I’ve found one more reason to like Brendan Gallagher. I know, I know, I’m not alone here on this one. Gally has been a fan favourite for a couple of years for the very good reason that he’s the only Canadien who delivers the proverbial 110-percent night-in and night-out. Everyone else – from Patch to Subban to Plek – have good and bad games. Not Brendan Gallagher.
He’s always out in full force, working in his office just inches from the opposing goalie, driving him and his defensemen nuts. I mean did you see our good pal Zdeno Chara losing his mind Friday during the Winter Classic, hitting, pushing, cross-checking Gallagher?
And of course Habs fans love BG even more today given that he appeared to completely galvanize the previously moribund Canadiens with his return for the much-anticipated Bruins-Habs outdoor match-up in Foxborough, Mass. He had an goal and an assist in Montreal’s 5-1 pummeling of the hapless Bruins but more importantly the entire Habs team had more jump than we’ve seen since……well since Gallagher broke two fingers in his left hand blocking a Howitzer of a blast from Johnny Boychuk in a Bell Centre game against the New York Islanders Nov. 22.
The jury is in. The team’s real leader is this five-foot/nine-inch right-winger who’s only 23 years old and in just his fourth NHL season. Did you see Max Pacioretty in Foxborough? He was playing with the kind of intensity he never once showed in the six weeks that Gallagher was sidelined and the team was in a horrific tailspin, living through the worst December in the teams history.
Gallagher came back and from the first shift, began doing what he does best. He plants himself right in front of the other net and makes life a misery for everyone around him. And as always, they can punch him, they can kick him, but he’ll always come out with that you-know-what-eating grin and he always has the last laugh.
In the post-game interview, he said they all felt like kids at the candy-store taking part in this new NHL tradition but fact is that Gallagher looks like a kid running loose at the candy store every night that he laces up for the Habs. He looks like he’s having the time of his life and that enthusiasm is infectious.
Oh yeah so here’s the one more reason I love Gally. My cousin Tim mentioned yesterday that Gallagher is a Donegal name and turns out it is. It comes from the old Irish name Ó Gallchobhair and its roots are in County Donegal in the north of Ireland, where it is the most common surname. It means “foreign helper”, apparently originating from one of the first Gallaghers helping out some visiting Vikings.
I’m happy about all this because my mother’s family, the McGinleys, also hail from Donegal. She was born and raised in Glasgow but summered in Donegal with her relatives throughout her childhood. And what does McGinley mean? I’m glad you asked. Son of the fair-haired valourous one. I know, perfect.
- Brendan Kelly