• Avalanche a perfect fit for Patrick Roy – and vice-versa: Stubbs column
Coming off back-to-back weekend victories over the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres, the Canadiens held an optional practice at noon Monday in Brossard. Meanwhile, St. Patrick held court at the Bell Centre downtown.
All three goalies – Carey Price, Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski - took part in the practice along with Rene Bourque, George Parros, Ryan White, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Dale Weise, Jarred Tinordi, Douglas Murray and Michael Bournival.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin announced after practice that Bournival has been assigned to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs for conditioning. Bournival has been sidelined since Feb. 6 with a concussion, missing 11 games. Bournival will be in the Bulldogs’ lineup Wednesday when they play host to the Abbotsford Heat.
In 50 games with the Canadiens this season, the 21-year-old Bournival has 6-7-13 totals and 14 penalty minutes. He spent all last season in Hamilton, posting 10-20-30 totals and 26 penalty minutes in 69 games.
Bournival was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the third round (71st overall) of the 2010 NHL entry draft and was acquired by the Canadiens later that year in exchange for defenceman Ryan O’Byrne, who is now playing for Prague Lev in the KHL.
On Sunday night in Buffalo, Tokarski got the call in goal for the Canadiens instead of Budaj and made 29 saves for his first NHL shutout in a 2-0 victory. Price, who earned the victory Saturday against the Senators, didn’t make the trip to Buffalo.
“Obviously, I would like to play,” Budaj told reporters after practice. “The coach is going to decide whose playing and if it is me I’ll be ready to help the team to try to climb in the standings and keep climbing.”
Budaj has an 8-8-2 record this season with one shutout, a 2.50 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.
When Budaj was asked in a media scrum Monday if he felt he had coach Michel Therrien’s full confidence, the goaltender said: “I think so. I’m doing everything I can. There’s stuff that I can control. … My work ethic, my preparation, my time when I get a chance to play when they decided to play me. That’s what I’m trying to do. So I think so. They make the decisions whose playing and I’m just going to control the stuff that I have in my hands.”
Tokarski was asked if he felt he’s created a good impression overall in his three appearances with the Habs, posting a 2-0-0 record with a 1.84 goals-against average and .946 save percentage.
“I hope so,” he said. “That’s what you want to do, you get an opportunity you try and seize it. I think I’ve played well and did a good job and hopefully can continue doing that.
“It was time for me to take another step in my career and I definitely think this is it, whether I play another game or not this season,” the 24-year-old added. “It was a great step and look to build off it for the rest of the season and next year.”
The Canadiens announced late Monday afternoon that Tokarski had been assigned to the Bulldogs.
Therrien didn’t speak with the media on Monday.
While the Canadiens were practising in Brossard, Colorado head coach Patrick Roy was putting the Avalanche through a practice at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens will face the Avalanche Tuesday night (7:30 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690) in Roy’s first appearance at the Bell Centre as the Avalanche’s head coach.
Roy, in his rookie season behind an NHL bench, is a leading candidate to win the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach. After finishing with the second-worst record in the NHL last season (16-25-7), the Avalanche has a 44-19-5 record this season and sits second in the Central Division standings.
When asked by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs during a press conference Monday at the Bell Centre whether he had looked up at his No. 33 hanging from the rafters during practice, Roy said: “I forgot. See how focused I am for the game?”
Roy then said he was just kidding and added: “I made sure it was there with no dust on it.”
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)
You can watch what Roy had to say on Monday at the Bell Centre here: (Video by Pierre Obendrauf/The Gazette)
Price focuses on Avs’ scorers, getting his timing back in net by Brenda Branswell