Tomas Plekanec skated with his teammates on Wednesday for the first time during the Canadiens training camp.
Plekanec had been listed as “day-to-day” with sore ribs – an injury he incurred while playing for Kladno in the Czech league during the NHL lockout.
“It’s good for him to get a couple of practices under his belt before we start the season,” said coach Michel Therrien, who believes Plekanec will be ready for Thursday’s intra-squad game at the Bell Centre.
Asked about playing with Canadiens first-round draft pick Alex Galchenyuk, Plekanec said he has a lot of talent and works very hard.
“He came over to me before practice today and said if I saw anything that could help him he’d appreciate it,” Plekanec said.
Last year was a tough season for everyone and Plekanec wasn’t different from the rest of the team, Therrien said.
With a healthy lineup and having Gionta with Plekanec, Therrien said he was sure the two would be able to help each other.
“There was no stability with (Plekanec’s) linemates due to so many injuries the team had to face last year,” Therrien said.
“But he’s a guy who can do a lot of things on the ice. He’s a really smart player. He can play against top players. He can play on the power play, penalty-killing. I really appreciate that type of player. And again this year he’s going to have a crucial role with us.”
Five players have been called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs for Thursday’s two-period intra-squad game at the Bell Centre. (Admission is free … for more details about what the Habs have planned for fans this weekend, click here.)
They want to simulate an exhibition game as much as possible, Therrien said. He also felt it was important for players to have a game at night before starting the season.
“It will be structured hockey,” the coach said.
Bulldogs defenceman Jarred Tinordi was one of the players Therrien talked about after practice. Tinordi was the Canadiens’ first-round draft pick in 2010 and one of four Bulldogs players invited to camp.
“We are very pleased with his development,” said Therrien, who mentioned among other things Tinordi’s excellent speed.
“He’s constantly improving.”
You can hear what Tinordi had to say after Wednesday’s practice below:
(Photo by Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)