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Kelly McCrimmon Dispels Two Theories On Gallant Firing

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There have been plenty of theories surrounding the firing of Gerard Gallant and subsequent hiring of Pete DeBoer.

No matter what the powers that be inside City National Arena say, many of those will continue on, however, one of the two voices that actually know the whole truth took to the radio in an effort to dispell a couple of them.

Kelly McCrimmon went on Fox Sports Radio with JT The Brick last week to chat about the firing of Gerard Gallant, hiring of Pete DeBoer, and the team’s expectations moving forward. (It’s a terrific interview start to finish, so I’d highly recommend a listen. Here’s the link.)

The first theory surrounds The Creator’s involvement in the firing. No matter who you talk to, while there are varying degrees as to the extent, just about everyone believes he was involved in some way in the coaching change.

Bill Foley’s been a great owner. This decision went from George McPhee and myself up to Bill Foley, not the other way around as has been suggested by some. -Kelly McCrimmon

This would be the normal order of operations for an NHL team. GM decides the coach needs to go, he brings it to the owner, who signs off on it. That’s how McCrimmon says it went down, but the timing and shockwaves it sent off across the NHL has many skeptical.

McCrimmon and McPhee are an experienced pair, one that is not prone to panic or hastiness as this decision appeared to be. Thus, the new owner with ultra-high expectations would make sense to be at the center of it. According to McCrimmon, this is untrue.

The second theory is in relation to when and where the decision was made. It was not made during a seven-game homestand in which the Golden Knights were in Las Vegas for more than two weeks. Then, one game into an eight-game road trip which had the Golden Knights away from their home city for 28 days, the bomb is dropped. No local media availability has been offered from either the new head coach or the pair that pulled the trigger on the move. It feels incredibly convenient when the move was clearly going to be met with resistance.

McCrimmon insists that timing wasn’t a catalyst for the change.

The timing of a decision like this, as much as it comes as a surprise to some people, is never based on one or two games, it’s never based on where you are at in the schedule or certainly whether you are playing at home or away. It’s a decision that takes precedence over all of those things. -McCrimmon on Fox Sports Radio

Thus, the location of press conferences, the next opponent, and the amount of time before the hated (at the time, I think that’s fading) new head coach makes his debut in Las Vegas was all coincidental, or reactionary, according to McCrimmon.

If you believe that’s the best course of action for the organization than you aren’t doing your job properly if you don’t address it. That was what led to the decision being made. -McCrimmon on Fox Sports Radio

McCrimmon said they knew there would be backlash and the fan base would be “emotional” over the decision, but he’s always remained steadfast that the decision was not made in haste and that both he and McPhee “just had a feeling” that the move needed to be made.

So, they made it and dealt with everything that came with it, no matter how it looked to the outside world.


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  1. R Dallas

    Don’t believe a damn thing they tell us anymore!

  2. pete

    Did VGK ever tell us what happened with Murray Craven?

  3. Diane Reed

    Gallant did not deserve to be fired in the manner it happened, it was rude and unprofessional. It was tacky

    • Herby

      Fully agree. You can come to the decision that you need to change the coach but do it in a professional and respectful way. Especially with such a great human being like Turk. I lost a lot of respect for McCrimmom and McPhee.

  4. Bob Smith

    Just imagine any profession in life where if someone asked you why you did something and your response was “I had a feeling”. You would be gone.

    • Max Scense

      It’s not unlike most professions where you won’t be given details on why you are being fired. Most corporations don’t provide the details to avoid potential lawsuits. The fact of the matter is that Gallant made very questionable decisions in the latter portion of his tenure. Blowing a 3-1 lead in the playoffs, then neglecting to call a timeout during the bad call when the team mentally fell apart. Awful PK. Awful 3 on 3. Barely passable PP when everyone’s healthy. Awful PP when players are sidelined with injury. Defensive holes all over. Sabotaging potential backup goalies to line experiments. Refusing to make changes because “things have worked before” when you had a completely different team before. You can go on and on if you dissect the second half of Gallant’s career with the Knights.

      • cab ride

        yep, you got most of it.

        also, the necessary switch to a zone defense was likely done at the behest of mgmt, cuz no way was Gallant changing anything major after 2 1/2 years.

        so there were plenty of reasons to make a coaching change. and you don’t keep a coach simply because “we like him” or “he’s a nice guy”

        but also as you noted, the PK was passive and awful, and the 3-on-3 in OT was even more pathetic than that. It was disorganized and confused.

        a more technical and tactical coach was needed, as the first season “overwhelm the opponent with a chip on our shoulder” had worn off.

      • Stephen Cupp

        Then why isn’t management saying this if that’s what they thought? Also, you don’t change the coach in the middle of the year because he didn’t call a timeout in the playoffs last year. You make that decision in the offseason.

    • Northern Boy

      How does that feeling look now? DeBoer has a way worse record than Gallant did and look at Gallant’s team. Why isn’t DeBoer being fired and the GM that fired Gallant. Obviously in hind sight, wrong decision.

  5. Mike G

    People need to understand that just because you are a fan that does not give you the right to “full disclosure” on every personnel decision. I think it was out of respect for Gallant that they didn’t give more details about the firing and throw him under the bus. I have had the unenviable task of terminating an employees. Almost immediately everyone wants to know the details of why that happened when it’s really none of their business.
    While I was also very surprised at the move, I have actually been very impressed with the professionalism from both sides (Turk & VGK) after it all went down. Gallant will have a nice new gig as soon as he’s ready to coach again. He’ll be fine. VGK will continue to establish a culture where winning is expected. They will also be fine.

    • Stephen Cupp

      It’s different in the case of sports because, in essence, the management works for the fans. If your boss came to you and said why did you fire so and so I have a feeling you would say more then I just had a feeling we needed to move in another direction.

      Judging by the reaction of Turk and the players this completely caught them by surprise. That tells me management wasn’t telling the players and the coaches how they felt. That’s the real issue here.

  6. Herby

    I still have a feeling that the knights will miss the playoffs and if they do I hope that Mc Crimmon and Mc Phee will be fired in the same way as they did fire Turk.

  7. Mike G

    Herby what is this professional and respectful way you speak of? Maybe like the way the Panthers fired him? Would you rather they have made a laundry list of reasons available to the whole hockey world?
    – they had underachieved for a season and a half
    – they had become complacent and lacked motivation getting blown out at the start of the games
    – he would become extremely surly anytime anyone questioned his strategy or motivation
    – it’s very likely they were at extreme differences on contract negotiations
    – there was a Stanley cup coach available that knows this roster better than any coach outside of the organization
    Stuff like this happens in sports. Remember the Capitals parted ways with their coach after winning the Stanley Cup

    • Stephen Cupp

      That was a money issue though. You don’t need a list like that, but you need something more then I have a feeling.

  8. Jack Bane

    Bullshit, all of it. McCrimmon is the reason Turk was fired plain and simple. He didn’t like him and had him fired . I can’t stand that pos.

  9. While l am not sure what took place was the correct move or not, l am certain a wake up call was essential as the team is a better hockey club than they had been demonstrating. The manner in which the change took place was very tacky at best. As pointed out by the players they couldn’t fire 15 guys and a fall guy was necessary which happened to be Turk. The fact mgt is still talking about it could suggest a cover up and alot of BS on their part. When firings occur details are never discussed for many reasons not even wi th h the employee. It is not a pleasant experience for anyone but in most cases it is best for all concerned. Don’t believe just a gut feeling is any explanation and better said change was necessary and leave it at that. Frankly it is really no one’s business and serves zero purpose. Is mgt trustworthy that’s questionable, show your disapproval by not attending the games. Money talks and BS walks.v Turk will be fine and handled this in a more professional manner than mgt. Less said the better and that’s exactly what he did. Class act on this part, can’t say the same about the boys at the top.

    • Stephen Cupp

      He only talked about it because he was asked about it. I find it amazing he still can’t come up with a reason for doing it other then I had a feeling.

      The reality is the only wakeup call to GM’s without messing with the cap is to fire the coach. I think the rules need to be changed to give GM’s more flexibility. Like sending a guy down to the AHL without him having to go through waivers.

      It’s very telling to me that both Turk and the players were so surprised by this. It tells me that their was no communication that management wasn’t happy with how things were going.

  10. Erik d

    To say it didn’t come directly from foley, I believe that, the other part that timing had nothing to do with it I don’t believe that for a second.

  11. My guess is that Gallant and McCrimmon didn’t get along and it was getting worse. The team wasn’t doing badly and Gallant is a good coach. What does that leave?

  12. Vgk4life

    I don’t believe a single word McCrimmon says. He comes across as a very disingenuous person. The firing of Gallant and the hiring of a first class clown in Deboer solidifies my opinion.

    Fire a fan favorite and a guy who had some success, and then bring in a guy who accomplished even less with a deeper talent pool and bigger pockets. McCrimmon should be fired.

    • Stephen Cupp

      Wait. What you’re saying doesn’t make any sense. McCrimmon said it was George and him that made the decision and went to Bill. You are saying you don’t believe that and that he should be fired.

  13. Vegasrebelman

    What about when the Turk said it was not his job to motivate the players?? Then what is his job??? Get over it Vegas it was time for a change.

    • Stephen Cupp

      Turk is 100% correct. His job is to come up with the strategy, what the lines are, when they play, etc. These are mostly million dollar a year players. That should be motivation enough. If not it should be up to the leadership of the team to instill motivation.

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