RALEIGH, NC — Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant on Thursday was named a finalist for the 2021-22 Jack Adams Award, given annually to the coach “who has contributed the most to their team’s success.” It is the third time in Gallant’s career that he is a finalist.
No Rangers manager has ever won the award, but Gallant joins Alain Vigneault (2014-15), John Tortorella (2011-12), Tom Renney (2005-06), Roger Neilson (1989-90, 1991-92) and Fred to Shero (1978-79) as Blueshirts bank chiefs to receive top coaching award. Gallant won it in his first season with the Golden Knights, their inaugural 2017-18 season.
“It’s an honor,” Gallant said after Rangers’ optional practice Thursday ahead of Game 2 of their second-round playoff series against the Hurricanes on Friday night. “Having been out for the last two years and coming back with the New York team, this year the team has been outstanding with a young team. It’s definitely an honor to be in this group.”
Gallant is up against the Panthers’ Andrew Brunette and the Flames’ Darryl Sutter, who told reporters he would love to see Gallant win the award.
Since being hired by Rangers last June, Gallant has played an important role in establishing a winning culture in New York. His hands-off approach has taken the pressure off Rangers, who were once very much in their own minds.
“Just let the boys play,” Ryan Reaves said of how Gallant makes his players feel comfortable. “He doesn’t scold boys, he doesn’t scold mistakes. He lets you know when you’ve made a mistake, but not in a way that makes you nervous about going out and doing something on the next shift. I think it gives you the confidence to go out and correct any mistakes you make and lets you know when you’re doing a good job.
“I think the biggest thing is that he allows the guys to play with confidence, whether they’re on a good shift or a bad shift.”
Under Gallant, Rangers finished the regular season with a 52-24-6 record for 110 points. Her 52 wins were the second-highest in franchise history, and her 110 points were the third-most in a single season.
Gallant, who led the Golden Knights to 51 wins in 2017-18, became only the second head coach in NHL history to have more than 50 wins in his first multi-franchise season. Mike Keenan is the only other NHL coach to have accomplished this feat, in 1984-85 with the Flyers and 1993-94 with the Rangers.
“Look at what he did in his freshman year in Vegas and his freshman year here,” said Reaves, who played for Gallant with the Golden Knights. “How many guys have career years under him. Takes a team that didn’t make the playoffs last year and is fighting for first place in the division. No surprise to me.”
The Rangers held an optional practice session on Thursday that was relatively well attended. Sammy Blais, who has worked his way back from an ACL tear, was back on the ice after rejoining the team for the first time at morning skating ahead of Game 1 on Wednesday.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/19/rangers-gerard-gallant-finalist-for-nhls-top-coach-award/ Rangers’ Gerard Gallant is a finalist for the NHL’s Top Coach award