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Max Pacioretty plans on taking it easy until mid-July

Calgary Flames v Montreal Canadiens

MONTREAL, CANADA - JANUARY 17: Henrik Karlsson #35 of the Calgary Flames stosp the puck on an attempt by Max Pacioretty #67 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on January 17, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Richard Wolowicz

The Montreal Canadiens just finished a grueling season, but Max Pacioretty’s strong campaign was one of the few pleasant surprises. In some way, you almost wonder if the Habs should encourage him to keep doing what he did last summer, but Pacioretty thinks it’s wiser to take his current approach (which is to catch his breath).

Maybe it didn’t seem noticeable because he had an outstanding sophomore campaign (33 goals, 65 points), yet Pacioretty believes that a rigorous off-season left him a bit exhausted during the season, as he told Dave Stubbs.

“I took so much time off with my injury, and I was so concerned about my head, that I just wanted to skate as much as possible,” Pacioretty said. “It caught up with me a couple times during the year.”

He’s enlisting his parents to try to take a much-needed hockey hiatus.

“I’m having my parents hide my hockey bag for a bit,” Pacioretty said. “I’ve got a charity game in the middle of July and I think that’s when I’m going to pull the bag out and dust it off. I’ll try to skate as much as possible from that date forward. But not until then.”

He’s probably earned the right to take a breather, really. Depending upon how next week goes, he could very well have a Bill Masterton Trophy to his name, too. (Read about that and more in the Montreal Gazette article.)