It’s been a few days, and it’s still weird to say that Gerard Gallant is no longer the coach of the Vegas Golden Knights.
It might not become a normal thing until the first home game Feb. 8 — against the Carolina Hurricanes — where Peter DeBoer is the one rolling lines at T-Mobile Arena, and not Gallant.
The good news for the NHL is that Gallant isn’t done in the coaching realm.
“I was disappointed and surprised, but I understand the hockey business and things have to change sometimes,” Gallant told the Journal Pioneer on Saturday, his first comments since being fired Wednesday. “They made a tough decision and I’m sure it was tough on them, but that’s the way hockey is. If an opportunity comes up I will definitely look at it — myself and [assistant coach] Mike [Kelly].”
Gallant was the seventh coaching change this season. Odds are, at this rate, it won’t be the last. And when such a change occurs, you have to believe Gallant will be one of the first to get an interview for an opening.
If I had to venture a guess, Gallant is going to take the time off, have some Coke Zero in Prince Edward Island and spend time with his grandkids. Which, really, who can blame him?
Next season, though, there will be openings and it would be a shock if Gallant didn’t fill one of those openings. There are some teams that should, and will, call Gallant for an interview, and those same teams are in desperate need of a turnaround based on what he did with Vegas two seasons ago, leading the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final.
In no particular order, let’s take a gander.
This almost seems too good to be true, but the former Red Wings player coming back to Detroit almost makes all the sense in the world.
Gallant played nine seasons with the Red Wings from 1985-93. The Red Wings, at 28 points through 50 games, are on pace to be one of the worst teams in the history of hockey, dating back to when cavemen played with sticks and used bugs as hockey pucks.
It just happens that Gallant’s former teammate and good friend Steve Yzerman is the general manager in Detroit now.
Detroit is not a good forechecking team, and it’d be very weird to see how Gallant gets that team rolling with four lines and such, but it almost seems like a match made in heaven. It depends if Gallant is willing to go from a contending situation to a drastic rebuild, but if there’s one place he’d make it happen, it’s Detroit.
Whether the Stars would actually want to make a move from Rick Bowness after this season depends solely on Dallas’ finish to this season. Right now, at third in the Central Division, the Stars are primed to make another playoff run.
Gallant would walk into a perfect blend of stars (Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Alex Radulov) and young talent (Roope Hintz, Miro Heiskanen). Goaltending is not in a bad state, either.
The Stars have not had a dropoff despite the sudden firing of Jim Montgomery earlier this season. Unless this turns into a Craig Berube situation and Bowness leads Dallas to the Stanley Cup, the Stars are likely keeping all cards on the table and doing due diligence on their next coach.
Narrative. All the narrative.
This goes without saying in full detail, but I would love this, if for nothing else but to extend the Vegas-San Jose rivalry for the next 5-10 years.
It would be an awful situation personnel wise, given San Jose’s cap status, but man. I’d be here for this.
Golden Knights fans might lose their minds. But this needs to happen.