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Canadiens' Galchenyuk remains on USA Hockey radar

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- About this time a year ago, Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk was preparing for a big international tournament in Russia.

Back then he was a forward with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League getting ready for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

A lot has changed for Galchenyuk in the past year, but one thing remains the same -- he's still thinking about a big international tournament in Russia. Only this time, it's the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"You think about it because it's coming up," Galchenyuk told "But you have no ideas. It's in the air."

Galchenyuk, 19, has remained on the radar for USA Hockey and a spot on the Olympic team because of his play the past two seasons. He enters the Canadiens game Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers third on the team in scoring with 20 points. That followed a rookie season that saw him finish with nine goals and 18 assists in 48 games.

"He's in his second year," U.S. general manager David Poile said last month during an interview with Fan 590 radio station. "He's only 19 years old but he's a really, really good player. We're not averse to choosing him over more veteran players if he's the best player."

USA Hockey will announce the Olympic roster on Jan. 1, following the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. But until that moment comes, Galchenyuk won't be thinking about a return trip to Russia in February.

"I would love to [play in the Olympics]," Galchenyuk said. "I don't think there's any player that doesn't want to do it. We'll see. I don't want to put that stuff in my mind."

Instead, Galchenyuk said he's just proud to hear himself mentioned as a player under consideration.

"Hearing my name come up in conversation is nice to hear," he said. "Obviously it's better to go than just hear your name."


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