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FHN Daily: Gallant not returning to Columbus, Jackets hire Larsen

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Columbus jackets larsen gallant
The Columbus Blue Jackets named former assistant coach Brad Larsen their ninth head coach in franchise history on Thursday. // Photo courtesy @BlueJacketsNHL

Gerard Gallant is still a free agent as the former Florida Panthers coach remains on the market after the Columbus Blue Jackets announced it was promoting assistant coach Brad Larsen to replace John Tortorella.

Larsen, who spent parts of eight seasons as a forward in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup with Colorado, had been on Tortorella’s staff from Day 1 as he was originally with Todd Richards and kept when he was fired and replaced with Tortorella in 2015.

The Jackets reportedly had two interviews with both Gallant — whose first coaching gig came in Columbus from 2003-06 — and former Arizona coach Rick Tocchet.

I wrote about Gallant’s time in Columbus for the Miami Herald when he was the Atlantic All-Star coach and again for the Columbus Dispatch in 2018.

Larsen’s only head coaching experience was at Columbus’ then-AHL affiliate in Springfield for two seasons.

“We underwent an exhaustive process in which we looked very closely at a number of outstanding candidates to be the next coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the one individual we kept coming back to throughout was Brad Larsen,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement.

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“Brad was one of the top young coaches in the American Hockey League when he joined our club as an assistant coach and over the past seven years has earned the respect of our players, staff and organization with his work ethic, hockey acumen and the way he treats people, and we couldn’t be more pleased to introduce him as our next head coach.”

You can read more about the hiring in the Columbus Dispatch report here. 

AROUND THE NHL

Sasha Barkov is a fan of Anton Lundell and is looking forward to playing with him.

But we figured that.  (Florida Panthers)

— The NHL’s Final Four is set after the Golden Knights took care of the Avs in Vegas. The Knights will be in the semifinals for the third time in their four year existence. Good for them. (TSN)

— The Islanders have some unfinished business. (NYIHN)

— Time for the Bruins to go to work. (BHN)

— Got a Gordie Howe rookie card sitting in the attic? (DHN)

— Can the Sharks move one of their big contracts? (SJHN)

— The Penguins have played more playoff games than any other team over the past 15 years. Did you know that? (PHN)

LOCALS ONLY

The Marlins got themselves a series win as Miami took two of three from the Rockies with the Atlanta Braves up next. (Miami Herald)

— Greg Cote looks at South Florida’s best athletes who are 25-and-under. Barkov is right there. (MH)

— The Hurricanes have a lot of top prospects coming to town this weekend. (Sentinel)

— The Dolphins’ final exhibition game of the preseason will be on national TV. Get ready. (Sentinel)

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