet to play a full game since my first camp at 18 years old. It wouldn't be a disaster to start the season in Hamilton. I'm only 21, and alot of things can happen over the course of a season."
Other links of note:
Ca sent le hockey! - Rue Frontenac
Desjardins s'inspire de Garon et Danis - Rue Frontenac
Bonne chance, messieurs! - Journal
Pacioretty en grande forme - Journal
Les 10 meilleurs espoirs - Journal
Photos of training camp courtesy of Habs Inside Out