MONTREAL – You’d think that Brendan Gallagher might have taken a well-deserved break after claiming a gold medal at the World Hockey Championship in Russia in late May.
He didn’t, though, electing instead to get his offseason workout regimen underway back home in British Columbia. Coming off a standout performance in his debut for the Canadian senior side, Gallagher was eager to keep things rolling and build upon his success overseas.
“It was one of those things where after the season ended in Montreal, I took a week off and went golfing. Then, I obviously had to get back and start training for the Worlds. I trained for three weeks, then went over to Russia and played. By the time it was done, I was just ready to get back in the gym and start training again,” said Gallagher, who put up two goals and five points in 10 games for Team Canada. “I think I took like two days off when I got back to get adjusted to the time change, and then I got back to work.”
Once again this year, Gallagher has been training in Tsawwassen alongside the likes of fellow NHLers Milan Lucic and Lance Bouma, and BC natives Ryan Olsen, Spencer Humphries and Josh Nicholls, as part of a group led by his father, Ian, a strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer for countless amateurs and pros over the years.
“We just have fun coming back together every summer. We’re competitive in the gym. We know how to push each other. It makes coming to the gym a little more enjoyable. It’s important to have fun with the process. At the same time, we’re getting our work done. My dad’s figured it out to where it works for all of us,” explained Gallagher, whose on-ice workouts are being led by Shane Kuss, a renowned local skills instructor. “I’d say my program is right on schedule. It’s the same thing I’ve always done. Hopefully, I get the same results out of it.”
Despite battling the injury bug in 2015-16, the 24-year-old right-winger still managed to register his third consecutive 40-point campaign, amassing 19 goals and 40 points in 53 games. He’s hoping to add to that tally with the help of the reinforcements the Canadiens’ brass was able to add to the roster in late June and early July.
“As players, now it’s definitely on us. I think management has done everything they can to put us in a situation to win. Bringing in a guy like Shea Weber who has won gold medals, Andrew Shaw who has two Stanley Cups, and [Alexander] Radulov whose had a lot of success no matter where he played, getting to play with those guys is something I’m excited about,” said Gallagher, who fully expects all three additions to have an important impact off the ice, too. “All of them are going to be relied upon in the locker room to be leaders. They’ll all bring a very positive dynamic to our group.”
While Gallagher recently spent some quality time with Weber at a pair of events in BC – including his own Celebrity Softball Classic – he hasn’t had the opportunity to meet up with Shaw or Radulov yet. That first meeting likely won’t come until he returns to Montreal in mid-September, closer to the start of training camp which is just 35 days away.
“It’s getting to the point in the summer where you’re looking at how long it is until you get back to the rink. I think everyone’s starting to miss it. You’re starting to feel ready to go. You start to get antsy around this time of year,” mentioned Gallagher, who is looking forward to starting fresh come the season-opener in Buffalo on October 13th. “The exciting part is that everyone starts with zero points in the standings. Last year doesn’t matter anymore, unless you’re the Pittsburgh Penguins. Everyone starts from scratch and you go from there.”
And, as per usual, Gallagher certainly isn’t lacking in the motivation department.
“Every summer, I’m training for the same thing. The only things that motivate me are being a good teammate, being a good player for coaches and management, doing all of the things to wear that Montreal Canadiens with pride, and winning the Stanley Cup,” concluded Gallagher, whose focus has always been crystal clear. “It’s all about the Stanley Cup and doing whatever you can to prepare yourself individually to be a good player for your teammates.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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