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Habs Drewiske takes ice for the first time since surgery

January 8 marks the first day that Montreal Canadiens defenseman Davis Drewiske took the ice after being off since the end of August.

Before starting off, for those who don’t know who Drewiske is here is a bit of information. Drewiske was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in return for a fifth round pick for the 2013 NHL Draft. During the 2012-2013 season Drewiske played nine games for the Canadiens scoring once as well as getting two assists.

So far this season Drewiske has yet to play for the Montreal Canadiens. He was injured during summer training camp doing a skills test when he collided shoulder first into the side boards. He remained on the ice for the rest of the training but the next day the Canadiens announced that he would be missing around four weeks with a shoulder injury.

After four weeks the Canadiens then announced Drewiske was going on Injured Reserved and will miss 5-6 months after he underwent shoulder surgery to repair some ligaments. Many fans at this point saw some trouble arising. At this time the Canadiens were also missing Douglas Murray and Alexei Emelin on defense. Murray had a double injury (upper and lower body) and only played one preseason game while missing a few regular seasons. Emelin had knee surgery and only returned in November. This meant that Jarred Tinordi (who is now with Hamilton) had a place in the lineup and was on the opening night roster.

A few weeks went by and all seven defenseman were healthy; Douglas Murray, PK Subban, Alexei Emelin, Andrei Markov, Francis Bouillon, Josh Gorges and Raphael Diaz (Tinordi being sent back to Hamilton). Throughout the last few games the team had been juggling the defense pairs and sitting a bunch of players. There was one night where Emelin sat, two nights in a row Diaz sat, a few nights there were rotations between Murray and Bouillon, as well as Gorges sat one night with a foot injury. Though something feels off.

The fans are not sure if it is the odd pairings especially the Markov and Emelin pairing or placing the third defense pair (usually Bouillon/Diaz/Murray) with the third and fourth line in the game. But it was noticeable that these changes that were happening were hurting the games being played and more goals were being scored on them. Now we can’t blame only the defense as it is a team sport and not an individual player sport but there have been some odd plays.

With the defense struggling lately, questions have been circulating on twitter about Drewiske’s status. He started skating today for the first time since the injury occurred back in August. Though it is still early it is a good sign that he will be returning back with the team some point in the near future.

No updates were given by Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien as he and the team (with exception to White, Galchenyuk and Drewiske who are injured) are currently in Philadelphia but I expect something to be said by the end of the week on Drewiske.

He was doing a few drills with the puck and working on speed and endurance. He seemed to be ready to be on the ice but it will be a couple of weeks before he is in game shape. He was having trouble between drills catching his breath but with time that will get easier. For a first day back and only expecting him to return to the ice by the end of January he showed he is ahead of schedule. Each day he practices things will look better and easier and I can’t wait to see how he progresses. After watching Emelin dramatically change through a few weeks I can only hope the same will be for Drewiske. I can’t give a day when he will be back but I do have a feeling it could possibly be right before the Olympic break or right after.

The more serious question will be once Drewiske does return which defensemen will leave to make room for him? Most contracts are up by the end of the month as well as a few trade talks/rumors are happening but someone will have to go for him to come back. I have my guesses as to who will be moved but I won’t say anything until the official announcements happen. I will state that I think something could happen soon as Drewiske is looking less like a ghost on the ice.

Photo by Claus Andersen of Getty Images

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