Wednesday kicked off the official start of Montreal Canadiens training camp with the players undergoing team medicals.
For one player, in particular, having a good performance at this camp will be extremely important. Louis Leblanc didn't have the year he would have liked with the Hamilton Bulldogs last season. After being sidelined with a high ankle sprain Leblanc had difficulties trying to get his game going again: he had 10 goals and eight assists in 62 games in the AHL and played no games with the Canadiens.
"When you go into the corners you never really trust your ankle the way you did before" Leblanc said about coming back from his injury, but he did say he was able to put that injury behind him this summer. Habs general manager Marc Bergevin acknowledged at his season-ending press conference that Leblanc did take a step back last season compared to the previous year, where he played 42 games with the Canadiens.
Leblanc, a local boy from Kirkland, a suburb of Montreal, was selected 18th overall at the 2009 Draft that was held in Montreal at the Bell Centre. One can only imagine what the pressure is like for this young hockey player to succeed. Therefore, Leblanc has decided to work on his mental game with the help of a few different sports psychologists: Dr. Sylvain Guimond, who is the Habs sports psychologist, Dr. David Scott who works with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Dr. Wayne Halliwell.
"When you're younger you don't realize that the mental part of the game is important as well," Leblanc told the media. With Brian Gionta and George Parros both recovering from injuries and questionable for the start of the season, there is a possibility that if Leblanc has a good showing at this camp he might earn himself a spot back with the big club.
Other Camp Notes:
Tomas Plekanec arrived in Montreal on Tuesday after missing the Canadiens' annual golf tournament last week due to the passing of his father. Plekanec, being an only child, stayed back in his native Czech Republic for a little longer than usual to be with his mother during this difficult time.
Brendan Gallagher will continue to live with Josh Gorges once again this season. Gorges got married this summer in Hawaii.
Brian Gionta (bicep injury) and George Parros (shoulder) will take part in Thursday's practice but will not play in the scrimmage which is open to the public at 11am on Thursday in Brossard.
Players who will not practice due to injury are: Alexei Emelin (not expected back before December), Steven Quailer and Joonas Nattinen.