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Sports Stu Cowan: Canadiens' Paul Byron looks almost ready to return

11:59  14 december  2019
11:59  14 december  2019 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Injured Jonathan Drouin tries to keep slumping Canadiens' spirits up

  Injured Jonathan Drouin tries to keep slumping Canadiens' spirits up Jonathan Drouin can’t do anything to help his Canadiens teammates on the ice, so he’s doing his best to try and keep their spirits up off the ice. Drouin met with the media Friday morning in Brossard for the first time since requiring surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left wrist suffered during a 5-2 win over the Capitals in Washington on Nov. 15. Drouin met with the media Friday morning in Brossard for the first time since requiring surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left wrist suffered during a 5-2 win over the Capitals in Washington on Nov. 15. The Canadiens haven’t won another game since, going 0-4-2 without Drouin and Paul Byron, who suffered a knee injury in Washington that required surgery.

The Canadiens ’ annual Christmas visit to the Montreal Children’s Hospital is always a fun event, but it can also be heart-breaking to see so many sick kids. The one kid who really tore at my heart while covering the Canadiens ’ visit on Thursday was a little girl named Mia who looked to be about three

When the Canadiens claimed Paul Byron off waivers from the Calgary Flames the day before the 2015-16 NHL season started, he couldn’t really imagine himself becoming a leader and a key player on the team. “No, not really, to be honest,” Byron said about now being an assistant captain.

 Paul Byron practiced with the team on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, but is unlikely to play Saturday versus the Red Wings.© John Mahoney Paul Byron practiced with the team on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, but is unlikely to play Saturday versus the Red Wings.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

The Canadiens’ annual Christmas visit to the Montreal Children’s Hospital is always a fun event, but it can also be heart-breaking to see so many sick kids.

The one kid who really tore at my heart while covering the Canadiens’ visit on Thursday was a little girl named Mia who looked to be about three years old, was in a wheelchair and hooked up to IVs. She had a blanket wrapped around her and was clutching a little stuffed toy. The sadness in her face made it hard not to cry.

Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield part of Team USA preliminary roster

  Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield part of Team USA preliminary roster Not surprisingly, Cole Caufield has been named to the Team USA preliminary roster for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. The Canadiens selected Caufield in the first round (15th overall) at this year’s NHL Draft and the right-winger has 12-8-20 totals in 20 games this season as a freshman with the University of Wisconsin. Five of his goals have come on the power play. Caufield leads the NCAA with 79 shots and ranks second in goals. Another Canadiens prospect, defenceman Jordan Harris, was also among the 28 players named to the preliminary Team USA roster on Monday. The final roster will include 23 players for the world junior tournament, which will run from Dec.

It doesn’t look like the Canadiens will have Paul Byron in the lineup when they begin the 2018-19 NHL season in early October. The Canadiens announced Wednesday that Byron underwent surgery on his right shoulder and his recovery period is expected to be six months.

The Canadiens ’ Paul Byron is faster than a speeding Zamboni. OK, we already knew that. “He’s a great driver, so I look forward to seeing his side of the world and see what it’s like being a Formula Byron now lives year-round on the South Shore near the Canadiens ’ Brossard practice facility and is

The Canadiens’ Paul Byron sat down beside Mia at a craft table and for the next 20 minutes made a Christmas tree ornament for her while chatting with the little girl and her mom. Mia was too tired to help much in making the ornament, but by the time Byron was done and presented it to her you could see a bit of a smile on her face.

 Paul Byron practiced with the team on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, but is unlikely to play Saturday versus the Red Wings.© John Mahoney Paul Byron practiced with the team on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, but is unlikely to play Saturday versus the Red Wings.

“It’s hard,” Byron admitted afterwards. “My daughter, I remember her at three years old. To think back and think that could have been her, she could have been in a wheelchair and not feeling well that day. It is heart-breaking. But these little kids are tough… they’re really tough. A tremendous amount of courage and I know in the families how much passion they have for each other. It really brings perspective into our life.

Canadiens' Carey Price becoming like a big brother to Cayden Primeau

  Canadiens' Carey Price becoming like a big brother to Cayden Primeau Canadiens rookie goalie Cayden Primeau was asked after practice Friday in Brossard to describe his relationship with Carey Price. “I’m not sure … probably big brother, little brother,” Primeau said. “But he’s been nothing but great and super supportive. I try to stay out of his way, but like I said he’s been super supportive. So I can’t say any more nice things about him.” The big brother had the little brother’s back after Primeau recorded his first NHL victory Wednesday night, making 35 saves in a 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre.

But the Canadiens ’ Paul Byron turned out to be the lucky one after he moved into a house near the team’s Brossard practice facility with his family last Byron needed to do some work in the backyard this summer and his neighbour came over to take a look . “We were looking at my stairs (leading from

The Canadiens called up forward Ryan Poehling from the Laval Rocket just after 5 p.m. on Friday. That means Paul Byron — who practised with his teammates Friday for the first time since having knee surgery on Nov. Stu Cowan : Canadiens ' Paul Byron looks almost ready to return .

“We take for granted, I think, our health every day,” Byron added. “So every day that we have it we should be happy for it and enjoy every moment you can with your family.”

Byron’s own health took a hit on Nov. 15 when he suffered a knee injury during a 5-2 win over the Capitals in Washington that required surgery four days later .

As Byron was getting ready to leave the hospital on Thursday, I asked if he might be ready to make the Canadiens’ Western Canada road trip next week.

“I guess we’ll see tomorrow,” he said.

On Friday, Byron practised with his teammates in Brossard for the first time since the surgery and looked good skating on the fourth line with Nate Thompson and Riley Barber. Byron wasn’t available for interviews after practice, but coach Claude Julien said the speedy forward still hasn’t received the green light from the team’s medical staff to play in Saturday’s game at the Bell Centre against the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m., SNE, SN360, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio).

Detroit Red Wings at Canadiens: Five things you should know

  Detroit Red Wings at Canadiens: Five things you should know Here are five things you should know about the Canadiens-Detroit Red Wings game at the Bell Centre on Saturday (7 p.m., CITY, SN360, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio): The matchup: The Canadiens extended their win streak to three games with a 3-2 OT victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. That completed a sweep of a back-to-back set after they defeated the Penguins 4-1 Tuesday in Pittsburgh. The Red Wings are coming off a 5-2 home win over Winnipeg on Thursday, but that was their first victory since Nov. 12 and ended a 12-game skid.

Paul Byron knew it wasn’t going to be good news when he was called into the office of Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving following a practice on Oct. 5, 2015. “That’s never a good thing when that happens,” Byron recalled after the Canadiens practised Monday morning in Brossard.

The Canadiens ’ Paul Byron is one tough dude. You don’t make it to the NHL at 5-foot-9 and 162 pounds if you’re not tough. Byron isn’t big, but he’s built with lean muscle and looks like a bullet might bounce off of him.

The Canadiens called up Ryan Poehling from the AHL’s Laval Rocket just after 5 p.m. Friday, which suggests Byron isn’t ready to return to the lineup just yet.

Byron got off to a slow start this season with 1-3-4 totals in 19 games before getting injured.

“I thought Pauly was starting to turn the corner there just before the injury,” Julien said. “I know he had a bit of a slow start. He suffered that concussion at the end of last year and trained hard during the course of the summer. He wasn’t playing bad, it just was maybe a bit of a slower start. But he was finding his game there near the time that he got injured. He’s one of those guys that for the most part competes hard. At least if he’s not having his best game it’s not from lack of trying.”

No one will ever question Byron’s work ethic or his courage at 5-foot-9 and 158 pounds, refusing to back down from anyone. It was his refusal to turn down a revenge fight last March with the Florida Panthers’ MacKenzie Weegar — who is 6-foot and 200 pounds — that resulted in Byron suffering a concussion.

Thompson said it will be “huge” for the Canadiens to get a healthy Byron back in the lineup.

“Obviously, his speed and then his experience, leadership… everything,” Thompson said. “He can play at both ends of the rink really well. He’s a key guy for our hockey club and it’s good to have him back.”

Added Brendan Gallagher about Byron: “I’ve said it before… he does so much for us up and down the lineup. It’s hard to replace him. He’s like a Swiss army knife and wherever you put him he makes everyone better. I think seeing him on the ice is exciting for everyone.”

Byron’s injury allowed him to spend some extra time with his family — wife Sarah and their young children, Elianna and Brysen. The fact the Canadiens have only played three road games since his surgery also allowed him to stay close to the team during his recovery period.

“On game days I’m still kind of at the rink all day, even during the games I have to go in and work out and get treatments,” he said. “I spend as much time as I can with my kids. I love them with all my heart and want them to grow up and be happy.”

At the hospital on Thursday, it was really touching to watch Byron bring some happiness to another little kid.

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

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