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GALLANT IS THE GUY: Panthers name Gerard Gallant as 13th coach in franchise history


TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards


The Florida Panthers finally have a new head coach. After a lengthy search, Montreal Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant was given the job on Saturday.


The team will formally introduce Gallant as the 13th coach in franchise history at a press conference Monday morning at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

Gallant, 50, was coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons from 2004-06. The Jackets, not far removed from their expansion years, went 56-76-6 with four ties during his tenure.

The Panthers have been searching for a coach ever since letting interim coach Peter Horachek go in April. General manager Dale Tallon said he was looking for a coach with vast NHL coaching experience and interviewed more than a dozen candidates.

Gallant and former Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma were the finalists for the job with the contract details apparently worked out Friday in New York.

Bylsma, who was fired by the Penguins earlier this month, still has two years left on his contract with Pittsburgh at a reported $2.3 million per season. Gallant is believed to have been given a three-year deal.

"This was a very extensive search,'' Tallon said on Saturday afternoon.

"It was a very informative and very successful search. We're all very excited about this. He has a reputation for integrity and his passion for the game is beyond reproach. Ownership feels the same way I do.''

Although Gallant doesn't have extensive head coaching experience in the NHL, he played 11 seasons with Detroit and Tampa Bay before becoming a junior coach in 1995.

Since turning to coaching, Gallant has been a head coach in Columbus and at the Canadian junior level -- which is the hockey equivalent of coaching college football in the U.S.

Gallant has also been an NHL assistant for seven years with the Blue Jackets, Islanders and Canadiens.

In his three years of coaching the Saint John, New Brunswick, Ice Dogs of the Quebec junior league, Gallant's top player was current Florida winger Jonathan Huberdeau.

Under Gallant's watch, the Sea Dogs won the Memorial Cup with Huberdeau in 2011. Huberdeau became the third-overall pick of the Panthers a few weeks later. Gallant was the Canadian Hockey League's coach of the year in two of his three seasons with the Sea Dogs.

After this past season, Huberdeau -- the NHL's rookie of the year in 2012 -- said Gallant was one of the most influential coaches in his career. Huberdeau reiterated that on Saturday.

"It's good to be reunited with him and I think things are going to be good with him here,'' said Huberdeau, who plans to attend Monday's news conference.

"I'm excited for this. He's a guy who is intense and into the game. He keeps you up throughout the game. I think the guys are going to react to him. He wants what is best for the players.''

Said Tallon: "He's had success with young players and we're going to be a young team with a nice group of veterans to go with them. I think he's equipped to handle both.''

Gallant is very close to former Panthers coach Doug MacLean as both hail from Summerside, Prince Edward Island in Canada.

"I taught him in high school,'' MacLean said with a laugh. "I've known him since he was 10.''

Gallant's first NHL job came when he was hired in Columbus by MacLean -- then the team's president and general manager -- in 2000 to be an assistant under Dave King for the Blue Jackets' inaugural season. When King was fired in 2003, MacLean took over coaching duties.

In 2004, MacLean replaced himself by promoting Gallant midway through the season. After a 5-9-1 start to the 2006-07 season, ownership ordered MacLean to fire Gallant. MacLean was let go at the end of that season as well. Gallant spent the next two seasons as an assistant with the Islanders.

"He's a terrific guy and a great coach,'' said MacLean, who coached the Panthers to their greatest postseason success in his first season with the team in 1995-96. MacLean is now a television and radio analyst in Canada.

"I put him in as a head coach in Columbus and he did a good job. We were an expansion team. But he's smart. Columbus didn't work but he went back at it. He did an amazing job with Saint John and was integral to Montreal's success. I think the world of him."

-- The Panthers will open the 2014-15 season at Tampa Bay on Oct. 9 with the home opener two days later against New Jersey. The entire NHL schedule will be released Sunday.

FLORIDA PANTHERS HEAD COACHES

1993-95: Roger Neilson

1995-97: Doug MacLean*

1997-98: Bryan Murray

1998-2000: Terry Murray*

2000-01: Duane Sutter*

2001-03: Mike Keenan*

2003-04: Rick Dudley*

2004: John Torchetti

2005-08: Jacques Martin

2008-11: Pete DeBoer

2011-13: Kevin Dineen*

2013-14: Peter Horachek

2014-?: Gerard Gallant

(*) -- Indicates was replaced midseason. Dudley, as Panthers GM, replaced himself with Torchetti.

 



Comments

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Wasn't the whole point of this exercise to hire a veteran NHL coach with signfiicant playoff experience? Didn't Bylsma lead the Penguins to the playoffs each year he coached them?

Good coach, looking forward to the draft and the upcoming season.

The Right pick for this team
He was power play coach for Montreal

Glad they did not pick name should see improvement in this team if not then clean house

George, help me understand this one. Dan fit all the criteria we were looking for, particularly a coach with experience. He was the better candidate for this job in every way, so what happened?

I thought money was no object. I guess the ownership and Tallon talk out of both sides of their mouth.

Not too many owners keep the previous GM and fire the accountant.
We'll see what happens in November…if another 5-9 like with Columbus they 'll be fired together. Hope not another Jaques Martin.

Not a smart hire also because all NHL coaches know already in advance that Panthers plan to build around post-concussion boy Huberdeau. Tallon forced also Horacheck to play him while not 100% ...

George, was the choice a financial one? Did the second choice win because of a cheaper contract or did the Panthers pick the best candidate for the team?

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/panthers-pass-on-bylsma--set-to-introduce-gerard-gallant-as-next-head-coach-185358012.html

Posssible that Bylsma after getting thrashed twice in the past two playoffs wanted time off and get his hands on a good team that lets the coach go during the season.... Think we will get to like Gallant!!! Our list of past coaches is not overwhelming....Roger N was the best

4th of July Special Clearance SALE: NHL team with 1st overall pick 2014 and hosting the 2015 NHL draft. Undertaker GM optional.

If they didn't select the least accomplished candidate, they wouldn't be the Florida Panthers

I don't like it. Bylsma had the credentials, and that's what everyone was yappin' about. Screams of cheapness. What do I care what pleases Huberdeau, I'd ship him out anyway. If he has another down year we'll get nothing for him. My recommendation to Mr. Hubey, start eating Wheaties NOW! Too small.

Both of you are right on ! They may not be Florida Panthers for long though but Prince Edwards Sea Dogs? Doug is zoo excited… With this choice they basically shoot themselves in the foot because any player old or new will look for Huby--nothing is easier to read by any opponent.

Very smart hockey man and a good coach. Montreal is sad to see him leave. He may not be the right coach for Florida. Bylsma may not have been the right one either. But Bylsma would have been the "easy" hire for Tallon. Tallon put himself out there by hiring Gallant and it has nothing to do with money. He feels that he is the right man for the job. If Florida wins, then it was a good hire. If not, then it wasn't.

There is no NHL hockey going on now so the best source of hockey entertainment are the half dozen Panther fans bellyaching about this hire.

There is no bellyaching, and both coaches would have had a question mark going in. Blysma while successful, had an elite talent pool to work with in Pittsburgh, so how would he deal with a younger unproven team?

Gallant has less head coach experience, is not the name Blysma is but has worked with younger developing athletes.

I do believe it cam down to the $ amount. Blysma was first choice but wanted too much and or too long of a contract. Gallant was the second choice, but time will tell if it was a smart one or not. Let's hope they do keep their word and spend the money as they promised... on free agents!

Grier,

So what's your point..This guy MAY be the right hire OR that guy could be the right hire. Way to put yourself out there. You must work for the organization. Don't piss off the remaining fans there are.

Read again about the new "business" role of Tallon- basically was told to cut all and look for a buyer.http://www.wsvn.com/story/24875115/yormark-leaves-panthers-for-roc-nation

In or OUT of Florida for what they care, or another Flipper? Obviously Campbell wants out now.

PK Subban speaks very highly of Mr. Gallant. Where this team is right now it appears to be the correct hire. If we were closer to contending for the cup then Blysma may have been the correct choice.

This team needs to develop players and draft the correct players and finally sign the right vets.

No more over 30s, we need guys in their late 20s to lead the youngsters we need to hire the right scouts, until we develop players it doesn't matter who the coach is

Panther Fans wanted a head coach with an extensive resume and tons of coach experience. Didn't we get that when we had Keenan and Martin? How did that turn out?


If PK Subban and Huberdeau speak highly of Gallant, then I'm sold. I honestly want a coach that can maximize on a player's potential. I don't believe Blysma could that (he underachieved with the U.S team too.)

DJ, try and relax. There is nothing to put myself out there for. I had no vested favorite in who Florida hired because I know it guarantees NOTHING. It was Tallons choice. He and the owners did the interviews. They made the decisions. Nothing the fans could ever have done about it. That's the reality but for some reason you were expecting me to put myself out there? It either works out or it doesn't with Gallant. It's that simple. Same applied to Bylsma. Bylsma had been blessed to coach a loaded team. Maybe that would make him the feel good hire but it guarantees nothing. The point was simple the first time around. I just made it again, using more words, just so you can understand it.

Oh yeah, not only do I work for the organization, I own it. I simply enjoy ticking off the fans by posting through online media message boards.

Try and hang on to reality.

Yeah, and all that for this. Never heard of this guy. I posted on here last week that we would get whoever accepted the job; not who we wanted. Why didn't we keep Horacek? To get this guy? Really? Let's see how this goes with ownership and Tallon stating they are going to spend money. Haven't seen a damn thing yet that would make me believe that. And I'm not talking about signing veterans who are over 35 and looking for their final payday, either. Spezza isn't bad, but he's on the wrong side of 30. We need young veterans who can still play.

Just move the franchise somewhere they can succeed. I'm tired of getting my hopes up every season just to see our team get ripped limb from limb against good teams.

Mr. Viola, you already suck. You haven't done anything. We are all still waiting.........Just promote the entire AHL team you cheap f^&%$!!

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