Veteran players tend to run training camp at their own speed, pacing themselves to peak for the season opener. For them, early training camp performances are meaningless since they arrive at camp secure in their job.
A percentage of the Canadiens fan group, judged by their booing of Carey Price last night, is unable to grasp the concept.
So, ignoring the struggles of Carey Price (4 goals against on first 8 shots) and Jaroslav Spacek’s lapses and the predictable overwhelming situation faced by some of the rookies, here are some of the postive things to come out of Wednesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Bruins.
- Aaron Palushaj. Using his speed and taking full advantage of being on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri Palushaj did not look out of place. It’s only the first exhibition but one would think he will be one of the last cuts and one of the first to be re-called. Makes you wonder what made the St. Louis Blues give up on him.
- Jarred Tinordi – The 2010 first round draft pick seemed in awe of the bright lights but improved as the game unfolded. He’ll be a very good one in a couple of years.
- Louis Leblanc – 2009 first round choice centred an all-rookie line with LW Andrew Conboy and RW Gabriel Dumont. The line produced seven shots on goal. Leblanc can skate with the best of them and is tenacious.
- Andrew Conboy – Better than expected. Three shots on goal and a fight. A college suspension forced the Canadiens to move him into pro hockey before he was probably ready. His development has been slow but he showed signs of power forward potential in last night’s game.
- Gabriel Dumont – Big scorer in Junior hockey. Small but gritty. Led the game with four hits.
- Yannick Weber – Unremarkable except during a third period power play that produced four shots on goal. Paired with a rusty Jaroslav Spacek.
It’s only the first game of the training camp, something a segment of the fans should remember in their rush to judgement.
Game two Friday night against Ottawa and a whole new cast of characters to assess including Lars Eller, who will be moved experimentally to the left wing position on a line with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta. Eller says he’s equally comfortable at centre or the wing position. Dustin Boyd will centre Mathieu Darche and Andrei Kostitsyn against the Senators. David Desharnais between Max Pacioretty with either Alexander Avtsin or Ryan White on the right wing. The fourth line will be centred by Swedish import Andreas Engqvist with Dany Masse on the left side with J.T. Wyman and Jimmy Bonneau sharing right wing. Alex Henry and P.K. Subban will make up one defensive pairing. Ryan O’Byrne and Alexandre Picard will make up one of the other pairings. Alex Auld will start in goal with Robert Mayer playing the final 30 minutes.