A finalist for the Calder Trophy in his rookie season, Brendan Gallagher sounds like his feet are planted firmly on the ground as he heads into his sophomore year with the Habs.
“I played one year,” Gallagher told reporters on the first day of the Canadiens’ training camp Wednesday in Brossard. “It was an OK year, but it can get better. And there’s still a lot to be accomplished in the league and things to get done and learn.
“So I’m looking forward to this year. There’s lots of areas in my game that can grow and I just want to be a part of a winning team.”
Gallagher stuck to the same focus in his off-season training: lower body, power, quickness and agility.
“To be a smaller guy and to be effective you need to be the hardest-working guy on the ice,” he said. “You need to continue to work on your quickness and power. And for me every summer that’s my focus. So I come in every year trying to build on that and so far it’s been working.”
Gallagher also plans to stick with No. 11 after giving up No. 73 in February to Michael Ryder when the Canadiens acquired him from the Dallas Stars.
Fifty-five players are attending the camp, which kicked off Wednesday morning with medicals and physical testing. The rookies skated in the morning.
Alex Galchenyuk (left in photo above, with P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty) is also heading into his sophomore season after a successful rookie year.
“I just have to stay consistent because there were moments when I didn’t score for 12 games. And I didn’t score for 18 games. Then I had a stretch where I scored quite a bit towards the end of the (season),” said Galchenyuk, adding he wants to bring that momentum to this season.
At the Canadiens’ annual golf tournament last week, coach Michel Therrien said Galchenyuk will have more responsibilities and “time will tell us when he’s going to be ready to be a centreman.
“We all understand that Alex eventually will be a centreman. But he’s only 19 years old,” Therrien told reporters then.
Galchenyuk said he feels confident and comfortable on the wing.
“I trust the coaches. They know what they’re doing. I just have to go out there every time I’m on the ice and make something happen.”
Canadiens prospect Louis Leblanc, who has been working with sports psychologists, said he’s ready and focused. Leblanc, the Habs’ first-round draft pick in 2009, is coming off a disappointing season with the Hamilton Bulldogs after suffering a high-ankle sprain last fall.
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)
You can listen to what Leblanc had to say here:
And you can listen to what Tomas Plekanec had to say here: