On Tuesday morning, Montreal Canadiens players were made aware of an incident between forward Alex Galchenyuk and his girlfriend, 27-year-old Chanel Leszczynski.
Leszczynski was arrested outside Galchenyuk’s apartment at 8 a.m. Sunday morning for domestic violence.
The Canadiens confirmed Tuesday that forward Devante Smith-Pelly was present at the scene of the arrest.
Both Galchenyuk and Smith-Pelly practised with the team Monday and Tuesday. The two players met with Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin after Tuesday’s practice.
Glachenyuk, Smith-Pelly and Bergevin were not made available for comment following the meeting.
When asked whether or not the early-morning timing of the incident implied Galchenyuk and Smith-Pelly were doing something improper, Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty said the accusation is unwarranted.
“I don’t think it’s fair to make assumptions based off time," he explained. "It’s not hockey related. We’re all professionals in this room. We do what we have to do to feel good every game.”
Canadiens assistant captain Brendan Gallagher said he’s become accustomed to the type of attention he and his teammates garner on and off the ice.
“It’s part of playing in this city,” said Gallagher. “Especially when you’re going through a tough time people are going to look for that stuff.”
Forward Lars Eller, 26, thinks age can have something to do with avoiding controversy off the ice.
“Everything that we do obviously gets noticed,” said Eller. “You learn to mature a lot faster, I think, and learn what to avoid.”
Meanwhile, the Canadiens are focused on trying to avoid losing their 15th game since Dec. 1 when the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Bell Centre Thursday.
Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry, who missed Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a lower-body injury, is expected to return to the lineup Thursday.
“I’m just taking it day-by-day, and I felt good today,” said Petry. “It was something that was nagging for quite a few games. I think it was just time to rest it and get things to calm down.”
Though Canadiens goaltender Carey Price won’t be ready to return to the lineup from his lower-body injury before the end of January, he skated for a second straight day with athletic therapist Graham Rynbend.
“It’s encouraging,” said Pacioretty. “If he wasn’t progressing then they probably wouldn’t have him in that stage of the protocol.
It’s been so long that you kinda lose track with the steps, and you can only talk to him so many times without feeling bad or getting anxious for him to return. But with a player of that calibre, it’s obviously best to stay patient and make sure that when he’s able to come back that he’s Carey Price.”
Price has only appeared in 12 of Montreal’s 43 games this season. He missed nine games from Oct. 29-Nov.20 before reinjuring himself in the second period of Montreal’s 5-1 win over the New York Rangers Nov. 25.
Also on the injury front, defenceman Tom Gilbert spent 30 minutes doing skating drills Tuesday after suffering a lower-body injury Dec. 22 against the Minnesota Wild.
Forward Dale Weise, who suffered an injury to his right arm in Montreal’s 5-1 win over the Boston Bruins Jan. 1, spent an hour on the ice Tuesday, and was shooting pucks with one of Montreal’s trainers.
Weise was originally slated to miss two to three weeks with the injury.