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Golden Knights’ Gerard Gallant to coach 500th NHL game

Updated October 16, 2019 - 7:06 pm

When Gerard Gallant retired as a player in 1995, he returned home to Prince Edward Island and was asked to help coach Summerside Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League.

“I got pulled into it like every ex-player, probably,” the Golden Knights coach said Wednesday. “I did that for a year and a half, and I liked it, and I took the junior A team over. And here we are.”

Gallant will coach in his 500th career NHL game Thursday when the Knights host the Ottawa Senators at T-Mobile Arena.

The 56-year-old is one of 14 active coaches to reach the milestone.

“He’s just an honest coach,” said Knights left wing Jonathan Marchessault, who also played for Gallant with the Florida Panthers. “Everybody has some coaches and the first thing you say about them is, ‘I hated him.’ I don’t think it happens with Turk.”

Gallant was promoted to Columbus’ coach midway through the 2003-04 season after Doug MacLean resigned, and he served in that role until being fired by the Blue Jackets in November 2006.

The Panthers hired Gallant in 2014, and he spent two-plus seasons as coach before his dismissal 22 games into the 2016-17 season. Less than five months later, he was named the Knights’ first coach.

Gallant, who also served as an assistant with the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens, has a career record of 250-200-45-4.

“When you’re a young coach coming into the league, you build confidence,” Gallant said. “Your decisions are stronger, and you feel a lot better about your decisions. But you learn every day.”

Injury update

Gallant said there is no change to the status of injured goaltender Malcolm Subban (lower body) and that he remains day to day.

Right wing Alex Tuch, sidelined since Sept. 27 with an upper-body injury, is “probably another week or two” from returning to practice, according to Gallant. Tuch is eligible to be activated from long-term injured reserve as early as Tuesday when the Knights play at Chicago.

Defenseman Nate Schmidt (lower body), who was hurt on opening night, also is on schedule to return in “a week or two, at the most,” Gallant said.

The Knights open a three-game trip Saturday at Pittsburgh, but Gallant was unsure whether any of the three would travel.

“They’re going to start skating soon, I know that,” he said.

Unexpected help

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had the day off from practice Wednesday, and Knights TV studio analyst Mike McKenna suited up for the second time in five days.

McKenna retired in August after a 14-year career, and Gallant said it’s a luxury to have an NHL-caliber goalie available when Fleury needs rest.

“I think that’s the only reason we gave him the job,” Gallant said jokingly.

More Golden Knights: Follow at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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