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Tag: Gerard Gallant (Page 1 of 2)

“Our Lineup’s Pretty Good But There’s No McDavid Or Crosby”

Usually, when players, coaches, execs, and The Creator are asked about the Golden Knights roster we get the same stock answers. We hear things like “best expansion roster ever” or “plenty of talent” or the first thing mentioned about the roster by Gerard Gallant in a recent NHL.com article.

I knew we were going to have a pretty decent team, but the team was better than I thought. I thought we got better top-end players than I thought we’d get. -Gerard Gallant

But sometimes, there’s a moment of honesty, and in the case of the Golden Knights initial roster, accuracy.

I think our lineup’s pretty good. But then you go around and look at the other teams in the NHL, in our division, and in our conference and say, ‘Well …’ -Gallant

This is what we love about Gallant. The guy is a no-nonsense type coach who obviously understands the challenge placed before him.

There’s going to be issues. Some nights we’re going to have trouble scoring goals. You look at our roster, there’s a lot of good players. Are there any superstars there? There’s some real good players, those types of players. You look at teams that have success in the NHL, they’ve got some of those top-end hockey players. -Gallant

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The Mantra Puts Major Pressure On McPhee And Gallant

Playoffs in three, Cup in six, the mantra. As a fan, you’ve got to love the optimism, no matter how unlikely you feel it may be, but have you ever wondered how George McPhee and Gerard Gallant feel about the mantra? Let’s be honest, it has to make them uneasy.

Does The Creator’s wish list mean there’s an apocalypse clock on McPhee and Gallant and does “no excuses, that’s the standard,” mean the coach/GM duo have a hard deadline? Whether true or not, there’s no question every time the mantra is said publicly by the guy signing the checks, pressure has to be mounting for McPhee and Gallant.

So, just how ambitious or impatient is The Creator with his future plan? After researching expansion history, “playoffs in three and Cup in six” doesn’t seem that far off for a new owner’s expectations. We can’t find any other owners publicly stating a mantra like this (let alone hundreds of times), but it appears to be a standard set decades ago. In fact, three and six would actually have been considered overly patient for many new owners.

San Jose Sharks
First coach: George Kingston
Two seasons: 1991-93 (fired offseason)
Win% .129 (28-129-7)

First GM: Jack Ferreira
One season: 1990-92; 17 wins (39 points)

Ottawa Senators
First Coach: Rick Bowness
Four seasons: 1992-95 (fired mid-season)
Win% .204 (39-178-18)

First GM: Mel Bridgman
One season: 1991-93; 10 wins (24 points)

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What To Watch For At Development Camp

For fans that plan to go down to the LV Ice Center this week, here’s what we’re watching for at Development Camp.

The first Golden Knight
It’s pretty clear Reid Duke is a fan favorite already. After a week of signing autographs and snapping fan selfies, the first Golden Knight will take the ice. This week, look for Duke’s all-around skill that got the attention of the Vegas scouts. It could be beneficial for fans to compare the skill of Duke with like Alex Tuch, Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki.

Alex “The Great” Tuch
Minnesota didn’t enjoy giving up Alex Tuch. And why would they? The Wild invested a first-round pick on him and waited while he developed in the NCAA. The New York native has the size and skill to be an effective NHL power-forward. Hockey Future’s highlights Tuch’s stick-handling, shot, speed and hockey IQ. McPhee passed on a known commodity, hopefully, doubtful fans will get to see why this week.

Three in the top 15
I’m most excited to see the first-round talents drafted by Vegas, Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, and Erik Brannstrom. All three are highly-regarded so their skill should be obvious to an idiot scout like myself. They’re young, incredibly talented but underdeveloped. It’ll be fun to watch them mature over the next few years.

Coaching
It should be the first chance we have to take a look Gerard Gallant’s coaching style. We aren’t sure how much it will be him taking the reigns or if he’ll let Rocky Thompson (Wolves), Phil Axtell (Mallards), or any of the other developmental coaches take control, but either way, the coaching is on display as much as the players are.

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Gallant Will Be “Sitting Back Watching” During Expansion Draft

We’ve long talked about the Expansion Draft from George McPhee’s point of view, but we finally got a chance to ask the man who will be coaching all of the players selected what his role will be during the 72 hour period from June 18th to the 21st.

I’ll be sitting back watching. I mean don’t get me wrong, they’ll ask me about some of Florida’s players and some of Montreal’s players, because I coached those players, I know them inside and out. So the guys that I know, they’ll ask me questions and I’ll fill them in. They’ll pick the players they want, which is how it should be, but I’ll give my opinion when they ask. -Gerard Gallant

George will pick the players, Gerard will coach them. That’s how it was described the day Gerard was hired, and that’s how it appears it will remain through the biggest 72 hours in Golden Knights history.

We’ve written over 300 articles specifically referencing the Expansion Draft, and the Vegas staff has to get it all done in a 72 hour period. We assumed there wouldn’t be much sleeping going on, Gerard confirmed.

I am (going to sleep during the Expansion Draft). George isn’t. Seriously it’s hectic for those guys right now, but you know what, if it’s hectic that’s really good for our franchise. It means the other teams are constantly calling, that’s real good. -Gallant

Gallant’s job starts soon though. Development Camp starts up on June 26th with the first practice on the 27th at the Las Vegas Ice Center. Gallant says there will be 44 players suited up. These will include the draft picks, free agents like Reid Duke and Tomas Hyka, and a host of players on try-out contracts.

**Practices and scrimmages are open to the public, but it’s first come first serve and the Ice Center does not have a tone of space, so plan accordingly.**

Golden Knights Hire Two Assistant Coaches

Before George McPhee fills up the bench with players at the Expansion Draft, Gerard Gallant has begun bringing on a few of the people who will stand behind the bench and coach the Golden Knights.

First, the obvious one, Mike Kelly. Kelly who was an assistant with Gallant in Florida, as well as in Saint John in the QMJHL, has been hired to the same position with the Golden Knights. Kelly had been Gallant’s top assistant the three seasons Gerard was with the Panthers and was always expected to have a place in Vegas once Gallant was hired.

I am very excited to be working with Mike again. We enjoyed success in both Florida and Saint John and I am eager to bring that success to the Golden Knights. Mike is a great guy with a wealth of hockey knowledge and I couldn’t be happier with the decision to bring him to Las Vegas. -Gerard Gallant, Head Coach in Press Release

The next assistant hung up his skates to take a shot at coaching. It’s Ryan Craig, who was most recently the captain of the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. Craig’s playing career spanned 14 years in the NHL and AHL. Prior to going pro, Craig played for the Brandon Wheat Kings for six seasons from 1997-2003. Vegas Assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon drafted Craig in Brandon.

Craig played 71 games this season with the Monsters before deciding to take on the assistant coaching job in Vegas.

He is well-respected in the hockey community and has been a tremendous leader throughout his playing career, both on and off the ice. I am confident that the leadership characteristics he exuded as a player will translate well behind the bench in his new role as an assistant coach. -Gallant in Press Release

Most NHL teams have either two or three assistant coaches in addition to their head coach and goalie coach, so it’s possible one more assistant is added in the coming days. The Golden Knights goalie coach, Dave Prior, was hired eight months before Gallant.

McPhee Ready To Hire Assistants When Gallant Returns At End Of the Month

The next step in the hockey operations process is filling out the Golden Knights coaching staff. Most NHL teams have between three and five coaches in addition to their head coach. The Golden Knights currently have Gerard Gallant as the boss, prior to his signing, the team added Dave Prior as a goalie coach and Wil Nichol as the Director of Player Development.

Now it’s time for Gallant to add a few assistants of his own, and according to George McPhee it won’t be long before he does so.

He’s over at the World Championships with Team Canada at the moment, look forward seeing him at the end of the month and filling out his staff. –George McPhee in interview with TSN 690

The leading candidate for a position is Mike Kelly, Gallant’s former top assistant with both the Florida Panthers and Saint John Sea Dogs.

Dave Barr and Scott Allen were also assistants with the Panthers when Gallant was released. Barr was retained to run the power play for interim head coach Tom Rowe, but was fired when Rowe was demoted in April. Both are possibilities to resurface with the Golden Knights.

Mike Kitchen (Blackhawks), Newell Brown (Coyotes), Doug Lidster (Canucks), Perry Pearn (Canucks), and James Patrick (Stars) are among some of the assistants that were fired from their positions at the conclusion of the season.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Golden Knights coaching staff wasn’t completely filled until after the Expansion Draft, but McPhee sounds like he’s ready to start bringing coaches on board as soon as Gallant returns from Germany/France and the IIHF Worlds.

Mike Kitchen, VGK Assistant Extraordinaire?

As it stands right now the Vegas Golden Knights are a fully functioning NHL franchise, if you just ignore their roster of one. Vegas is now preparing for the 2017-18 season just like the 22 other teams no longer vying for the Cup. With the head coach Gerard Gallant comfortably in the Zamboni seat, it’s time to add his staff of assistants. The organization will want to add two or three coaches to help direct special teams. Mike Kelly (the other guy in the taxi pictures), Gallant’s assistant in Florida and with the Saint John Sea Dogs, is the leading candidate to become one of those assistants, but there are still other seats to be filled.

In the NHL the assistant coach should be a good source of communication for the head coach and players. A hockey scout explained an assistant coach as the Tom Hagen of the team. The consigliere should always protect the head of the family and be trusted by the soldiers. Consider Gallant as the team Godfather and the soldiers as the players. The assistant coach will communicate the message. The Golden Knights will bring in a coach that should lead by example, communicate clearly and continuously work to improve the club. If that doesn’t describe Hagen, I don’t know what does. He politely told Tessio he couldn’t ‘get him off the hook’ and then sent him off to be killed. Okay, back to assistant coaching, here’s one potential individual who is currently in the sports pages.

Former St. Louis Blues head coach and assistant to Joel Quenneville, Mike Kitchen, was let go yesterday in somewhat of a surprising move.

Sources said Bowman likely fired Kitchen to reassert authority over personnel and send everyone, including Quenneville, a message going into next season. Bowman’s decision to fire Kitchen was also likely a move in self-preservation to pacify a demand for change coming. –Chris Hine, Chicago Tribune

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Who Waited For Whom, And Why It Took So Long To Bring Gallant On Board

November 27th is a date that will forever live in the mind of new Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant. That’s the day he was let go from the Florida Panthers, paving the way for him to make history in Vegas.

But November 27th was 137 days before The Creator and George McPhee announced the knighting of Gerard Gallant. One has to wonder why it took so long, and more importantly, who caused the holdup.

We felt that we had a process that we wanted to go through, Kelly (McCrimmon) and I had discussed how we wanted to do this. I guess there are three issues why we took our time. First of all we didn’t have any players to coach, so we weren’t in a rush to have a coach, and we had so many other things to do. We had to get our priorities in order and take care of some of other things before we got to the coach. The second thing is when you have time in this business you use it. We needed every bit of it. The third reason was there were some people who had requested we talk to them at the end of their seasons. So, we went through the entire process. We did it the way we wanted to, and it worked out very well for us. We got the right person for this team and we did it in the timeline we set for it. -George McPhee

And what did it look like from Gallant’s point of view?

The first time I talked to George about it was probably in mid-December, he gave me a call and asked if I had any interest. I said definitely I had a lot of interest in it. Then I did an interview in mid-January and I flew out here for two days and we met for 3-4 hours with him and Kelly McCrimmon, Misha Donskov, and the owner. From that point on we talked about once every two weeks about the job and the process he was going through to hire his new coach. It was good, it was a long process but it was real good and it was everything I expected when we talked. -Gallant on Hockey Central at Noon

Gallant’s initial interview happened in January. Right around the time rumors started to fly that the Golden Knights may move up their coach hiring. Then, they didn’t, and here we are now, with the same guy that caused the rumors in the first place behind the bench?

When we met him we really liked him and there was an inclination to maybe do this right now because there’s some risk in waiting. But we wanted to be able to come here today and say ‘you know what, we did this right, it was a comprehensive exhaustive process and we took our time and we got the right guy.’ I talked to Gerard about two weeks ago and said when the season ends this is going to happen fast. We have one other person to talk to and when we get through that we will know exactly what we are doing. Throughout the process we kept coming back to Gerard and we felt like he was the right guy, and on Monday night we said, you know what, he’s the guy, let’s go. –McPhee to the Rink Rats

Gerard in the mean time was scooping up interviews himself.

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Gallant’s The Right Man Today, But Will He Still Be In Four Years?

The Vegas Golden Knights got it right on their first coaching hire. GM George McPhee described Gerard Gallant as an honest man and a good leader. The Creator looked like a proud Papa approving who his GM brought home to dinner (I’ll go along with the analogy, but I still think Ken is weird). Yesterday’s introductory press conference was another big moment for the franchise. Gallant’s hiring is a sign in the right direction, but that certainly doesn’t mean there’s room for concern.

My main apprehension with Gallant’s hiring is his strong emphasis on player size. Of course, every team needs to play physical, intimidating hockey but to what extent?

I think it’s harder to build a team that plays a power game the way you built L.A. and the way Boston was. It’s almost easier based on today’s players to build a team that plays faster, that can attack faster offensively but also can attack defensively. -Kevin Weeks, NHL Network

Pittsburgh is the clear example of a team built for today’s pace of game. The Penguins are one of the smallest and least physical teams and yet won the Stanley cup on speed and pressure. And it’s not just the reigning champs. Other teams are evolving to match the speed and pressure of top NHL teams. LA fired Daryl Sutter and his dedication to big, physical play to adopt a more balanced roster. Heck, Florida sent Gallant packing (literally) from Florida for this very reason.

Gallant mentioned multiple times yesterday that size was important to the style of play he coaches.

We wanted to develop a team and build a team that was fast, could move the puck quickly, pressure the puck in all three zones. Gerard and I talked about it. He said he wanted a little bit more size, and we just decided to go in a different direction. Were we on the same page every day of the week? No … philosophy was different. -Tom Rowe, Florida Panthers

If you look at NHL teams average height and weight, you’ll notice it doesn’t necessarily win games. Especially, this season. Scroll through friend of the site and spectacular columnist James Mirtle’s size chart. You’ll notice some of the biggest teams spit the bit this season. Colorado, Winnipeg, Los Angeles, Dallas and Buffalo were all in the top five in either weight or height. Playoff teams Pittsburgh, Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa and Boston are all in the bottom percentile of the league in both body measurements. 

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Watch The Full Gerard Gallant Introduction Press Conference

Our friends over at Fox 5 Vegas live streamed the entire press conference of the hiring of Gerard Gallant from this afternoon.

Here are some of the best quotes of the day.

**Huge shout out to Fox 5 for not only doing a live stream of the entire press conference, but also letting us use it. They are now our new TV channel. Step your game up 3, 8, and 13.**

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