• Pat Hickey was at the Canadiens’ practice facility in Brossard Thursday when Erik Cole met the Montreal media
Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty took a significant step forward in his recovery from concussion and broken vertebra on Wednesday when he skated in a charity game in Stamford, Connecticut, not far from his home in New Canaan.
According to Emily Kaplan of NHL.com, Pacioretty skated on a line with the Lightning’s Martin St. Louis and the Islanders Matt Moulson. “He didn’t miss a shift,” Kaplan wrote. “He skated well, even picking up a goal and a few assists.”
“It felt … I don’t know, I guess it just felt weird,” Pacioretty told Kaplan after the game. “It was weird at first, but as the game went on I think I felt a little more comfortable, and I’m looking forward now to gaining some momentum off of that.”
He told Kaplan that playing in The Big Assist III game (benefiting the Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation, which works to improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries and diseases) was the most competitive hockey he’s played since resuming skating a few months ago.
“I had a lot of time off since my injury, and now I’m just working on putting on muscle and trying to get as big and as fast as possible,” he said. “I’ve done a pretty good job of that so far and I hope to keep doing that through August.”
“Pacioretty said he feels like he is back to his pre-injury strength level — in fact, he said he might be even stronger,” wrote Kaplan. “He’s never had this much time in the summer to work out, so he’s taking full advantage of it.”
Among the other NHLers playing in the game was the Lightning’s Ryan Shannon (who is from nearby Darien and who organized the event) Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, the Flyers James van Riemsdyk, the Blues Kevin Shattenkirk the Blackhawks Ben Smith, and Toronto’s Matt Lashoff. Hockey Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson also skated with the group, along with some area players who play collegiate hockey, minor pro and are pros in Europe.
More on the game, including photos of Pacioretty, are in this story from The Stamford Advocate.