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Red Wings' Weiss: Montador was a 'great teammate'

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — The news stunned Stephen Weiss, just as did to people Sunday all around the NHL.

Former defenseman Steve Montador, who played 571 games with six teams, died Sunday in his home in Ontario. He was 35.

Montador and Weiss were teammates on the Florida Panthers from 2005-08.

"It was very shocking," Weiss said about hearing the news. "I got a text message from another one of my buddies when we were just walking to go to practice.

"It really hasn't sunk in yet.

"Monty was one of the most kind, generous guys you'd ever want to meet in the game. A great teammate. He was willing to do a lot of things in the community where he was, with whatever team."

Montador spent this past season in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League.

"He's been overseas playing so it hasn't been as easy keeping in touch," Weiss said. "But he's one of those guys where you'd just kind of pick up where we left off. We'd try to touch base a few times over the summer."

Montador left the Russian team after dealing with the effects of a concussion. He had at least one other reported concussion in 2012 while playing with the Blackhawks, and dealt with its effects into the next season.

"I knew that he'd gotten dinged a couple of times and he was having rouble with that," Weiss said. "But that's as far as I know. I couldn't tell you if he was struggling on a day-to-day basis.

"Like any sport there's things that can happen when you're playing hockey. It's a fast game with big, fast people and it's a contact sport. I don't know if that played any part in it at all.

"He was one of my good buddies in the game. I was close to Monty and I'm going to miss him."

Cleaning things up

Coach Mike Babcock didn't like the turnovers the Red Wings had in Saturday's 5-4 shootout loss to Winnipeg.

Babcock wants cleaner entries into the offensive zone and less carelessness with the puck.

"The last game we had things going our way and then you turn the puck over and it's hard to be organized when you turn the puck over," Babcock said. "We have to keep it out of our net for sure. We can't give up so many goals (four each the last two games). We have to take care of the puck better."

When the Red Wings turn the puck over, Gustav Nyquist said, they can't play the quick-paced game they want, especially against another fast, quick team such as Montreal.

"We want to be a fast team but when we turn the puck over, we're not a very fast team," Nyquist said. "That slows us down. But for sure we want to be a quick team, and they want to play fast.

"It should be a fast-paced and exciting game."

Ice chips

With a Chris Brown concert setting up at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings trudged into the cold and practiced at Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett.

… Jimmy Howard will get the start in net Monday night against the Canadiens, Babcock said.

… Babcock raved about Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban, a former Norris Trophy winner who was on the Canadian gold-medal winning 2014 Olympic roster, but rarely played in the tournament.

"I love him," Babcock said. "He was an important part of the team. He was positive every day, he practiced like a mad man and he was around his teammates.

"He was great. He had great pride in being part of the Canadian team and was a great teammate. He can play for me anytime he wants."

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

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Canadiens at Red Wings

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Outlook: The Canadiens have moved ahead of Tampa Bay and the Red Wings to lead the Atlantic Division…Montreal has won the previous two games against the Red Wings this season…G Carey Price leads the league with .934 save percentage and second in goals-against average (1.98) and wins (31).