Canadiens coach Jacques Martin liked what he saw in the team’s first scrimmage.
Entering his third season at the helm of the club, Martin called the session the most intense he’s seen to date.
Martin also said the players have reported in the best condition he’s seen in three seasons.
Martin noted the physical play of Alexei Yemelin and also said he liked the Russian defenceman’s skating.
When asked to explain the highly competitive play, given the seeming lack of openings on the team, Martin recalled last year’s training camp, at which Max Pacioretty, Yannick Weber, Ryan White and David Desharnais were impressive before being shipped to Hamilton.
As injuries took their toll and trades were made, all four won promotion and are on NHL contracts this season.
“I told the team the number of open spots can be misleading,” Martin said. “They should have a good camp and show they’re ready to play.”
Injury Report: Lars Eller and Louis Leblanc skated but have not been cleareed for contact; Scott Gomez was pulled from the morning training session after sustaining a lower-body knack, he’s day-to-day; P.K. Subban skated, Brendon Nash is out with something.
Video of Josh Gorges
Alexei Yemelin, speaking in Russian with Sovietski Sport Montreal correspondent Gennadi Buguslavsky providing translation