With time ticking down on the pre-season, the Montreal Canadiens trimmed their roster by sending eight players down to Hamilton Thursday afternoon.
Michael Blunden, Martin St-Pierre, Christian Thomas, Nick Tarnasky, Patrick Holland, Magnus Nygren, Darren Dietz and Greg Pateryn were those who were cut. The Canadiens training camp roster is now made up of 15 forwards, 10 defencemen and two goaltenders.
Michel Therrien will use his final game of the pre-season to prepare his veterans for opening night. Among the veterans in the lineup that Therrien will ice on Thursday, there will be two rookies that will get another opportunity to prove themselves; one being Michael Bournival, who has been the most impressive young forward at camp this year. The 21-year-old centerman was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Ryan O'Byrne back in 2011. So far he has shown he isn't too far away from being ready to play in the NHL.
The other rookie in the lineup is defenceman Nathan Beaulieu, who has been sidelined for most of camp with a shoulder injury. Beaulieu played his first game of the pre-season Wednesday night in Ottawa and management would like to get another look at their 2011 first round pick.
As expected, Brian Gionta returns to the lineup for the first time since injuring his bicep back in May. Douglas Murray was able to practice with his team for the first time in a week. Murray is dealing with a lower-body injury and is still not confirmed if he'll be able to play on October 1.
Players at Thursday's morning skate:
Gionta, Bouillon, Briere, Subban, Bourque, Gorges, Pacioretty, Parros, Markov, Plekanec, Desharnais, Dumont, Murray, Price and Budaj.
Those that played last night in Ottawa were given the morning off.
Players in the lineup tonight vs. the Ottawa Senators:
Gallagher, Plekanec, Bourque, Gionta, Gorges, Galchenyuk, Moen, Beaulieu, Briere, Bournival, Desharnais, White, Bouillon, Diaz, Pacioretty, Subban, Markov, Eller, Price and Budaj.