Max Pacioretty takes short skate

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal's Max Pacioretty went for a short skate on his own before the Canadiens' practice Friday, his first since suffering a severe concussion.

He suffered the concussion and a fractured vertebra after getting hit by Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara on March 8.

The hit sent Pacioretty into a padded stanchion supporting a glass partition at Bell Centre.

Coach Jacques Martin said the short skate is the start of Pacioretty's rehabilitation.

Pacioretty's agent, Alex Schall, said this week he does not expect the forward to be ready to play until training camp.

Martin said there was no change in the team's assessment that he could resume practicing as early as mid-April.

The injury and the NHL's failure to suspend Chara sparked a heated debate over hits to the head.

Also, defenseman Jaroslav Spacek practiced for the first time since he suffered a knee injury that required surgery. He has missed 11 games. Martin said he will travel with the team for Saturday's game in New Jersey but won't play.

He hopes to get Spacek back for at least one of the team's final three regular-season games next week.

Forward Jeff Halpern will miss the trip with a lower-body injury.