Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between run-of-the-mill press releases and legitimate praise, but from the sound of things, the Montreal Canadiens really will miss Gerard Gallant (who was named the Florida Panthers’ new head coach on Saturday).
“Obviously we are disappointed to see an individual like Gerard Gallant leave our organisation, but on behalf of the management team and the entire coaching staff I would like to wish Gerard the best of luck as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers,” Bergevin said. “Over the past two years, Gerard has been a valuable asset for us and contributed to the success of our team.”
Gallant departed with more than just the typical praise from his former team, though.
Congrats to Gerard Gallant on the new coaching job! Very deserving! One of the best I've had!
The Montreal Gazette indicates that Gallant wore many hats. He used his language skills in interesting ways and helped out on the power play. He might have even played “good cop” to Michel Therrien’s “bad cop,” if you read between the lines:
Gallant worked mostly with the forwards and was responsible for the team’s power play. He played a valuable role as a liaison between the players and head coach Michel Therrien and often lightened the mood at practice by joining the players during their shooting drills. On a staff loaded with bilingual personnel, the unilingual Gallant also served as the improbable voice of the team in between-period interviews with RDS analyst Marc Denis.
Time will tell if Gallant will maintain that lighter touch as a head coach. If nothing else, promising Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau seems thrilled to be reunited with him. Positive reactions from Subban and Huberdeau imply that Gallant may know how to handle budding young stars, which could be especially useful in prospect-heavy Florida.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.
The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.
Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.
The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.
“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”
In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.