Two games into the regular season, the Montreal Canadiens are down three regulars – four if you count Andrei Markov. Chris Campoli, Jaroslav Spacek and Michael Cammalleri are all on the outside looking in for now and, with the home opener set to go on Thursday, that’s not the season start Jacques Martin was hoping for.
“We hit the injury bug a little bit early, but that’s OK. We’ve got guys that can step up and play hard,” defenseman P.K. Subban said. “We’ve been through this sort of thing before. Guys have to step up.”
Stepping up has become standard territory for the Canadiens, especially with memories of an injury-filled season last year still ringing.
Campoli will be out at least until December, they say. He suffered a tear in his hamstring on opening night against the Maple Leafs after he stepped in a rut on the ice.
Spacek suffered an upper body injury on Sunday night after a hit from Winnipeg’s Evander Kane. Martin said that Spacek will be out two to three weeks with an injury to the ribs.
Cammalleri is the good news, if you can call it that, as he should be back in business in 10-14 days after suffering a laceration on his left leg on Sunday.
Without these guys, the Habs have only Hal Gill and Josh Gorges as blueliners with more than 82 games of experience in the NHL. Subban, with 81 games under his belt thus far, will be expected to pick things up as well, but it’ll be up to the veterans to keep things on an even keel for the opener.
“I think we’ll have to take on a bigger responsibility of keeping things calm back there, especially trying to enforce the fact of keeping things simple,” Gorges said. “It’s the home opener, the fans are going to be excited, and a lot of times you get a little overanxious and you make plays you normally wouldn’t. So I think for Hal and I to keep everyone calm, cool and collected, and just get them to play their games will be big.”
Up front, the loss of Cammalleri temporarily lets Travis Moen play with Erik Cole and Tomas Plekanec.