New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin skates during a game.
Photo credit: The Hockey News

Artemi Panarin opens up on horrible treatment from Gerard Gallant

Published April 15, 2024 at 7:42

For New York Rangers superstar Artemi Panarin, last year's playoff dud is still burning bright like that neon sign, and former Blueshirts coach, Gerard Gallant, is to blame for it.

Yes, despite him going bald over the offseason, he completely changed his approach to the game. Despite the breadman authoring the best season of his career, 48 goals and 118 points, one worthy of Hart Trophy consideration, last year still stings.

According to NY Post writer and hockey hall of Famer Larry Brooks, Panarin was chastised by coach Gerard Gallant in front of the entire team for his poor play during the Blueshirts' round, seven-game defeat against the New Jersey Devils. Panarin, the $11.5 million man, deserved the criticism, for he had no goals and just two points in the seven-game tilt. Yet it's another thing to embarrass him in the locker room during a playoff game.

But there was last spring in which Panarin looked lost against the Devils, and there were two springs ago through which Panarin was inconsistent and too often unreliable in the run to the 2022 conference finals, during which the Lightning smothered him.
Panarin has been resolute in refusing to discuss last year's playoffs, in which a tenuous relationship with head coach Gerard Gallant deteriorated. We've been told that the winger was aired out by the coach in front of the team in an incident that did not go over well with anyone. Panarin has also said that he does not want to talk about what's coming up next week.

Panarin's actions speak louder than words, though. He showed that with the game-tying goal on Saturday, ensuring New York would remain atop the league standings heading into the season's final week. He scored a nifty goal in the shootout as New York won over their rival Islanders.

Since he joined as a free agent in 2019, he's fourth in the league in points. He's a great player because he makes others better, as he's been able to do with 2022 first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere, who's posted a breakout season of his own.

So it's clear the report says more about Gallant as a coach.

Sure, he can get the best out of his players, but there's also a notion about how he handles adversity. That incident with Panarin, on top of the well-documented argument with General Manager Chris Drury after game four, isn't the way to handle things. It explains why, despite eight midseason head coaching changes, Gallant is still without a job.
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