Gerard Gallant was abruptly fired from the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday after reaching the Stanley Cup final in their first season and being named NHL coach of the year on their way.
Peter DeBoer, who was released by the San Jose Sharks last month, immediately takes the lead and will be the Vegas coach for the rest of the season.
General Manager Kelly McCrimmon announced the move in the morning after a 2-4 loss to Buffalo Vegas eliminated from the playoff position in the Western Conference. The Golden Knights have lost four in a row, the longest drought in their short franchise history.
” So that our team can develop its full potential, we have found that a change of coach is necessary. Our team can do more than we have shown this season, ”said McCrimmon. “With Peter DeBoer, we have a proven and experienced head coach who we believe can help us achieve our ultimate goal.”
Gallant was fired less than two years after winning the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year for helping the Golden Knights reach the 2018 Stanley Cup final, in which they lost to Washington in five games. They also reached last season’s playoffs before losing to DeBoer’s Sharks in seven games in the first round.
Some tough missions this season have been Gallant’s honeymoon since he was hired as a coach for the 31st league team in April 2017.
He helped the president of hockey operations, George McPhee and McCrimmon, during the Golden Knights’ successful expansion plan and conveyed an artisanal stance that helped a ragged group of players get together during a magical opening season. Vegas won eight of its first nine games and put together an exciting run through the playoffs to land against the Capitals in the final.
Assistant coach Mike Kelly, who came to Vegas from the Florida Panthers with Gallant, was also fired.
“We would like to thank Gerard and Mike for their service at the Vegas Golden Knights,” said McCrimmon. ” They were both instrumental in the success we had in our first two seasons, and we wish them all the best for the future. ”
This is the seventh coaching change in the NHL this season and the fifth for performance reasons. Vegas are the third team to change coaches after battling the Sabers, a defeat that was not well received by the players.
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text MB (1.0em) MB (0) – SM MT (0.8em) – SM" type = "text" content = "'' It is more difficult, especially if you are against Losing teams, you know you're better than, "said Golden Knights Mark Stone said Tuesday night. ” We are a better ice hockey team. We just have to find ways to get the puck online, and we’ve been kind of stale in the past few games. ” “Data-reactid =” 32 “> ” It’s more difficult, especially when you lose to teams you know you’re better than,” said Golden Knights winger Mark Stone on Tuesday night. “We’re a better one Hockey team, you just have to find ways to get the puck online, and we somehow managed to get the last series of games out of date. ”
The Golden Knights are 8-6-1 in their last 15, but are only three points away from first place in the Pacific Division. Gallant was scheduled to coach the Pacific team on All-Star Weekend later this month, after Vegas had led half of the division.
Things haven’t gone well since then. The power game is 5 out of 12 in their last 12 games, and the penalty gave two goals to the Sabers, which put them in 21st place in the league.
“They are still doing the same things, whether they are unfortunate or bad,” said Gallant after the defeat. ” It doesn’t work right now. ”
DeBoer was fired by the sharks in December in their disappointing season. DeBoer, whom Gallant once called a clown, is the constant replacement without a preliminary name.
DeBoer is the second coach to be fired this season and joins a new team after John Hynes left New Jersey for Nashville. He is now with his fourth team as head coach after stations in New Jersey, Florida and San Jose.
Vegas is 24-19-6 and will play in Ottawa the next Thursday evening.
AP Hockey writer John Wawrow from Buffalo contributed to this.
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