Canadiens captain Brian Gionta has returned to Montreal for family reasons and won’t be in the lineup when the Canadiens play the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday (10 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
Coach Michel Therrien said he doesn’t expect anyone to be called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs for Saturday’s game and both Ryan White and Michael Bournival will play because of Gionta’s absence.
“We don’t know when he’s going to come back,” Therrien told reporters in Vancouver after practice Friday. “He’s an important part of our team. He’s a good leader, but right now I don’t know when he’s going to come back.”
Gionta didn’t take the team’s charter to Calgary on Monday for family reasons, but arrived there on Tuesday and played in the Habs’ back-to-back games against the Flames and Edmonton Oilers Wednesday and Thursday night. In four games, the 34-year-old captain has one goal and one assist.
Apart from Gionta, Josh Gorges was the only player who didn’t take part in Friday’s practice, taking a therapy day. The defenceman is expected to play Saturday.
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at practice:
(Photo by Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)