The Montreal Canadiens started the week by making a few roster changes prior to their trip to California to face the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
Forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard was added to the injured reserve, whereas defenceman Arber Xhekaj did not practice. Xhekaj will not join the team on the road trip, which forced a call-up from the Laval Rocket.
Jayden Struble, who is yet to make his NHL debut, was the player who the Canadiens decided to promote, owing to his great start to the season in the AHL. Struble, 22, has been the Rocket’s most reliable defenceman.
“I flipped the switch this summer. I knew what I needed to do to go pro,” said a beaming Struble following practice on Monday.
And while Struble’s well-deserved call-up is encouraging, it wasn’t all good news from a team perspective.
The Habs have lost four games in a row, and what’s worse, they’ve struggled to produce an honest effort in those games.
The lack of results led to an intense practice on Monday morning, in which head coach Martin St-Louis pushed his players harder than normal with an intense skate at the end of the normal drills.
— Stu Cowan (@StuCowan1) November 20, 2023
“When you’re losing you have to expect changes,” said veteran Sean Monahan. “As a group, we respect Marty a lot. He guides us the right way, and when he steps up in that sense, you have to respond. Today was a different practice than normal. ”
Captain Nick echoed Monahan’s comments, admitting that the team hasn’t performed up to snuff in the recent games.
“Our play has been unacceptable, and we know that,” said Suzuki. “It’s a hard skate. There are a few days between games. We were ready, and the boys skated hard. They competed. That’s all coach wanted to see.” “We can’t keep losing games, we can’t pile on the losses. It’s a big opportunity out west, to play some teams that we can have some good games against. It’s just a matter of getting back to where we were a few weeks ago.”