After having a day off on Thursday, the Canadiens hit the ice Friday morning in Brossard for a practice as they prepare to face the Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
Forward Max Pacioretty was given a second straight day off the ice so he could visit his wife, Katia, and newborn son in Connecticut. Pacioretty, who went straight from Philadelphia to Connecticut after Wednesday’s loss to the Flyers, was slated to return to Montreal Friday afternoon. Lorenzo Pacioretty was born on Dec. 23, weighing in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces and measuring 21 inches long.
The spotlight after practice was on P.K. Subban, who was benched for 10 minutes in the third period of Wednesday’s 3-1 loss in Philadelphia after taking an unnecessary roughing penalty.
“That’s the coach decision,” Subban told reporters in Brossard about the benching. “Listen, we’re running a team here and that’s what the verdict was. I just took it and when it was time to play I just went out there and did my thing.”
On his penalty, which came after he punched the Flyers’ Sean Couturier in the face during a scrum at the end of the second period, Subban said: ”It’s a scrum. Sometimes emotions get the best of you. You’ve got to control that, especially at the end of the period. But we did a good job of killing it off at the start of the third. But like I said, right now we’ve got the best team in the world coming into our building on Saturday so that’s where my focus is.”
When told by a reporter that many fans think Therrien is sometimes too hard on him in particular, Subban responded: ”Listen, he’s the coach and at the end of the day he’s got to make decisions in the best interests of the team. We’re running a team here. It’s not P.K.’s team. It’s not Carey Price’s team. It’s the Montreal Canadiens and everybody has to fall under the same rules. So that’s what it is. And if that happens to somebody else, then the same thing will happen.”
When asked if he has any hard feelings, Subban said: “Listen, I’ve said it before. My job is to play hockey. That’s what I get paid for. It’s not to express my emotions or even give my opinion. That doesn’t fall under, I think, what I get paid for and the same goes for everybody in this room. We get paid to play hockey. So my job is get ready for the game on Saturday.”
Coach Michel Therrien told reporters after practice that “I’ve got a great relationship with P.K.”
The coach added: “We communicate a lot. And he understands our decision (to bench him).”
Ryan White (upper-body injury) and Alex Galchenyuk (broken hand) didn’t take part in Friday’s practice. With Pacioretty also missing, here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked:
Briere – Plekanec – Gionta
Bourque – Eller – Bournival
Parros – Prust – Moen
Bournival – Desharnais – Gallagher
Emelin – Markov
Gorges – Subban
Murray – Bouillon
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)