Stay­ing put

Gen­eral man­ager de­scribes Summerside na­tive as ‘ideal fit’ for Pan­thers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY JA­SON SIM­MONDS

Ger­ard Gal­lant inks ex­ten­sion with Florida Pan­thers.

It didn’t take long for head coach Ger­ard (Turk) Gal­lant and the Florida Pan­thers to agree on a two-year con­tract ex­ten­sion.

“About a day,” Gal­lant said Satur­day. “It all hap­pened pretty quick.”

It’s been a busy few days for the Pan­thers, who also re­signed ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager Dale Tal­lon to a three-year ex­ten­sion, and pro­moted Tom Rowe to as­so­ciate gen­eral man­ager. Rowe had been head coach of the Pan­thers’ AHL af­fil­i­ate in Port­land, Me.

Gal­lant is now signed through the 2018-19 NHL sea­son.

“He has done an ex­cel­lent job of cre­at­ing a win­ning cul­ture, and de­vel­op­ing our young play­ers in his time with the Pan­thers,” Tal­lon said. “He is an ideal fit for our group, and we look for­ward to hav­ing him lead our team as we work to­wards our goal of win­ning the Stan­ley Cup.”

Gal­lant, who has one year re­main­ing on a deal he signed with Florida in June 2014, said he is “thrilled” to re­main with the Pan­thers.

“The team is play­ing well, and we are hav­ing a real good year so far,” said Gal­lant, 52. “It’s a real good life­style down here, the team is on the up­swing and ev­ery­thing is mov­ing for­ward. I’m real happy.”

In his first sea­son with Florida, Gal­lant guided the up-and-com­ing team to a 3829-15 record, a league-high 25-point im­prove­ment from the pre­vi­ous sea­son.

The At­lantic Di­vi­sion-lead­ing Pan­thers, who have won eight in a row and went 11-3 in De­cem­ber, took a 22-12-4 record into Sun­day’s game against the Min­nesota (20-107).

“We really played 60-minute games, and that was the big­gest thing,” said Gal­lant in as­sess­ing the Pan­thers’ suc­cess. “Ob­vi­ously, our top play­ers on our top lines did some dam­age of­fen­sively, but we won a lot of those games be­cause of tight de­fen­sive hockey, good goal­tend­ing and solid play.

“I don’t think there was any one rea­son we turned it around that quick. It was a com­bi­na­tion of ev­ery­thing, and ev­ery­body played 60minute games - all four lines, six de­fence­men and both goal­tenders. We just have to con­tinue that.”

JA­SON SIM­MONDS/TC ME­DIA

Florida Pan­thers head coach Ger­ard (Turk) Gal­lant of Summerside lets li­nes­man John Grandt know he is not happy with a call dur­ing a game against the Dave Cameron-coached Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors on Feb. 21, 2015.

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