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Tag: Head Coach

McPhee’s Reason Behind Hiring An Experienced Coach

Whether it’s coming from George McPhee himself or anyone else in the organization there’s been one constant requirement for any candidate to be the Vegas Golden Knights first head coach. Experience.

We’ve always kind of assumed it was a just a philosophy McPhee preferred after learning from his days in Washington (more on that in a second), but when given the opportunity to elaborate, he explained it had more to do with expansion than anything.

It’s not an easy process to evaluate players when you are just getting going like we are and I don’t want to be evaluating a coach and players at the same time. I’d rather have the coach be someone who we know has done the job and can do the job and we’ll be focusing on players for the next few years. -McPhee

That quote is from an interview on Sirius XM NHL’s Stellick & Simmer and subsequently repeated something similar in a few other interviews on Wednesday as well.

I’ve always been in the corner of a younger coach who could possibly be with the organization for decades, but when I heard George put it this way my mind was changed. This makes perfect sense to me.

It’s also a great selling point to any potential coach… talking to you Sir Gallant. How often do coaches get to walk into a situation and be told, “we aren’t evaluating you?” Stability is one of the toughest things to come by in professional sports, and especially in coaching. This job offers at least one season of a free pass. Has to be enticing.

McPhee also took a bit of a swipe at some of the guys he’s hired in the past.

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If Gallant Is The Guy, Just Do It Already

Procrastination is about as American a concept as apple pie, democracy and being fat. We all do it from time to time, even on some of the most important decisions in our lives. Usually there’s a reason for the urge to keep pushing things back. Whether it’s feeling unprepared, uncomfortable, or unwilling, procrastination usually tells a story.

Right now the Vegas Golden Knights are in the hunt to find the first coach in team history. Originally the plan was to wait until after the Expansion Draft to begin narrowing down the search, then the idea of doing it after the regular season ended seemed realistic, and now, it could happen as soon as tomorrow.

At this point, I’d say it’s 50-50 we have our head coach in place before the season’s over. –The Creator to LVRJ

Why the urgency all of a sudden you ask? Because maybe the perfect candidate is available right now and might not be in a few months.

The guy that’s caused the urgency is Gerrard Gallant. Jason touched on the importance of Gallant passing on the Islanders job and how it could signal his arrival in Vegas.

That brings me back to the whole procrastination thing. If Gallant does end up being the guy, every day that ticks away shows less and less confidence from George McPhee, The Creator, and the entire staff that he’s the perfect fit. There’s only one reason to procrastinate, and that’s to wait and see if someone better will come available.

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Gerard Gallant’s Decision On The Isles Might Be A Hint At Vegas

When The Bobfather speaks we listen. Without discussing Vegas specifically, TSN’s Bob McKenzie may have given away parts of George McPhee’s master plan. McKenzie’s sources told him the Islanders tried hiring Jack Capuano’s replacement before firing him.

The Islanders did approach the Florida Panthers for permission to talk to Gallant. If Gerard Gallant wanted to be the head coach of the New York Islanders he would have been the head coach of the New York Islanders. And that permission by the way was initially asked for while Jack Capuano was still their head coach a number of weeks ago. -McKenzie

Gallant could’ve been hesitant to take the first job offered to him. Possibly it was the current environment in New York. Or was the current opening on 3780 South Las Vegas Boulevard the reason he turned down the Islanders?

Gallant’s name has been at the head of the line when it comes to coaching rumors in Vegas for weeks. It’ll continue to heat up every day that passes over the next few months. McPhee has a mass of selling points to any head coach, most importantly stability. Gallant is 53 years-old, he’s searching for his Stanley Cup ring, and his player-friendly style could fit in Vegas.

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Disco Dan Bylsma May Dance His Way Out Of Buffalo And In To Vegas

When Dan Bylsma was fired from the Penguins in 2014, he left Pittsburgh with one Stanley Cup and 252 wins. Pretty good numbers for five and half seasons. Since then it’s been uphill battle. Jack Eichel was drafted second overall in 2015 and the Sabres believed Bylsma would help the young center grow. When Eichel’s on the ice he’s been a stud, a combined 73 points in 104 games is a fine start to an NHL career. But while Eichel’s developing, the rest of the team is not. Buffalo won three games in October, five in November, five in December and four in January. The Sabres have had injuries this season, but overall they’ve been a disappointment. This is why the Sabres coach could be available to Vegas this offseason.

The obvious reason for Bylsma’s success in Pittsburgh was Sidney Crosby. The Penguins were coming off a Stanley Cup loss and were hungry to get back. Michele Therrien was fired in February of ’09 after the team had struggled to stay afloat. Bylsma took over and stormed on to a Stanley Cup victory. Pittsburgh went 18-3-4, the second best record for a coach’s first 25 games. Impressive, but there were plenty of skeptics out there. Many felt he tinkered and wore out players. Some said he underachieved overall in Pittsburgh and seems like he’s doing the same in Buffalo.

Two coaches executives believe are on the hot seat at the moment: Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice and Buffalo’s Dan Bylsma. Sooner or later both have to start getting better results. –Bruce Garrioch, Ottawa Sun 

You could argue he deserves more than two seasons but it’s gotten worse since that report. Some owners don’t have patience, and Vegas fans should hope Sabres owner Terrence Pegula runs out of it this offseason.

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A Look At The Top Head Coach Candidates In Vegas

On Sunday afternoon an odd NHL firing became Las Vegas news. So why was the firing of Florida Panthers Coach Gerard Gallant newsworthy to Vegas Golden Knights fans? Because a comment from The Creator last week could mean Mr. Gallant will be soon be turning into Sir Gallant.

George is looking for a particular type of of coach. He’s not looking for a first-termer. He’s looking for a guy who’s learned a lot and has coached a couple of other teams. I would say the coach that will name is going to be a recognizable individual but he has to fit George’s culture. –The Creator

So after the first NHL coach firing of the season and the big man’s comments let’s take a look at potential head coaches for VGK (or VGS or VEG or whatever they go with).

“Sir” Gerard Gallant: Head Coach/Florida ’14-’16, Head Coach/Columbus ’04-’06, Player/Detroit & Tampa ’84-’95

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, Gallant’s firing became a big topic of discussion for Vegas fans over the past two days. For a few reasons Gallant fits the bill, but his curb drop firing has me a little concerned. To start, Gallant has had some success as a head coach. Last season, the Panthers surprised the league with 103 points. However, it was Gallant’s only playoff season. Mostly what concerns me is his Florida dismissal and how it went down. Reports are Panthers execs fired Gallant after Sunday’s game in Raleigh, and told him to find his own ride home. Photos have surfaced showing the axed coach hauling his luggage into a minivan cab. Now we’re hearing a major disagreement in philosophy between Gallant and the Panthers front office. We know about Florida’s new-found dedication to analytics and Gallant was more traditional. Even with the Panthers successful ’15-’16 campaign, Gallant was doomed. Florida has their strategic plan, and they’re sticking to it. Gallant obviously didn’t buy into the method and after 22 games, the Panthers had seen enough. It’s concerning if Gallant was released from because of style differences. He does have a connection to the Vegas organization with Scott Luce  and Erin Ginnel on staff, but personally, I would move on to other candidates that could be available next June.

Jack Capuano: Head Coach/NY Islanders ’10-Present, Player/Toronto, Vancouver & Boston ’88-’92

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Coach Will Be Familiar Name To NHL Fans

Naming the franchise was a major step in the growth of Las Vegas’ first major professional sports franchise, but the list of steps is still massive between now and puck drop in October 2017.

One of the most important moments for the Vegas Golden Knights will be the naming of the first head coach. The Creator weighed in on what type of guy George McPhee is looking for in an interview on SportsNet’s Prime Time Sports.

George is looking for a particular type of of coach. He’s not looking for a first-termer. He’s looking for a guy who’s learned a lot and has coached a couple of other teams. He has a list of six or seven candidates, he and Kelly do. Some may or may not be available.  -The Creator

Names being thrown around are Mike Kitchen, Paul Maurice, Ralph Krueger, Jack Capuano, Paul McLean, among many others. Many names being considered are current coaches in the NHL.

The coaching situation will probably not resolve until after the regular season, that would be my guess. I would say the coach that will name is going to be a recognizable individual but he has to fit George’s culture. George spent 17 years with the Capitals and a couple years with team Canada, very successful guy, very intense. He’s going to get his guy who is going to do it his way. -The Creator

So we’ll probably still have to wait another six months or so to find out who it is, but we do now know the man standing behind the bench for the first season of NHL hockey in Las Vegas will be someone we’ve all seen before.

Put To Bed Those Kelly McCrimmon Head Coach Rumors

Head coach rumors have been swirling for months and have included names such as Claude Julien, Mike Kitchen, Craig Berube, and Travis Green, just to name a few. But here in Vegas, and specifically in conversations between those following the team closest, there was this crazy thought in the back of just about everyone’s minds.

What if the coach is already on the staff? What if that coach is the second hire on the staff? Could Assistant General Manager Kelly McCrimmon have been brought in not only to build the team, but then coach them in the inaugural season?

Well, you can stick a fork in that idea. Speaking on Sportsbook Radio with Brian Blessing (about 1:20 in), McCrimmon himself denied any thoughts of coaching the team in 2017-18.

I love coaching and we had lots of success in Brandon, so that part was real enjoyable. For me, I’ve changed gears with the opportunity to work on the management side in the NHL. I always find if you are really enjoying what you are doing and if you are stimulated by the challenge you tend not to miss what you left behind. So as much as I loved every minute of coaching the Brandon Wheat Kings I’m really enjoying what I’m doing right now and looking forward to contributing as much as I possibly can to help this team get started. So it’ll be a different coach than this one and I’m sure I’ll have a hand in the process of selecting the coach. -Kelly McCrimmon, AGM

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Patrick Roy Doesn’t Fit What Vegas Needs In A Head Coach

Legendary netminder Patrick Roy might be available after resigning as Colorado’s Vice President and Head Coach. Roy’s departure was a complete shock to the organization and in many ways left the Avs speechless. Roy cited an internal problem between him and the Colorado hockey operations department, suggesting his voice wasn’t being heard.

While the news of this hit, some people weren’t surprised by Roy’s decision. He’s a successful hothead that works best when emotional and passionate. He played that way, and from the first time he graced the step behind the bench, he coached that way. Although let’s be serious, Roy the coach is not the Roy the goalie.

Moments after the news broke, rumors started to pour in. Did Roy resign for another job? Will Roy end up in Montreal? Will Roy be Las Vegas’s first coach?

First off, does anyone believe Roy resigned because he’s heading to Las Vegas? Ten months before he even has a player to coach? I know I sure don’t.

Secondly, is Roy even the type of coach The Creator wants to hire? I don’t believe that either.

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