The Montreal Canadiens knew they’d lose Brendan Gallagher’s services following his violent hit on New York Islanders defenceman Adam Pelech, Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
Gallagher went out of his way to run interference on Pelech, doing so while landing an elbow directly to his opponent’s head. The play led to a well-deserved five-minute major for Gallagher, who was also thrown out of the game with a match penalty.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety only offered Gallagher a phone hearing rather than an in-person meeting, which meant the suspension was going to last five or fewer games despite the egregious nature of the hit.
And now the verdict is in.
The Department of Player Safety has suspended Gallagher for five games. There’s been no update on Pelech, though given the severity of the hit it’s likely he’ll have to miss some time.
Click here to see the explanation of the suspension by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
This is the first time Gallagher has been suspended by the NHL, something that factors heavily into the Department of Player Safety’s decisions.
The only other incident in his career that has led to additional discipline was Gallagher’s punch on New York Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow in November 2021. Gallagher was tangling with Goodrow following a faceoff at centre ice in the dying minutes of a 3-2 Rangers win when he suddenly turned around and delivered a sucker punch
The punch led to a $2,500 fine for the Montreal Canadiens winger.
Gallagher’s absence should lead to an increase in ice time for one of the younger wingers in the lineup, offering the perfect opportunity for a player like Jesse Ylonen to usurp Gallagher’s spot in the lineup. On the other side of the coin, the available minutes could be given to a veteran like Tanner Pearson, in the hopes that he will find his scoring rhythm in time to garner some interest in the NHL’s trade market.