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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Jeff Van Gundy, Ty Lue Emerge As Early Candidates For Clippers – RealGM.com
Jeff Van Gundy and Ty Lue have emerged as the early favorites to become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers parted ways with Doc Rivers on Monday.
Lue is also a candidate for the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans.
Van Gundy is a candidate for Rockets.
Two Canadian players are in the NBA Finals this year | Offside – Daily Hive
And then there were two.
The NBA Finals matchup is now set, with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers taking on LeBron’s old team, the Miami Heat. The Finals tips off on Wednesday, and will include a pair of Canadians.
Heat teammates Kelly Olynyk and Kyle Alexander are both looking to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time. It’s the first time ever that the NBA Finals has featured two Canadians on the same team.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 28, 2020
A 29-year-old Kamloops product, Olynyk went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017 with Boston, but this is his first trip to the NBA Finals. He has been a role player with the Heat during the playoffs, averaging 6.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per game.
Milton, Ontario’s Kyle Alexander has not played in the playoffs yet and is unlikely to make an appearance as a depth player on the Heat’s roster. He’s in his first NBA season following four years at the University of Tennessee.
This is the 10th year in a row that a Canadian has been a part of a team in the Finals, with Olynyk and Alexander following in the footsteps of Chris Boucher (2019), Tristan Thompson (2015-2018), Cory Joseph (2013-2014), and Joel Anthony (2011-2014).
A Canadian player has reached the NBA Finals for 10 years in a row 🇨🇦👏 pic.twitter.com/mg9eMLcfCb
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) September 28, 2020
A total of six Canadian players have seen playing time during the NBA playoffs this year, most notably from Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray. The Kitchener product leads the NBA playoffs in total points (504), averaging 26.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game en route to the Western Conference Finals.
Canadians featured prominently on the Oklahoma City Thunder, as rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Toronto) averaged 16.3 points per game during the first round, while teammate Luguentz Dort (Montreal) averaged 12.5 points.
Khem Birch (Montreal) also played regular minutes for the Orlando Magic, while Boucher (Montreal) was used sparingly by the Toronto Raptors.
NBA Finals schedule
- Game 1: Wed, Sep 30, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT
- Game 2: Fri, Oct 2, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT
- Game 3: Sun, Oct 4, 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT
- Game 4: Tue, Oct 6, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT
- Game 5*: Fri, Oct 9, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT
- Game 6*: Sun, Oct 11, 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT
- Game 7*: Tue, Oct 13, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers out after seven seasons – Sportsnet.ca
The Los Angeles Clippers have mutually parted ways with head coach Doc Rivers, it was announced Monday.
Rivers’ departure comes after the Clippers blew a 3–1 lead against the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the NBA playoffs, a result that stupefied many since Los Angeles had been considered one of the true contenders to win the 2020 championship.
Going all in last off-season by signing Kawhi Leonard in free agency and then trading nearly all of their future assets to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George, the Clippers not only set themselves up as a title favourite on paper, but also as a win-now team with a short window to grab gold.
Both Leonard and George will once again be free agents in 2021, meaning that both this season and the next are vital opportunities for the Clippers. While the duo could certainly re-sign with the club when the time comes, there are also no guarantees in sports, and anything could happen between now and then.
In a rather flippant comment following his team’s ousting from the playoffs, George remarked that “I think internally we’ve always felt this is not a championship-or-bust year for us.”
Evidently and understandably, the Clippers’ front office did not agree.
Rivers (who was hired by the Clippers in 2013) now joins a coaching market that has a few signature names, including Mike D’Antoni (formerly with the Houston Rockets), Brett Brown (formerly with the Philadelphia 76ers), and Nate McMillan (formerly with the Indiana Pacers), and could be considered the best of the bunch. It wouldn’t seem all that likely that he’ll be a free agent for long, and has already been contacted by the New Orleans Pelicans and 76ers, according to The Undefeated‘s Marc Spears.
Known as a prolific motivator and leader, Rivers has had many notable accomplishments both on the floor and off of it throughout his coaching career, including leading the Boston Celtics to a championship in 2008 and acting as a guiding voice during the organization’s eventual removal of former owner Donald Sterling.
Among the options for potential replacements, current Clippers assistant Ty Lue and former Rockets and New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy are reportedly being considered.
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