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Hockey World Weighs In On Vegas’ Shocking Coaching Change

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The dismissal of Gerard Gallant and hiring of Pete DeBoer came as a shock to the hockey world as a whole. Here is how some of the most powerful voices in the game reacted.

He’s known as a good coach, a coach that’s beloved by his players. The players work hard for him. He holds them accountable but does it in a way that is respectful and not demeaning. By all accounts, he’s one of the best coaches out there… By anyone’s standards would be an incredible two plus years with an expansion team. How do you explain dismissing Gerard Gallant?… It seems knee-jerky too me. I just don’t like this. I don’t understand it, and I don’t I really like it. -David Amber, Sportsnet

There are other elements to this. You have a 75-year-old owner in Bill Foley who wants to win now. I’m telling you do not underestimate that factor in all of this. I think there was a lot of pressure from above here. I think there was frustration. I don’t think Bill Foley thinks about what the team is going to look like five years from now. I think he worries about what the team is going to look like right now. -Pierre LeBrun, TSN

They felt that their team was massively underperforming. They feel that with Pete DeBoer there available, a different hand can help fix some of the wounds there. They’re sloppy in their zone, they’ve been an inconsistent team. I was just surprised that a really good coach was let go given the position they are in. I don’t know that they would’ve made this move if Pete DeBoer wasn’t sitting there. -Ray Ferraro, TSN

George McPhee ran the Washington Capitals since 1999 and a lot of games were played against the Florida Panthers when Pete DeBoer was coaching there, and a lot of games were played against the New Jersey Devils when Pete DeBoer coached there. So there’s a huge reference point for George McPhee. -Pierre McGuire, TSN

There is probably a dark poem to be written about the impact that phantom major penalty call that in Game 7 last spring had on both Gallant and DeBoer. With the chirping going back-and-forth that series, Gallant called DeBoer a clown. Now their legacies are linked. -Frank Seravalli, TSN

This is almost management sending a message to the players more than anyone else. You guys have had it good with the coach you love, well here comes the new sheriff in town. And Pete DeBoer is more direct, there’s no question about it. Then you got to look back, the first two years that Vegas was in the league, San Jose played them in the playoffs two years in a row. They have an amazing database and reference point on Pete DeBoer internally in Vegas. That’s why they were pretty comfortable doing this. -Pierre LeBrun, TSN

Not even two years ago, Gerard Gallant directed one of the most incredible seasons in NHL history, taking expansion Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final. They lost their 2019 first-round series in one of the craziest ways imaginable, and he was set to be the Pacific Division All-Star coach next week. From what I understood about Gallant’s contract, it became guaranteed for a fourth season when they reached the final. Next year is year four, and the craziest thing about all of this is that the Golden Knights were talking about an extension with him. Instead, he’s out. -Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet

It certainly caught me by surprise. I believe Kelly McCrimmon and I do think there were performance concerns. I think they think this team should be dramatically better than it is. I also think there’s a musical chairs factor here, and I think they were afraid that Pete DeBoer might not be available in the summertime. And if you have a coach you want sometimes you have to go out and get him. -Brian Burke, Sportsnet

Gerard Gallant was beloved by the majority of his players… certainly an incredibly popular guy. Players in that room I think took that really hard today. Part of the criticism that I’ve heard is that maybe Gerard Gallant was too much of a players coach. That there needed to be more accountability for his players. I don’t know if I buy that. -Pierre LeBrun, TSN

This year they’ve been more of a roller coaster ride, especially on home ice… management probably saw this inconsistency and they were concerned. Rather than trading all the players, they decided to relieve the coach… I don’t agree with it, but I understand how this business works, it’s not always fair. I don’t think this is a fair one. -Pierre McGuire, TSN

I didn’t see it coming. I was as shocked as anyone else was this morning… Dallas wanted him. He was really high on Jim Nill’s list. People have a lot of respect for him. It just shows you the volatility of this business. -Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet

I had heard a little earlier they were talking about an extension for Gallant. Somewhere between then and now things went off the rails. It seems a little bit panicky to me.-Ray Ferraro, TSN

These things usually tend to work themselves out, but there has been major friction between Ryan Reaves and Pete DeBoer in that rivalry over the last couple years. Lots of chirping, Reaves hasn’t been afraid to go after DeBoer. Will be something to watch. -Frank Seravalli, TSN

There’s nothing performance related here that indicates to me that this guy should be fired. I believe that they had negotiated an extension with him. I don’t know where it was, I don’t know if it was agreed too. I don’t know where it was but they were at least talking about it, and the more of the days that gone on, the more I believe it was farther along. So this is a very sudden switch, and I admit it, I am shocked by it. -Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet

(Gallant) will probably be out of work until the end of the season and then I think he’d be back to work very easily. I would be surprised if he went to Seattle, I think there will be another place available to him. -Pierre McGuire, TSN

I don’t know what else he could’ve done. I guess maybe they look and go, man outside of St. Louis the Western Conference is a total 100% crapshoot. They haven’t been as good as they maybe think they should be. And Pete DeBoer, who everybody thinks is a really good coach is sitting there. Maybe a different voice can get what we think is a better team into a position to compete. I was shocked. -Ray Ferraro, TSN

You take care of that in your opening press conference. You make a joke about it ‘I’m sure you folks are excited to see me here, but I promise I’m excited to be here’, he wins a couple of games and those old rivalries will be forgotten right away. I think you disarm the fanbase at your opening press conference.-Brian Burke, Sportsnet

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15 Comments

  1. Vic

    LeBrun has it right. In addition, it all comes down to business. Foley wants to win, and likely encouraged an unpopular (understatement alert) decision. He had to consider the short-term hysteria and damage firing a popular guy (first coach, great record, great ride) would cause while trying to win now. Foley has made numerous excellent business decisions in his life, but this one feels like it will be one of the worst. So I guess the mantra will start all over again…playoffs in 3 and cup in 5? Gallant will do great. He can play with his grandkids while collecting checks, and then start all over again with a nice contract somewhere else.

  2. Summerlin Andy B

    My temperature has dropped today, from 212 boiling degrees, (or 100 Celsius for you Canucks), to just a hot, dry sauna temperature of 120 degrees, similar to our summer days.

    It will drop further if they can get a win tonight in Ottawa 😉

  3. the old man hockey GOD

    foley = jim jones of NHL

    pathetic.

    Maybe ticket prices will come down to a reasonable level now.

    Other things i don’t like about home ice venue: home TV announcer (jinks home team all the time , never tells you who is on the ice, can’t say woooo , never tells you about play on ice and always stating ridiculous things that nobody cares about ), PA announcer always yelling and announcing things at the wrong time, kids dancing their stupid self absorbed nonsense (this is a bloody sport, what are kids doing at this games in the first place), PA telling you when to clap your hands and cheer, cable TV cuts away all the time when they are announcing three stars at end of the game, TV cutting away from crucial moments on ice to show the coach or some player who is skating to the bench, TV angles are poor, the upper deck seats on T mobile are too high and virtually unwatchable for the game!!

  4. Chapter 2 begins tonight

    this places the focus squarely on the players and the GM.. The players, if they want to remain in Vegas, had better start producing up to their potential….. period

    and now the GM, McCrimmon, had better make some smart trades to improve this team …a backup goalie, a mobile dman and an improved 3rd line…if he fails, after making this coaching change, he is toast too

    • Cody

      They already killed their cap. Even sinbin was like “oh they have tons of cap, signing Reaves at $3.5m is a great deal.” They can’t get what they can’t afford

  5. Stan Kovaleski

    I am still in shock. Gallant was (and is) a great coach. The city of Las Vegas embraced this team (and Gallant too) from the beginning. Now it’s a business and McPhee should have been fired, not Gallant. All teams go through a downturn and if management (and the owner) don’t understand that then sell the team to someone who does. I am sure Gallant will be picked up and I wish him the best. He played on a line with Steve Yzerman and they were two of the classiest men in the league.

  6. Eric

    If you take a listen to The Sheriff, Lawless and a Guy Named Dave podcast from yesterday there is a very interesting segment where Shane Hnidy talks about some of the VGK players becoming comfortable and even talks about the work ethic on and off the ice. I know Ken said the outside interests weren’t an issue, but Hnidy seems to believe they were. Maybe Turk was just too easy on these guys and although he trusted them to do the right things as far as training and playing the right way, it seems they didn’t really come through for him this year.

    • Burt

      yes, it’s called COMPLACENCY. and no matter how much some of the media tries to deny it, the Knights are clearly battling a bad case of it.

      the proof is clear as day. Formerly very dependable and productive players like Karlsson and Schmidt and Fleury are NOT playing anywhere near their potential. That is why Gallant was in trouble, and whether or not it is entirely his fault, which it is not, does not matter. It is a results oriented business, playing to full potential and winning is the only acceptable cure.

      Thus, they bring in a guy who is not buddy buddy with the players, and they expect the players to get serious, get to work, not selling beer or cars or healthcare, but instead returning to the original misfit-style of Vegas WINNING HOCKEY

      • A Fan

        I agree with the 2 above posts. I also agree with this statement that I hadn’t really heard anyone saying, but I had thought the moment this firing happened.

        ‘There are other elements to this. You have a 75-year-old owner in Bill Foley who wants to win now. I’m telling you do not underestimate that factor in all of this. I think there was a lot of pressure from above here. I think there was frustration. I don’t think Bill Foley thinks about what the team is going to look like five years from now. I think he worries about what the team is going to look like right now. -Pierre LeBrun, TSN’

        Foley is 75 years old and wants at least one Cup before he ‘moves on’ and leaves the team to his family. You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think this played a part in it. As much as everyone (myself included) liked Gallant, a lot of the players were not playing to their abilities and Turk didn’t handle that correctly and now he’s gone. As everyone knows, he will be hired easily by another team and he will do well there, especially if he learned from the one mistake he made here.

  7. Done with this team. Can’t root for that guy. Sure different message but everybody has a sick feeling in their stomach. McPhimmon has torn apart the team that went to the Final, what’s a coach to do? Maybe th thinnest defense corps in the league, no bottom six, no backup goalie. They have some great players but wow. Again, they had a real chance last year if they aren’t robbed by the refs. But let’s tear it all down bc Foley is old.

    • Eric

      Bye bye. Don’t need “fans” that throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble. That’s classic bandwagon b.s.

  8. Oliver

    VGK is a circus and the clown is the coach. What a joke

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