The best advice anybody can live by if they’re headed for Vegas is that you’ve got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.
In the case of Vegas Golden Knights’ general manager Kelly McCrimmon, he decided Wednesday morning it was time to throw in the towel on coach Gerard Gallant. So less than 24 hours after the Knights lost their fourth straight in a 4-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday, Gallant was sent packing and replaced by former San Jose coach Peter DeBoer.
While McCrimmon was short on specifics, it sure sounds like he didn’t like the hand Gallant was dealing in the dressing room and so after 30 months or so with the NHL’s expansion team he’s finished. DeBoer, let go last month by the Sharks, was expected to arrive in Ottawa Wednesday night and will make his debut behind the bench against the Senators Thursday at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Assistant coach Mike Kelly was also fired with Gallant, who only weeks ago was named the head coach of the Pacific Division all-star team at the festivities set for Jan. 24-25 in St. Louis.
“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. “We feel we’ve underperformed a little bit and certainly not to pile it on the feet of Mike and Gerard.
“But sometimes you feel a change is needed. That’s what went into the decision and like anything we do, we try to do what we genuinely believe is in the best interests of the Golden Knights’ organization and we believe that’s the case.”
The Knights are on the outside of the NHL’s playoff picture looking in but they’re tied in points with the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets for the final wildcard spot, however, both teams have two games in hand. McCrimmon felt if this move was made now it would give the organization time to get back on track before it’s too late and the team is in a free-fall.
The Knights head into this game with a 4-6-0 record in their last 10 games.
“It wasn’t a specific block of games or a specific game. It’s hard to put into words unless you’ve done these jobs but it’s more just the feeling you have that a change might be needed,” he said. “I wish I could be more specific than that but that’s really how we felt.
“We thought about this a lot but it was certainly wasn’t something we did in haste or in the recent four games, it was a decision that was arrived at over time.”
Many will tell you Gallant has done a spectacular job with the Knights and that’s why this decision was so surprising. He has 213-118-75 record since arriving in Vegas and even captured the Jack Adams award after the club’s inaugural season in 2017-18 when the club went to the Stanley Cup final. The Knights lost in Round 1 last spring.
So, why did they turn to DeBoer?
“Peter’s a really good coach and he’s had a lot of success in the NHL,” McCrimmon added. “With him working most recently in the Pacific Division, we’ve had a chance to watch his teams play and that his teams are very well prepared and very well coached.
“We think he’ll do a very good job for us and he’s very respected coach in the industry.”‘
McCrimmon said they didn’t reach out to DeBoer until the last 24 hours.
“It came together very quickly and that’s why the announcement today,” McCrimmon said.
The Knights have been up and down which is why they’re frustrated with where they stand at the moment. They felt if they let it slip any further they’d be on the outside looking in without at least giving themselves the opportunity to get back on track.
“You’ve seen consistency issues and I can’t be more clear that’s not necessarily at the feet of the two guys that were relieved today,” said McCrimmon. “I think our team has more to give and that’s what went into the decision.”
The Knights management likes what DeBoer can bring to the table .
“He’s always been a coach that has a lot of respect from his players,” McCrimmon said. “He relates well with players and he’s an intelligent guy. His teams have always been strong on special teams and he’s been to the Stanley Cup final with two different teams (San Jose and New Jersey). He’s enjoyed a lot of success in the NHL as a coach.
“With this opportunity, I think he’ll continue to do that.”
In the end the Knights felt they couldn’t gamble any longer with Gallant behind the bench and nobody will find out until down the road if this bold move is going to pay dividends.
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Terence Davis was drawn to Raptors’ ‘winning’ culture as an undrafted rookie – Sportsnet.ca
No matter the stature of a player trying to make the leap from college basketball to the NBA, the transition can be challenging.
Expectations, both internal and external, skyrocket. Margins for error shrink. Obligations and temptations alike multiply.
It’s the transition from high school to university, except there are millions of people watching and life-changing sums of money hanging in the balance.
Belief in who one is and what one can accomplish are essential. Terence Davis, who rejected the idea of signing a two-way deal after being passed over at the NBA draft — opting instead to become a 22-year-old unrestricted free agent — had enough of both to spare.
“On draft night, I tweeted that I couldn’t take a two-way deal — that I was better than that,” Davis said during a phone interview on Tim and Sid Thursday. “Probably some people took it as arrogant, but it wasn’t. It was just, you know, something I really believed in.”
With that level of self-belief comes decisions, though. When draft night ended, Davis had to begin the process of finding an NBA home. As he did, the Toronto Raptors‘ history of turning players in his position into NBA-calibre talent wasn’t lost on him.
“I actually came by the tweet where Fred [VanVleet talked about having] to do the same thing,” Davis said. “I did the same thing he did, stand in front of my family and tell them that I wasn’t getting drafted. …I definitely knew that guys would come through Toronto and have pretty big careers.”
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VanVleet and Davis went on to have a dinner in Los Angeles, which would act as a building block in their friendship before he came to Toronto. But more than just that connection, it was the type of organizational structure the Raptors have created over the last decade.
“The organization is one of a kind,” he said. “I’m so fortunate and blessed to have my first years in the NBA at this organization. …You got Masai [Ujiri, team president] and Nick Nurse [team head coach] and they’re all about winning. There’s a winning culture here, and the skill development is off the charts.”
Reaching a decision to join the Raptors was one step, but far from the last one. Davis signed a two-year deal with Toronto after an impressive showing at NBA Summer League. Then he turned heads with a series of strong pre-season performances and earned immediate regular season playing time in Nurse’s rotation.
By any measure, as the schedule reaches the home stretch before the playoffs, he’s exceeded expectations during his rookie season.
In 58 games so far, he’s averaging 8.2 points on 47.4 per cent shooting from the floor — including 41.5 per cent from long range on a little under four attempts per game — and has consistently risen to the occasion when core rotation players have missed time with injury.
No one — much less someone just taking their first NBA steps — makes it by going it alone, though. And as Davis has worked through the growing pains of adjusting to NBA life, there’s one player in particular who’s been a guiding hand.
“Serge, Serge Ibaka,” Davis said. “I really leaned on him because he’s been in the league a very long time …man, he just helped me out through so many things in the season, [whether it was] eating right, or taking care of your body, putting the extra work in, the extra time in — even at home games, me and him, we go in and we get a lift in after home games.
“…not many rookies have a guy like that, a vet like that [who] they can lean on and is mentoring them. I really thank Serge for that and I hope the relationship can continue for years to come.”
Bobby Ryan receives standing ovation after hat trick leads Senators to win – CBC.ca
Bobby Ryan had a hat trick in his first home game in more than three months to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
Ryan entered the joint NHL/NHLPA assistance program on Nov. 20 after admitting to having a problem with alcohol.
He had last played on Nov. 16 in Buffalo but had been skating on his own since late December.
Fans were quick to cheer Ryan on Thursday, giving him a standing ovation and chanting his name.
Bobby Ryan fighting back tears on the bench after recording a hat trick in his return to Ottawa and receiving a massive ovation from the fans <a href=”https://t.co/lpVpDSh7J1″>pic.twitter.com/lpVpDSh7J1</a>
Connor Brown and Rudolfs Balcers also scored as Ottawa (22-31-12) snapped a four-game winless streak. Marcus Hogberg was solid making 32 saves.
J.T. Miller and Tyler Toffoli scored for the Canucks (34-23-6), while Thatcher Demko stopped 21 shots.
Vancouver missed out on an opportunity to gain ground in the Pacific Division as they played game two of a four-game road trip (1-1-0).
Leading 2-1 to open the third, the Senators regained their two-goal lead just 14 seconds in as Ottawa won the opening faceoff to take control offensively.
Balcers scored when he picked up a Chris Tierney rebound. Brown hit the 40-point mark (14 goals and 26 assists) for the first time in his career with an assist on the play.
The Canucks made it a one-goal game again as Toffoli tipped Miller’s point shot midway through the period, but Ryan scored his second of the night with just over two minutes remaining and then added an empty-net goal to complete the hat trick.
There are no words for moments like these.<br><br>It’s great to have you back, Bobby! <a href=”https://t.co/JYdcMIpCuj”>pic.twitter.com/JYdcMIpCuj</a>
Hogberg was solid through the second period, but the Canucks finally found a way to beat him with 15 seconds remaining in the period to make it 2-1.
The Senators netminder had robbed Vancouver numerous times through the period, including a point blank save on Jay Beagle, but was unable to stop Miller’s point shot.
For the second straight game the Canucks gave up the first two goals as the Senators scored twice in a span of 31 seconds.
Brown opened the scoring as he took the puck at centre and came down and beat Demko with a wrist shot. Seconds later Ryan made it 2-0 with his first since the opening game of the season.
Notes: Ottawa’s Colin White and Anthony Duclair missed their second straight game due to injury. Vancouver’s Jordie Benn and Zack MacEwen were a healthy scratch.
All-female crew to work NHL game between Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames – The Globe and Mail
An all-female broadcast team will cover an NHL game between the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights on Sportsnet next week.
Play-by-play announcer Leah Hextall, game analyst Cassie Campbell-Pascall and reporter Christine Simpson will work the March 8 game in Calgary to cap the broadcaster’s week of programming recognizing International Women’s Day.
Sunday’s broadcast will be produced by a female production team live from Calgary, Toronto and Salmon Arm, B.C., including Rogers Hometown Hockey executive producer Alison Redmond, game producer Maria Skinner and director Dawn Landis.
Sportsnet’s campaign will also include features on female sports trailblazers including tennis star Billie Jean King, Toronto Raptors vice-president of basketball operations Teresa Resch and former WTA head Stacey Allaster.
“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to inspire young women and put a spotlight on what is possible, while encouraging continued conversation and action to overcome gender-based barriers for women in the workplace,” Redmond said in a release. “I’m proud to work with highly talented women, whose skill, experience and perspective allow us to deliver sports programming at its best.”
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