BROSSARD – In today’s notebook: Subban on his performance against the Islanders and Therrien on Gallagher’s choice of footwear.
These boots were made for…: Since the beginning of the season, Brendan Gallagher has been turning a lot of heads in the NHL. Whether among his teammates or the Habs faithful, you’ll find few people who don’t agree that the 20-year-old forward has been a great addition to the team, but you’d have a hard time finding someone who has noticed his efforts more than the Canadiens’ head coach.
“He has an exceptional work ethic and he plays with a lot of passion. He’s a young man who’s open to learning whatever he can from his teammates and he’s well-liked by everybody. How can you not like him? He’s always got a smile on his face and he comes ready to work every day,” said Michel Therrien, who jokingly compared the young winger to a construction worker coming in for a day on the job. “He shows up with his lunch pail and his work boots, ready to go – never in high heels, that’s for sure. It’s a pleasure to coach a kid like him and the rest of the guys really appreciate seeing him coming in always ready to give 100%.”
Class is always in: As he’s mentioned on multiple occasions since his arrival in Montreal, P.K. Subban considers himself a sponge, always ready to absorb as much hockey knowledge as possible. Luckily, the Canadiens coaching staff is up to the task of imparting whatever wisdom they can on the talented defenseman.
“I’m always looking to get better and I know the goal of our coaches now is to make me the best possible player I can be. Whether it’s Michel [Therrien], Jean-Jacques [Daigneault], Gerard [Gallant] or any of them, it’s important to always remember that they want to see you reach your peak as a player. That’s how it is for every one of the 23 guys here,” underlined Subban, fresh off a two-goal performance on Thursday night in Long Island.
Kept on the bench for a stretch at the beginning of the second period, Subban made the most of his ice time when he was sent back over the boards for a shift, hammering a slap shot into the back of the Islanders’ net for his second goal of the night. Despite his 24:26 of ice time, lots of questions were still directed his way about his time on the bench following Friday morning’s practice in Brossard.
“It’s all a question of responsibility. What’s really important isn’t what one guy thinks, but what’s best for the team. The important thing is to be able to respond,” pointed out Subban. “What’s tough is whenever a player gets benched or disciplined by the coach, they need to come out here and defend it, and that’s not something that’s very beneficial for the team.”
Good Gally: He may have gotten a fair share of praise heaped on him in recent weeks, but as Brendan Gallagher’s game continues to improve on the ice, his attitude has stayed the same as it was when he showed up to training camp in January. As more than a few have guessed at this point, that’s all part and parcel of the secret to the Edmonton-born winger’s success.
“For me to come to work and play for the Montreal Canadiens is pretty easy and I get excited every time I come to the rink. We’re lucky to be able to do what we do. I’m aware of how fortunate we are and it helps make you want to be a consistent player,” shared Gallagher, not hesitating to give Therrien and the rest of the Canadiens coaching staff a big part of the credit for this breakout year.
“He’s been great to me and given me a really good opportunities all year. Every time you need that little push, he’s always been there to provide it, and it’s just something I really appreciate,” added Gallagher, who currently boasts a plus-10 differential this season. “When he puts you on the ice, you want to try and reward him with a good shift and do whatever you can do to help the team. Him and the rest of the coaching staff have been great.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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