Gerard Gallant knows he has plenty of work to do with the Florida Panthers and is wasting little time.
Introduced as the newest coach of the Panthers on Monday morning, Gallant planned on driving to the team's training facility in the afternoon to start breaking down film of his new charges.
"It's going to be a good run,'' said Gallant, who said he was offered the job last Wednesday night and later signed a three-year deal.
"I'm really looking forward to it. I can't wait to start the season.''
An assistant coach in Montreal the past two seasons, Gallant flew to South Florida a few days after the Canadiens were knocked out of the playoffs by the Rangers.
"You always hear a negative from someone here or there,'' general manager Dale Tallon said, "and I never heard a negative word about Gerard Gallant in any capacity.
"He's honest, has terrific character and is a hard worker and is sincere. He also wants to have fun. He's a pleasure to be around. We hit it right off and it wasn't a great time for him. The Canadiens had just been beat out. He could have been a miserable SOB but he wasn't. That's his nature. We have a lot of players who need this kind of coach.''
Gallant, who coached Panthers' winger Jonathan Huberdeau in Canadian junior hockey, sold Tallon on his work ethic, his teaching methods and ability to help turn teams around.
When Gallant joined the Canadiens, they were coming off a horrible season in which Montreal finished 27th in the league.
With Gallant assisting Michel Therrien behind the bench, Montreal bounced back and made the playoffs the past two seasons.
With a lot of young talented players and Tallon heading out to acquire some veterans either through trades or free agency, Gallant said he sees similarities between the two situations.
"You look at their roster and you look at their core players and I think this is a great opportunity," Gallant said.
"The league is so close, the teams are so close together, you can turn things around in a hurry. That's what I see with the Florida team."
Tallon said that Gallant is the right fit for a Panthers team trying to find their way. As head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons from 2004-06 as well as junior hockey in Canada, Gallant has experience coaching both veterans and younger players.
"It was very important to get the right guy with the team we have in place,'' Tallon said. "He can teach the young kids and demand respect from the veteran players. It's a perfect scenario; they can all grow together.''
Ownership was said to have preferred Dan Bylsma, who coached the Penguins to the Stanley Cup in his first year and was in the playoffs all six years in Pittsburgh, at the start of the process but Gallant won them over.
After his initial meeting with Tallon in South Florida, Gallant interviewed with owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu as well as CEO Rory Babich in New York.
"We're not in the business of doing something because of the financials,'' Tallon said when asked if Bylsma's monetary demands priced him out of the job. "That just didn't work. We're in the business of getting the best fit for our organization and making the best team possible for the long haul. That's how we made the decision.''
Said Babich: "In our first meeting with coach, we were completely taken with him. We looked at where we're at and believe we're on the cusp of doing something special here in South Florida.''
Gallant knew the competition for the job was steep. Gallant doesn't have the coaching resume of Bylsma or other candidates such as Marc Crawford (won the Cup in 1996 with Colorado) and Tom Renney (nine seasons as a head coach).
With that in mind, Gallant sold the Panthers on himself.
A former winger who spent 11 seasons in the league with Detroit and Tampa Bay, Gallant said he worked hard to get the Florida job. This, he said, is where he wanted to be.
Having former Detroit teammate Steve Yzerman, a Hall of Famer who is now GM of the Lightning, as a reference didn't hurt.
"People ask about Dale trying to impress me. I came here saying I wanted this job,'' Gallant said. "I didn't interview for anything else. I worked hard for this job. I wasn't a big free agent guy, just an assistant trying to become an NHL head coach again. When he called me with the news, I was very excited. I'm looking forward to the challenge.''
With Gallant hired, Tallon can now focus on improving the Florida roster. Tallon plans to fly to Philadelphia on Tuesday to continue preparing for the upcoming draft.
Florida holds the top pick after winning the draft lottery although Tallon is entertaining offers for it. Tallon said on Monday that he's spoken to a dozen teams regarding the top selection but he's holding out for now.
Tallon is thought to be asking for immediate help but also wants to remain in the top third of the first round. That leaves nine teams as potential trading partners.
The draft starts Friday at 7 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
"I've had one concrete offer,'' Tallon said. "It was a fair offer. But I may as well wait until the end and see what happens. It'll probably be Thursday night or Friday morning. It's exciting.''
June 23, 2014
June 22, 2014
The NHL released its full schedule for the 2014-15 season on Sunday with the Panthers once again playing each team in the league at least twice.
The Panthers will open at Tampa Bay on Oct. 9 with the home opener against New Jersey two days later. Florida will end the regular season against the Devils on April 11. The Panthers finish the regular season with a five-game homestand.
Florida will play the bulk of its schedule (30 of the 82 games) within the Atlantic Division. Twenty-four of Florida's games will be against the east's Metropolitan Division and the other 28 come against the Western Conference.
The Panthers will play four games each (two home, two away) against Tampa Bay, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston and Detroit. Florida will play Montreal (three home, two away) and Buffalo (two home, three away) five times this season.
Twenty four of Florida's games will come on consecutive days with nine of those back-to-back sets coming on the road; three sets will be at home.
Florida's longest homestand of the season is seven games against Chicago, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Dallas, the Islanders and Winnipeg from Feb. 26-March 12. The Panthers' longest road trip kicks off 2015 with six games at Buffalo, Washington, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg from Jan. 2-13.
The Panthers will not play from Jan. 20-26 because of the All-Star break. This season's All-Star weekend will be held in Columbus.
-- The Panthers will be home for the holidays as usual, hosting Minnesota, Carolina and Ottawa around Thanksgiving.
Florida will also host a four-game homestand in late December against Pittsburgh, Toronto, Montreal and the Rangers. Florida will play the Canadiens and Rangers on consecutive nights on Dec. 30-31.
The New Year's Eve game will be the Rangers only visit to Sunrise. Florida plays at New York twice (Feb. 2, March 15).
-- The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings make their only visit to Sunrise on Feb. 5. Florida visits Los Angeles on Nov. 18.
-- Goalie Roberto Luongo will play in Vancouver for the first time since being traded back to the Panthers on Jan. 8. The Canucks visit Florida on Jan. 19.
-- New coach Gerard Gallant returns to Montreal -- he spent the past two seasons as a Canadiens assistant -- on Feb. 19.
-- Florida will also play six preseason games with two (Dallas on Sept. 24, Tampa Bay on Oct. 2) at home.
The Panthers travel to Nashville for a double-header on Sept. 27 and also visit Dallas (Sept. 29) and Tampa Bay (Oct. 4).
The Panthers will officially introduce Gallant at a news conference Monday at 11 a.m.
The conference, in which general manager Dale Tallon and CEO Rory Babich are expected to attend, will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Florida.
AWAY TEAM HOME TEAM
Thu. 10/9/14 Florida Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Sat. 10/11/14 New Jersey Florida 7:00 PM
Mon. 10/13/14 Ottawa Florida 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/17/14 Florida Buffalo 7:00 PM
Sat. 10/18/14 Florida Washington 7:00 PM
Tue. 10/21/14 Florida Colorado 9:00 PM
Sat. 10/25/14 Florida Arizona 9:00 PM
Thu. 10/30/14 Arizona Florida 7:30 PM
Sat. 11/1/14 Philadelphia Florida 7:00 PM
Tue. 11/4/14 Florida Boston 7:00 PM
Thu. 11/6/14 Florida Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Sat. 11/8/14 Calgary Florida 3:00 PM
Tue. 11/11/14 San Jose Florida 7:30 PM
Fri. 11/14/14 N.Y. Islanders Florida 7:30 PM
Sun. 11/16/14 Florida Anaheim 8:00 PM
Tue. 11/18/14 Florida Los Angeles 10:30 PM
Thu. 11/20/14 Florida San Jose 10:30 PM
Sat. 11/22/14 Florida Nashville 8:00 PM
Mon. 11/24/14 Minnesota Florida 7:30 PM
Wed. 11/26/14 Carolina Florida 7:30 PM
Fri. 11/28/14 Ottawa Florida 7:30 PM
Mon. 12/1/14 Florida Columbus 7:00 PM
Tue. 12/2/14 Florida Detroit 7:30 PM
Thu. 12/4/14 Columbus Florida 7:30 PM
Sat. 12/6/14 Buffalo Florida 7:00 PM
Mon. 12/8/14 Florida St. Louis 8:00 PM
Fri. 12/12/14 Florida Detroit 7:30 PM
Sat. 12/13/14 Florida Buffalo 7:00 PM
Tue. 12/16/14 Washington Florida 7:30 PM
Thu. 12/18/14 Florida Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Sat. 12/20/14 Florida Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Mon. 12/22/14 Pittsburgh Florida 7:30 PM
Sun. 12/28/14 Toronto Florida 5:00 PM
Tue. 12/30/14 Montreal Florida 7:30 PM
Wed. 12/31/14 N.Y. Rangers Florida 6:00 PM
Fri. 1/2/15 Florida Buffalo 7:00 PM
Sun. 1/4/15 Florida Washington 3:00 PM
Thu. 1/8/15 Florida Vancouver 10:00 PM
Fri. 1/9/15 Florida Calgary 9:00 PM
Sun. 1/11/15 Florida Edmonton 7:00 PM
Tue. 1/13/15 Florida Winnipeg 8:00 PM
Thu. 1/15/15 Colorado Florida 7:30 PM
Sat. 1/17/15 Edmonton Florida 7:00 PM
Mon. 1/19/15 Vancouver Florida 7:30 PM
Tue. 1/27/15 Detroit Florida 7:30 PM
Thu. 1/29/15 Columbus Florida 7:30 PM
Sat. 1/31/15 Florida New Jersey 7:00 PM
Mon. 2/2/15 Florida N.Y. Rangers 7:00 PM
Tue. 2/3/15 Florida N.Y. Islanders 7:00 PM
Thu. 2/5/15 Los Angeles Florida 7:30 PM
Sun. 2/8/15 Nashville Florida 3:00 PM
Tue. 2/10/15 Anaheim Florida 7:30 PM
Thu. 2/12/15 Florida Minnesota 8:00 PM
Fri. 2/13/15 Florida Dallas 8:30 PM
Sun. 2/15/15 St. Louis Florida 5:00 PM
Tue. 2/17/15 Florida Toronto 7:30 PM
Thu. 2/19/15 Florida Montreal 7:30 PM
Sat. 2/21/15 Florida Ottawa 7:00 PM
Sun. 2/22/15 Florida Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Tue. 2/24/15 Florida Chicago 8:30 PM
Thu. 2/26/15 Chicago Florida 7:30 PM
Sat. 2/28/15 Buffalo Florida 3:00 PM
Sun. 3/1/15 Tampa Bay Florida 5:00 PM
Tue. 3/3/15 Toronto Florida 7:30 PM
Thu. 3/5/15 Dallas Florida 7:30 PM
Sat. 3/7/15 N.Y. Islanders Florida 7:00 PM
Thu. 3/12/15 Winnipeg Florida 7:30 PM
Sat. 3/14/15 Florida Carolina 7:00 PM
Sun. 3/15/15 Florida N.Y. Rangers 5:00 PM
Tue. 3/17/15 Montreal Florida 7:30 PM
Thu. 3/19/15 Detroit Florida 7:30 PM
Sat. 3/21/15 Boston Florida 7:00 PM
Tue. 3/24/15 Florida Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Thu. 3/26/15 Florida Toronto 7:30 PM
Sat. 3/28/15 Florida Montreal 7:00 PM
Sun. 3/29/15 Florida Ottawa 5:00 PM
Tue. 3/31/15 Florida Boston 7:00 PM
Thu. 4/2/15 Carolina Florida 7:30 PM
Sat. 4/4/15 Tampa Bay Florida 7:00 PM
Sun. 4/5/15 Montreal Florida 5:00 PM
Thu. 4/9/15 Boston Florida 7:30 PM
Sat. 4/11/15 New Jersey Florida 7:00 PM
June 21, 2014
The Florida Panthers finally have a new head coach. After a lengthy search, Montreal Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant was given the job on Saturday.