Canadian: without the captain and an assistant

There are a ton of players at the Canadiens camp with 74 athletes. If the number 74 – the former number of the illustrious Sergei Kostitsyn – strikes, the number of injured also attracts attention.

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On the first day of the camp, there are already eight players in the infirmary, or just over 10% of the total workforce. If there is no surprise with the presence of Carey Price, Paul Byron and Logan Mailloux among the cripples, the CH has added the names of five veterans: Nick Suzuki, Joel Edmundson, Josh Anderson, Jake Evans and Sean Monahan.

With Suzuki and Edmundson, Martin St-Louis does not have his captain and one of his assistants on the ice with him. Eager to implant his culture even better in his team during his first camp, the former glory of the Tampa Bay Lightning will do so for the first sessions without two precious allies.

“There are other guys to fill the void,” said the head coach. I’m not worried. Susie [Suzuki] knows how we manage here. It’s never nice to lose veterans, but it’s not like they sit at home doing nothing. »

The Habs spoke of a two-week absence for Suzuki with a lower-body injury. In theory, the new captain will return in time for the last games of the preparatory calendar.

“He was injured while preparing for the season,” said St-Louis simply.

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A collision

On the airwaves of TSN 690, Jeff Gorton brought a different story.

“Earlier this week, before the start of the camp, Nick and Joel had a collision during an informal training, specified the vice-president of hockey operations of the CH in an interview with Mitch Melnick. That’s what happened. I’m not too worried. Nick is expected to miss a maximum of two weeks. I spoke to him and he wasn’t worried. He feels good, he is in good physical condition. »

The back again

However, there is no specific timeline for Edmundson. If St. Louis felt like he was walking on eggshells answering questions about his defender, Gorton told English-language radio that he suffered back pain.

“For Joel, it’s an old injury with his back,” he said. I know he felt better today than yesterday and I hope for a short term absence as well. »

According to information from the Canadian, the big defender will remain on the sidelines for an indefinite period.

“We say it’s an indefinite absence since we don’t have enough details,” St-Louis said at a press conference. When we have more information, we will give more information. »

“You are always worried when a player is injured, you never know the severity, he continued. As a coach, it’s disappointing. But we control what we control. »

At this time last year, Edmundson was also among the injured players. An absence assessed on a daily basis had turned into an absence of several months.

Slowed down by serious back pain, Edmundson only played 24 games last season.

Demanding tests

Rookie Juraj Slafkovsky gave it his all during the ice tests at the Canadiens' camp, this Thursday, in Brossard.

Photo QMI Agency, Joël Lemay

Rookie Juraj Slafkovsky gave it his all during the ice tests at the Canadiens’ camp, this Thursday, in Brossard.

For the other injured, Anderson and Evans will be assessed on a daily basis, while Monahan has yet to be cleared by doctors. The former Calgary Flames, however, participated in the physical tests on the ice.

On the subject of testing, St. Louis has recycled a portion of John Tortorella’s playbook by inviting its players to grueling skating sessions.

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