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).
The official spiel is pretty standard, although Habs GM Marc Bergevin seemed pretty adamant about Gallant’s value as an assistant in Montreal:
“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.
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.