Getty

Habs prospect Reway: ‘It’s going to be difficult’ in comeback from heart condition

BROSSARD, Quebec (AP) Martin Reway was happy just to be on the ice with other prospects when the Montreal Canadiens opened rookie camp Thursday.

The 22-year-old Slovak missed a full season recovering from a heart problem, setting back the development of one of the most gifted players in the Canadiens’ system.

Reway would not say exactly what the illness was, other than it was a virus that put him in hospital for a month and required most of a year to overcome.

“After a long time, it’s a great opportunity for me to be back,” the 5-foot-8, 170-pound forward said. “I know it’s going to be difficult to get on track again but I’m working hard in practice here, trying to get better and I’m hoping it’s going to go as quickly as possible.”

The Canadiens are just as anxious to see what effect a year off has had on Reway, who dazzled while leading underdog Slovakia to a bronze medal at the 2015 world junior championship.

He was drafted in the fourth round in 2013, while he was putting up 112 points in 90 games over two seasons with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He later played for Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic and had a short stint with Fribourg in Switzerland before falling ill.

Doctors found a problem during a routine checkup a week before Reway was to leave for the Canadiens’ rookie camp last summer.

“I didn’t feel well so they kept me there and found out I had a serious problem with the heart, so I had to rest,” he said. “I had high fever. It happened so quickly I don’t know. I wasn’t able to do any workouts or any movements in the first three or four months. When you’re a hockey player, you know how hard it is to stop doing what you love. I had to rest up for a bit. But when you come back, you’re more excited, I think.”

Reway spent the season resting and resuming the economics studies he’d let slide when he joined Gatineau. He described his year as a “bore,” adding “I hope I’m not going to have to study any more because I’m not interested. I spent more time with my family. That was the positive part of the virus.”

Now he wants to make up for lost time. Reway received the green light by Canadiens doctors to resume skating five weeks ago and was working out with a Slovak team before heading to camp.

On the first day, he didn’t look up to full speed but said his fitness will come gradually. He’s to take part in the main camp next week. It would be a longshot for him to make the NHL club this season, so he’s expected to begin the season with team’s AHL affiliate, which starting this season will be based nearby in Laval.

“I was surprised that my hands weren’t as bad as I expected,” he said. “Obviously, the legs, the cardio, weren’t that good, but that’s understandable after a year of not playing.

“Now I think it’s getting better every day that I’m on the ice. I believed all the time that I was going to come back. Sometimes in life, the things that happen to you, you can’t change. You have to fight it. I’m really happy I came through. It’s a good experience for me and I hope nobody’s going to see the difference.”

Reway said no longer needs to take medication and is confident there should be no further problems with his heart.

Reway was among 23 prospects in camp. They leave Friday for a rookie tournament in Toronto against Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators hopefuls.

Scroll Down For:

    The Buzzer: MacKinnon the hero; Lundqvist gives up zero

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    Players of the night:

    Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes:

    Teravainen picked up two goals and an assist in Carolina’s 4-2 win over the New York Islanders, while Aho had a goal and two helpers. It was a positive weekend for the ‘Canes as they were able to pick up victories over Buffalo and New York on Saturday and Sunday.

    William Karlsson, Vegas Golden Knights:

    The Golden Knights, who are currently second in the Pacific Division, took down the division-leading Kings, 4-2, thanks to a pair of goals from Karlsson in the first period.

    Just a hunch, but Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is probably going to want this one back:

    Highlights of the night: 

    The Hurricanes may have come up with the victory, but it was Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy that scored the most impressive goal of the game, as he split two players before beating Cam Ward.

    Nathan MacKinnon was up to his old tricks, as he helped the Avs come back to beat the Red Wings. MacKinnon registered the primary assist on Carl Soderberg‘s game-tying goal with under a minute remaining in regulation. He also added this incredible goal in overtime:

    Who knew that Ducks defenseman Josh Manson had these kind of moves?

    Factoids of the Night:

    King Henrik is moving up the all-time list:

    Hey, shutouts are never easy, so the fact that King Henrik has 63 of them is pretty impressive. He had to make a key save on Mike Hoffman in the first period:

    Ducks goalie John Gibson faced a lot of rubber. He turned away 50 of 52 shots in a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers.

    Suspensions of the Night: 

    Sunday was a big night for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, as they handed out two suspensions.

    The first one was given to Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas for his slash to the back of Jets forward Mathieu Perreault’s head. Gudas will sit for 10 games. He’ll also forfeit over $408,000 in salary. 

    Predators forward Austin Watson was also disciplined for boarding Avalanche rookie Dominic Toninato. Watson, who isn’t a repeat offender, was suspended for two games. 

    Hall of Fame Tribute of the Night: 

    The Ducks players wore Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne’s jerseys during the pre-game warmup. As you probably remember, both players entered the Hockey Hall of Fame last week.

    I prefer the white “Kariya” jersey, but that’s just me.

    Scores:

    Hurricanes 4, Islanders 2

    Avalanche 4, Red Wings 3 (OT)

    Rangers 3, Senators 0

    Golden Knights 4, Kings 2

    Ducks 3, Panthers 2

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    Austin Watson suspended two games for boarding Dominic Toninato

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    The NHL’s Department of Player Safety is working overtime on Sunday night, as they’ve handed out a pair of suspensions.

    Moments after announcing Radko Gudas’ 10-game suspension, the league handed a two-game ban to Predators forward Austin Watson for boarding Avs rookie Dominic Toninato.

    Unlike Gudas, Watson has no history of being fined or suspended during his NHL career.

    Here’s the league’s full explanation of their decision to suspend Watson:

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    Radko Gudas suspended 10 games for slashing Mathieu Perreault over the head

    Getty
    10 Comments

    We all knew that Radko Gudas would receive a suspension for his slash to the back of Jets forward Mathieu Perreault‘s head, but we didn’t know how long he’d be forced to sit out.

    On Sunday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced that Gudas has been suspended for 10 games for the incident.

    The league confirmed that the fact that the Flyers defenseman is a repeat offender played against him in this case.

    Check out the Department of Player Safety’s full explanation of the suspension:

    The suspension will also cost him just over $408,000 in salary, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. Ouch!

    “He got the meaty part of the neck,” Perreault said after the game, per TSN.ca  “It could have been worse, I guess.

    “He apologized in the penalty box, but when you look at the replay, it looks like he did it on purpose. It wasn’t an accident. He’s been known for doing stuff like that, so I certainly don’t appreciate it. I’m sure the league will take care of it.”

    Gudas served the first game of the suspension on Saturday. He’ll be eligible to return to the Flyers lineup on on Dec. 12 against Toronto.

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    Flyers will host Penguins in outdoor game at Lincoln Financial Field in 2019

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    The battle of Pennsylvania will take a new twist, as the NHL announced that the Philadelphia Flyers will be hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field (home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles) on Feb. 23, 2019.

    This will be the second time that these two teams play each other in an outdoor game. Last season, the Penguins beat the Flyers, 4-2, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

    “It’s always a special opportunity to take the game back to its roots and have NHL players skate outdoors,” Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said in a release. “We competed against the Flyers outdoors at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh 2017 and look forward to completing the in-state ‘home-and-home’ series at Lincoln Financial Field in 2019. It should be a great atmosphere.”

    This will be the fifth time that the Penguins are involved in an outdoor door since 2008. They won a shootout decision against Buffalo (2008), they lost a home game to Washington (2011), they lost in Chicago (2014) and they beat the Flyers earlier this year.

    It’s the second time the Flyers host an outdoor game (the first one was at Citizens Bank Park baseball stadium). The game at Lincoln Financial Field will be the fourth outdoor game for the Flyers. They lost in Boston in overtime (2010), they dropped home decision to the Rangers (2012), and they had the loss to Pittsburgh last year.

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.