(Brossard) Center Nick Suzuki has been absent from Montreal Canadiens practice many times in recent weeks to seek treatment without ever missing a game. He explained why on Monday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.
Posted at 11:15am
Updated at 2:01 p.m
“I don’t want to miss a game, especially at this stage of the season. I feel like I don’t need to exercise if I don’t feel the need to. I often get treatments in the morning and then go to the gym to work on some things so I’m ready for games. It was good to be in practice with the guys this morning for the first time in a long time,” said Suzuki first.
Like most of his teammates, the Ontarian is sticking to small personal goals to maintain his level of play through the end of the regular season. The 22-year-old forward is just six games away from completing the feat of appearing in every Bleu-blanc-rouge game this season.
“Yes, I think that is the goal of all players. You have to be a bit lucky but it would be very ‘cool’ to be able to play every game this season, that’s for sure,” said Suzuki, who hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career on Saturday, in the 8-4 loss to the Washington Capitals.
Interim head coach Martin St-Louis acknowledged that Suzuki’s goal would be very difficult to achieve. And he knows something about it.
“It’s difficult to play every game. If you want to achieve that, you have to be prepared not to give 100% every day. Everyone deals with bruises, injuries, etc. It’s difficult to play an entire season if you always want to give 100 percent, said the 46-year-old from Quebec.
“I personally hated missing a game. There’s a big difference between suffering and being hurt. If you’re injured you’re probably out of the game, if you’re injured you play,” he added.
Unlike Suzuki, defenseman Jeff Petry sat out practice. Petry stayed away from the rink to undergo treatment, the Montreal organization said.
Petry had two assists in the Habs’ 8-4 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday night while averaging a respectable 20-33 playing time.
Kale Clague replaced Petry alongside veteran Joel Edmundson.
All the other players attended practice, including star goalkeeper Carey Price – and his blue kit. St-Louis said they put emphasis on certain aspects of the game that CH have been missing for a few games.
“It’s hard to get pucks on the net when there’s nobody there (in front of the net), especially in this league. We’re working on it and talking about it a lot. It’s about acknowledging the situation and doing the “job”. You have to do the “job”; It’s not just one guy who is responsible for getting on the net. He’s the closest guy to the net and he needs to realize it’s up to him to go. You have to do the ‘job’ because it’s your ‘job’,” St-Louis summarized.
Elsewhere, striker Rem Pitlick suffered a nasty crash against the railing mid-session during a practice session and appeared shaken. However, he got up and, after regaining his senses, resumed his place in the ranks.
The Canadians host the Minnesota Wild and their goaltender Marc-André Fleury at the Bell Center on Tuesday night. He will then look to end a five-loss streak, he who has posted a 2-8-1 record in his last 11 games.
Michael Pezzetta has a telephone hearing with the NHL’s Player Safety Division later today. The forward was still skating with his teammates.
Pezzetta found himself in hot water on Saturday after defeating Capitals forward TJ Oshie with a headbutt with just over four minutes into the game.
The CH number 55 received a small penalty as a result. He was never suspended or fined at Bettman’s circuit.
Pezzetta has five goals and three assists in 47 games with the Habs this season, along with 74 total team-high penalty minutes and a minus-8 differential.