Golden Knights Fire Gallant, Hired DeBoer as Head Coach
The Vegas Golden Knights fired head coach Gerard Gallant, replacing him with former San Jose Sharks bench boss Peter DeBoer. Assistant coach Mike Kelly was also relieved of his duties.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move comes as a big surprise. Gallant becomes the seventh head coach to lose his job this season. That includes DeBoer, who was fired a month ago by the Sharks. Considering the Golden Knights already had Gallant’s replacement already lined up, management obviously had this move planned for a while.
The official statement from the Golden Knights claims this decision was necessary for the club to achieve its full potential. They’ve have struggled of late, mired in a four-game losing streak and slumping just outside the last wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Nevertheless, they’re only three points behind the Arizona Coyotes (57 points) for first place in the tight Pacific standings.
Gallant was selected to coach the Pacific Division at the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game. He won the Jack Adams Award guiding then-expansion Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018, and a third-place finish in the Pacific Division last season. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Golden Knights and Gallant were talking contract extension earlier in the season.
Recent reaction on social media suggests this move was made as a shot across the bow at the Golden Knights players. Given how much they’ve invested in the roster, ownership and the front office expect this team to be a Cup contender. Perhaps Gallant lost the room, or maybe he’s paying the price for some recent shaky goaltending and a defense lacking a true blueline stud.
Given Gallant’s solid coaching credentials, he shouldn’t remain unemployed for long. Detroit and Montreal are already being mentioned as possible destinations by some on the Twittersphere, though his inability to speak French could make the latter an unlikely destination as a head coach.
DeBoer guided the Sharks to the 2016 Cup Final and the New Jersey Devils to the 2012 Final. He guided the Sharks to two seven-game series victories over the Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche before falling to the St. Louis Blues in last spring’s playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see if he can get his new club back among the Cup contenders.
Big mistake! Vegas will regret this.
I’d also like to hear from all the pundits and experts who predicted Torts would be fired. They need to explain why 7 coaches have been fired while Torts is producing, arguably, the greatest coaching job of his career.
He has fire!
Good comment re Tortorella, Paul. I expected him to be gone just based on frustration with the reduced roster but he is, for sure, a Coach of the Year candidate.
Pretty shocked by the Gallant firing. I would think he’ll be back behind the bench quickly. I’m surprised that Vegas hired De Boer but we’ll see how he does with this group.
Tortorella’s coaching abilities were never called into question … more to do with his acerbic personality when it comes to dealing with the media and even some of his players over the years, not to mention his tendency to blow his cork now and then.
But as a coach he’s been a damned good one.
I’m a little mixed on Tortorella. I think he’s a good coach, but can be toxic toward players. I’d bet anything he had a lot to do with the mass exodus in Columbus.
He grew old on players in Tampa, and most veterans in NY. A few words from Lundqvist’s mouth and Tortorella was gone the next day.
And Lundqvist wasn’t alone.
Per Friedman’s comments about earlier contract extension discussions, he also mentioned a demanding owner in a radio interview. Is owner interference a possibility?
To DET: GALLANT
To UNEMPLOYMENT: Blashill
Even if Gallant were the Messiah under cover he couldn’t turn that sow’s ear into a silk purse – don’t blame Bashill
George O Exactly.
Sure hope so.
Can’t believe Gallant got fired , got to be something besides his coaching , was surprised when he got let go by Florida as well
Don’t think Gallant or anyone is answer in Detroit this year. I wonder if the change was made since McPhee handed the reigns to McCrimmin and like most GMs wanted to bring in his own guy. Time will tell if good choice or not.
Interesting to say the least. Not sure there’s enough time to mitigate a major change. Curious to see how players respond.
With Babcock’s baggage, I’ll say that Seattle have their new coach now.
Firing Gallant was a stupid move but hiring DeBoer was even dumber.
Man the way florida canned him and now this. Simply stunning