….The Canadiens practiced Monday morning at Brossard and then boarded a plane for Pittsburgh where they’ll start another one of those watershed weeks with games at Pittsburgh and Boston Tuesday and Wednesday and then home to the Rangers on Saturday.
…..Jeff Halpern joined the team and practiced at both centre and wing with projected linemates Travis Moen and Gabriel Dumont. Halpern logged considerable fourth line minutes on a line with Moen and Tom Pyatt during the 2010-2011 season. Because #15 belongs to Petteri Nokelainen, Halpern’s number will be 24 this time around.
…..On the injury front – nothing new on the Rene Bourque and Raphael Diaz concussions. Neither is practicing and the nature of the injury prevents any kind of recovery timetable.
….We were originally told Brandon Prust’s shoulder separation would take ten days to two weeks to heal. It’s now 16 days since he was hurt in Tampa Bay and Prust still hasn’t been cleared. He skated on the Brossard Centre alternate ice surface today.
….The only good news, defenceman Yannick Weber practiced with the team and boarded the Pittsburgh flight with his teammates. He’s not likely to play however.
….Michel Therrien announced that Carey Price will be in goal in Pittsburgh. Beyond that he is non-committal.
THE TRADE DEADLINE LOOMS
….The deadline is next Wednesday, April 3rd at 3.00pm. The rumour mill is operating overtime and the Canadiens aren’t exempt. Most speculation includes forward Ryane Clowe of the San Jose Sharks. Clowe is having an awful year (25GP- 0 goals, 9 assists) and is available. He’s a big body, 6’2” and 225 pounds and a right shot. He hasn’t been the same since he went head first into the boards last season, suffering facial fractures and a concussion. While the Canadiens could use his size up front heading into the playoffs, I can’t believe Marc Bergevin is prepared to give up what San Jose will be asking for him. Clowe is unrestricted at the end of this season
…..The last time the Canadiens made a deal with Doug Wilson and the Sharks was at the 2007 deadline when they sent Craig Rivet west in return for Josh Gorges and their first round draft pick which became Max Pacioretty.
……It’s possible Bergervin completed his dealing well before the deadline. He swapped the seemingly disenchanted Erik Cole for Michael Ryder and he claimed Halpern to address his faceoff and penalty killing issues. The long term injury situation may dictate any further activity.