LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Gerard Gallant is out as head coach of the Golden Knights and former foe, Peter DeBoer, is taking over with a history of success.
"He's very respected around the league," said Jesse Granger, Golden Knights writer for The Athletic. "His first season in New Jersey, he turned the Devils around and took them to a Stanley Cup Final. His first season in San Jose, he took the Sharks to a Stanley Cup Final. DeBoer is a coach with a huge resume. He walks into the room [and] he immediately commands respect."
Peter DeBoer was fired by the @SanJoseSharks earlier this season. Led the team in that epic comeback over the knights last postseason. He’s also been a head coach since ‘08 coaching the @NJDevils & @FlaPanthers. @KTNV pic.twitter.com/NFrGeCPLN3— Alex Fresquez (@AlexFresquezTV) January 15, 2020
Granger says the front office believes DeBoer can get the team performing at a higher level.
"Right now you're looking for a turnaround," Granger said. "You're hoping this team can turn this thing around and get where you want which is Stanley Cup."
Gallant's firing comes less than three years after he led the Knights to an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. The team lost to the Washington Capitals but made history by reaching the final as an expansion franchise.
The next year, the Knights were eliminated by DeBoer's Sharks after a major collapse in Game 7.
Ryan hits the nail on the head. I worked with Gerard Gallant damn near every day for the last 2.5 years.— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) January 16, 2020
He’s a great hockey coach & a better person. Just a phenomenal, stand up guy who was an absolute pleasure to cover as a reporter.
Very confident Turk will land on his feet. https://t.co/s39Q9it7w3
The Knights are now in the midst of a four-game losing streak. Earlier this month, they were atop the Pacific division; now they're in fifth.
General Manager Kelly McCrimmon felt he needed to make a move.
"As a manager, sometimes you have a feeling that something isn't the way you need it to be or want it to be," said McCrimmon at a press conference. "Sometimes you feel a change is needed."
🎥 Fleury: I think we need to hear this message loud and clear, turn things around and be better. pic.twitter.com/nW1At2GqwX— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 15, 2020
How Golden Knights fans receive DeBoer remains to be seen, but winning could help.
"The expectations are still really high," Granger said. "That's part of the reason you make this move. You think DeBoer can get you to where you think you belong in the NHL."
🎥 Stone: We want to compete for the Stanley Cup. If we want to have that opportunity, we're going to have to start playing better. That starts tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/nONgq6Iwwo— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 15, 2020
Knights fans feel their team belongs among the NHL's upper-echelon, but right now, they're probably feeling they've been "cross-checked" by Cody Eakin.
Granger says fans can find peace in what Gallant brought to the franchise and the city.
"The inaugural season will always be special. He'll always be remembered for that magical season and bringing an expansion team to a cup final,' Granger said. "I don't think Gallant will be paying for drinks in Vegas for as long as he lives."
Rightfully so. He could probably use a drink right about now.