The story of the day stood on a wood box in the Canadiens dressing room so he could be seen by this rolling ocean of cameras and microphones and notebooks, conversing with the unruffled ease of a seasoned veteran.

The thing of it is, Alex Galchenyuk is a month shy of his 19th birthday, a major-junior Sarnia Sting superstar who's the veteran of precisely zero professional games.

His excellent adventure was to begin in roughly 30 hours, Galchenyuk's maiden NHL contest coming in the Habs' nationally televised season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Not far away was another young forward, grinning goofily as the attention found him in smaller if steady waves. Brendan Gallagher, a comparative fossil of 20, had survived the Canadiens' morning cut of seven players; the Hamilton Bulldogs rookie — all of three dozen pro games beneath his belt — will begin the season with the Habs, if not necessarily in Saturday's starting lineup.

That Canadiens' traditional training-camp headline Andrei Markov is not major news heading into the first of 48 games this shortened season is a big story unto itself.

There's no need to catalogue this veteran defenceman's miseries of the past few seasons beyond relating that he's played just one season-opener the past three years, skating in only 73 of the Canadiens' 272 games since 2009-10.

But now, touch wood, Markov is healthier and fitter than he's been in as long as anyone can remember. The 34-year-old Russian will be a vital part of the Canadiens defence this season, a rock-solid defender and the quarterback of the team's power play that finished 2011-12 ranked a gosh-awful 28th at 14.3 per cent.