Multimedia from Thursday practice

Eller

Your Montreal Canadiens won’t be watching Sidney Crosby’s return Thursday evening.
They’ll be on a bus to Ottawa at 7 p.m.
Everyone was in a great mood after practice.

Randy Cunneyworth talked about the danger of  his team playing themselves out of a top draft pick with a late surge.

“It’s not in me and not in the group to lay down,” the coach said. “We’re competing. We continue to grow, regardless of circumstances.

“I’m still pushing for everyone to play their hearts out and play like a Montreal Canadien should play.”

Listen to the audio for some pointed remarks about Rene Bourque, who has two points in 22 games and is minus-17 in a Canadiens’ uniform.

“I have to push him,” Cunneyworth said of Bourque. “There’s another gear. He’s a tough customer who hasn’t gone there.”

Cunneyworth and Andrei Markov will talk about the defenceman’s participation in back-to-back games on the weekend. The coach will propose Markov play just one of the games (which seemed to be Cunneyworth’s preference) or reduced minutes in both.

P.K. Subban will play his usual yeoman ToI on Friday and Saturday. Cunneyworth said his young defenceman has been a different player since the All-Star break … and a better one.

“His focus is clearly better,” the coach said. “There’s not a lot of peripheral nonsense in his game. It’s more direct.”

Cunneyworth said Subban’s early-season efforts were unnecessarily complicated.

“It wasn’t goo enough for him to go by one guy. He’s have to go back and do it again.”

The showboating may have dazzled opponents and thrilled fans. But Cunneyworth said Subban’s exuberance could confuse the other four skaters trying to play with him.

The improvement, Cunneyworth added, “boils down to maturity.”

VIDEO leads off with Lars Eller not talking about his confrontation with Erik Karlsson Wednesday night:

Mike Blunden is ready to return:

The irrepressible P.K.:

Peter Budaj on giving DD shootout advice:

And last but not least:

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