Earlier this season, the Vegas Golden Knights shocked the hockey world when they announced that they were parting ways with their first head coach in franchise history, Gerard Gallant.
The experienced bench boss was able to get the most out of the expansion team, which included leading them to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in their very first year in existence.
After two-and-a-half seasons as head coach and a slightly disappointing start to the 2019-20 campaign, Gallant was fired and left stunned.
“I was a little surprised obviously, I didn't think that was going to happen,” Gallant told FOX5 Las Vegas. “When I came in, I thought we were going to talk about something different. When I heard the news, it was really disappointing.”
Leading up to the Jan. 16 firing, the Golden Knights were on a four-game losing streak and held a 24-19-6 record. Even in the lowly Pacific Division, that record placed them fifth and out of the playoffs.
Vegas immediately replaced Gallant with former San Jose Sharks head coach, Peter DeBoer. Less than 12 months prior, the two coaches were in a heated first-round postseason matchup that was stewed in controversy.
That is certainly a sore spot for the former Golden Knights coach, but right now he is entirely focused on his experience in Vegas.
“I had two and a half years where it was great. We had a great team. It was a lot of fun,” Gallant said. “I enjoyed what I was doing. I was surprised and then I get disappointed. Then you get pissed off, so you go through those stages.”
After only knowing the postseason as a franchise, to be left out of the playoffs in their third season would not necessarily be a surprise, but there were some brutal games under Gallant this season — especially towards the end of his tenure.
“It wasn't good. We didn’t play good hockey at all. Those three games at home, they were bad,” Gallant said.
The Golden Knights faced the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets in a home stretch that ultimately decided his fate. All ended in a regulation loss with Vegas mustering a total of five goals while allowing 12.
Still, Gallant is focused on the good times.
“I was pretty fortunate to be the first coach ever for this franchise,” Gallant said. “It was the most fun I had in hockey. We did a real good job and I loved every minute of it. I really did.”
As for what Gallant has in store, he certainly knows his options are limited, but there will be suitors.
“There's only 31, soon to be 32 teams in the NHL so as a head coach, we'll see what happens down the road,” Gallant said. “But the last thing I want is starting a bunch of rumours because there are other coaches out there, you don't need that right now."
More NHL coverage from Yahoo Sports