Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Montreal Canadiens Training Camp: Day Three

It was not to be a carbon copy of the last two mornings at the Canadiens Brossard practice facility.

While fans packed the stands, for a third day, to catch a glimpse of the team’s practice and inter-squad scrimmage, the media were eager to talk to Andrei Markov.

A story Tuesday morning, by the Montreal Gazette, reported that Markov had turned down the offer of captain for the storied franchise.

Eager journalists would have to wait until after the session to get some answers.

Today’s workouts would feature the final, two-period, scrimmage between Teams B and C.

Wearing the white practice jerseys, Team C opened the scoring in the first period when Brian Gionta made a flashy move, on a penalty shot, to get the puck past  Robert Mayer.

Mike Cammalleri would tie it at one after taking a cross crease pass from Scott Gomez.

It was Cammalleri’s second pairing with Gomez, in the scrimmages, and the winger is liking what he sees.

“We're starting to get more familiar with each other's game, he said.

“The key is to learn each other's strengths and each other’s game. Then you start making decisions based on instinct, instead of thinking about it, and at that point you become more effective.”

“They’ve got good speed. One’s a playmaker and ones a shooter,” said head coach Jacques Martin on the Gomez-Cammalleri combo. The coach expects that the two will start the pre-season with Andrei Kostitysn on the left wing.

It was all team C, the rest of the way, with goals from Andrew Conboy and Max Pacioretty for a 3-1 win.

“I’m happy with how I played both days,” said Pacioretty, who was impressed by the intensity of the first three days of camp.

“It’s great to see the guys, even the veterans, want to play that hard, even at camp.”

Team B claimed the “tournament title” based on goals four and against as all three teams had won a game apiece.

Gionta and Brock Trotter shared the “scoring title”, while Jaroslav Halak earned “top goalie” after playing shutout hockey during his two appearances.

Attention after focused on Markov, who stated that he had never been offered the captaincy.

“I was surprised cause nobody talked about that and nobody told me about that,” he said.

“It’s not my decision, it’s the coach’s decision. Nobody asked me that.”

Markov also talked about the importance of being the Canadiens captain, especially after the departure of Saku Koivu.

“I just know it’s a big responsibility, and I think it’s not easy to be a captain in front of you guys(media),” he said. “It’s something special to be a captain in Montreal.”

“The organization hasn’t offered Andrei the captaincy," said Jacques Martin, who then put an end to any speculation by announcing that he and GM Bob Gainey will make the decision on captain at the end of training camp.

Martin also defended his reasoning for selecting a captain over a team vote.

“It’s important that we have an individual that shares the same values, the same views, concerns and principles as the organization,” he said.

Mike Cammalleri also added that the position of captain is not currently an issue with the players.

“It hasn’t been such a big issue for us,” he said. “I’d be ok with it. We have enough leaders in this room that will step up and lead by example.”

Like Markov, Cammalleri acknowledged that captain of the Canadiens is a unique position in the NHL.

“It’s the Montreal Canadiens. There is a different level of responsibility that maybe comes with being captain of this organization as far as things outside of the room, such as media attention and things like that, that maybe aren’t present in other markets.”

Training camp resumes Wednesday (11am- 1:30pm), but will be four empty stalls in the dressing room areas tomorrow morning.

Goaltender Jason Missiaen, and blueliners Mac Bennett and Joe Stejskal were returned to their respective, OHL, college and USHL teams.

Philippe Lefebvre, invited for a tryout at camp, will return to Drummondville, but not before signing a three-year-deal with the Canadiens.

“It’s a big event for me,” Lefebvre said. “It means I showed some good things and I worked hard.”


24 Cups said...

It's way too early, but Cammalleri has to be the pre season favourite for Montreal's new captain.

Kevin aka "yathehabsrule" said...

Yeah Cammalleri got a start on the others when he did his interview with The Hockey News in July/Aug.

He's one of the front runners, that's for sure.