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Montreal Canadiens Training Camp: Day Two

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 08:  Ryan O'Byrne #3 of the Montreal Canadiens skates during the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 8, 2008 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Kevin van SteendelaarAnalyst ISeptember 15, 2009

The Montreal area set a record for sick days from work, and truant officers were seeking out absent students as the Canadiens’ Brossard practice facility was filled again with fans for day two of training camp.

The fans were treated to a second two-period scrimmage in as many days, with today’s game featuring camp Teams A and C.

Habs hopeful Brock Trotter got Team A in an early lead with two goals on Curtis Sandford, and nearly had a hat-trick had it not been for a big stop by Sandford.

“I made good on the opportunity,” the 22-year-old forward said. “I took advantage of it last year, all the same I’m gonna try to keep rolling with that into  this season as well.”

“It's nice to see the progression from him,” noted head coach Jacques Martin on how the youngsters improvement during the second half of last season, in the AHL, is still carrying forward.

Team C would rally back in the second period. Josh Gorges would blast one from the point past Jason Missiaen, and was followed quickly by Tomas Plekanec.

“I liked it,” Gorges said, after the scrimmage, on playing on the point with Hal Gill. “He keeps the game real simple, but he communicates really well.”

Mathieu Darche would beat Missiaen. on a penalty shot, to put the C squad in the lead.

Glen Metropolit squared it up at three apiece, with a shot past Cedrick Desjardins, but Brian Gionta won it for Team C with 17 seconds left to play.

“It feels good to get out there and be a little competitive,” Gionta said.

Gionta played with Plekanec and Travis Moen, for the second consecutive day, and is not disappointed at not being reunited, straight away, with former teammate Scott Gomez.

“That never played into my decision for coming here,” he said. “I wanted to come here to be part of a wining team, and such a storied franchise.”

Ryan O’Byrne, who will have to fight for the final defenceman slot with the Canadiens, played an aggressive game. The 6’3” blueliner laid out some big hits on Matt D’Agostini and Gregory Stewart.

“Stewie’s one of by best friends,” O’Byrne said. “That’s the way it goes. There’s no friends out here anymore. That happened a little too much last year. There was too much hesitation and that’s no longer the case.”

O’Byrne is also aware of the prospect defensemen (Yannick Weber and P.K. Subban) that are looking to make a splash, at the camp, and that his roll is a physical one over flash. “My job is to make it hard for the opposing forwards,” he said. “This year I’m fighting for a spot.”

O’Byrne spent a lot of time focusing on his game, studied game tape, added muscle mass (eight lbs) and took boxing lessons in the off-season.

He knows to put last season’s upsets behind him and look forward.

“I lost confidence at times last year, I got it back and I lost it,” he said.

“Last year is behind me. It is what it is and that’s why I had a great summer. (I) just focused on being positive and keeping that confidence at all times.”

Two players, that are practicing with the team at camp, have yet to see scrimmage action. Both Kyle Chipchura and Sergei Kostitsyn had off-season shoulder surgery and are awaiting doctor’s clearance to play in the inter-squad scrimmages.

 

This article originally appears on my blog: Ya! The Habs Rule!


Off to a confident start? : Goaltender Carey Price is off to a good start in the first two sessions of inter-squad scrimmages, allowing just 1 goal in 40 minutes.

Camp resumes again Tuesday from 10am to 1pm, with another intersquad game (B vs. C) at 11am.

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