If Habs fans are looking for a team to cheer for at this year’s Memorial Cup, the Saskatoon Blades could be your team.
The Saskatoon Blades are the host team for the junior championship and veteran coach Lorne Molleken’s roster includes two Montreal defence prospects —Darren Dietz and Dalton Thrower (photo above).
The Canadiens signed Dietz to a three-year, entry-level contract this week and Molleken — whose resumé includes a stint as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks — says the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder will be in the National Hockey League “sooner rather than later.”
That forecast appears realistic when you hear Molleken describe Dietz as a hard-working, self-motivated player, the kind of player who fits in with the current mindset in the Canadiens organization.
“He approaches the game like a pro,” Molleken said. “He’s the first guy on the ice and the last guy to leave. He works extremely hard, he doesn’t need anyone to push him.”
The Canadiens held a short practice Thursday morning on Long Island as they prepared to face the Islanders (7 p.m., RDS, TSN Radio 690). Rene Bourque took part in the morning skate but is not expected to play in the game.
Five players were not on the ice for the morning skate: Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta, David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty and Francis Bouillon. They are all expected to play.
Carey Price will start in goal.
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)