Gallagher's chances in his own hands: Don Hay
By Steve Ewen, The Province
August 9, 2011
Brendan Gallagher tapes up as he attends the Canadian national junior team summer development camp at Rexall Place in Edmonton.
Photograph by: Bruce Edwards, Edmonton Journal
The one guy who definitely wasn't surprised at how easily Don Hay handled questions about Brendan Gallagher making the Canadian junior world team was Gallagher himself.
Hay is the veteran Vancouver Giants coach who has been given the responsibility of trying to lead Canada back to the gold medal at the event, which is in Edmonton and Calgary this coming holiday season.
Gallagher, the Giants' leading scorer last season, was one of 47 players who took part in the summer development camp last week in Edmonton and Fort McMurray.
When quizzed about whether he was going to grow tired of answering inquiries about Gallagher's chances, Hay said: "When he's playing well, it's a pretty easy question to answer. In the end, that's the way it's going to be. It's not up to me. It's up to Brendan. He played well at camp and I'm sure he's going to play well during the season. In the end, Brendan will make the decision."
It's classic Hay. Straight forward, to the point, with a little inspiration for Gallagher, should he read it or have a reporter recite it to him.
"Don's been around for a while," Gallagher chuckled, after it was read back to him. "I'm not surprised.
"Is there pressure on our relationship? Not at all. You separate the relationship. I've played for him for three years already.
"Now, I'm trying to impress him that much more to make a completely different team."
It's routine for a world junior coach to have a player from his regular squad. Hay, for instance, was at the helm of the Canadian side in 1995, during his tenure with the Kamloops Blazers, and that squad featured Blazers defenceman Nolan Baumgartner and winger Darcy Tucker.
"I did get asked about Don from some reporters, but I was asked about him more by the players," said Gallagher, 19, a right winger.
One of the appealing things about Gallagher in this type of scenario is that, while he's coming off two 40-goal seasons, he's got enough grit and tenacity to his game that he could play a checking role. He made the Giants as a 16-year-old largely on his ability as a penalty killer.
"I can be put in a lot of different situations and that's something I enjoy," said Gallagher, a 5-foot-8, 175-pounder who was a fifthround pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 2010.
In the end, a good chunk of Hay's lineup will be decided on who makes NHL clubs, of course. Ryan Johansen, the Port Moody centre with the Portland Winterhawks, got a long look from the Columbus Blue Jackets even last season, for instance.
"There are some high picks there, and there are some teams in the NHL that probably feel they need young players," said Hay, who had nine 2010 first-rounders at camp last week. "Obviously, it would be great if we had every player available, especially with the tournament in Canada.'
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