Summerside native plays in two NHL pre-season games
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – It’s been quite a 72-hour stretch for left-winger Brett Gallant of Summerside.
© Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer
Brett Gallant captained the 2008-09 Summerside Western Capitals of the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).
The 24-year-old son of Mike (Pinky) and Patricia Gallant played in his first two regular National Hockey League games for the New York Islanders.
The first was against the Calgary Flames in Regina, Sask., on Tuesday, and the second was versus the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. It’s safe to say Gallant, who previously suited up for the Islanders in an exhibition game against the Boston Bruins in a 2011 rookie tournament, was involved in both games.
“It was great playing in Regina against the Flames,” said Gallant. “It was a quick game, and you have to work hard to keep up.
“I have to keep working hard. I am a long ways from being there, it is a step in the right direction and obviously I had a lot of fun in the game.”
Gallant was informed at Thursday morning’s practice that would be in the lineup for that night’s pre-season game.
“There are a lot of guys at camp, and anything you get is a bonus,” said Gallant, who captained the 2008-09 Summerside Western Capitals of the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League). “I just have to take it and work as hard as I can.”
Fighting hat trick
The six-foot and 190-pound Gallant recorded a very rare feat against the Devils – he picked up three fighting majors in one game, all against the same opponent – six-foot-two and 210-pound Krystofer Barch.
Gallant and Barch dropped the gloves twice in the first period at the 8:07 and 17:06 marks, and again at 12:41 of the third period. Both players were assessed game misconducts after the third fight, and Gallant played 6:20.
Against Calgary, it didn’t take Gallant long to become involved as he engaged in a toe-to-toe battle with Calgary’s six-foot-four and 235-pound Brian McGrattan 1:59 into the contest.
“He (McGrattan) is obviously a well-respected tough guy in the NHL. I have had a lot of respect for him for a long time. A veteran like him didn’t have to give me a chance but he did, so I respect him a lot for that. It was early in the game, he had the puck, I threw a good hit on him and we ended going.” Brett Gallant
“He (McGrattan) is obviously a well-respected tough guy in the NHL,” said Gallant. “I have had a lot of respect for him for a long time.
“A veteran like him didn’t have to give me a chance but he did, so I respect him a lot for that. It was early in the game, he had the puck, I threw a good hit on him and we ended going.”
Gallant confirmed that he and McGrattan had a brief exchange following the fight.
“He just said, ‘Great job kid,’ and I said, ‘thank you,’” said Gallant.
The rest of the game also went well for Gallant, who admitted he was “pretty nervous” before the game. But, Gallant added, once he got his first shift and hit under his belt it was just like playing another game.
“It was a pre-season game and our coach rolled all four lines all night, and I got to play a lot of minutes,” said Gallant, who has played 84 regular-season games with the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the last three years.
One special aspect for Gallant on Tuesday night was being able to play his first NHL game before three close friends – Devan Praught, Kris MacDonald and Billy McGuigan. Praught and MacDonald teach and coach hockey at the famed Notre Dame school in Wilcox, Sask., and McGuigan is an assistant coach with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League.
“I got to meet up with them all after the game for about a half hour,” said Gallant. “It was great to see some faces from home.”