The Canadiens expect Thursday night’s intra-squad to be an intense affair with players gearing up for Saturday’s season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“You have to approach it as if it were a real game,” Brandon Prust said. “There are some guys still fighting for jobs and you have to get the right mindset going into the season. You can’t worry about injuries. ”
Josh Gorges, who is among the league’s premier shot-blockers, said he expects to get in the way of a few pucks.
“I’m going to be smart about it,” Gorges said. “Once you get out there, instinct takes over, it’s not something you can turn on and off. You can’t hold back because that’s when you get those silly injuries.”
Andrei Markov noted that the team usually has seven or eight exhibition games before the season opener, but when asked whether he missed the exhibitions Markov referred to the games he played in the KHL and replied: “I’ve had my exhibition games.”
When told that fans started lining up at 7 a.m. for the first-come, first-served seats at the Bell Centre, Markov said he wasn’t surprised.
“The fans in Montreal love hockey,” he said.
While coach Michel Therrien scheduled Thursday’s activities to replicate an actual game day, goaltender Carey Price said there were some differences.
“If this was a game day, I wouldn’t be doing (promos) for TSN,” Price said.
Therrien said all the players will dress in the main locker room. He said he would keep the same lines he has been using in practice and will split the players into two balanced teams after they arrive at the Bell Centre at 5 p.m.
Tomas Plekanec will not play. Therrien said he is being held out as a precation.