UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- When describing Montreal Canadiens rookie Brendan Gallagher, Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette hits it perfectly :
"Looks like an angel, plays like the devil."
The angel: Gallagher turns 21 in May, but looking at him you would think he just got his driver's license.
The devil: In some corners, Gallagher is earning himself the "little ball of hate" nickname, one currently bestowed upon Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins for his ability to get under the skin of opponents.
(Has anyone consulted Pat Verbeek about this?)
"I don't care. People can call me whatever they want," said Gallagher about the nickname after Tuesday's morning skate ahead of their game against the New York Islanders. "I'm not too worried."
He's listed at 5-foot-8, but plays a bigger man's game. Gallagher's stature has never forced him to be shy about going into the corner's and playing a style game that invites physicality.
"It's just something I have to do to be successful," Gallagher said. "My dad [Vancouver Giants strength and conditioning coach, Ian] has influenced me in that way. He's a pretty competitive guy himself so growing up he made sure I was always playing the right way and playing hard. Regardless of how big I am, I can go into the corner and take a hit. It's just something that's been with me and needs to stay with me."
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