Brendan Gallagher Returns at the Winter Classic:
Brendan Gallagher set his own timetable for a return, as he said that he wanted to be back for the 2016 NHL Winter Classic, and he was. While team doctors thought that the recovery process for his hand injury suffered in late November would keep him out of the lineup until mid-January, Gallagher was adamant about wanting to return by New Year’s day. John Lu of TSN was one of the first to report that Gallagher had resumed practice with the team on Boxing Day, which was a great sign for the Canadiens and their fans. There was a communal sigh of relief from fans, as they saw Gallagher take the ice for practice.
— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) December 26, 2015
Gallagher injured his hand after blocking a Johnny Boychuk slapshot on November 22nd. He fractured two fingers that required surgery, and he was out indefinitely. Seeing Brendan Gallagher back on the ice is a good sign for desperate Habs fans, as the team has slid down the standings in his absence. With Gallagher sidelined, the Canadiens saw their average goals scored per game drop from 3.61 GPG, to only 1.82 GPG. This steep drop in goals-for is a clear indicator of Gallagher’s importance to the Canadiens’ attack. Without one of their main scorers, and leaders, the Canadiens had been suffering. Canadiens fans have now realized just how important Gallagher is to the team.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) January 1, 2016
Gallagher’s triumphant return at the Winter Classic saw him score a goal, and add an assist – in a 5-1 Canadiens win. His return from injury sparked the Canadiens offence, which had struggled since he went down in November. At the beginning of the 2015-16 season, the Canadiens surprised many when they announced that Brendan Gallagher had been added as an alternate captain on the team. Through his absence, and now his return, the hockey world can be sure that Gallagher is truly a leader both on and off the ice for the Canadiens.
Brendan Gallagher is the ultimate example of a player who you love to have on your team, and who you hate to play against. This year, though, he proved that he was more than just an agitator, as he showed that he had offensive flare and leadership qualities that will surely make him a part of the Canadiens’ core for the foreseeable future.
The Habs look to rebound from a very lacklustre December, as they will attempt to ride the momentum from a big win on New Year’s day through the second half of the season. Having Gallagher back in the lineup is a relief among all Habs fans, as he is a proven performer, and a fan favourite.
The Canadiens rewarded Gallagher for his excellent play with a contract extension last season. He is now locked up until 2020-21, with an average annual salary of $3.75 million. This deal count turn out to be quite the steal for the Habs, as Gallagher is proving to be extremely valuable to the team, and as he is proving to be one of their best point-getters. Gallagher has tallied 21 points through 23 games thus far this season. The Canadiens are counting on Gallagher’s production to continue, as they have experienced scoring troubles as of late.
The Habs received some bad news in the last day or so, as they were informed that Carey Price still wasn’t even able to skate with the team. As they await the reigning league MVP’s recovery, the Canadiens look to turn around their recent struggles with Gallagher back in the lineup.
I’m a Montreal Canadiens columnist and lifelong Habs fan. Follow me on Twitter (@gregkatz19) for all kinds of hockey talk, and to be up to date on my newest articles. I previously wrote for Too Many Men on the Site, a part of Fansided NHL.