Add the New York Rangers to the list of teams looking for a new head coach after firing Gerard Gallant on Saturday. Joel Quenneville, contrary to earlier speculation, does not appear to be in the running for the vacancy.
As the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs got another day off before their second-round series resumed, there was a lot going on in the hockey world.
The news regarding Gallant — and who (or may not) replace him — was the biggest.
There had been rumblings throughout the regular season that Gallant may be on the outs with New York management. His team’s flameout against the Devils in the second round certainly did not help the situation.
The Rangers won the opening two games of the series in Newark but then lost the next three before finally snapping their slide with a desperate Game 6 win.
The Devils made easy work of the Blueshirts in Game 7.
So, what’s next?
Talk that the Rangers would try and pull Quenneville out of NHL exile following his forced resignation from the Panthers in 2021 appear unfounded.
Rangers Insider Larry Brooks reports in the New York Post that the team will not appeal to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to reinstate Quenneville. That has to happen before the former Panthers coach can return behind any team’s bench.
The Rangers will likely have plenty of strong candidates to fill their vacancy.
As for Gallant, there are a couple of openings around the league which may be fits.
The obvious one is in Calgary where Jonathan Huberdeau will kick off a new eight-year contract this season.
Gallant was Huberdeau’s junior coach and the two were together in Florida when No. 11’s game really took off.
The Columbus Blue Jackets could also be a nice fit as Gallant was an assistant coach there under Doug MacLean and got his first head coaching job when he replaced MacLean behind the bench.
Gallant may want another shot at the Jackets. He was a young and inexperienced coach then and Columbus was a mess of an organization at the time. Both parties could benefit from a reunion.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
The Panthers are all-in when it comes to the playoff beard tradition although some are wearing it better than others.
Radko Gudas, obviously, is the Beard King of the Panthers. But who else is making their mark?
— The Panthers may be up 2-0 in this series, but it is long from being over. The odds are certainly in Florida’s favor — but they can’t take odds onto the ice with them tonight for Game 3.
— After winning two games in Toronto, the Panthers hope their return home is sweet indeed.
— With Sam Bennett back, the Panthers were able to put Eetu Luostarinen on the third line. It has been a great move.
— The Panthers finally got a day off on Friday. It was needed, and well deserved.
— Sergei Bobrovsky bailed the Panthers out (again) in Game 2 against the Leafs.
— The Panthers officially recalled Lucas Carlsson and more Charlotte players will be on the ice Sunday after the Checkers saw their season come to an end in a Game 4 loss at Hershey on Thursday night.
— The breakout star of these playoffs is pretty obvious. Everywhere you look, folks are talking about Matthew Tkachuk and his Florida Panthers.
— Brandon Montour had one heck of a regular season — but he has topped that in these playoffs. Six goals in nine games? Nice.
— A lot of video from the past few days is up on the FHN YouTube Channel including Game 2 postgame reaction from Paul Maurice, Sergei Bobrovsky, Sasha Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk and Anton Lundell.
There is also post-practice comments from Maurice, Bobrovsky and Radko Gudas.
More later this morning from the pregame skate.
To see all the videos, you can click the embedded videos below or head directly to the FHN YouTube Channel RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place.
If you hit subscribe (it’s free), you will know when new content comes up.
NHL NEWS/NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
Edmonton took care of its fans in Vegas who may have had travel problems after the NHL moved Game 2 from Friday to Saturday.
The Oilers looked scary good in a 5-1 win over the host Vegas Golden Knights. The series now turns to Edmonton tied at 1.
— Why are the Leafs on the power play so much against the Panthers? Their coach said they’re getting “hit in the head a lot.’’
— Another famous bidder for the Senators? Ladies and gentlemen, The Weeknd.
— Connor Clifton wishes his time on the ice with the Boston Bruins in the loss to the Panthers went a little better.
— What should the next GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins be looking for? Some speed would be nice.
— Taking a look at the Los Angeles Kings when it comes to their free agents: Who stays, who goes?
— A look at who the San Jose Sharks could take in their draft neighborhood. They hope it is that Connor Bedard fellow.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (ATL2) AT FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 3 (Panthers Lead 2-0)
- When: Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV: TBS
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- First Round Schedule — Game 1: Florida 4, @Toronto 2; Game 2: Florida 3, @Toronto 2; Game 3: Sunday at Florida, 6:30 (TBS); Game 4: Wednesday at Florida, 7 (ESPN); Game 5*:Friday, May 12 at Toronto (TNT); Game 6*: Sunday, May 14 at Florida (TBA); Game 7*:May 16 at Toronto (TNT). (*) – If Necessary
- How They Got Here: Toronto d. Tampa Bay 4-2; Florida d. Boston 4-3
- Season Series (Toronto won 3-1): Maple Leafs 5, @Panthers 4 OT (Jan. 17); @Maple Leafs 6, Panthers 2 (Mar. 23); Panthers 3, @Maple Leafs 2 OT (March 29); Maple Leafs 2, @Panthers 1 OT (April 10)
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time Regular Season Series: Toronto leads 48-36-7, 7 ties
- Postseason History: First Meeting