NHL Betting News at 5Dimes
by Ian Palmer
After a couple of months of fan speculation, the Florida Panthers named their new head coach on June 21 and it’s none other than former NHL player Gerard Gallant. Dale Tallon, the Panthers’ general manager, made the announcement and released a statement which praised Gallant’s passion, character, experience, and integrity and welcomed him into the organization.
Gallant takes over behind the team’s bench from former interim coach Peter Horacek. He now becomes the third head coach in Florida in the past 12 months as Kevin Dineen held the post at the beginning of last season and was replaced by Horacek when given his walking papers last November.
Tallon said Gallant knows what it takes to be successful behind the bench of an NHL team and he’s an excellent motivator and teacher who possesses the hockey knowledge and leadership qualities the franchise was looking for. The 50-year-old Gallant, a Canadian who hails from Summerside, Prince Edward Island, previously coached parts of three seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets and racked up a 56-81-4-6 record with the club. He was in charge of the team for just one complete season and failed to reach the playoffs.
Gallant has also worked as an assistant coach with the Blue Jackets and New York Islanders while spending the past two seasons in the same capacity with the Montreal Canadiens. Before breaking into the coaching ranks in the NHL, Gallant coached the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) for three seasons. He led the team to a Memorial Cup victory in 2010/11 as well as a pair of QMJHL championships.
As a player, Gallant was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings back in 1981 in the sixth round with the 107th overall pick. The left-winger played his first pro season with the Adirondack Red Wings if the American Hockey League (AHL) in 1983/84 and showed some offensive promise by scoring 64 points on 31 goals and 33 assists. He also displayed some toughness by racking up 195 minutes in penalties even though he stood just 5-foot-10 inches tall.
Gallant split the next season between Adirondack and Detroit and scored six goals and 12 assists for 18 points in 32 appearances with the NHL club. By the time the 1985/86 season faced off Gallant was a regular with Detroit. He stayed with Detroit until 1993 when he moved to the Tampa Bay Lightning as a free agent before retiring from the NHL in 1995 due t a back injury. Gallant was a second-team all star in 1989 and finished his NHL career with 211 goals and 269 assists for 480 points in 615 games as well as 1.674 penalty minutes. He added 18 goals and 21 assists in 58 postseason contests to go along with 195 minutes in penalties. Gallant’s first assistant coaching job came with Columbus in 2000.