One of Steve Yzerman’s biggest regrets as captain of the Detroit Red Wings was not celebrating a Stanley Cup championship with long-time linemate Gerard Gallant.
One of his biggest dreams is celebrating a Stanley Cup championship with Gallant as Red Wings head coach.
However, Gallant is a hot name in the vacant New York Rangers coaching race. The New York Post reports that the Rangers want to tag the recently-fired former Rangers coach John Tortorella in Columbus or Gallant.
If that is the case, it would seem to make Gallant the front runner. It is challenging for coaches to return home to a former team, regardless of their success.
It does not mean that Yzerman should rush the process of walking the best path possible in building the Red Wings into Stanley Cup contenders again. Cool hand Steve can build it with or without Gallant, although he is his top choice.
Hockey Town is waiting for the white smoke to rise from the offices of Little Caesars Arena, signaling the end or the continuation of the Jeff Blashill coaching era. Yzerman told the world that a decision on Blashill would come shortly after the Wings season ended. Well, it’s been almost a week, and Sir Steve has yet to feed us any news.
The guess here is Yzerman has decided to hang on to Blashill a bit longer. It is the right move because the timing on hiring Gallant is all wrong. The Wings will lose for at least the next two seasons, no matter who is coaching them. It does not make sense to hire the right man at the wrong time.
If Blashill were such a bad coach, why would Team USA hire him to their staff four times? He is a developer of men. He is not the final piece to winning a Cup. And he is the caretaker until it is time for the right person to come along. The timing is not quite right yet.
If Yzerman were to hire Gallant, the losing would continue at the LCA. Impatient Red Wings fans will question whether Gallant has lost his touch and pressure the Wings to make another move they do not want to make. They will trumpet his lack of attention to detail and demand a new man to replace the right man who came in at the wrong time.
If Gallant takes the Rangers job, then so be it. He is more inclined to take a position now because the $5 million a year buy-out from Vegas expires this summer. Indeed, he is eager to get back into coaching. Perhaps he doesn’t want to wait for Yzerman. Maybe he has no assurances he will become Wings coach.
The bottom line is Yzerman is a patient man. It is how he build the Tampa Bay Lightning into contenders. It’s how he performed as a player.
And it is the way he is building the Red Wings. From day one, Yzerman said to stay the course.
Steve Yzerman cannot jump the gun in building this team. He cannot jump the gun in hiring a coach.
Follow Foster on Twitter at TerryFosterDet.