Gallant says New York Rangers won’t be obsessed with Tom Wilson; anyone buying that?

ryan reaves tom wilson
Jun 4, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Ryan Reaves (75) punches Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) in game four of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Gerard Gallant has been around the game for a long time. As a player, he got to see what Bob Probert and Joey Kocur brought to the Red Wings. The 57 year-old felt more at ease knowing the two big boys were around to take care of business, and he feels that a player like Ryan Reaves will give the Rangers’ stars that same feeling.

The Rangers brought in a lot more size and toughness to the roster this offseason. Barclay Goodrow, Sammy Blais, Jarred Tinordi, and Patrik Nemeth will all bring those elements. However, it is Reaves that once called himself “the solution to your Tom Wilson problem” that has everyone focused on what payback is coming for the Capitals forward.

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Gallant says Wilson will not “overtake” the Rangers

The new bench boss spoke with the NY Post this weekend and said he did not like what Wilson did to Pavel Buchnevich and Artemi Panarin last season. That being said, he wanted to stress that it’s not going to be something the team obsesses over.

“It’s not going to overtake the team,” he explained. “We’ll address that before the first game of the year, I’m sure, but the bottom line is that when we brought these players in over the summer we wanted to make our team tougher to play against. You knew whoever was going to be with the Rangers this year was going to change the complexion of the team a little bit, there was no doubt. Fortunately for me, I got the opportunity to be the coach and we’re going to change it a little bit, the way the team is going to play and respond to issues like that. I don’t think they’re going to happen anymore.”

While I don’t think the Rangers will be perseverating over Tom Wilson, retribution is coming. And it’s probably coming more times than just the opening night of the 2021-22 regular season when the Blueshirts take on the Caps.

Ryan Reaves has already foreshadowed what he will do

Ryan Reaves Rangers
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Reaves, the 6-2, 225 lbs enforcer made these prophetic comments on a recent podcast when he was asked about the Wilson incident while still a member of the Golden Knights.

“If that happens and he doesn’t get kicked out of that game I can promise you we’re fighting three times,” he told John Scott. “And if he does get kicked out, I promise you we’re fighting three times or I’m jumping you. Take your pick – defense yourself or let’s just get it over with.”

The 34 year-old has 686 career NHL games for the St. Louis Blues (2010-11 to 2016-17), Pittsburgh Penguins (2017-18) and Vegas (2017-18 to 2020-21) under his belt. Reaves has 49 goals, 52 assists and 937 penalty minutes, and it’s mainly because of those PIMs that Chris Drury acquired him after getting some input from Gallant.

“I know what he did for my team in Vegas for 2 1/2 years,” said Gallant, who said he did not lobby for Drury to trade for Reaves but provided his input when asked for it. “He’s a guy who goes out there and can play the game. He’s not just a guy that goes out there and fights. I don’t know how many fights he had in Vegas during my time, it was not a whole lot, but he goes out there and he makes his team tougher.” 


So while Gallant may be downplaying what will happen in the regular season opener, retribution is still on tap for what happened last season. Matter of fact, this may be the most miserable time Wilson has ever had facing the Rangers in his career.

It should be glorious.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore