Oh I can hear it already. Some random FB or Twitter reader who will stumble on this blog (but who more often than not doesn't even follow hockey) will say "And which team did YOU play for?". None, not a pro athlete by any means. But one thing is sure, Alex Galchenyuk is close to losing his spot in the best pro league there is.
I mean, ponder this for a minute: Alex Galchenyuk has now been traded 5 times in his career. That's 5 times! Or every 2 years on average he's been dealt, since he broke into league a decade ago. He has now just joined his 7th organization in the Maple Leafs. A sad state of affairs for the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft (albeit a weak one at that).
So what exactly happened? Recurring gossip about his off-ice lifestyle has surfaced time and time again. His training habits. But do we really know how hard he trains or not? How dedicated he is in his conditioning? Besides, there have been other so-called party animals (no need to name them I'm sure you can think of a few) over the years who nevertheless had very successful careers.
Should the Canadiens organization share in the blame? Perhaps. A team which was starved for help at the center position likely ended up rushing him to the NHL a little too soon. The constant back-and-forth see-saw they played with him - center one day, winger the next and then right back again- certainly didn't help his confidence. The obsession on being ultra-solid defensively under both Michel Therrien and Claude Julien, rather than letting a player like Chucky express his creativity and talents, likely also held him back and compromised his development. We've unfortunately seen many a young player come to the Canadiens over the last decade or so, and never fully hit their potential (players like the Kostistyn brothers, Perezhogin, Beaulieu, even Jiri Sekac- I really believed he had a high ceiling- come to my mind).
Rumors about his entourage, perhaps the pressure of playing on a team with little in the way of offensive talent, here in Montreal, may have also added to what contributed to his flailing career. Keep in mind, this is a player who scored 30 goals at the tender age of 21. He had the hands, a bullet of a shot, the size, he was elusive, frankly said, he seemed to have the "complete" package. Now granted, he wasn't the most fleet of foot or a graceful skater, but still. Players like Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton even Corey Perry had brilliant careers without being rockets a la Pavel Bure or Paul Coffey. But these players all had one thing in common: heart, desire, passion, and dedication to improving their game. They also had opportunity and timing.
Let's be brutally honest: its highly unlikely that Alex Galchenyuk will stick with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and this quite probably is his last stint in the NHL. Sadly the next organization to give him a shot may well end up being.... the Harlem Globetrotters.