TARRYTOWN — It was a frustrating day for everyone involved with the New York Rangers during locker room cleanout after a disappointing first-round series loss to the New Jersey Devils.
Perhaps no one was left more frustrated than the team’s head coach.
Since being hired in 2021 by the Rangers, Gerard Gallant has compiled the highest winning percentage of any coach in Rangers’ history spanning more than a year. But the amount of talent at his disposal this past year, and the lack of results that followed, have left many wondering about the coach’s future in New York.
“I read the same thing and see the same posts. No one in the organization told me anything. I’m coming in here after two excellent years. We had one bad week and it cost us,” Gallant said Wednesday afternoon. “If I can’t stand by my record and what I’ve done, I think there’s something wrong.”
Gallant later voiced his disappointment that his record and results with the Rangers have culminated in talks about his dismissal.
“I can’t believe I have to answer some of these questions about me getting let go or being fired brought up by the media,” the coach stated.
It’s hard to argue with Gallant based on his record alone. New York had not won a playoff series before their current coach got there since the 2016-17 season. Their run in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2022 with a young roster could have been enough to show the team was in solid hands.
But the trades for Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrick Kane, and Tyler Motte altered the plan for the contending Blueshirts. An elimination in the first round wouldn’t be acceptable to a team that had championship aspirations, even if others around the league also fell.
“Boston was a pretty good team, they lost. Colorado was a pretty good team, they lost. Should we have won? Yes. But it didn’t happen,” explained the 59-year-old coach.
To Gallant, and many of his Ranger players, the disappointing end to the season could be talked into being part of the growing process for a team looking to finally reach the top of the mountain for a championship. It took the Colorado Avalanche four seasons of playoff exits to finally win the Stanley Cup. For a team like the Washington Capitals, it took three straight second-round exits to finally get over the hump.
“I talked about that. It’s the way things work. Those teams did that, and you build a lot of chemistry over the years with those types of things,” Gallant said.
New York may not give Gallant a chance to see the end of the franchise’s journey though. The head coach confirmed he had not met with general manager Chris Drury yet, the two are expected to talk at some point during the next couple of days.
No announcement of Gallant or the Rangers’ future has been made currently but it’s clear that the current head coach isn’t too afraid to put his record both in New York and out against anyone.