We were both on our way out of the building Tuesday when I ran into New York Rangers Head Coach Gerard Gallant. Just enough time to get a couple of basic questions in previewing tonight’s game (:90-seconds of audio) against the Vancouver Canucks. The Blueshirts are 6-2-1 on the young season, behind some sterling netminding from Igor Shesterkin, who carries a goals against average of 1.70 and a save percentage of .947 this season. Hello!
Gallant makes reference to that, and in his preview of the Vancouver Canucks he expects a desperate hockey club giving it their all.
I also asked him a quick question about maybe his best friend in hockey, Steve Yzerman, and the Detroit GM’s effort to turn around the franchise they played with together for nine seasons.
After NHL head coaching stints in Columbus, Florida, and Vegas, Gallant is overjoyed to be coaching the New York Rangers of the Original Six.
The Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks, always a flashback to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, get started just after 7 pm Tuesday night at Rogers Arena. The Canucks are 3-5-and-1 on the season.
— Gerard was a successful coach at the junior level, ultimately leading the St. John Seadogs to a Memorial Cup championship in 2011, while being named the Coach of the Year in both the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the entire major junior Canadian Hockey League two years in a row in 2010 and 2011.
He’s had some bizarre moments along the way as an NHL head coach, none weirder than his firing by Florida Panthers GM Tom Rowe — Rowe’s brief coaching and management tenure there still an unexplained existence — after leading the Panthers to dramatic improvements the two previous seasons.
Gallant was also let go by the Vegas Golden Knights after leading the team to the Stanley Cup Final in the franchise’s inaugural season and also guiding them to the playoffs the next two seasons.