Getting to know: Brendan Gallagher

Mark Malinowski
Brendan Gallagher

Status: Montreal Canadiens right wing.

Height: 5-9 Weight: 170

Date of birth: May 6, 1992 Born in: Edmonton, Alberta.

First Hockey Memory: “Just playing on the outdoor rink growing up. I grew up just outside Edmonton in Sherwood Park. My first real memory is just being outside on the pond, learning to skate and as you grow up, playing with your friends.”

Hockey Inspirations: “For me, my role model has always been Martin St-Louis and watching him when they won the Cup and they won in the playoffs. That stuck with me and him being my favorite player.”

Last Book Read: “Last book I read was about Walter Payton.”

Current Car: “I drive a Ford Escape (black).”

Favorite Uniforms: “Who’s got nice jerseys… I like the L.A. Kings. Black ones. I think there are several but I think those are pretty cool.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Last year in Boston, we went to a shootout and we kinda came back in the third period and I scored the tying goal and then I scored the shootout winner.” (Note: This interview was conducted before Montreal defeated Boston in this year’s playoffs.)

Most Painful Moment: “Losing in the playoffs last year. Losing to Boston – most painful thing you can go through.”

Most Memorable Goal: “Probably my first goal. In probably my third or fourth game. Against Martin Brodeur. So, pretty memorable.”

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “I think it was Curtis Joseph growing up in Edmonton. I was able to get his autograph.”

Closest Hockey Friends: “Probably ‘Chucky’ – (Alex) Galchenyuk. Right now, we room together. We spend a lot of time together. For us to go through our rookie seasons together was pretty cool.”

Funniest Players Encountered: “Colby Armstrong and Hal Gill. Hal Gill I met at training camp in Montreal. He made me laugh every time I saw him. Playing with Colby Armstrong – his sense of humor is something I’ve never seen before.”

Funny Hockey Memory: “Last year they made us get off the plane in Florida without our shirts on. That was Army’s idea (Colby Armstrong). Me and Chucky had to get off – all the media was standing out because the plane was in Florida – So, nice sunny day and we just had our suit jackets on and that was it.” (Smiles.)

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “I just enjoy it. It’s something I’m fortunate to be able to do for a living. But, first and foremost, I have fun doing it and I have fun playing the games. The most enjoyable thing is being around your teammates and kinda creating this family atmosphere in the locker room.”

Strangest Game: “I had a few high-scoring games. We had a playoff game in junior that was 10-8 or 9-7, something like that. That’s something you don’t expect in junior. Probably the strangest game.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Football and golf.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: “Martin St-Louis. Andy Dalton…Who’s number three…Galchenyuk.” (Galchenyuk in adjacent locker smiles and mock celebrates, pumping his fist, saying, Yes.) “No, I’m not gonna say Galchenyuk…Tiger Woods.” (Galchenyuk feigns mock disappointment.)

People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: “People that are humble. I think that’s something you always look for in a person.”

Getting to know: Anton Stralman

Mark Malinowski
New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Seven

Status: New York Rangers defenseman.

Height: 5-11 Weight: 190

Date of birth: April 1, 1986 Born in: Tibro, Sweden

Last Book Read: “Songs of Ice and Fire, that’s Game of Thrones book two. Clash of Kings’”

Current Car: “Mercedes GL 350 diesel.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “I’ve got a couple. First NHL game was a big milestone. I remember I was very nervous and I actually don’t remember a whole lot of it. Looking back to it, that was actually a really good moment. Won a bronze medal in World Championships in ’09 and got promoted to the Swedish League first division back in ’04-05. That was probably the most fun I ever had.”

Most Painful Moment: “The whole season of 2010-11. I think it was a tough year. I was dealing with a lot of illnesses and injuries. That whole stretch was tough.”

Most Memorable Goal: “I think it has to be…two years ago in the playoffs, scored in, I think it was either the first game or the second game against Washington. 1-0. That’s probably the one.”

Funniest Player(s) Encountered: “There’s quite a few. One guy I played with for a little bit in the minors was Ryan Hollweg. I thought he was a real character and always in a good mood and always funny. He tried to keep a good atmosphere around us.”

Closest Hockey Friends: “I moved around so much over here, so it’s hard to pick one. I get along with everybody I would say. Most of my real good friends are from back home. I don’t have a good answer for that.”

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: “I would say Henrik Lundqvist is one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever met.”

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “In Columbus it went to shootout. I came in and made my move and lost an edge and fell down on the ice, crashed into the goalie.”

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “It’s obviously a lot of fun. It’s why I play the game. And obviously, being able to compete and win – that’s the ultimate goal. But just have fun and enjoy the trip and all the teammates and all that. That’s what I think it’s all about.”

Strangest Game: “I played with the Swedish national team and we played Hungary one year, just an exhibition game. I remember they didn’t have a Zamboni that was watering the ice, it was just shaving it. Then they were hosing it down and going out with some kind of squeegees to clear it out. The Zamboni was really bad so it was very groovy on the ice. And then after they did that, before the game, we actually didn’t have any net. Before the warmups, we were shooting on the goalie in the corner, with no nets. While they were doing the ice. During the first intermission, they did the same thing, but then after they cleared the ice they had figure skating as a show between periods. So it was pretty funny.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Soccer.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: “Roger Federer. Steven Gerrard. Luis Suarez. They’re on the same team in Liverpool. They’re on the same team so it doesn’t really count. Third one. Who would that be. I’ll go with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”

People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: “I like kindness and respect. That’s probably the two most important things. To be a good teammate and a good person, in general.”

Getting To Know: Dennis Maruk

Mark Malinowski
Dennis Maruk on the Cleveland Barons

Status: Former NHL center from 1975-1989 for California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons, Washington Capitals and Minnesota North Stars. Tallied 356 goals and 522 assists in 888 NHL games. Currently operates a hockey school called Winning Techniques just north of Huntsville, Ontario, teaching kids how to put the puck in the net and other skills. Plays 40-50 games a year with NHL alumni and at charity events like the Special Olympics.

HT: 5-8 WT: 165

DOB: November 17, 1955 In: Toronto, Ontario

First Hockey Memory: “Playing hockey house leagues. We played hockey in the street all the time, that’s all we did. I had a neighbor who played goalie. He said to come play with us. I went to the practice and the coaches said, ‘Play with us.’ So I started playing house leagues in Toronto. I was 8.”


Hockey Inspiration(s)
: “Growing up, I guess any child watching the Toronto Maple Leafs on TV, Hockey Night In Canada, that got me inspired. Watching the Maple Leafs and cheering them on. Playing house leagues, that went pretty good for me.”
Read more

Getting To Know: Tom Wilson

Mark Malinowski
Tom Wilson (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Status: Washington Capitals right winger

HT: 6-4 WT: 210

DOB: March 29, 1994 In: Toronto, Ontario

First Hockey Memory: “Backyard rink in Toronto. My dad would build one ever since I was two years old. I had a brother (Peter) that was five years older than me. So I’d go back with him and try to keep up.”

Hockey Inspirations: “In Toronto, you’re not really short for inspiration. Everywhere you look it’s hockey. Growing up, it’s pretty cool having everyone support you and follow you and fuel your love for the game.” Read more

Getting to Know: Cam Talbot

Mark Malinowski
New York Rangers v Minnesota Wild

Status: New York Rangers goaltender.

HT: 6-3  WT: 205

DOB: July 5, 1987  IN: Caledonia, Ontario

First Hockey Memory: ”First memory of hockey. I’ve never been asked that one before. I couldn’t even tell you. I guess a very early memory would be getting to play my first game. I think I was about seven years old and I had never actually been on the ice before. My first tryout was like an exhibition game.  So I think that was a pretty tough thing back then – with never even skating and just being thrown out into a game. So that was pretty fun. Learn as you go, I guess.”

Hockey Inspirations: “As like, moments? Well, inspirations. I always liked Patrick Roy growing up, that’s why I wear #33. I liked how he was a big game goalie. Whenever the game was on the line he always seemed to rise to the occasion. That was how I tried to model my game and step up whenever the game was on the line.”

Last Book Read: “Brad Thor, a book called Full Black, which is an anti-terrorism fiction book.”

Current Car: “Toyota 4-Runner.”

First Famous Hockey Player You Met Or Encountered: “Would have been I think Darryl Sittler when I was younger.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Probably my first NHL game or my first NHL win, one of those two.”

Most Painful Moment : “Probably losing in the NCAA tournament I guess. To who? Miami of Ohio.”

Most Memorable Save: “Not one that really sticks out. There’s one in the CHA tournament in college – Hockey America Conference tournament – with about a minute and a half left. We were up 1-0. I made a glove save from right in the slot to kind of preserve the win. Then we made it to the championship and won that one. So I’d have to say that was one of the biggest saves of my career, with a game on the line.”

Funniest Player(s) Encountered:  “I’d have to say Zuc’s one of them. You could follow that guy around with a video camera all day and never be bored.”

Closest Hockey Friends: “A lot of guys that I played juniors with. Guys that I played with in college, you probably wouldn’t know of them. I don’t know if any of them have played pro at this point.”

Fiercest Players Encountered: “Played against or with? Both. Nothing really jumps out at me. Obviously, guys like Ovechkin and Crosby, those guys you can always see that they’re competitive out there. Guys like (Ryan) McDonagh who go out there and work their butt off every day and get pretty fired up and they’re pretty passionate about the game too.”

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “Probably when I was younger, I think maybe twelve or thirteen, and I went out to stop the puck and it kind of bounced over my stick and I thought it went in. So the puck kind of came right back out. And I was pissed off at myself, so I went and fired it back into the net. Turns out it hit the post. So I was the one that put it in.”

Favorite Uniforms: “Our’s.” Number two?  “I don’t even know. I’ve never been asked any of these questions before. Nothing really comes to mind. I guess I was always a Montreal fan growing up.”

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “Just love the team aspect. Always like being around the guys and the camaraderie in the dressing room and being out on the ice and going to battle with those guys every night, is a lot more fulfilling playing for your team.”

Strangest Game: “In, I believe, my first or second game, there was about four or five posts and somehow the puck always ended up right underneath me or going into the corner or over the glass or something. So I guess that was kind of rookie luck or whatever you want to call it, beginner’s luck. I think it was either Philly or Detroit. So I kind of got lucky my first couple of games.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Probably tennis, I play a lot of tennis in the summer time. And golf I’d have to say.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: “I always liked Roger Federer. Past or present? “Anyone. Obviously, Patrick Roy when he was still in the league. And I always liked to follow Henk before I got called up here. I always liked his style. And, obviously for the team I was trying to make, I looked to emulate him a little bit.”

People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: “I’d like to say honest and genuine. And I guess just fun to be around, good sense of humor. I like to see those qualities in people. They’re a lot more fun to be around. I feel like I can get along with people that have a good sense of humor because I kind of have a funny one myself.”

Getting To Know: Nikita Kucherov

Mark Malinowski
NikitaKucherov

Status: Tampa Bay Lightning right winger

Height: 5-foot-11 Weight: 171 pounds

DOB: June 17, 1993 In: Moscow, Russia

First Hockey Memory: “My first practice. I was six. I had only my skates and helmet and I didn’t have all the equipment. And I just stepped on the ice and I didn’t fall, I just skated away. A smile on my face every time. My mother filmed like a movie of it. And then after like ten minutes I just fell on the ice, just laying on the ice and laughing, didn’t do anything. So it was kind of funny.”

Hockey Inspirations: “Heroes? Pavel Datsyuk. I think he’s the best. I watch so many highlights about him in YouTube. So I try to play like him, take some things from him. I think he’s the best, for me.”

Last Book Read: “I don’t know, I don’t read much.”

Current Car: “I don’t have a car right now.”

First Famous Hockey Player You Met Or Encountered: “Jaromir Jagr in Moscow. He did a special appearance for the children. He gave me the gift because I was like the best in practice.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “When I got called up to the NHL and scored first goal (on first shot in first game vs. New York Rangers).”

Most Painful Moment: “When I had injury on my shoulder. I think that was most painful for me (When?) Before world juniors in Calgary I had the injury but they didn’t tell me I had like a problem. They said it was good, you can play. And then I just kept playing, it was still hurting. I played in world juniors and I played not very good. Everyone talked after like Kucherov is not really that good in world juniors. And then we had playoffs with my team. And I was hit like three times and three times my shoulder was like dislocated. And it was so hurt. That was my most painful. And then the next year I missed like three months.”

Most Memorable Goal: “First NHL goal.”

Funniest Player Encountered: “St-Louis. (Why him?) Every time he’s talking he’s making a joke to try to make everyone laugh.”

Closest Hockey Friends: “I think J.T. Brown because we stay together at the hotel, hang out with each other. So I think he’s the closest right now.”

Fiercest Competitor(s) Encountered: “I think St-Louis too.”

Favorite Uniforms: “I think ours, the blue and the white I like.”

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “I don’t know, I just love to score goals and play the game. And I enjoy every time I step on the ice.”

Funny Hockey Memory: “I can’t remember.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Soccer.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: “Datsyuk. Christiano Ronaldo. And Lionel Messi.”

Strangest Game: “Couple times, we beat some team like 3-0 and they just started to like hit us and slash us and fight us. And in the second period our coach just said, ‘Let’s leave the game.’ (Where?) ‘In Russia.’ ”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Chocolate.”

First Job: “I was a referee. For three games [smiles].”

Mark ‘Scoop’ Malinowski’s new book “Facing Federer” is available on amazon. Malinowski is the creator of two websites: www.thebiofile.com and www.tennis-prose.com