Only the Canadiens players who didn’t play in Game 1 against the Ottawa Senators took part in Friday’s 10:30 a.m. morning skate in Brossard with a team meeting at 11:30 a.m. as the Habs prepare for Game 2 Friday night at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
And Michel Therrien delivered bad news when he met with the media, saying that Max Pacioretty and Brian Gionta will join Lars Eller on the sidelines for Game 2 due to injuries. Colby Armstrong, Gabriel Dumont and Jeff Halpern will take their spots.
After a disciplinary hearing, the NHL suspended Senators defenceman Eric Gryba for two games on Friday afternoon for his hit on Eller in Game 1 that left the Canadiens foward in a pool of blood on the ice. Eller was taken to hospital with a concussion, facial fractures and broken teeth after the open-ice hit at 13:28 of the second period. Gryba received a major for interference and a game misconduct.
You can watch the NHL video with Brendan Shanahan explaining his decision for the two-game suspension by clicking here.
Eller was released from hospital on Friday morning.
Gryba maintained the hit was clean after seeing it on replay.
“I stepped up to make a hit,” he told reporters after the game. “I kept my shoulder down. He received the puck by the time I hit him. My elbow was down and there was no intent to hurt him whatsoever and I hope that he’s OK.
“I’m not out here to hurt anybody and it’s never good to seeing anything like that. I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery.”
Senators coach Paul MacLean called it a “hockey play”.
“(If I’m Eller), I’m really mad at player 61 (Raphael Diaz), whoever he is, because he passed me the puck in the middle of the rink when I wasn’t looking,” MacLean told reporters after the game. “That’s always been a dangerous place as far as I know. Ever since I’ve been playing this game, that’s a dangerous place to be — bad things happen.
“I think it’s a hockey play that ended up going badly for Lars Eller.”
On Friday morning, the Canadiens’ Brandon Prust said: “Trust is too big a word that the NHL will do the right thing.”
He then added: “Actually, I hope (Gryba’s) not suspended.”
As for MacLean, Prust said: “He’s already showed enough disrespect. We don’t care what that bug-eyed, fat walrus has to say.”
Hear what else Prust had to say Friday morning by clicking here.
Hear what Therrien had to say by clicking here.
(Photo by Pierre Obendrauf/The Gazette)