When the Dallas Stars snatched up Ken Hitchcock this morning just days after firing Lindy Ruff, it took away one of the veteran options the Vegas Golden Knights could have considered for their head coaching job. Bob McKenzie of TSN tweets that with the Dallas vacancy filled, Gerard Gallant should be considered a front-runner for the Golden Knights job.
Gallant was fired from the Florida Panthers early in the year to the dismay of much of the hockey world, a decision that seems regrettable now that Tom Rowe has also been relieved of his duties in the sunshine state. Gallant has been considered an excellent head coach for years, though his actual record isn’t awe-inspiring. In the three years he’s made it through a full season, he’s only taken his team to the playoffs once and holds a career 152-140 record in the regular season.
- The Dallas staff will have an entirely different look next year, as the entire coaching staff save Curt Fraser have been let go according to Andy Strickland of Fox Sports. Even Fraser could be let go, but will have a discussion with Hitchcock in the next few days. The former Atlanta Thrashers head coach, Fraser has been with the Stars for five seasons, longer even than Ruff.
- John Carlson was back at Washington Capitals practice today and skating on the top unit with Karl Alzner according to Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post. He was previously listed as probable for the game, but as Khurshudyan puts it now “he’s playing, y’all”.
- The Maple Leafs on the other hand, first-round opponents of the Capitals, had Roman Polak back at practice today after leaving their final game with a lower-body injury. Perhaps more importantly though, rookie defender Nikita Zaitsev was absent once again. Zaitsev took a hard hit from Nick Foligno and was diagnosed with an upper-body injury.