Rangers Report Cards: Gerard Gallant: B (B)
The “Fire Gallant” train started chugging along when the Rangers were eliminated. I refrained from hopping on because I didn’t think the coach deserved the boot. Sure, he wasn’t Mr. Perfect during his two-year stint, and yeah, he got outcoached by Lindy Ruff from the Devils in the playoffs.
However, he wasn’t the main villain here. The players and our beloved Rangers’ stars are blamed for choking when it counted.
I loved the hiring of Gallant in the Summer of 2021. He led Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural 2018 season. Yes, he had lost the room in 2019 and was fired by the Florida Panthers midway through the 2020 season, but his calm demeanor was exactly what the upstart Rangers needed.
Gallant carved his name into the record books as the first Blueshirts’ bench boss to nail back-to-back 100+ point seasons. He left with a 99-46-19 record, the highest winning percentage(.603) and points percentage(.661) in franchise history. He also led the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2022. Not bad, huh?
That said, his strength was also his weakness. Too often this season, the Rangers turned up to the game half-asleep. And let’s not even talk about how many times they looked like they wandered into a tactical maze without a map. That’s not to say Gallant didn’t have a plan, but he didn’t know to properly adjust when teams forced the Blueshirts away from their East-West game.
I don’t particularly appreciate making excuses.
However, if the Rangers had shown some hustle in Game 3 or brought their A-game in Game 4, they could’ve owned the Hudson River Rivalry. Instead, those upstart Devils snatched it from right under their noses in a nerve-wracking seven-game showdown.