MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens returned prospects Brendan Gallagher and Michael Bournival to their junior teams and assisgned forward Joonas Nattinen to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL.
The five-foot-eight Gallagher was one of Montreal's most impressive forwards in camp. He returns to the Vancouver Giants of the WHL while Bournival returns to the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL.
The cuts reduce the team's training camp roster to 32 players, including nine who are injured.
The injured list includes top defenceman Andrei Markov, who is recovering from his second right knee operation in as many seasons. He was to have the knee examined by a doctor on Friday.
''Markov's rehab is going well,'' said coach Jacques Martin. ''He's skating on his own and continues to work on building his strength.
''We knew from the start he wouldn't be ready for the start of the season, so it's on schedule.''
Forward Max Pacioretty missed practice for family reasons.
Montreal ends its pre-season schedule Saturday night in Quebec City against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts beat the Canadiens 4-0 in Montreal on Thursday night.
The Canadiens are 1-6-0 in the pre-season.
Martin said he is less concerned with the team's record than in how the players are performing.
''I addressed it with the team today, we have to be better in our execution,'' he said.
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