Saturday, September 13, 2008

Gallantly changing roles

I suppose if you wait until after the draft and start of free agency to change coaches, you can wait until the eve of training camp to remove your top assistant coach. That's just how we roll.

So even if there's nothing under the surface to the Isles sudden announcement that Gerard Gallant, Ted Nolan's top assistant -- who was retained for Scott Gordon with the rest of the staff -- is moving to a "consultant" role upstairs, it will still be added to the annals of "unconventional" (to put it kindly) moves by Islanders management over the last two, eight, twelve, fifteen (pick your regime) years.

Many signs point to Snow valuing Gallant. That Nolan's assistants were (originally) retained is one; that he escaped blame for last year's powerplay, which he ostensibly ran, is another.

So one initially wonders if Gallant and Gordon found they had different philosophies, whether in styles or in powerplay tactics. But it could be simply as publicly stated, that Gallant -- after a summer of reflection to change his mind -- wants more time with family and to watch his son play junior hockey.

Greg Logan says Gordon gave no hint of this change when he sat down to interview him this week for a feature; but if it was truly just Gallant's personal choice, that wouldn't be Gordon's place to announce it, anyway. Actually, if Gordon knew something was up, he could have pushed management for the announcement after that interview, effectively saying, "Look, I had to dance around this topic in the interview. Can we clear it up so I don't get off on the wrong foot with our lone beat reporter?"

No drama here. But until training camp starts (please, soon!), we're going to be parsing whatever bits of news that comes about. Now ... who will be Gordon's new assistant?

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