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Montreal Canadiens Michel Therrien congratulates Alex Galchenyuk, left for his first NHL goal and teammate Brendan Gallagherfor his assist on the goal as they face the Florida Panthers during second period NHL hockey action Tuesday, January 22, 2013 in Montreal. (The Canadian Press)

Montreal Canadiens Michel Therrien congratulates Alex Galchenyuk, left for his first NHL goal and teammate Brendan Gallagherfor his assist on the goal as they face the Florida Panthers during second period NHL hockey action Tuesday, January 22, 2013 in Montreal.

(The Canadian Press)

Galchenyuk, Gallagher sticking with Canadiens Add to ...

Mmmm, tasty crow.

It’s really not so bad once you get the feathers out of the way.

Who was it again that boldly predicted Alex Galchenyuk would be sent back to junior by the Montreal Canadiens, an organization so conservative it hasn’t plugged an 18-year-old into the lineup for a full season since 1984?

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Oh yes, that was me (among others, it has to be said).

Well, mea culpa, folks.

Galchenyuk got the official word Monday morning that he’s staying with the Habs for good this season - because he’s 18 the only choices available to the team were to keep him for the remainder of the season or send him back to the Sarnia Sting.

And GM Marc Bergevin has evidently decided that Galchenyuk’s offensive contributions (one goal, two assists in four games while spending an average of around 10 minutes on the ice) outweigh the downside of burning the first year of his entry-level contract.

It helps that the Habs are going to be down a top-six forward for the next three to four weeks as Max Pacioretty recovers from surgery to remove his appendix.

But Galchenyuk has earned his shot: his dynamism, skating and shot are NHL-calibre, and he’s big enough to hold his own against men. His development won’t suffer because of limited ice time, Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien have clearly concluded he has nothing left to learn in the Ontario Hockey League.

So the pundits take a beating again (and blogger Eric Engels is owed at least one dinner over it).

Now one of the Habs’ veterans will be getting a new lodger - the braintrust has said it intends on keeping their prize asset, picked third overall in the 2012 draft, in good hands both on and off the ice.

The oddsmaker’s favourite is winger Erik Cole.

And defenceman Josh Gorges may also soon have his guest room occupied - 20-year-old Brendan Gallagher, who was also told he’s staying with the big club for the foreseeable, stayed with Gorges during last summer’s rookie camp.

 

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