Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk will still be a teenager when the 2013-14 NHL season opens, but the 19-year-old knows where he wants to be to celebrate his 20th birthday on Feb. 12.
That’s the same day the Olympic hockey tournament begins in Sochi, Russia.
“Of course, I’d really like to be in Sochi,” Galchenyuk told The Canadian Press this week from USA Hockey’s Olympic orientation camp in northern Virginia. “That would be the best, that’s obviously my first choice, but we’ll see.”
Team USA will play its first game in Sochi on Feb. 13 against Slovakia.
“Obviously there are a lot of talented guys here, but I think that I’m a skilled guy, I can make plays and I think that’s always a huge thing on the (larger international ice surface),” Galchenyuk told The Canadian Press about his chances of making Team USA. “Also I’m versatile and can play either wing or centre so that shouldn’t be an issue.”
Canadiens teammate Max Pacioretty was with Galchenyuk at the Team USA camp, which wrapped up Tuesday.
“It’s a short tournament in a different country, new teammates. It’s a lot of quick adjustments,” Pacioretty told The Canadian Press. “But (Galchenyuk’s) shown that he can deal with adversity at a young age and that should help him. Whether it be recovering from (a torn ACL in 2012) or whether it be overcoming a mid-season slump and being able to break out of it, that adversity is probably going to make him stronger moving forward in the future. It’s good to see that (USA Hockey) and the hockey world think so highly of him already.”
(Gazette file photo/John Kenney)