The Canadian regained a part of his identity for the second week of his training camp, as Brendan Gallagher joined his teammates on the ice.
Gallagher, who missed the start of camp for family reasons, trained for the first time on Monday. He found himself to the right of Tyler Toffoli and Nick Suzuki, in place of the injured Cole Caufield on Tuesday.
In the absence of Shea Weber, Carey Price and Paul Byron, and due to the departures of Phillip Danault, Tomas Tatar and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the number of familiar faces was a little lower than usual when the camp started. of the Tricolor.
“It’s a different experience, but we understand the circumstances,” Toffoli said Tuesday. Carey and Paul are still around the team and I had talked a bit with Gally. “
For his part, Gallagher said he is used to the changes as he prepares to play a 10e season with the Canadian.
“Weby was a big hunk and he continues to be an important member of the team,” added Gallagher. He’s in touch with the guys every day. He had a significant presence, and the players will have to take over as a group of leaders. “
“There are a lot of new faces, but I can’t wait to see what they bring. “
Gallagher admitted that the group that reached the Stanley Cup final last season was particularly special. He had said over and over again that from the first day of camp last January, everyone was convinced the team could make it to the end.
His mentality will not be different this season.
“I was listening to the Ryder Cup this weekend, and when the European team was lagging behind, Shane Lowry said it was possible to win with 1% chance if everyone was engaged at 100 %, Gallagher said. The seasons will be tough if you don’t believe it. The camp therefore serves to ensure that everyone believes in it. And that’s how a team becomes dangerous. “
The Canadiens will not name a captain to replace Weber this season. Gallagher will be the only player to wear an “A” on his jersey every night, at least to start the season.
“His attitude, his work ethic, his way of competing; he is ready to do anything to help the team win, said the head coach of the Canadiens, Dominique Ducharme, speaking of Gallagher. When we lost his services last season, I said we were missing his spice. When he’s there, the guys want to follow him with his style of play. “
Gallagher, however, finds himself orphaned by his two companions of trio of the last seasons: Danault and Tatar.
Whoever has two campaigns of at least 30 goals to his name does not yet know with whom he will start the season. However, Ducharme has claimed he doesn’t see Gallagher’s role changing this winter.
“We know what he’s going to give every night, and the guys who end up with him know what to expect from him,” Ducharme said. He’s going to be competitive. He has his way of scoring goals. It won’t change depending on his trio mates. I don’t think he needs any help. I think he’s more of the type of player who makes his linemates even better. “
Now 29 years old and passing the first season of a six-year, $ 39 million contract, Gallagher has refuted any theory that he was entering a new phase in his career.
“My expectations are always the same, which is to continue to improve myself,” he said. I’ll never think I’m headed in the wrong direction. I see the next season as a new challenge and a new opportunity for me. I’ve had different roles over the years, and I see it as different experiences. “
“I know I will have my chances. I want to go out on the ice with my teammates and do my job every night. I am ready to do whatever I am asked to do. “
And this is what explains the confidence of the Canadian in Gallagher.