I'm in the minority among Rangers fans in believing Gerard Gallant deserved another shot with this squad. Everyone wants to place all the blame on a head coach for his team folding in a Game 7 (against a team that was better all year long) and ignore the big picture.
Do we not remember last year? A year of zero expectations that resulted in not only a 110-point regular season but TWO series comebacks and TWO Game 7 wins? Did Gallant have nothing to do with any of that? When he was hired we were all expecting steady progress, but because the team's contention window was expedited due to a surprising level of immediate success under his guidance, he's now the problem because it hasn't expedited enough?? That's absurd.
Regardless, it's clear Rangers brass has seen enough to be confident in knowing Gallant may have been the guy for the job up until this point but is no longer the voice needed to bring a parade to Manhattan. If there might've been any uncertainty with their decision, it seems some player input helped push them to move on:
Sounds like feedback from #NYR exit interviews with players played a role in the club’s decision to part ways with Gerard Gallant— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) May 6, 2023
You can't fire all the players, especially when the core all have NMCs. You can fire the coach though and that's what happened here. You can see this as the group escaping accountability but that really doesn't matter. If the players aren't fully supportive & sure of their coach leading the way then a change has to be made. Doesn't matter if their best players didn't show up when it mattered most. Doesn't matter if Drury's deadline deals weren't as impactful as last year.
The Rangers have been the 5th best squad in the league over the past two regular seasons. They've got an ECF appearance under their belt. Coaching has to have had plenty to do with that. But if they believe that's the most they're gonna get out of Gerard Gallant then it'd be stupid to keep him here when the next few years will only be judged by winning a Cup or not.
So who's next? Well where there's smoke there's usually fire so you'd have to think the Blueshirts have all their eggs in the Quenneville reinstatement basket - but that could easily be wishful thinking. Does he deserve to be welcomed back? Is it worth the NHL PR backlash to reinstate him simply because there's a job opportunity? Time will tell. They're certainly not gonna take a chance on a guy without established experience and success so wherever the next guy comes from, he's certainly in the good old coaching carousel.
I guess Darryl Sutter is an option based on recent history. The Rangers have alternated between "yellers" and "player's coaches" so after Gallant it'd be time for a disciplinarian. Doesn't really excite me much. Whoever it is, there's no room for patience. Taking time to implement a new system won't be an excuse. If there's gonna be a new Cup banner raised at MSG, this next hire will be the coach to take them there. If he can't do that, he'll take the blame.