Following practice on Monday in Brossard, the Montreal media met with Tomas Tatar, Brett Kulak, Jeff Petry and head coach Claude Julien.
Tomas Tatar got the ball rolling to open the session, discussing how he feels training camp has gone for him and his hockey club.
“I think we are happy with all our practices, we wanted to get better everyday, I think we did a good job. All lines seem to be good and it seems to me we’re working hard on the practices. It’s been going well, I’m personally feeling very well too and it’s been fun for us.”
Tatar added his expectations for the 56 game season with the shortened game schedule.
“It’s on everybody. We need all four lines, it’s going to be a tough schedule, a lot of games against the same teams, so it’s going to be the same systems. We have to feel and help each other once the ice. I know in the bubble, the production wasn’t where, we wished, but overall as a team, we showed great character and we can say it was a success from us. We learned a lot, lots of young guys picked up experience, we weren’t far from the next round and god knows what would have happened there, so it’s a team sport, we want to chip in and all the help for the team’s success.”
Next up was defensemen Brett Kulak, who has taken the time to skate with rookie Alexander Romanov. He opened with his thoughts on the young Russian sensation.
“I think the sky is the limit with him. He’s got all the tools, he’s a young d-man, he’s got all the confidence, and what I see in him, he moves really well, big, strong guy and he makes assertive plays, he’s not on his heels ever and that’s a big thing.”
Asked if he feels it’ll be challenging to play with a guy who has no NHL experience, Kulak addressed his pro experience and his talent.
“He’s played professional hockey at a high level before, and he’s smart and you can get a good feeling for him, even just in practices and in the scrimmages. Yesterday, the tempo was high in the scrimmage and he handled it fine, he’s smart, he plays the game smart, we gotta come in and play hard and be on our toes from the drop of the puck and go from there, but I think it will be good and I think we’ll do well.”
Jeff Petry was next to the podium, addressing the media for the first time since camp started. He spoke about the feeling of this year’s training camp, comparing it to last year as it applies to the season.
“I think everybody that is in that room and everybody in the organization, with the changes we made, we have a good feeling about the lineup we are going to put out every single night on the ice and I think the energy has been good with the short training camp practices, but we have covered all the things that we needed to cover and I think everyone is excited for Wednesday night to start playing games.”
He also spoke about Noah Juulsen, who was claimed off waivers by the Florida Panthers.
“From the first day I saw him at camp, I thought of him as a young defensemen with a lot of promise for the future, and the way he played for us before his injury, he was a good guy to have on the back-end, but with the unfortunate injuries, he had he missed quite a bit of time, we didn’t get to see much of him. With his full recovery, he can bring a lot to a team.”
As always, last to meet with the media to close Monday’s session was head coach Claude Julien. Asked about the possibility of Corey Perry being picked up off waivers, the Canadiens bench boss addressed what he’s done for the hockey club.
“He’s been a pretty impactful player, and he brings an element to our team that we kinda thought we could use, but you keep your fingers crossed that he’s going to get through waivers and deal with it starting from there. Again, you control what you can and keep your fingers crossed on the things that you can’t.”
Julien also addressed the reasoning behind Montreal placing him and Frolik on waivers.
“Because we don’t have a choice. We can only protect a certain amount of players, that’s related to the cap and everything else afterwards, and after those guys have to be put on waivers again, this is something that happens above me and is something that has to happen because of our cap situation, which I think right now allows us to protect 21 players.”
The Canadiens will open their season on Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Puck drop is set for 7:00pmET and is available for viewing across the nation on Sportsnet.