Peter DeBoer becomes latest National Hockey League retread after Golden Knights fire Gerard Gallant

Ross Houston
January 16, 2020

"In order for our team to reach its full potential, we determined a coaching change was necessary", Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said in a team statement.

But the Golden Knights lost four straight games to - at least temporarily - fall out of a playoff spot.

"Sometimes you have a feeling that something isn't the way you need it to be or want it to be", said McCrimmon in a hastily-called news conference at the Canadian Tire Centre before the club went on the ice. It's not a situation where the bottom fell out and we had no choice but to make a change.

DeBoer and Gallant clashed during the postseason past year, while Vegas fans were incensed at DeBoer and the Sharks following THAT controversial call on Cody Eakin in Game 7.

But the Knights have been underwhelming in the standings this season with a record of 24-19-6. And yet, once the decision was made, the move to sign DeBoer happened within a 24-hour period, McCrimmon said.

"We had really high hopes for this year and we still have really high hopes", McCrimmon said.

As a result, Gallant was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy after being crowned the NHL Coach of the Year. Vegas is the third team to change coaches after facing the Sabres, a loss that didn't sit well among players. The Golden Knights next play Thursday night at Ottawa. "Just have to find ways to put the puck in the net, and we've kind of gotten stale last bunch of games".

Despite being around the top of the Pacific Division for most of this season, the Golden Knights have now lost four in a row and are tied with Winnipeg for the second wild card in the West. The team is, however, just three points back of the Arizona Coyotes for first in the Pacific Division.

Things haven't gone well since then. The power play is 5 of 12 over the past 12 games, and the penalty kill gave up two goals to the Sabres, who are ranked 21st in the league. They've been very honest with us and respectful of the players - you're not going to hear a bad thing about them. "It's just not working right now".

San Jose and Vegas developed a rivalry after last year's first-round playoff matchup, with the Sharks winning the series 4-3.

DeBoer previously coached the Florida Panthers (2008-11) and the New Jersey Devils (2011-12 through part of the 2014-15 season). He is now with his fourth team as head coach after stints with New Jersey, Florida and San Jose.

"His teams are always very well prepared, very well coached", McCrimmon said of DeBoer. He's an intelligent guy.

However, boasting a talented roster with a strong core at his disposal, Gallant led his team into 2019-20 with high expectations for another deep postseason run. "He's been to the Stanley Cup finals with two different teams, he's enjoyed a lot of success in the National Hockey League as a coach and I think with this opportunity he'll continue to do that".

AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo contributed.

At 7:37 AM the Golden Knights announced they are relieving head coach Gerard Gallant and assistant coach Mike Kelly of their duties with the Vegas Golden Knights.

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