Brendan Gallagher’s NHL season took an unfortunate turn this Sunday after the Montreal Canadiens right wing fractured two fingers on his left end which could see him miss a huge part of the current season for a very long time.
Gallagher was well on course to yet another career-best season but the dream died the moment he injured his hand while blocking a one-time slap shot from Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk at the 12th minute of the second period.
Gallagher is set to undergo surgery on two fractured fingers on Monday and head coach, Michel Terrien is not entirely sure if he will be able to call upon his star man for a long time. Speaking after the game, Therrien admitted that losing such an important player is a huge loss for the team but maintained that the team is not going to feel sorry for itself and will just have to deal with the loss.
“Every time you lose a player that has an important role on any team, it’s always a huge loss,” Therrien said. “He was playing his best hockey, obviously. He’s progressing every year, he’s still a young player. It’s a big loss, but what are we going to do? We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. That’s the way it is.”
Gallagher is the third best scorer for his team with 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists), just one behind linemates Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty.
After scoring nine goals in 22 games, Gallagher was set to surpass 30 goals for the first time in his career after scoring 15 goals in 44 games as a rookie in the 2012-13 season, 19 in 81 games in his second season and 24 in 82 games last season. Indeed, the youngster was in great form and was clearly going to achieve the milestone by the end of the season.
Cameras caught images of Gallagher’s mangled left right finger as he returned to the bench.
“It was pretty gross,” Boychuk said.
Boychuk was clearly affected by the sight of his shot hitting his opponent. The Islanders man has one of the hardest shots in the NHL and admitted that the injury didn’t look good.
“Oh yeah, that would hurt,” Boychuk said. “I mean, it’s a one-timer right on his finger, so I don’t think it’s good.”
The youngster dropped his left glove and his stick the moment the puck hit hum but rather than going back to the bench, tried to get back in the play. After skating somewhat aimlessly for a few seconds, he retreated to the bench and headed straight back to the dressing room.
Boychuk collected Gallagher’s gloves at the next stoppage and brought them back to his Canadiens backup goalie Mike Condon.
“That was definitely not encouraging seeing that,” Pacioretty said. “He’s a warrior. He plays through anything and he stayed out there on that shift and it says a lot about his personality and his character. I don’t know the extent of what it is, but it shows he’s a warrior, and we knew that before. We knew what he was made of. We’re going to miss him a lot if he misses any time.”
The Canadiens have suffered with multiple injury woes this season with the likes of Alexei Emelin, Torrey Mitchell and Devante Smith-Pelly also missing out on a lot of games due to injury.
Losing Gallagher however, would be an even bigger blow as he has been invaluable to Therrien’s game-plan for the past couple of seasons.