This is not the greatest of timing. On the eve of the Canadiens first meeting of the season against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, P.K. Subban missed Thursday practice with the flu virus or at least symptoms of it. Michel Therrien thinks he should be good to go against the Kings Friday night, but you never know about the direction these viruses take.
With Mike Weaver already out with a concussion and Bryan Allen on injury reserve for an unidentified illness, the Canadiens could only put five defensemen on the ice at Thursday’s workout. 49 year old J.J. Daigneault stepped down from the coaching ranks to fill in for Subban beside Andrei Markov. If he’s unavailable for Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, the Habs are going to be short a body on defense.
There has been no indication that the Canadiens are ready to bring up a defenseman from Hamilton which seems to indicate that they feel confident Subban’s going to be available Friday night.. The defense pairings at practice were Markov/Daigneault; Beaulieu/Gilbert; Emelin/Gonchar.
Lars Eller‘s problem is a shoulder bruise. He suffered it in the first period of the game in Chicago last Friday. It will be a couple of weeks before he’s available to the club again which makes it about five games to assess Alex Galchenyuk‘s move to centre. In the world of Michel Therrien, nothing is ever carved in stone, but if, as many of us suspect, Galchenyuk is ready to assume his role as Canadiens number one centre, the coaching staff is going to face some heavy decisions, most of them surrounding David Desharnais, when Eller returns to the lineup. Desharnais was good on a line with P.A. Parenteau and Michael Bournival Tuesday night against Vancouver, so he is definitely not out of the picture. Logic tells me, the Canadiens will postpone any decision on Desharnais’ future by moving Eller back to left wing once again when he returns to the lineup.
My first thought as news started to trickle in was “The mumps? Who gets mumps any more?”
The answer is – hardly anybody. In 2013 in the entire US there were fewer than 600 cases reported. But, to confound disease control experts, so far nine NHL players have come down with the disease this season.
For a while it was thought that the outbreak was rooted in Anaheim, the common thread being each player who came down with the illness had recently played there, or in the case of four of them, were actual members of the Ducks.
Defenseman Bryan Allen came to the Canadiens from Anaheim in the Rene Bourque trade. Accorfding to Therrien, the Canadiens placed Allen on retroactive injury reserve this week as a “precautionary measure”, adding fuel to the rumour that Allen came to the team carrying the virus. Apparently he’s been cleared and is expected to rejoin the team at practice on Saturday. In the meantime, his teammates have all received precautionary booster shots.
DE LA ROSE TO WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Canadiens 2013 second round draft choice Jacob de la Rose will be released to play at the World Junior Hockey Championship later this month. It will be his third tournament appearance. In his first year in North American pro hockey de la Rose has not produced much offensively (2g,3a in 25 Hamilton games) but has brought rave reviews for his defensive skills and maturity which may bring him to the Canadiens sooner rather than later.
De La Rose is the fifth Canadiens draft choice to be confirmed for the tournament including Michael McCarron (USA); Zach Fucale (/Canada); Artturi Lehkonen (Finland) and Martin Reway (Slovakia). For some reason the Russians have left Nikita Scherbak off their list, although they have the opportunity to add him at the last minute. Baie Comeau forward Jeremy Gregoire would have been a candidate but early season wrist surgery has kept him on the sidelines.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
AHL scoring leader Charles Hudon scored a highlight reel goal in the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2 overtime loss to Adirondak Wednesday night at Glens Falls New York. Here it is one more time.