NHL Notebook: New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant ‘surprised’ at talk of coaching change, Mark Borowiecki retires, and more

Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
After what was supposed to be a deep run in the playoffs that saw the New York Rangers load up for it, they were dispatched in the first round by the New Jersey Devils.
And now, speculation has arisen about the future of head coach after the disappointing exit. Gallant, meanwhile, was surprised by it.
“I’m coming in here [after] what I think was two excellent years,” hesaid. “If I can’t stand by my record and what I’ve done, I think there’s something wrong.
“Did I have a tough two weeks? Yeah. Besides that, I can’t believe I have to answer some of these questions about me getting fired put out by the media. Disappointing.”
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Anthony Trudeau wrote about the news:
The former Jack Adams Trophy winner was not incorrect in his positive self-assessment of his time in New York. Since he replaced Dave Quinn on the bench two summers ago, Gallant’s Rangers have collected 217 regular season points, good for fifth in the NHL over that span.
Still, Gallant, the first-ever coach of the Vegas Golden Knights and a legendary player for the Detroit Red Wings, must realize his regular-season success cannot totally drown out a flimsy first-round performance.
A year removed from taking the Tampa Bay Lightning to the brink in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Rangers seemed poised for another deep run when they blew the doors off of the Prudential Center with consecutive 5-1 victories to begin their series against the Devils.
From then on, it was all New Jersey. Lindy Ruff’s defensive adjustments severely limited the Rangers’ offensive zone time and chance creation; by the time the Devils claimed Game 7 in a shutout victory, New York was averaging the fewest shots on goal of any playoff team.
If Gallant is under the microscope, the additions GM Chris Drury, who hired him, made to an already loaded top-six do not help his situation. Drury traded for Stanley Cup winners Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko on expiring deals with the understanding the Rangers would be Cup contenders.
Gallant is unlikely to get the ax thanks to another great regular season, but his defensive comments on Wednesday did not suggest he was sure about his future in New York.

Borowiecki retires

Former NHL defenceman Mark Borowiecki has retired after a 12-year career in the league.
Drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, it wasn’t until the 2014-15 season when he truly broke into the league with the Sens. He had some brief stints between 2011-2014, but spent most of the time then with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators.
He would play in Ottawa for nine seasons, before spending three with the Nashville Predators.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Naftali Clinton wrote about him:
Borowiecki played just four games in the 2022-23 season. He sustained an injury in late October and never returned to the Predators lineup. The Ottawa, Ontario native was always a positive presence in any locker room he’s been in throughout his career.
“Well, I have something to share,” Borowiecki wrote in his Instagram post. “After a lot of time, thought, love, and support, I have decided that my career as a professional hockey player has come to an end. I am so appreciative of everyone who has helped me along the way. Especially the Senators, where my career began, and the Predators where my career ended.”
The Predators have implied that there is a path for him to continue working for the organization in a non-player capacity.
“If he doesn’t want to play anymore, I certainly would like to talk to him,” former Predators general manager David Poile said when asked about Borowiecki’s plans. “I’ve talked to Barry [Trotz] and John [Hynes] about that. Boro’s been around all the time. I said to him yesterday we missed Boro in our lineup – not only his physical presence, but the person that he is. He’s a real mentor to the younger guys.”

Patrick Kane ‘not 100% for a while’

More news around the New York Rangers as Patrick Kane said Wednesday he has been injured for a while.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis wrote about Kane:
Among other topics, Kane said that re-joining the Chicago Blackhawks in free agency “never crossed my mind”, mentioning that the team is currently in the midst of a rebuild. The Blackhawks previously announced they will not offer another contract to Jonathan Toews, with whom Kane had significant success en route to three Stanley Cup titles.
Kane is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but did say he’d be interested in returning to the Big Apple.
“I would love to be back,” Kane told reporters. “If I can feel better, with this team and this opportunity, I’d love that chance.”

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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