BROSSARD – The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex on Tuesday before departing for Columbus.
During the media availability, the team provided medical updates regarding goaltender Jake Allendefenseman Justin Barron and prospect Emil Heineman.
Allen suffered a season-ending groin injury on April 9 against the Maple Leafs. He’ll be ready for the start of training camp.
Video: FLA @ MTL: Allen shuts down Verhaeghe’s attempt
Barron suffered a season-ending ankle injury (that doesn’t require surgery) on April 5 against the Senators. He’ll be ready for the start of training camp.
Heineman, meanwhile, is in Montreal being treated for an upper-body injury and evaluated by team medical staff. There’s no timeline for his return to play.
Savard: Heading back to Ohio
David Savard played 597 regular season games for the Blue Jackets over 10 seasons before being acquired by the Lightning last April.
The veteran blueliner is returning to his old stomping grounds for the first time since the trade, so he’s eager to suit up at Nationwide Arena again.
“It’ll be very special to get back there,” Savard said. “It’ll bring back a lot of good memories of good things and good years.”
Video: David Savard on returning to Columbus
Chief among those special memories is the Blue Jackets ‘four-game sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning in the first round of the 2019 Playoffs.
“It was a highlight of my time there. It was special to do that at home. It was the first time that the organization won a playoff series,” Savard recalled. “It was very special for us to do that against one of the best teams.”
The 31-year-old was a fourth-round selection of Columbus (94th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft.
St-Louis: Lessons learned in Columbus
Like Savard, interim head coach Martin St-Louis also has a connection to Ohio’s capital.
He was hired by the Blue Jackets as a special teams consultant in January 2019, working with the power play and penalty-killing units until the end of that season.
The Hall of Famer believes his brief stint with the organization was tremendously beneficial for his coaching career.
“It gave me some NHL experience. It allowed me to stay connected to hockey a bit, to be on the ice with the players, to be in the meetings,” explained St-Louis, who was hired by the Canadiens on February 9. “It helped me with what I’m doing now in terms of preparation. I saw the way coaches work. You spend enough time in the room that you see the work, so it helped me prepare for what I’m doing now.”
Video: Martin St-Louis on losing Justin Barron to injury
Schueneman: Early evaluation
Corey Schueneman has a good idea of the strides he needs to make in his game moving forward.
The 26-year-old defenseman has opened plenty of eyes this season during his 22 appearances with Montreal and he continues to impress, but he knows there’s definitely room for improvement.
The Western Michigan University product was asked to identify some key elements he’s hoping to refine over the summer, and he delivered a direct reply.
“Just kind of that reliability, just be a good defender every game,” said Schueneman, who has averaged 16:36 of ice time per outing with the Habs. “I think the offense will come, along with the shots and the points. I’m not worried about that. But, if I can defend well, have good gaps, shut plays down, and move the puck up and then join from there , I think the better I do that, the better my game is. “
Video: Corey Schueneman on improving defensively
The undrafted blueliner has learned quite a bit since making his NHL debut on December 28, especially the importance of being consistent and dependent night after night.
“There are a lot of good players in this league. If you’re out of position by a step or two, they’re going to take advantage of it,” Schueneman noted. “It’s just about making reads, being in good position, and then shutting as many plays down as I can.”
And with veteran mentors like Savard, Joel Edmundson and Jeff Petry at his disposal, he’s getting the best education possible right now.
“Just being on the ice with them, being able to watch them every shift, those three guys are very good at things I just mentioned,” added Schueneman. “Being able to watch them and kind of get their input, talk to them and watch video on them is very helpful to me.”
No doubt assistant coach Luke Richardson is a huge asset for Schueneman as well.