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2020-21 Rangers Gerard Gallant

What Gerard Gallant said about his style, young players, the rebuild, captains and more

Gerard Gallant was on the NHL Network on Wednesday and said:

  • On coaching and systems, “there is no doubt, it’s a fine line with what you are going to do with your team. I’ve always coached pretty much the same way, but you gotta make little adjustments with your personnel, there is no doubt about that. I believe in playing a fast game of hockey, being aggressive on your forecheck. Part of the NHL is being a good traffic team and defensive team, but I think it all starts with the talented group that we’ve got, I think if we are on offense first and you work hard playing defense you will be fine. I think our group is going to play a very fast game up and down the ice, working hard at both ends of the rink and that is how you win championships, you’ve gotta play both ends of the rink, work hard, and be committed.”

  • On young players, “I think you gotta give them opportunity, you can’t start a young player on the fourth line and give them 5-6 shifts a game, you gotta put them in there as PP guys, PK guys, whatever his role is going to be, you have to get him in there and give him the opportunity to do that. When they make mistakes you give them a little pat on the back and say ‘don’t worry about that, it’s not going to happen again you are going to go out there and have your next shift and it’s going to be a better one. A perfect example right now, I’m watching a lot of the hockey like everybody else, but you look at Montreal and the young players they’ve got out there Suzuki, Kotkaniemi, Caufield, these kids don’t look like they are out of place in the NHL playoffs. It’s the semi-finals, they made some mistakes in the regular season now they are playing a tighter game and playing really well. I think all the kids can commit to that and it’s the perfect example of Montreal having some good veteran players to help these kids along.”

Gerard Gallant was on The Micheal Kay Show today and said:


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Do you feel the pressure of coaching the Rangers, “I don’t feel any added pressure, to be honest, we have a very talented hockey club and an up and coming team for sure, I don’t think there is any more pressure, I go to the rink and enjoy my time with the players and I’ve got a great job so I’m not worried about the pressure.”

Is the rebuild still happening or are the playoffs a reality, “I think the rebuild is over, I think they got a lot of young talent that is coming up and playing pretty well, they’ve got some very good veteran players, real good goaltending, we’ve got all the makings of a really good team, in saying that there are 32 teams in the NHL that all think they can make the playoffs. It’s going to be a battle, I look at our division and real good teams there, but I fully expect us to compete with any team in the NHL.”

Why did you choose the Rangers, “It’s an Original Six team, a team ready to take off and go forward and be a real solid team for a long time. When I met for the first time with Chris, before I went to Europe with Team Canada, we had a three-hour meeting in NY and everything was great, it was a good fit, Chris is a good person, we had a good conversation and I think when I left that day after three hours I had a pretty good feeling that I was going to be coach of the Rangers and fortunate for me it happened, but I think it was a good fit between me and Chris.”

On his time between stints in the NHL, “The biggest thing you come back with is more confidence, when you win Championships, doesn’t matter what level, you gain more confidence and I went to Montreal and we had a good team for the two years, I just think that when I came back the second time around with the Florida Panthers I was more confident in making my decisions and working with the assistant coaches. The first time you go through an NHL head coaching job, and I was a young coach, I didn’t have much experience, you make mistakes and are not confident in your decisions and you come back the second time around and it was completely different for me.”

Did you meet with Jim Dolan, “I talked with him briefly, I didn’t meet him, the only time I met with anybody because of Covid, Team Canada was meeting Team USA in Newark, so I just happened to be there a day and a half before which worked out perfect, so I had a chance to meet with Chris, I never met with Mr. Dolan.”

How did your conversation go with Jim Dolan, “Real good, there are expectations, we want to be a real good hockey team here. Everything was real positive, he said I don’t interfere with the coaching and I let you do your job, but expectations are high and I said that it was perfect and exactly what I want to know. It was real good, to the point, like you said it was short and welcoming me to the Rangers more than anything…..it was great.”

Do you feel this team needs to be harder and/or do you need to find new players for that, “I think every player, every fan watches the games right now says that they need to be harder. I don’t know what the Rangers in the past what they did, I saw that night with Wilson and the next night the Rangers responded in a perfect manner, they stepped up and they did the right things for their team, but I think everybody knows that if you are going to be in the battle in the playoffs you are going to have to play harder, compete harder and be ready for every game. I’ve coached teams in Vegas and Florida and when we went to the playoffs and everybody steps it up a notch. There are all kinds of Rangers players that step it up a notch in playoffs, I don’t see any issue with that, each player will play more physical and we will see what the offseason brings and when me and Chris sit down and talk about players and who knows what free agency brings. You don’t worry about that, you worry about the team you got and see if you can make it better.”

Do you have a captain in mind, “No, not at all. I talked with Chris, we talked through it briefly because, to be honest with you, I had a sister that passed away last week, the day I got the job my sister passed away, so we didn’t have a whole lot of conversations about the team. We didn’t have a whole lot of conversations about the captaincy, we will talk about that all summer long. I’m a firm believer in 23-guys being real good leaders and that is what you need in your hockey club and when you pick a captain you gotta make sure it’s the right one, so we will talk about that, he knows the players better than I do and we will go in there and make a decision, but it will be a group decision and look forward to that, but the big thing for me is that we need 23-guys who are ready to take leadership roles.”

On young players and the fourth line, “I think, when you look at my coaching career and the last six years between Florida and Vegas, I was one of the guys who used four lines more than any other coach probably in the league, that is a big apart of my game and to play a high tempo speed that is what you have to do. Each player has to have roles on the team, some of those fourth line guys might not score 15 goals for you, but they have an important role to play, they are banging bodies and working hard…..hopefully the young players, the high draft picks like Lafreniere and Kakko, they are going to be up higher in the lineup, but the fourth line guys are every bit as important as your third line guys and you make sure they are ready to play every night and in the playoffs you can’t go with three lines, you have to play four lines.”

What happened with Vegas, “I’d like to be able to answer that question, but I can’t really tell you. I was as surprised as anybody, but that is in the thing, when you have expectations like we did in Vegas, the first 2 and a half years for me went really well, we had a four game losing streak and all of a sudden, and they have a right to do that, teams have the right to do it and I got a call that they are going in a different direction, what do you do as a coach? I thought everything was going well and the team was ready to play and we worked hard for 2 and a half years and all of a sudden they are going in a different direction. When you sign your contract you know that is part of the business and it’s a tough part of the business, but you gotta move on and the quicker you move past that stuff the better off you are going to be and I’m ready for my next opportunity and fortunately it’s going to be in New York.”

Can you still be happy about what Vegas is doing, “I feel a part of it to be honest with you. With what they are doing a lot of those players were there and we get off on the right foot for 2 and a half years, but that time is over now, I’m a New York Ranger now and I’m working on that and worried about that and like I said, I’ve coached a lot of good players and a lot of good players in organizations, but you gotta move on.”

What type of coach are you, “I’m trying to win hockey games with players that are playing the best hockey that night. It doesn’t matter if you are 42-years old or 18-years old, you are going to get the opportunity to play. I’m going to give you a second chance when you make mistakes, that is part of hockey, you can’t go on the ice thinking you are going to sit on the bench when you make mistakes, you’ve gotta go out there and play on your toes, we want to be an aggressive forechecking team, pursuing the puck a lot, I like to play a fast style of hockey and I give people second and third opportunities, but after that they start to pay a price for it. You want to be fair to players and give them opportunity to get their talent out and work hard and compete hard. I’m a fair coach, people call me a players’ coach, but also when it’s time to discipline people you have to do that too. It’s a fine line with all of the decisions you have to make as a coach and hopefully we make more right decisions than wrong decisions.”

On goaltending philosophy, “I couldn’t even make a decision, I sit down with the goalie coach and we have a good chat about the goaltending, he knows more about goaltending than I do, we will discuss it. I’m a coach that uses the people around me, my assistant coaches are important to me, my goaltending coach is really important, the video coach is really important. We will sit and make those decisions later, but I know we have real solid goaltending there and we know you need 2-3 goalies to make a long run, that is what you need and it’s about goalies playing 70 games anymore, you need 2 real good goalies and sometimes your third goalie is really important to your club as well.”

What was your previous relationship with Drury, “None, really. I knew him to say hello, that was about it. I’ve never talked to him before, might have walked by him, said hello and shook his hand, but that is as far as it goes.”

What about Glen Sather, “Same, pretty much. I played against him when he was running the Edmonton Oilers, but there was no more than that.”

Does MSG hold a special place to you, “Obviously it was an intimidating place to play when you are a player and I loved coming to that building. Back then there was a lot of Original Six buildings so it was fun coming to those buildings in Montreal, Toronto, Rangers, Boston Bruins, I loved coming and playing there and as a coach it’s the same thing, the fans cheering Let’s Go Rangers and it’s pretty good and a great building to play in and I really enjoyed coaching there and I’m looking forward to being the coach of the home team.”