Gallant out as Rangers manager after first-round elimination

Greg WyshynskiESPNMay 6, 2023, 5:47 p.m. ET3 minute read

The New York Rangers and coach Gerard Gallant have “mutually agreed to part ways,” the team announced on Saturday.

Gallant, 59, was in his second year with the Rangers, going 99-46-19 in the regular season. He coached them all the way to the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning. But the Rangers were a disappointment in the 2023 playoffs, losing in seven games to rival New Jersey Devils despite winning the first two games of the series.

“I first want to thank Gerard for his hard work and commitment to Rangers during his tenure as head coach,” Rangers general manager Chris Drury said in a statement. “After my assessment of the season and discussions with Gerard, we mutually came to the conclusion that a change would be beneficial for both parties. I wish him and his family all the best for the future. Our search for a new head coach will start right away.”

There was talk after Rangers were eliminated that Gallant’s job could be in jeopardy, despite being signed until 2024-25. The team had high expectations heading into the playoffs after acquiring star wingers Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko at the trade deadline. Both are unrestricted free agents this summer.

Drury did not meet the media on the day of the Rangers blackout last Wednesday. Gallant did and said he had yet to meet Drury about this status. He was frustrated that his job security was even in question.

“I’m coming here after what I think has been two successful years. We’ve had a bad week and it’s cost us. If I can’t stick to my record and what I’ve done – and not just my record here – – I think there’s something wrong. I think it’s pretty good. But we’re in New York and people are streaming stuff there, and that’s good,” he said. he declares.

Gallant added: “I can’t believe I have to answer some of these questions about my firing or being fired, brought up by the media. Disappointing.”

An NHL source told ESPN that comments from Rangers players during exit meetings were a factor in the decision to part ways with Gallant, as the apparent need for a new voice behind the bench became apparent.

“The experience of coaching an Original Six franchise with such a rich history and an incredibly passionate fan base is something I will never forget. After conversations with my family and Chris, it became clear that it was the right decision for me and Rangers at this point in time,” Gallant said in a statement.

Rangers have yet to make a decision on Gallant assistant coaches Gord Murphy, Mike Kelly and Jim Midgley.

This was Gallant’s fourth coaching stint in the NHL, following the Columbus Blue Jackets (2003-07), Florida Panthers (2014-17) and Vegas Golden Knights (2017-19). which he led to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season.

Gallant’s departure comes amid speculation during the playoffs about the Rangers’ interest in former Stanley Cup-winning coach Joel Quenneville. They would need to petition the NHL to hire him.

Quenneville resigned as Florida coach in October 2021 when a report detailed how the Chicago Blackhawks mishandled allegations that a player was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach during the run. team to the Stanley Cup in 2010. Quenneville was Chicago’s coach at the time.

He resigned after a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who said Quenneville needed to get his approval before accepting another NHL job.

“I guess it would be initiated by Joel, if and when he thinks it’s the right time and he feels he’s ready to come back and there’s an opportunity,” Bettman said last May. . “But again, I’ll have to do an assessment then.”

Leave a Comment