Updates from practice – March 23

BROSSARD — The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex on Wednesday.

Jonathan Drouin and Nick Suzuki didn’t practice because they were given maintenance days.

Brendan Gallagher was also absent. He rejoined the team after battling a non-COVID-related illness, but wasn’t ready to practice yet.

Carey Price stayed home with a non-COVID-related illness.

Newcomers Justin Barron and William Lagessonboth of whom were acquired at the trade deadline, participated in their first practice with the rest of the group.

During his press conference, interim head coach Martin St-Louis indicated that no decisions have been made regarding Barron and Lagesson’s playing status for upcoming games yet.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: New to training! 🙌The new guys at practice!#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/ZcdIfXSWEM


Barron: Inspired by Alex Pietrangelo

Barron made his NHL debut in December, playing two games for the Colorado Avalanche.

With that brief experience under his belt, the 20-year-old defenseman is hungry for the opportunity to see action with the Canadians this season.

“It just kind of gives you a taste for the League and gets your feet wet. If I get in a game here, I’ll be more comfortable because I played those two games,” said Barron, who was enjoying a productive campaign with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles before being shipped to Montreal. “It’s obviously a much different League than the AHL, much faster and the guys have more skill, but those two games helped me feel more comfortable out there with the team today.”

Video: Justin Barron on seizing his luck with Montreal

Once the deal was done on Monday, Barron received a text message from fellow Habs prospect and blueliner Kaiden Guhle.

They were teammates on Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.

“He was pretty excited for me. I think we both realize there’s a decent chance we’ll be playing together again here someday. He’s a great player. We did pretty well last year at World Juniors and had good chemistry,” mentioned Barron. “I look forward to playing with him again.”

The Halifax native also identified Alex Pietrangelo as his NHL role model.

“He’s a guy I’ve watched a lot in the last six or seven years. I just really like his game. He’s a great skater, he’s got good size, and he’s one of those guys who really does play in all situations,” noted Barron. “He can play power play and penalty kill, and he’s obviously a great leader as well.”

The former 25th-overall selection of the Avalanche also ingratiated himself to his new fan base rather quickly by answering a few questions in French.

Barron attended French immersion school back home where he honed his language skills.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: This account is bilingual, and so is Justin Barron. 🤓#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/hcdGnVSv4h


Welcome aboard, William!

Lagesson was on the road with the Oilers in Denver when he learned that he’d been traded.

In fact, the 26-year-old blueliner was just about to hop on the ice for the morning skate at Ball Arena.

“I found out I couldn’t go on because I was getting moved. I wasn’t told where at first, then [general manager] Ken Holland called and explained the situation,” said Lagesson. “I stayed an extra night in Colorado and then flew here. I didn’t pack a lot, so I don’t have a lot of clothes. I guess I’ll have to go shopping a little today.”

Video: William Lagesson on joining the Canadians

Buying new threads aside, the Swede believes he’s “a good fit” for the Canadians, and he insists this move is “a great opportunity” to take another step in his career.

A fourth-round pick in 2014, Lagesson has 57 games of NHL experience with Edmonton, including 30 appearances this season.

“I just want to play regularly and get some more confidence,” added Lagesson. “What I’ve got to improve a little bit is my offensive game, join the rush a little bit more and make some plays. That will come if you play some minutes, but you can’t forget what brought you to the NHL, and that’s being a good defender, so that’s got to be my main focus.”

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: William Lagesson on his playing style.#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/rYA3eKyhJI


St-Louis on Schueneman: “I really like the way he carries himself”

Corey Schueneman continue to impress both his teammates and team brass alike.

St-Louis is among the 26-year-old defenseman’s many fans.

“I really like the way he carries himself off the ice,” praised St-Louis. “But also on the ice, he plays with a lot of poise and confidence. It’s something you need at this level as an undrafted guy to make your mark and stick around.”

Video: DAL@MTL: Schueneman winds up for slap shot from point

Like Schueneman, St-Louis was also undrafted.

The Hall of Famer was asked if he has a “soft spot” for players who aren’t selected.

“I don’t know if I have a soft spot. I have a soft spot for guys that come to work everyday and want to win the day,” affirmed St-Louis. “I have a soft spot, whether you’re drafted or a first-rounder, I have a soft spot for guys that are the best versions of themselves, even if it’s not a great day for them.”

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