Rangers on the verge of naming a coach, but is it someone other than Gerard Gallant?

By Anthony Scultore
Oct 6, 2018; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Las Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant on the bench in the first period against Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Elliotte Friedman was a guest on WGR550’s The Instigators in Buffalo. He was asked about the current situation with the Sabres’ coaching search but offered up that both the Blue Jackets and Rangers were close to hiring new bench bosses. When Gerard Gallant’s name was mentioned as a possible candidate for the Sabres, Friedman noted that he thinks Gallant will land in either NY or Columbus.

Later in the day, the Blue Jackets tabbed John Tortorella’s assistant Brad Larsen to coach their team. So will the Rangers announce Gallant later today or tomorrow? Or could it be someone else?

Rangers only interviewed two candidates?

There’s been plenty of names that were rumored as possible New York Rangers head coaches. John Tortorella was one of those early favorites, but not a word he even spoke with Chris Drury. Patrick Roy and Bob Hartley were other names mentioned – yet not a single droplet of info if they were interviewed.

In the case of Torts, Hartley, and Roy – all either coached or played with Drury. A knowledgeable source on the matter told me that some of the names mentioned were all media generated buzz. “Just because there’s a past history with Drury doesn’t mean they are candidates for the job,” the source explained.

So of all of these candidates, which also included names like Claude Julien and Mike Babcock, only Gerard Gallant and Rick Tocchet are reported to have interviewed. This also led Larry Brooks to speculate in a recent column about that fact.

Can I just throw this in? How much in love with Gerard Gallant are the Rangers, if, coming up on four weeks from his initial interview, they waiting to see if other candidates emerge? Or maybe they are just waiting for Rod Brind’Amour’s situation to play out. I don’t know. Am I the only one who finds this slow dance somewhat strange? Has Drury conducted formal interviews with only Gallant and Rick Tocchet?

NY Post

Which begs the question, who else has Drury spoken with?

Potential interviews not reported

gallant rangers
Sep 16, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to reporters following an exhibition game between the Golden Knights and the Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to coaches the Rangers may have spoken with that went unreported, John Tortorella is at the top of my list. There’s no way that one of the game’s most winningest coaches with a Stanley Cup to his name was not interviewed.

Is he volatile? Hell yes. Is he rough around the edges? Hell yes. However, he gets the most out of his players and is one of the fairest coaches out there. For me, he’s the only coach if hired by Drury would not shock me even though we never heard a report he was interviewed.

Another name is European head coach Rikard Gronborg. He’s been a potential candidate for NHL teams for the last few years now. The Devils even considered hiring him before they brought on Lindy Ruff. The Sabres have also spoken with him this season. Someone is eventually going to take a chance on him, but I don’t think it will be the Rangers.

Bob Hartley who just won KHL Coach of the Year was likely spoken with, as were Mike Babcock, and Claude Julien. As I reported last month, Drury is conducting a thorough process and that doesn’t mean interviewing just two candidates.

Gerard Gallant likely the next head coach

The 57 year-old Gallant is on many NHL teams’ short list of candidates. Gallant interviewed for the Rangers position prior to leaving for Latvia. Pierre LeBrun remarked that interview went very well. “I’m told he left a favorable impression on the Rangers’ brass,” he remarked.

LeBrun also confirmed that Gallant spoke with the Blue Jackets and Kraken. “It’s believed he talked to Seattle in April 2020 but I don’t think the Kraken have circled back. Everywhere he goes, players go through a wall for him.”

Now that the Blue Jackets are out of the picture, it really appears that Gallant is going to be announced as the next Rangers coach, which I noted was in the works earlier this week.

I recently spoke to Neil Glasberg who represents Gallant. A client whom he feels blessed to represent. “He’s got game in him, and he’s a fantastic coach,” he exclaimed. “Gallant would be great in multiple organizations. He’s the best of the unemployed experienced coaches out there.”

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