Montreal Canadiens: Training Camp Opens and the Habs Head into Preseason Play

Jason HitelmanCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2011

MONTREAL- SEPTEMBER 22:  Louis Leblanc #71 of the Montreal Canadiens shoots the puck during the warm up period prior to facing the Boston Bruins in an NHL pre-season game at the Bell Centre on September 22, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 4-2.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

There is no shortage of stories that have emerged from Montreal Canadiens' training camp, which opened on Friday.

Everyone was abuzz about Alexei Yemelin, who, judging from a candid photo, appeared to be out of shape. The photo was the talk of the town, putting Yemelin's work ethic and character into question. 

Perhaps the young Russian caught wind of the the murmurs, because he made it his mission to act as a human wrecking ball in the first Habs scrimmage on Saturday morning.

Yemelin was the standout of the scrimmage. He turned heads and even got under the skin of Max Pacioretty, after catching him with two pretty big checks that took him to the ice.

Yemelin's weight doesn't seem to be a factor—it looks like he'll fit in quite nicely on the Habs' roster.

Scott Gomez did not participate in any of the scrimmages. Jacques Martin announced that Gomez was day-to-day with a lower-body injury after he left practice early on Saturday.

Talk about getting off on the wrong foot...

The Canadiens kick off their exhibition games tomorrow against the Dallas Stars. It remains to be seen if Gomez will participate in the match (I highly doubt it) or at all this preseason.

I really hope that Gomez is smart in dealing with this ailment. The last thing he needs is a nagging injury this season to impede his performance. I, for one, am really rooting for him to have a comeback year.

Habs fans were given a preview of a potential future superstar in Brendan Gallagher. The 19-year-old former fifth-round draft pick who tore up the WHL with the Vancouver Giants last season (91 points in 66 games) is a player in the same vein as Brian Gionta: what he lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in intensity.

Gallagher was praised by Coach Martin and could earn himself a spot with the Hamilton Bulldogs if he continues to impress during the exhibition season.

The team made its first cuts this afternoon: F Etienne Brodeur, F Dustin Walsh, D Darren Dietz, G Robin Gusse and D Jordon Southorn were sent packing.

As previously mentioned, the Habs kick off their exhibition season on Tuesday night at 7:30 PM ET against the Dallas Stars. The game will be aired on RDS.

Perhaps Louis Leblanc, who has been quiet thus far, can prove himself to be an impact player in the preseason games.

Tomas Plekanec and Erik Cole will also look to further the chemistry that they have been developing in the scrimmages.

In any case, hockey is officially back!

Jason is on Twitter: @jhytel