Blackhawks' Brian Campbell 'shocked' at Gerard Gallant firing by Panthers

Blackhawks' Brian Campbell 'shocked' at Gerard Gallant firing by Panthers

When the Florida Panthers fired Gerard Gallant, there were plenty of folks in the hockey world who were surprised.

Count Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell among them.

Campbell, who played his final two seasons in Florida with Gallant at the helm, was stunned to hear Gallant was fired following the Panthers’ 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night.

“Surprise. Probably a lot like everyone else, it seems, was pretty surprised at what happened,” Campbell said following the Blackhawks’ practice on Monday. “Gerard’s a great guy. I liked him. I thought he did a good job there. So yeah, I was surprised, shocked. I don’t know what else to say. They’re playing their game above .500 and they’ve had some injuries. I don’t think anybody thought that was coming.”

Gallant led the Panthers to the postseason last year. The Panthers are 11-10-1 entering Tuesday, when they’ll face the Blackhawks. General manager Tom Rowe will take over as the Panthers’ head coach. Campbell said he talked to some of his former teammates about the firing – “there were rumblings, I guess. Not coming from them, but stuff from behind the scenes and what you hear in the media.”

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Campbell called Gallant “a player’s coach.”

“For us, our practices were nice and short and hard and that’s what you want as a player. He gave you some guidelines to play around. He didn’t have too many highs, too many lows. It’s nice to come to the rink and be even-keel, today’s a new day and you keep going forward,” Campbell said. “We had some success there with him, and that’s the biggest part that’s surprising right now.”

Coach Joel Quenneville said he was watching hockey on Sunday night when he saw the news of Gallant’s firing.

“Very surprised,” Quenneville said. “I wish him well. Tough part of our business.”

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What's on Stan Bowman's offseason to-do list?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What's on Stan Bowman's offseason to-do list?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle discuss Stan Bowman’s season-ending presser, the coaching dismissals of Mike Kitchen and Ted Dent, plus what are Bowman’s top 3 things, on his offseason to-do list?

Also, Tracey plays the Blackhawks roster game, part of their future or unclear.

Listen to the Hawks Talk Podcast below. 

Blackhawks' Trevor van Riemsdyk to play for USA at 2017 World Championship

Blackhawks' Trevor van Riemsdyk to play for USA at 2017 World Championship

Trevor van Riemsdyk has accepted Team USA's invitation to represent his country at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, the club announced Wednesday.

It will be his first career appearance in the tournament, which begins May 5 and runs until May 21 in Cologne, Germany and Paris, France.

Van Riemsdyk joins Danny DeKeyser, Noah Hanifin, Charlie McAvoy, Connor Murphy and Jacob Trouba as NHL defensemen to join the Americans' blue line group. The roster also includes Jimmy Howard, Dylan Larkin, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson, and sits at 22 players (12 forwards, seven defensemen and three goaltenders).

The 25-year-old Blackhawks defenseman set career highs with five goals, 11 assists, 16 points and a plus-17 rating in 58 games during his third professional season. He missed six weeks with an upper-body injury at the beginning of the year.

The Blackhawks' deep postseason runs and an opportunity to rest from them have prevented players from going in years past, but an early exit in the Stanley Cup playoffs gives them a chance to play for their countries — especially with the league already announcing its lack of participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Marcus Kruger (Sweden) and Artemi Panarin (Russian) are the only two other Blackhawks participating in the tournament, having accepted their countries' offers. Patrick Kane recently declined after giving it serious consideration.