The coaches for the game are selected based on the teams with the highest points percentage at the halfway mark of the NHL season. By way of the Golden Knights defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on Thursday, the Golden Knights hit the midway point with a .591 points percentage, tops in the Pacific Division.
“It’s an honor to go to the All-Star Game,” Gallant said Friday. “Obviously, a coach changes the lines and gets the team ready to play. It’s an honor to represent the organization.”
Gallant will join Todd Reirden (Washington Capitals), Bruce Cassidy (Boston Bruins) and Craig Berube (St. Louis Blues) in the weekend’s festivities. Gallant will also be heading to St. Louis on Jan. 24-25 with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, the Golden Knights’ lone representative (for now) during All-Star Weekend.
This is the second time in three years Gallant will coach in the game, and third time overall. He, along with Fleury and James Neal, represented the Golden Knights in their inaugural season in 2018. The Pacific Division won the 3-on-3 tournament in 2018. Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser was named the game’s MVP.
Alas, Gallant did have some hope he’d get to go home for the break.
“The guys are great. I’ve got a great relationship with our players. They sort of joke because they know I want to go see my grandkids real bad, so they were trying to in spite of me last night. Especially Reilly Smith,” Gallant said, referring to the two penalties called that set up a 6-on-3 for Philadelphia in the final minutes. “But seriously, it’s a great honor to go to the All-Star Game any time you can get an opportunity. I never had that chance as a player, and it’s my third time as a coach. So it’s great, and you know your team is playing well and doing the right thing when the coaches get to go.”
Gallant has coached the Golden Knights to a 23-15-6 record at the halfway point, two points ahead of the Canucks and Arizona Coyotes for first place in the Pacific. After a slow start to the season, the Golden Knights have gone 14-6-3 since Nov. 17; the 31 points in that span is the most in the league.