It’s been a hectic week for Michael Ryder who was traded to the Canadiens on Tuesday from the Dallas Stars for forward Erik Cole. Ryder spent Thursday travelling from Toronto to Dallas to collect some of his things and then arrived back in Montreal at about 2:30 a.m. Friday.
Nine hours later he was on the ice, practising with his new teammates in Brossard at the Habs’ training facility.
“This is where I started my career. I never thought I’d be back here but it’s good to be back,” Ryder said.
“Hopefully we get something good going here and hopefully I can just jump in and help out and keep this train rolling,” he said.
Ryder played four seasons for the Canadiens before signing with the Boston Bruins in 2008 as a free agent. He had no trouble getting to the rink but said he couldn’t find the dressing room in the Bell Sports Complex when he got off the ice. The Canadiens hadn’t moved into their practice facility yet when he left for Boston.
Ryder is playing on a line with Lars Eller and rookie Alex Galchenyuk.
“The more we play with each other and practice I think it’s only going to get better,” Ryder said. “You can tell they’re fast. They have a lot of speed and I think we can get a lot of good things going.”
It takes time to build chemistry, coach Michel Therrien said, but he’s convinced they’ll find it.
There was another familiar face back on the ice after a long absence. Forward Petteri Nokelainen, who has been out with a lingering back injury, practiced with his teammates for the first time this season.
“It’s a big step for me. It’s been a long haul,” Nokelainen said.
He’s been cleared for contact but said he’s not ready to play.
When asked where he sees himself fitting into the team, Nokelainen said he hadn’t thought about it yet. “I don’t know when I’m coming back or anything like that so I’m just concentrating on the next day and working hard and hopefully feeling good the next day.”
He injured himself lifting weights last summer, Nokelainen said. “It wasn’t something that all of sudden happened. It’s something that crept up and caught me eventually.