6/14/23 | 1PM: Elliotte Friedman said on 32 Thoughts “They met with him fast, met with him a couple of times. One of the things about Peter Laviolette is…I was very interested in the term: three years. That is a good term for Laviolette, that is a really good term for him because if you look at his history, that is what he does, he turns you around fast and puts a jolt into your organization and then he moves on, that is his history and they have to win now. One of the things I was kind of told, too, was that Gallant and Drury always didn’t see eye-to-eye and I think Drury wanted to make sure that he could see eye to eye with Laviolette. He knew he could see eye to eye with Hynes, that wasn’t a problem, but I think he had to make sure it was going to be okay with Laviolette, obviously he is comfortable with that now….You look at Peter Laviolette, he got to the Islanders and made them better, he got to the Hurricanes and won a Stanley Cup. He got to the Flyers and within two wins of the Stanley Cup, that is what he does, he turns teams around fast. Do I think Drury was a little unsure? Yea, I do and I think he knows this is a big hire and that if this doesn’t work it could be a problem for him, but he’s never been afraid to wait, I think he asked a lot of people. They weren’t getting Sullivan, but he wanted to make sure. I don’t think Keefe is going to be an option, it sounds like they weren’t going to do Quenneville. He just wanted to make sure that he was sure. It may work, it may not and if you are the Rangers that is what you need. The idea of taking a step backwards or this not working, it’s not an option, it just isn’t.”
6/13/23 | 8:43 PM: Emily Kaplan said on ESPN “It is a three-year deal and I’ve also been told he’s making around $5 million dollars per season, that is roughly what he was making with the Capitals. When the Rangers parted ways with Gerard Gallant they didn’t really know who they were going to get. They cast a wide net, talked to some of the young guys like Spencer Carbery and Jay Leach, but owner Jim Dolan really felt like this is a Championship team right now and they needed a veteran. So, enter Peter Laviolette. He was their guy and then John Hynes gets fired in Nashville and, okay, that is a guy with a relationship with Chris Drury so they had to talk to him. I’d be curious to see if Hynes ends up on the bench with Laviolette, they let go the rest of their assistants except Benoit Allaire, so that is a possibility. One other thing I would note, there was interest in Joel Quenneville, Quenneville wanted to go to the Rangers, however, they wouldn’t get momentum because Gary Bettman would not talk to him until the Stanley Cup Final is over.”
6/12/23: 4:06 PM: Elliotte Friedman tweets that “Nothing is done until it’s done, but, barring a swerve, looking like Laviolette as next Rangers head coach.”
12:58PM: On The Jeff Marek Show, Elliotte Friedman said “I know I’m going to sound like a yo-yo, but I’m leaning Laviolette now. Until I get something that convinces me otherwise, he’s the guy I’m leaning to. I think we’re gonna get some clarity here, and I don’t know 100%, but I’m leaning to Laviolette here.”
Asked if there was any particular reason to lean towards Laviolette or whether it was just a ‘vibe,’ Friedman said “vibe. It’s tough, the vibe last week, obviously, at the combine, as I said, was Hynes. I had a couple of calls when I got into Vegas yesterday, after we recorded the pod, saying that they thought it was now going the other direction. Some people felt reasonably strongly about it, but, again, I have no confirmation, but the pendulum seems to be swinging the other way.”
11:30AM: Elliotte Friedman said on 32 Thoughts that “New York looks like it’s Hynes or Laviolette.”
6/9/23 | 12:48 PM: On the 32 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman said “I talked about it on your show on Thursday that at the combine a lot of people were telling me they were hearing more and more Hynes, who I believe met with Drury in-person this week. As I said, I want everyone to be careful. The Rangers have me a little bit confused here in the sense that there is something we’re not seeing here. If they wanted it to be Laviolette overwhelmingly it could be done, if they wanted it to be Hynes overwhelmingly it could be done, so either there is another candidate here we are not seeing or there is someone they are waiting for we are not seeing. Larry Brooks has been adamant that it’s not Joel Quenneville and I will concede that he is closer to that situation than I am, so I’m going to take his word on this one. I have wondered if there is any chance that they are waiting to see what happens with Sheldon Keefe. I wonder if there is waiting for clarity on that and if they are or find it and get it then they just go with Hynes or Laviolette, but if not they are waiting. But I admit that I don’t have a great handle on it and that is just my speculation and then who knows, certainly, people at the combine were thinking Laviolette, but I have wondered if they are waiting on someone like Keefe.”
6/12/23 Adam Rotter: This has just been a weird, seemingly drawn out, long process to replace Gerard Gallant. There are a lot of questions about this process that will likely never get answered like: what was/was there an initial plan? Was Joel Quenneville the plan until they learned that the timing wouldn’t work out or was all the Quenneville speculation just connecting the dots with Artemi Panarin and him being a big name, Stanley Cup winning coach? Did they really think Mike Sullivan was going to be an option? Was John Hynes always a candidate and the Rangers had to wait until Nashville settled his situation before they could talk to him or did Hynes throw a wrench into the process? If they really thought of Hynes as a top candidate, did they try and request permission to speak with himbefore he was fired in Nashville? Were they/are they waiting for Sheldon Keefe’s situation in Toronto to be settled? If it is Laviolette, what has taken so long?
I’m assuming that there was some plan at the outset of this process, but plan or not, Gerard Gallant wasn’t coming back. Could they have brought Gallant back and then fired him in November to hire Quenneville? Possibly, but every day until Gallant would ultimately be fired would be a distraction and that also presumes that another team didn’t have the same idea and hired Quenneville themselves. It seemed like everyone, Gallant included, wanted that partnership to end and since there is speculation that the Rangers considered this back in the winter, you’d think that they would have entered this search knowing who the options would be.
On paper, hiring Quenneville made sense, but the logistics of how and when to do it always carried with it the risk that they he isn’t reinstated or isn’t reinstated until, let’s say, after Opening Night next year. It’s up to Gary Bettman and it wouldn’t shock me if he and Quenneville didn’t meet until August or September just to make sure he wouldn’t start the season behind the bench for someone. Sullivan always seemed like a pipe dream for a bunch of reasons. The new owners signed him to a contract extension that hasn’t even kicked in yet, the new owners sided with him and fired management, the Pens still want to try and win and would the Penguins really fire their coach and just let him go to the Rangers? He makes a ton of sense as a Stanley Cup winner who has a long history with Chris Drury from them both having gone to BU to Drury being the Captain of the Rangers while Sullivan was an assistant, but the idea of him a) being let go and b) being allowed to go to the Rangers, especially without any compensation going back to Pittsburgh, was farfetched. Sheldon Keefe would have been worth having at least a conversation with based upon his history of coaching in a big market and with star players, even if he’s only won one playoff round, but I don’t think he’s worth holding up the whole process. The Hynes thing is where it gets interesting because the reporting and buzz leading into that week was that it was likely going to be Laviolette. Then Hynes became available. Hynes was fired on May 30th, but would the Rangers have hired Laviolette at some point that week if Hynes had not been fired and was still in limbo? Did they have to wait to make a decision until they knew whether or not Hynes was going to be an option? If he ends up getting the job then I guess we can assume the answer to those questions was yes and that Drury always viewed him as a potential top candidate. But I’m just curious about timing and whether this process would be over if the Predators wouldn’t have fired him for another few days. Laviolette has been a candidate since before Gallant was fired and so there has been ample time to determine whether or not he’s the guy. Maybe they view him as their top choice and have just been sniffing around to see if anyone can top him? Maybe they aren’t crazy about him but know that he checks a ton of boxes and is their “safety school” of sorts? If it ends up being Laviolette then the answer as to why it took so long will be something like ‘due diligence’ and going through a process, but that isn’t a satisfying answer. If it was going to be Laviolette it could have been done a month ago, so if it does end up being him there should be a good reason…we just likely won’t find out what that is. There is also the possibility of the mystery candidate and that this will end up being someone out of left field or someone like Patrick Roy, even though it doesn’t seem like he’s a candidate. That possibility can’t be totally ruled out, but I think it’s unlikely.
In a lot of ways it doesn’t matter when the Rangers hire a coach as long as he’s there in mid-September when training camp starts or in early October when the season starts. In more realistic terms they don’t need a coach until the draft or free agency when the roster is being built and players are being signed. So it doesn’t really matter if they hired the coach on May 12, June 12th or during the first round of the draft, but with a shallow pool of candidates it just felt like this process should have been wrapped up weeks ago. This hasn’t been, at least we don’t think, a 15 person search with coaches of all experience and all levels of hockey. It seemed like a small group and because of that a quicker process, but it hasn’t gone that way. Maybe Chris Drury is just very slow and methodical, trying to dig up every piece of information and speak with every former player to gain insight on the next coach, but it’s been dragging on too long at this point with no explanation as to why. Even if you consider Hynes being a wrench thrown into the process, that was two weeks ago now and he’s someone Drury has known since college. They still have a couple of weeks before they really need to make a choice, it’s just that it seemed like someone that should be wrapped up by now.