It’s time for a new approach with Alex Galchenyuk. If the plan is to keep Galchenyuk with the Montreal Canadiens, the team’s management and the coaching staff had better start coming up with a different way to get the best out of him. The 23-year-old, who’s in his sixth NHL season, has already authored a 30-goal campaign. He’s also gone long stretches of his career producing at a point-per-game clip. But it’s been far too long since we’ve seen him exert his dominance for any sustained period of time. A lot of that is on Galchenyuk. He needs to be properly prepared mentally and physically, willing to sacrifice to the expected level on the ice, willing to work at both ends of it, and he has to adhere to the system that’s been put in place. But some of Galchenyuk’s spotty play is on management and the coaching staff. And the way both parties have openly discussed his deficiencies on the ice, and the way they’ve short-leashed him at times, can’t possibly be helping his confidence. "A player has to do more than score goals," coach Claude Julien said after playing Galchenyuk a team-low 9:18 in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames. "That applies to everyone. So he has to be better without the puck, win battles along the boards, those things are important. In a tie game, he wasn’t that good tonight along the boards, so I decided to shorten my bench." There’s nothing wrong with doing that here and there. A big part of a coach’s job is keeping his players accountable, and Julien has made a habit of doing this with all of his players. It was just a game prior—in a 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues—that Julien benched Canadiens leading scorer Brendan Gallagher for over eight minutes after the winger took a penalty and followed it up with a giveaway in the neutral zone that resulted in a goal. And Julien didn’t mince his words the next day, when he said that Gallagher had an off night.
Time for Canadiens to reconsider how they deal with Alex Galchenyuk
Sportsnet | Dec 9