At this point the Montreal Canadiens need a triage department.
The injury list continued to grow at Habs practice ahead of their Stanley Cup Final rematch with the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night.
Tyler Toffoli was the latest addition to the team’s walking wounded. Head coach Dominique Ducharme confirmed that Toffoli is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. It’s tough timing for the veteran forward who, after a difficult start to the season, had five points in five games including two assists against the Predators on Saturday night. Ducharme said Toffoli could be out “a while”. The team called up Laurent Dauphin from the AHL’s Laval Rocket earlier today.
Defenceman Jeff Petry missed the team’s loss in Nashville on Saturday night but took a maintenance day. That suggests that his upper-body isn’t as serious as initially feared. Petry’s status for tomorrow night’s game is doubtful along with Joel Armia, who also took a maintenance day today.
Petry’s partner last season appears to have suffered another setback. Joel Edmundson, after participating in his first full practice before the team’s game against the Sabres, appears to be back to square one in his recovery from a back injury. Ducharme said Edmundson is back to being week-to-week but after consulting with doctors, surgery is not necessary.
So in case you weren’t keeping track at home, here’s the updated Montreal Canadiens injury list: Price (knee), Petry (upper-body), Edmundson (back), Anderson (upper-body), Toffoli (upper-body), Armia (undisclosed), Brendan Gallagher (COVID), Sami Niku (COVID), Paul Byron (hip).
Here’s how the Montreal Canadiens lined up at practice in Brossard this morning
Mike Hoffman – Nick Suzuki – Jonathan Drouin
Arttuei Lehkonen – Christian Dvorak – Jake Evans
Mathieu Perreault – Ryan Poehling – Cole Caufield
Michael Pezzetta – Cedric Paquette – Laurent Dauphin
Ben Chiarot – David Savard
Alexander Romanov – Chris Wideman
Brett Kulak – Kale Clague
Hey, it’s the new guy!
Kale Clague participated in his first practice with his new teammates. The defenceman was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. In 11 games this season, the puck-moving blueliner has five assists.
Clague could benefit from his history with Ducharme. The Regina native played for the Habs head coach in back-to-back World Junior Hockey Championships, winning the gold medal in 2018.
“We’re comfortable with each other, he knows my game,” said Clague about the relationship with his new bench boss. “He knows the way I can play so that’s obviously important to have that connection and relationship.”
As of course is tradition, Clague also gave fans and reporters a scouting report on his game.
“I’d say I’m a two-way, puck-moving defenceman. I use my skating, it’s probably my greatest asset. But ya, just my vision, my skating. Get the puck in the forwards hands and let them do the rest.”
Clague alternated with Chris Wideman on the first unit of the team’s power play unit this morning. He called his puck moving abilities both at even strength and the power-play his “gift”.
He’ll likely play his first game in the bleu, blanc et rouge of the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night when the Habs take on the Lightning tomorrow night.