When playoff teams — in any sport — fail to live up to certain expectations, there’s a general sense that someone or something needs to take the fall; a scapegoat. In some instances, it’s time for a change; in others, fans want to see someone held responsible.
The New York Rangers were knocked out by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the NHL Playoffs this season, failing to live up to their Stanley Cup aspirations after making it to the Conference Finals last year. In the wake of the team’s early exit, head coach Gerard Gallant scolded the media for questioning his job status.
Based on Saturday’s news, it seemed like they had every right to.
On Saturday evening, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that the Rangers and Gallant had agreed to part ways.
BREAKING: Rangers and head coach Gerard Gallant have agreed to part ways, Post has learned.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) May 6, 2023
An official announcement was made a few minutes later.
"After my evaluation of the season and discussions with Gerard, we mutually came to the conclusion that a change would be beneficial for both parties. I wish he and his family all the best in the future. Our search for a new head coach will begin right away.”
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 6, 2023
The news of Gallant’s oust comes during the NBA Playoffs, in which the New York Knicks — also owned by James Dolan — are in the middle of an Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup against the Miami Heat.
The Rangers elected to move on from Gallant after he failed to take the team to the next level. New York reached the Conference Finals last year, and after bolstering its roster during the trade deadline, there was every reason to believe that they could make a push for the Stanley Cup. Instead, the Rangers are experiencing the fallout and subsequent consequences of an early playoff exit after blowing a 2-0 series lead to New Jersey.
The NHL world reacted to the massive news on social media:
That was fast https://t.co/AvL5DaaXK7
— Everything Hockey (@EHClothing) May 6, 2023
Right on cue, Gallant is fired again at around the two-year mark. It’s not a coincidence. https://t.co/TH5C27I7sG
— Barry Rothman (@BarryARothman) May 6, 2023
Is this fair? No
Do I understand why? Yes https://t.co/ETbtc1ijkn
— The Garden Faithful (@GardenFaithful) May 6, 2023
WE ARE DOING THIS ON DERBY DAY? REALLY? https://t.co/8W4LlmcquI
— Brian Monzo (@BMonzoRadio) May 6, 2023
When Gallant had such a defensive response to his future, you got a sense this might happen https://t.co/nvzY4BA7Bb
— David Alter (@dalter) May 6, 2023
Buddy hasn’t stayed in a job for more than three years since 2007. https://t.co/Lk0TgCfeHd
— Platinum Seat Ghosts (@3rdPeriodSuits) May 6, 2023