Golden Knights’ Gerard Gallant wants players who will work on, off ice

Updated April 13, 2017 - 11:04 pm

Summerside is a Canadian city in Prince County, Prince Edward Island, the second-largest town in the province. Its census rating counts just over 13,600 residents, one of those places where everyone knows everyone else.

When he was a boy, Gerard Gallant and his friends would spend most of their waking hours at a local hockey rink, and to earn extra ice time, were handed brooms and told to sweep the stands before being allowed to sweep pucks across a sheet.

“We knew when there was open ice, it was about first getting to work cleaning things up,” Gallant said. “If you’re going to be successful, you have to work hard. We’ll come to the rink, we’ll practice and we’ll work hard. We don’t spend all day at the rink, but an hour and a half day, we can all do that. It’s not too much to ask.”

If it’s true the best coaches in sports are those who overcame limited athletic gifts to produce successful playing careers, the Golden Knights couldn’t have found a better inaugural leader for the NHL expansion franchise.

Gallant was introduced Thursday as the team’s coach, the next significant step for an organization being constructed by general manager George McPhee and under the approving eye of owner Bill Foley.

The resume McPhee built while running the Washington Capitals more than suggests he understands those nuances that best fit a coach to a particular team, and on the surface, which is all we have to evaluate one that has yet to draft a player, his selection of Gallant appears to have checked every necessary box for an expansion side.

Which is to say that in the beginning, the Knights probably will have to succeed more on will and determination than pure skill.

Which is to say exactly how Gallant became an 11-year NHL player who worked on Detroit’s top line alongside the likes of Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman.

“(Gallant) turned himself into a player,” McPhee said. “He didn’t have a genetic gift, and he wasn’t blessed with all kinds of talent. He scrapped and improved and became a good player. Those are the kinds of people I believe make good coaches, guys who have had to persevere and find ways to understand the game in ways the gifted player never had to learn.

“I expect he will do the same things as a coach. He has turned himself into a good coach and will continue to learn and continue to be good.”

Hockey is different now. Has been for a while. In the days when Gallant was routinely averaging 200-plus penalty minutes a season, things escalated and you dropped your stick and gloves and handled your business right then. Fighting became more tactic than instinctive, and it hurt the game.

Now, in this skill-based age of player safety departments and videotape and the game being policed like never before, how you build a team is nothing like those earlier times.

Gallant also was good enough to score 93 points for the Red Wings in 1988-89, a total that would have ranked second in the NHL this season, and for this, he and McPhee agreed Thursday: They will absolutely take a guy who can get 93 over one who is always wanting to drop his gloves.

More than anything else, they want those who if handed a broom to sweep the stands, would do so enthusiastically.

“An honest hockey player is the guy who shows up,” said Gallant, 53. “Everyone tries to play the same way two straight games. It doesn’t happen, but the guy who tries to do it the most is that guy. I don’t want my players trying to play like Gerard Gallant or Steve Yzerman. Just give us the best of what you do each night. You don’t have to be Yzerman. Be who you are, and be at your best.”

There are worse things for any new franchise than having those in charge with something to prove, those proverbial chips on a shoulder that, while indiscernible to most everyone else, motivates those supporting them.

Gallant’s firing as coach of the Florida Panthers after an 11-10-1 start to this season, one year removed from a franchise record 47 wins and 103 points, brought all sorts of negative reaction from fans and media and personnel across the NHL. It was ridiculed as a shortsighted overreaction by management.

For his part, McPhee was fired by the Capitals in 2014 after 17 seasons, but the Washington roster that could win this year’s Stanley Cup has his fingerprints all over it.

Two men, perhaps supporting two indiscernible chips.

“Gerard was a well-respected player who played hard and played honest and had that street fighter in him that you want coaches to have,” McPhee said. “They never give up, they keep fighting. We’d like to build a team like that. It will take some time, but we will get there.”

Coached by a man who is not afraid to sweep the rink.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “Seat and Ed” on Fox Sports 98.9 FM and 1340 AM from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: VGK Practice 10-18-2018
Adam Hill, David Schoen, and Ben Gotz discuss the Golden Knights practice, Deryk Engelland's status, and Tomas Hyka's path to the team
Golden Knights Talk To Media After Thursday Practice
Golden Knights talk to media in the locker room after practice on Thursday.
Gallant Talks After Practice On Thursday
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over how the lines are developing at practice.
Gerard Gallant On Win Against Sabres
Gerard Gallant talks after practice about the Golden Knights win over the Buffalo Sabres and the teams overall performance.
Cody Eakin On His Personal Improvement As A Golden Knight
Cody Eakin talks about his improvement as a Golden Knight this season and the work he put in over the summer.
Golden Edge: Knights Mood Improved After Win Against Sabres
Adam Hill, David Schoen and Ben Gotz go over how the Golden Knights are feeling after their win against the Buffalo Sabres while Alex Tuch gets a workout on the ice.
Golden Edge: Karlsson Scores First Goal; Knights Beat Sabres
Adam Hill, Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Golden Knights win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Golden Knights On 4-1 Win Against Buffalo
The Golden Knights react to their first win after the road trip against the Buffalo Sabres.
Golden Edge Mailbag - October 16th, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer your Golden Knights questions.
Golden Edge: Eakin Scores Winning Goal During Final Road Trip Game
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights final game of the road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers
Would the NFL be accepted abroad?
Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney takes to the streets of London, England, ahead of the Oakland Raiders facing the Seattle Seahawks to find out if the NFL is accepted, if the game is understood and what its fan base is like outside of the United States.
Golden Edge: Phil Kessel Has Hat Trick in Win Over Knights
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Las Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Ben Gotz and David Schoen report from Pittsburgh.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose First Stanley Cup Rematch
The Golden Knights lose 5-2 against the Washington Capitals and fall to 1-3 on the season. David Schoen and Ben Gotz report from Washington.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — October 9, 2018
Adam Hill is joined by Ben Gotz via skype from Washington, D.C. to answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Gallant on Washington Capitals rematch
Golden Knights Coach Gerard Gallant plays down the connection between Wednesday's game against the Washington Capitals and the Stanley Cup Final results last season.
VGS themed games from AGS at G2E Global Gaming Expo
A Golden Knights-themed slot machine was on display Tuesday at the G2E Global Gaming Expo as AGS showed two products that came out of a 3-year contract with the Knights. A video roulette game featuring a Knights helmet and an enormous slot machine were on the floor along with Knights cheerleaders, the Drumbots and Chance, the Knights' mascot. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Fall to Sabres 4-2
The Sabres defeat the Golden Knights 4-2 with 3 goals in the second period. Ben Gotz and David Schoen report from Buffalo.
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Wild In Shootout
Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Knights comeback win against the Minnesota Wild. The Knights won 2-1 in a shootout against the Minnesota Wild. (October 7, 2018)
Golden Edge: Knights Fall In Season Opener
Elaine Wilson, Adam Hill, Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Golden Knights 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in their season opener. (Videographer: Heidi Fang, Edited By: Nathan Asselin)
Golden Knights React To Season Opener Loss
Golden Knights react to their 5-2 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Gold Carpet Before Golden Knights Season Opener
John Katsilometes is on the gold carpet before the Golden Knights season opener.
Golden Knights talk after practice
Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin in the locker room on Wed. October 3, 2018.
Golden Edge: Last Practice Before Season Opener
Adam Hill and David Schoen at City National Arena during the Golden Knights' morning skate and media day before the opener Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Media Day: Gerard Gallant and George McPhee Presser
Head coach Gerard Gallant and GM George McPhee talk about Alex Tuch, Cody Eakin, Nate Schmidt, and the start of season number two for the franchise.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — October 2, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Vegas Golden Knights show support at blood drive
Members of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team showed up for a community blood drive on the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, Oct. 1, 2018. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Kings 2-0
Adam Hill and David Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena after the Knights beat the Kings 2-0.
Golden Edge: Shea Theodore Returns to Practice
Adam Hill, Ben Gotz, and David Schoen are at the Golden Knight's practice where Shea Thedore is suited back up for the first time this season.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 25, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose 5-3, but re-sign Shea Theodore
Bryan Salmond is in studio while Ben Gotz, Adam Hill and David Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena on the Knights preseason game vs. the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose 5-3 but Re-Sign Shea Theodore
Bryan Salmond is in studio and Ben Gotz, Adam Hill, and David Schoen report from T-Mobile arena on the Knights preseason game vs the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Edge: Knights Rally To Win During Shootout
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Golden Knights shootout win against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Edge: Knights Win Third Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen go over the Knights 7-2 win over the L.A. Kings.
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like