MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cristobal Huet was given the green light by a team doctor to return from a pulled groin.
Huet, injured in a shootout loss to Nashville on Dec. 1, was slated to back up starter Carey Price in a game Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With Huet back, third string goalie Jaroslav Halak will be retrned to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, according to coach Guy Carbonneau.
“It’s really good news for us,” said Carbonneau.
The news was not so good for winger Guillaume Latendresse, who will sit out the game with an injury neither he nor the coach would identify beyond it being in the upper body area. His spot will be taken by Michael Ryder, who was a healthy scratch in two of the last four games.
Latendresse said only that it did not occur when he went down to block a shot in the final minute of a 4-1 win in Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Winger Andrei Kostitsyn, who banged up a knee in Philadelphia, was able to play.
“They’re both OK, but we want Guillaume to take an extra couple of days,” said Carbonneau. “In a playoff game, both of them would have been in.”
Latendresse and Kostitsyn skated as both teams held optional workouts Saturday morning.
Also on the ice was defenceman Patrice Brisebois for his first skate since injuring a shoulder against Tampa Bay on Tuesday. His status remains day-to-day.
“It happened in the first period, in front of the net, when Chris Gratton hit me,” said Brisebois. “I was OK to stay in the game, but after the game I felt pain and the next day I couldn’t lift my arm.
“It’s the first time I skated and it felt good. There’s a couple of movements were I felt it, but that’s normal.”
On the Leafs, first-line forward Alexei Ponikarovsky was having trouble talking, but otherwise had no ill effects from accidentally biting his tongue while taking a hard open-ice hit from Bobby Holik in a 4-0 win in Atlanta on Friday night.
“I didn’t lose teeth, but I got nine stitches on my tongue, so it’s not very good,” he said.