Habs winger Brendan Gallagher: Bettman ‘very motivated to play these games’

Habs winger Brendan Gallagher: Bettman ‘very motivated to play these games’

Habs winger Brendan Gallagher: Bettman ‘very motivated to play these games’

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher thinks there will be hockey this summer.

And that belief comes from what he knows about one of the men in charge.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters Thursday, Gallagher said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is “very motivated” when it comes to completing the 2019-20 campaign.

The league paused its season March 12 with 189 games left on the regular schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There have been rumours and reports about various scenarios for an eventual return to play, including the league centralizing each of its four divisions in separate cities, sequestering players, games without fans, and the playoffs bleeding into August and September.

Gallagher said if had to wager — and it’s only a guess — the puck will indeed be dropped sometime after Canada Day.

“A lot depends on the medical professionals,” he said. “To me, it just really feels like Gary Bettman’s going to try and do whatever he can to have hockey. He’s going to have to meet a lot of our needs as players and what we’re gonna obviously want back. But if I had to guess, I think there’ll be some form of Stanley Cup playoffs.

“They’re probably going to have to get creative with the format at this point, but if I had to guess I’d say at some point the Stanley Cup would get awarded.”

But Gallagher, who’s been on every NHL Players’ Association call since the season was halted, said it’s unlikely there will be unanimity from the league or the players on whatever decision is eventually made.

The Canadiens sat 10 points out of the playoffs with 11 games left on their schedule when the NHL halted proceedings amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, meaning if the regular season had played out as usual, Montreal would already be looking towards training camp in the fall.

“It always comes back to the same thing — it’s about winning,” said Gallagher, who’s close with Canadiens’ NHLPA representative Paul Byron. “If (playing this summer’s) gonna interfere with our ability to prepare for (2020-21) where we have a chance, I’d rather continue my training.

“If it’s a situation where you have a chance to play and they expand the playoff bracket, obviously, then I’d be all for it. Every player is going to think selfishly. For us, I’d rather be here preparing for next year and get my body ready for whatever you have to do to have a chance to win. And obviously the players that are in contention, they’re gonna want to go play no matter what.

“It’s definitely not a given that the entire league is going to be on board with one thing.”

But Gallagher — who referred to himself as a “pretty optimistic guy” — believes there’s a way forward.

“A lot of it’s outside our control,” he said. ”A lot of it is what the medical professionals say and what the scientists are saying and what the mayors, the governors are all saying, and if it’s even allowed.

“I will say this: I know Gary Bettman is very motivated to play these games … so I think there’s probably some form of solution to his problem.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2020.

___

Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

NHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Most Read