Yesterday was the scrimmage game to fundraise money to help rebuild a small town near Montreal; Lac Megantic. There was a sold out Bell center with around 20,000 people in attendance to watch the Team White VS Team Red.
The line-ups started around 7:00 in the morning, and by 11:30 there were thousands of people lined-up all the way around the building waiting for a taste of NHL.
The doors opened shortly after 11:30 and the line started to move quickly letting people into the building. Those early birds received a surprise from the Habs as they were greeted at the front entrance just before the players went to the dressing room to get ready.
People started heading to their seats while others went to line-up to get some food. Eventually when most people were settled they started showing videos and then the announcement came that players were taking the ice for a ten-minute warm up.
The players for team White were:
Goalies: Carey Price and (prospect) Dustin Tokarski.
Defence: Magnus Nygren, Davis Drewiske, Matt Lashoff, Raphael Diaz, Andrei Markov and Darren Dietz.
Forwards: Brandon Prust, Travis Moen, Sebastian Collberg, Mike Blnded, Jeremy Gregoire, Daniel Briere, David Desharnais, Ryan White, Max Pacioretty, Charles Hudon, Stefan Fournier and Martin Reway.
The players for team Red were:
Goalies: Peter Budaj and (prospect) Zachary Fucale.
Defence: Douglas Murray, Jarred Tinordi, Josh Georges, Francis Bouillon, Greg Pateryn and PK Subban
Forwards: Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Plekanec, Rene Bourque, Michael McCarron, Alex Galchenyuk, Gabriel Dumont, Michael Bournival, Martin St-Pierre, Christian Thomas, Louis Leblanc, Nick Tarnasky and Lars Eller.
After the warm-up, the scrimmage got underway with Team White starting strongly, with the younger players looking to make an impact and prove that they deserve a spot on the team/or a contract extension. At the start of the game, Team Red looked like they were sleeping.
The first goal was from Forward Martin Reway from Team White (who played for Gatineau last season). The backhand shot went past Peter Budaj and White was up. Shortly after, Forward Stefan Fournier gave the White team a 2-0 lead with a long shot that went past Budaj. This goal was one he should have easily stopped.
Halfway through and still with White up by a pair, Price and Budaj were taken out of nets and Tokaski and Fucale were put in for their shot at playing minutes. Right after the switch Tomas Plekanec gave the Red team their only goal of the game with the help of prospect Chrstian Thomas. The game ended with the score of 2-1.
The first one was from Matt Lashoff who got a penalty for boarding. For a player who wants to keep his NHL dream alive with the Canadiens, you would think he would be more careful to avoid stupid penalties. The next penalty was a goalie interference call for Max Pacioretty after he crashed into Zachary Fucale for the first time. He did it again a little later but did not receive anything for that. There was another penalty that was served for Team Red for too many men on the ice but it was in the last few minutes of the game.
With the game finishing at 2-1, let’s take a look at some standout performances for good or for bad.
To start off, the players who made the most notable impact were Martin Reway, Sebastian Collberg and Charles Hudon. Their strong line will be on display in the preseason games and could possibly turn into a top line. Other players who played very well today were Tomas Plekanec, Christian Thomas, Stefan Fournier, Brandon Prust and Max Pacioretty. One player to keep a close eye on is Jared Tinordi; he is strong and fast and ready for his time in the spotlight.
For the goalies, three of the four goalies played exceptionall well, while I found Budaj was a little off. He let in two goals, one of which should have been routine.
Some players who played “okay” making little impact either way, include Andrei Markov, Ryan White, Josh Georges, David Desharnais, Michael Bournival and Lars Eller. They did not contribute much yesterday – they just seemed “steady”.
There was really only one player who disappointed me, and it was mostly in the first two periods – PK Subban. He was very slow as if he did not want to be there and was going through the paces. The third period was a better period for him as he seemed to have a spark.
Some other players I saw seemed invisible – they made no positive nor negative impact. Both Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk had amazing seasons last year, but yesterday they seemed out of the spotlight. I want to see them start the season the way they ended it last year. Rene Bourque needs to do something that people will remember him by. McCaron played a good game today, but I want to see more physical play from him. He seemed to be a little shy and not playing at his full potential.
I, along with every other habs and hockey fans, am excited to start the upcoming season. I cannot wait to see how the players will progress and watch how the team and community can come together just like they did yesterday for a worthy cause.
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