65°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Golden Knights’ Gerard Gallant doing even better job in 2nd season

Updated January 25, 2019 - 6:37 pm

A crazy part of it all: Under normal circumstances, which is to say the Golden Knights would have followed a traditional expansion journey and struggled along for several seasons before making any sort of real NHL noise, Gerard Gallant would have likely been the guy before the guy.

He would have kept the job warm for another.

Happens all the time with new franchises. It’s how things usually work.

Gallant was named the team’s first head coach as much for his demeanor as skill, because if the internal feeling matched all others and no one really believed much winning would occur for some time, a steady and patient hand was needed to navigate through the choppy waters of development.

Turns out, nothing has been all that normal these past 16 months.

Turns out, Gallant has proven the guy tenfold.

There is no other guy.

The league has landed in San Jose for its All-Star weekend and when the break is followed by a week off for the Knights, they will return to the ice with an eye on chasing a second Pacific Division title.

Vegas sits in third place with 62 points, six fewer than this time last year, when it was perched atop the Pacific.

But when you consider a lengthy list of injuries and the fact the Knights played their first 20 games without their best defenseman, a fair question arises: Could it be Gallant, last year’s runaway winner for the Jack Adams Award as the league’s Coach of the Year, is actually doing a better job this season than when leading Vegas to a Stanley Cup Final?

I’ll make it easy for you: Absolutely.

Coaches just don’t win the Jack Adams in consecutive seasons — only Jacques Demers of the Red Wings did so in 1986 and ‘87 — and it’s probably going to take some doing for anyone to overcome (at this point, at least) a deserving Barry Trotz of the Islanders for this year’s honor.

But this isn’t the same Knights team as last season. Winning has proven more difficult — they dropped four of six entering the break — and it begins with a significant decrease in Vegas Flu cases in regard to visiting teams.

That, and the Knights over 52 games have yet to offer the complete lineup it envisioned when things began in October.

“For sure, (Gallant) is doing an even better job this year,” said Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault, who also played for Gallant in Florida. “Teams are more prepared to face us. They know we’re a tough team to play and come ready. (Gallant) has us ready every night because of that. We’re no longer a surprise to anyone.

“He never changes. He’s the same all the time. Even when you’re not producing, he still believes in you. We’re still his guys that can win games. He’s the best kind of coach to have. He’s always going to help you. He’s not going to bury you.”

Trust and confidence

They use the T(rust) word a lot when speaking about him. And the C(onsistent) word. They know when he’s disappointed, because on those rare times he tears into them, it’s a scolding they openly accept.

Gallant could have panicked and over-thought the room when defenseman Nate Schmidt was suspended for those 20 games and the Knights stumbled to an 8-11-1 start. He didn’t.

SHORT DESCRIPTION (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

He could have gone crazy with mixing and matching of lines when each week the past few months seemingly brought another injury or illness and name on Injured Reserve. He hasn’t.

He preaches to his players a next-man-up mentality and, more importantly, coaches that way.

“We just do the same things every day as a staff,” said Gallant. “It’s all about what your players do on the ice. I’m proud about what we have done so far. I had coaches in my day who showed a lot of confidence in me and the more you do that, the better they’re going to be. It’s easy to whip guys once in a while and sometimes they need a little, but for the most part, I try to be 90 percent positive and push the right buttons that way.

“We have a lot of good guys and they’re trying hard. It was tough without Nate to start the season. That was a grind. But we still had some real good players. We’ve stayed the course. Just keep playing hard and, in the long run, (adversity) is going to make the team better.”

Crazy. The guy before the guy ended up being the guy and then some.

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

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights and Henderson make deal on new facility - VIDEO
Henderson City Council unanimously approved a lease agreement with the Vegas Golden Knights to build and operate an indoor ice hockey facility in downtown Henderson, Tuesday evening. ( Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Kelly McCrimmon Gets Promoted to Golden Knight General Manager - Video
The Vegas Golden Knights have announced that Kelly McCrimmon has been promoted to General Manager of the team, effective September 1, 2019. Regarding his new role, McCrimmon will represent the Golden Knights at the NHL's General Managers Meetings and will be the point of contact for other league GMs.
Golden Knights Say an "Awful Call" Cost Them the Series - Video
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant and Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault believe that an "awful call" by the officials cost them game 7.
Golden Knights Fans Watch Game 7 at T-Mobile - VIDEO
Golden Knights went through a roller coaster in game 7 which lead to the Knights loss 5-4 in overtime.
Sharks & Golden Knights fans fired up for Game 7
Ahead of Game 7 in San Jose, Sharks and Golden Knights fans get hyped for the game in the fan zone at SAP Center.
Golden Knights prepare for Game 7 in San Jose - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knigths players and the head coach talk about their mindset ahead of facing the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 on the road at the SAP Center.
Knights' Gallant Calls DeBoer a "clown" - VIDEO
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant calls Sharks coach Pete DeBoer a "clown" and says his comments are a little "unclassy" for him in response to being called the master chirper for the Knights.
Golden Knights fans father outside T-Mobile Arena waiting for game 6 against the Sharks
Golden Knights gather outside the T-Mobile Arena ready to watch game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.
Knights aim to close out Sharks series at home - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights players and head coach Gerard Gallant spoke about what needs to be done ahead of Game 6 at the T-Mobile Arena to clinch the series. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant talks ahead of Game 6
The Golden Knights coach talked about his team’s upcoming game with the San Jose Sharks after Saturday’s practice.
Coach Gallant Speaks to media about game 5 against the Sharks - VIDEO
Golden Knight's coach Gerard Gallant speaks at City National Arena following thursday's game 5 against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Knights Fans Watch Game 5 At Henderson Pavilion - Video
Golden Knights fans gather at the Henderson Pavilion to watch game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fans prepare for Game 5 of the Golden Knights-Sharks series
Golden Knights and Sharks fans took part in pregame festivities at the SAP Center in San Jose ahead of Game 5 of the playoff series.
Golden Knights Fans Land in San Jose - VIDEO
Four Golden Knights fans who traveled from Las Vegas talk about the experiences they've had in San Jose with fans and the police ahead of Game 5 and give their predictions for the final score of the game.
Shea Theodore says he's trying to be a threat in all phases - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights Defenseman Shea Theodore says he's trying to elevate his game in all phases and his teammate Alex Tuch talks about Theodore's growth as a player.
Knights preparing to play a "desperate" Sharks team on the road
The Vegas Golden Knights could close out their first playoff series on the road against the San Jose Sharks when Game 5 takes place at the SAP Center. The team says they're going to have to play their best to defeat a "desperate" opponent.
Coach Gallant speaks after practice, as the Golden Knights prep for Game 5
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant speaks to media after the team's open skate.
Sharks Coach: I think our emotions got away from us a little bit
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer and center Joe Pavelski say the team needs to hold their emotions in check going forward. Pavelski talks about the Ryan Reaves effect.
2019 NHL Awards set for Mandalay Bay Events Center on June 19
During the 2018 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, tribute was paid to first responders and survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting by a handful of Vegas Golden Knights. NHL Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer said that's why the league is moving the show to the site of the tragedy. The Mandalay Bay Events Center will host the ceremony on June 19th.
Ryan Reaves says Joe Thornton's Hit was "Gutless" - Video
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves says Sharks' forward Joe Thornton's hit on Tomas Nosek was "gutless." Thornton has been suspended for one game (game four on Tues., April 16) as a result of the hit.
Ryan Reaves Finally Throws Down with San Jose's Evander Kane - Video
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves says the fight between him and Sharks' forward Evander Kane was nine years in the making. Spectators finally saw the two battle it out in game three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Ryan Reaves Finally Throws Down with San Jose's Evander Kane - Video
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves says the fight between him and Sharks' forward Evander Kane was nine years in the making. Spectators finally saw the two battle it out in game three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Golden Knights rookie team coach Rocky Thompson on Rookie Faceoff
Golden Knights rookie team coach Rocky Thompson discusses team's 7-6 win over Colorado in the Vegas Rookie Faceoff
Fleury's newborn son attends Game 3 - VIDEO
Marc-Andre Fleury's newborn son and his wife Veronique were in attendance at the T-Mobile Arena during game 3. Fleury talks about having his family there to support him.
Sharks and Knights players get physical during game 3 - VIDEO
Several fights broke out during game 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Golden Knights and Sharks. Capping off the skirmishes was an intense showdown between Ryan Reaves and Evander Kane.
Golden Knights Fans Gather At T-mobile To Watch Game 3 Of The Playoffs - Video
Golden Knights fans gather outside of the T-Mobile arena to watch game three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Knights GM says it was important for the team to sign Nikita Gusev
Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee says it was important for the team to sign Russian standout Nikita Gusev. The Knights announced they had signed the forward to a one-year, entry level contract on Sunday. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marc-André Fleury on flamingo
Marc-André Fleury on flamingo
Golden Knights Watch Party For Game 2 Of Sharks Series - Video
Golden Knights fans gather at Top Golf to watch the second game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.
Gallant addresses the media after practice following a 5-2 loss
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant addresses the media after practice following a 5-2 loss to San Jose in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on lineup
Golden Knights Fans Gather Downtown For First Round of Playoffs - Video
Golden Knights fans gather downtown to watch the first game of the playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Edge Mailbag - April 10, 2019 - VIDEO
Golden Knights reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer your burning questions.
Gallant on Golden Knights lineup against Sharks
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on lineup against the San Jose Sharks for Game 1 of the first round in the Stanley Cup playoffs. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Prepare for Playoffs - Video
Golden Knights players Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault feel that the team is both mentally and physically prepared to take on the Sharks in round one of the NHL Playoffs.
Golden Knights sign defenseman Jimmy Schuldt to a one-year contract
The Golden Knights have signed free agent defenseman Jimmy Schuldt to a one-year, entry level contract. Schuldt comes to the Golden Knights after graduating from St. Cloud State University, where he lead the Huskies to a regular-season conference title and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Golden Knights letting playoff mentality set in - VIDEO
As the Vegas Golden Knights finish out their season, the team and head coach Gerard Gallant talk about where their mindset is, how they are preparing for the playoffs and their win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Golden Knights Lose to Wild, Clinch Playoff Berth - VIDEO
Despite losing 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild, the Vegas Golden Knights are locked in to a playoff spot. Head coach Gerard Gallant and players discuss their performance against the Wild and what it means to go back to the playoffs.
Gallant on losing to the Avalanche
Gerard Gallant talks about the loss to Colorado. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on Colorado loss
Gerard Gallant talks about the loss to Colorado. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge Mailbag- March 27, 2019 - VIDEO
Golden Knights reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer your burning questions.
Gerard Gallant on Paul Stastny
Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about Paul Stastny's role on the team. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on St. Louis goal
Gerard Gallant talks about St. Louis's third goal on March 25, 2019. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant on St. Louis Blues
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about the team's loss to St. Louis on March 25, 2019. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
William Karlsson talks before Ducks game
The Golden Knights center talked about Paul Stastny’s line, Reilly Smith’s between-the-legs goal and more.
Mark Stone Locker Room - Full Video
Mark Stone, who was traded Monday to the Vegas Golden Knights from Ottawa, speaks to the press about the move. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach talks Mark Stone trade
The Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team’s newest player, forward Mark Stone, acquired from the Ottawa Senators. (Ben Gotz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Aviators speedster Jorge Mateo sprints toward majors

He is 23, hails from the Dominican Republic and leads the Pacific Coast League in hits (54), steals (11) and triples (9), the latter just four off equaling the team record of Joe Thurston in 2002.

 
Daniel Jacobs came up light on effort, but not on weight — VIDEO

You’re not beating the A side — especially when it’s Saúl Canelo Alvarez — by taking off the middle rounds of a mega-middleweight fight that unified three championship belts in the division, but that’s what Jacobs did and he rightly paid for it.

Raiders begin building with cleaner, less risky NFL Draft

While forecasting how a team’s draft will ultimately be judged on the field remains incredibly subjective, this isn’t: The class had a much different feel this year than last. Cleaner. Fewer red flags to investigate. Players that other teams hadn’t passed on for medical or off-field issues.