The Vegas Golden Knights have fired head coach Gerard Gallant and named former San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer as their new head coach. The team made the announcement Tuesday.
Gallant was fired after just two years behind the bench of the Golden Knights. He led them to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season and was named the NHL’s coach of the year.
The change came after Vegas lost its fourth game in a row Tuesday, putting them out of a playoff position for the time being.
“You’ve seen consistency issues,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “We are like a lot of teams — had real high hopes for the year, still have real high hopes for the year. We’re in a unique position where we’re right in the mix, so this isn’t a case where the bottom fell out and we were left with no choice. It was a situation more where proactively it was our belief that this was going to be the best thing for our organization.”
Under Gallant, the Golden Knights made the playoffs in each of the two years of their existence. Their four-game losing streak matches the longest losing streak in franchise history, but it’s clear McCrimmon’s tolerance for coming up short is low.
Vegas is 8-6-1 in their last 15 games and just three points out of first place in the Pacific Division, with Gallant tabbed to coach the Pacific Division squad at the upcoming All-Star game. There’s no word on how that will exactly shake out right now, but needless to say it makes things awkward.
To make things even more awkward, DeBoer is the guy who once called Gallant a clown. He’s the second coach to get fired this season and already find new work after John Hynes moved from New Jersey to Nashville.
DeBoer coached the Sharks for four and a half seasons, but San Jose fell short this season and he was released 33 games into the season.
“His teams are always really well prepared, well coached,” McCrimmon said of his new hire. “We feel he will do a really good job for us. He’s a really respected coach in the industry … he’s an intelligent guy. His teams have been strong on special teams and he’s been to the Cup finals with two different teams (San Jose and New Jersey). He’s had a lot of success.”
The Golden Knights are hoping that success will translate to their franchise. Vegas takes on Ottawa Thursday.
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