Some interesting news is coming out of New York on Tuesday as the Rangers deal with the fallout of a disappointing first-round series loss to the New Jersey Devils. While change is expected and some might wonder if head coach Gerard Gallant is on the hot seat, news of a potential coaching replacement is spreading around the Internet and the reaction is fascinating.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that buzz is the Rangers might be looking for a new head coach and that one of the names they might be targeting to replace Gallant includes longtime NHL coach Joel Quenneville. Hockey fans might recall that Quenneville was last in the league as a coach with the Florida Panthers. However, he was removed as head coach on November 24, 2021, following the findings of an independent investigation into allegations that he mishandled a 2010 incident involving former Chicago Blackhawks player Kyle Beach, who was sexually assaulted by a Blackhawks coach during his time with the team.
Quenneville was the head coach of the Blackhawks at the time and the investigation found that he had not fulfilled his duty to report the abuse and that his response to the incident was inadequate. While rumors have been out there that Quenneville would like to make a return to the NHL, he hasn’t been officially cleared by the NHL, which technically just involves approval from the commissioner. Dreger adds, “A formal interview request will likely encourage the commissioner’s approval. With existing coaching vacancies and speculation around the NYR, Quenneville’s return to a bench is a strong possibility.”
Andy Strickland tweeted that Quenneville hasn’t been technically “Suspended” by the NHL. That said, any return would be contingent upon being cleared by Gary Bettman. That process has not happened yet.
Related: Calgary Flames Reportedly Remove Darryl Sutter as Head Coach
Dreger isn’t the only one reporting the Rangers are being linked to the controversial former coach. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski added, “To further Darren’s point: The Quenneville chatter around the Rangers this series was deafening. As was, in the end, the chatter that Gallant could have coached his last NYR game on Monday.”
Hiring Quenneville won’t sit well with many Rangers fans, but his winning record as a head coach could be why the Rangers are willing to look past his controversial history.
What Other Changes Could Be Coming in New York?
Gallant had a stacked offensive juggernaut in New York heading into the playoffs. That they underperformed would be an understatement. As a result, he might lose his job, but there will be a number of players who likely won’t be back.
Ryan Clark and Kristen Shilton of ESPN.com write: “The Rangers reeled in rentals with [Vladimir] Tarasenko and [Patrick] Kane. Both are hitting unrestricted free agency and, given the lack of playoff chemistry and results, seem unlikely to re-sign in New York.”
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