Briere, 36, will return to the lineup on Tuesday to take on the Lightning after missing the last 10 games with a concussion while Emelin, the team’s leading hitter from a year ago, will make his season debut this weekend after missing the entire campaign recovering from offseason knee surgery.
“Over the past five days, I’ve been pushing harder and harder each day,” Briere told the team website. “I feel ready to come back, though I’ll still have to meet with the doctors, the team’s medical staff and the coaches.
“There’s no doubt I’m feeling better and ready to play.”
Briere will add some offensive punch to the Habs lineup and will play on a line with red-hot rookie Michael Bournival and veteran winger Rene Bourque.
As for Emelin, his return will finally give Montreal its projected top-six defense. The Russian rearguard, who recently signed a four-year, $16.4 million extension with the club, has developed a reputation as a hard-hitting guy that can log big minutes and take on the opposition’s top forwards.
Montreal plays twice this weekend — Friday in Columbus, Saturday at home against the Rangers — and it’s unclear at the moment which game Emelin will dress for (if not both.)
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.