MONTREAL – Michael Cammalleri will be out for about six weeks with a knee injury but the good news for the Montreal Canadiens’ top scorer is that he won’t need surgery.
Cammalleri suffered the injury during a 3-2 overtime loss Saturday in Ottawa when he fell awkwardly into the boards after being hit by Anton Volchenkov.
“I knew it was my knee right away,” Cammalleri told reporters after the Canadiens’ practice ahead of their game against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.
The forward said he had previously injured his other knee and “I felt a similar feeling.”
Cammalleri said he told the coach he wanted to go back on the ice after the incident to see if he could continue but was persuaded to get examined first.
“I got hit pretty hard too so I had to figure out where I was first,” he said with a chuckle. He took the injury philosophically when asked about the frustration of getting knocked out of the game.
“It is what it is. I’ve had a few injuries before and it teaches you how to deal with these things a little better. You try and stay as upbeat and as positive as you can.”
The sniper said that while he is a “little bit” upset and angry at what happened, “I’m trying to think of the positive now and move forward.”
Cammalleri added that usually he tries to be on his guard to avoid being taken out so he is a bit frustrated with himself. He said Volchenkov might also think twice about the play but added the Senator has always played fair with him.
The 27-year-old is one of Montreal’s top offensive guns with a team-leading 26 goals in 56 games.
Asked about the impact his absence might have on the team, Cammalleri pointed out the Habs bounced back to tie the Senators before losing in overtime. He acknowledged the team has been hit hard by injuries.
“This is a little cliched but you’ve got to do what you always do,” he said, noting the Habs lineup is capable of playing a “good team game.”
“Early in the year, we had a lot of injuries and we found ways to kind of band together and scratch out some wins against some good teams and there will be a lot of the same here.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in our group here.”
He said he should be back in time for the playoff race and “then it’ll be the sprint to the end.”
The Canucks were to have defenceman Sami Salo back after he missed four games with a groin injury but were still missing defencemen Willie Mitchell, out since Jan. 16 with a concussion, and Kevin Bieksa, who has missed 14 games with a leg injury.
Coach Alain Vigneault said Mitchell’s condition appears to be improving.
“I think he’s doing much better,” he said. “(Monday) was his best day, so hopefully he’ll be able to do more in the next little while.
“The headaches are gone, but I’m no doctor.”
The Canucks hope to have Mitchell back before the end of their eight-game road trip leading into the Olympic break.