Rangers Head Coach talks about training camp, line combinations and a Captain

Oct 6, 2018; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Las Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant on the bench in the first period against Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant had his first press conference on Thursday afternoon.

The New York Rangers began their training camp on Wednesday morning with players reporting for physicals and media day activities.

Day one of camp is uneventful for the team as a whole, with the lone highlight of the head coach’s first official press conference of the season. Gallant sat in front of the New York Media as they questioned him on varying topics.

The Elephant In The Room

Gallant didn’t waste any time when the question of who would be the next captain of the Blueshirts.

“If I was a betting man, I think we’re gonna have a captain on day 1”.

He did acknowledge that having a captain is a priority but wasn’t sure of the exact timing of when the captain would be named.

Gallant is an “old school” coach as was evident when he was talking about systems coach’s use in the National Hockey League. He emphasized the system is not as important as the player’s ability to “buy in” to the schemes the coaching staff put in front of them.

“Let’s be honest: Everybody has their systems, (but) there’s not a big difference in NHL teams. A lot of us do the same things. It’s about executing them and believing.. and getting 23 guys to buy in.” – Vince Mercogliano

Line Combinations

The head coach is looking for a fresh start to of lines, though he hasn’t ruled anything out. He wants to look at placing Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad on the same lines, possibly moving Alexis Lafreniere to the right wing to get him more ice time, and would he dare split up Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren?

Training camp is a way for the coaching staff to see what works well and what doesn’t. No lines are etched in stone, and Gallant will use at least the first four games to try different line combinations and defensive pairings to judge what works and what ideas need to be trashed.

The plan is to have his 23 roster players and the line combinations set for the end of the preseason.

Thursday morning will be the first practice for the team under their new head coach. It begins in the team’s Tarrytown facility at 10 am.  The players will be divided into three teams plus a squad of goalies and follow this schedule;

Team 1 & 2 Scrimmage…10:00-11:40 AM
Team 3 Goalies on ice…1:00-1:30 PM
Team 3 Practice…1:30-3:15 PM

A new era is beginning in New York with high expectations. Gallant has plenty of work to do in his quest to make this team a tough opponent to play against.