NHL notes: Panthers get permission to talk to Gallant

Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant barks instructions to players during a game...

Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant barks instructions to players during a game against the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre in Montreal, March 30, 2013. (PIERRE-PAUL POULIN/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:53 PM ET

The Florida Panthers were given permission to talk to Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant about their vacant coaching position, according to multiple reports.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon received permission from Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin Monday, a day after Gallant reportedly flew to south Florida.

Gallant and Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Bill Peters appear to be the front-runners to replace fired interim coach Peter Horachek, who replaced Kevin Dineen in early November after the Panthers started the season 3-9-4.

Tallon said previously that he was looking for a coach with previous NHL experience running a team. Gallant coached the Columbus Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons from 2003-07, winning just 56 of 142 games. He also coached the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL for three years, guiding the team to the league final all three seasons and a Memorial Cup in 2011.

The Panthers made a number of other changes Monday, firing almost their entire sales staff, according to 940 WINZ. The team averaged just 14,177 fans last season, 29th in the NHL.

READY TO CALL IT QUITS?

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Andrew Alberts may have played his last NHL game.

Alberts admitted a concussion, which came as a result of a hit by Calgary Flames forward Brian McGrattan, could force him to retire. He said he still has daily headaches even though he got the concussion in December.

"I usually get through a 35- or 40-minute workout without a headache, but the headaches come a couple of hours later," Alberts told the Vancouver Sun. "Headaches can last an hour ... or the rest of the day. You never know. It's random.

"I've talked to three different neurologists and all three had a different opinion. I've challenged my body a little bit because you get sick of just sitting around doing nothing. I did nothing for the first (six weeks) and almost started to feel worse."

The 32-year-old from Minneapolis, a pending unrestricted free agent, had no points in 10 games with the Canucks in 2013-14.

PREDATORS SIGN GOALIE

The Nashville Predators signed goaltender Carter Hutton to a two-year, $1.45 million contract Monday.

Hutton will make $700,000 next season and $750,000 in 2015-16, according to Preds general manager David Poile.

The 28-year-old from Thunder Bay, Ont., went 20-11-4 with a 2.62 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 40 games while filling in for starter Pekka Rinne. Hutton is projected to back up Rinne next season.

The Predators also signed 2012 sixth-round draft pick Max Gortz to a three-year, entry-level contract. Gortz split the 2013-14 season with Farjestad and Frolunda in Sweden.

WEISE WAS CONCUSSED

Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise, injured in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers, was forced out of the series due to a concussion, Habs general manager Marc Bergevin confirmed Monday.

Weise was hurt on a hit by Rangers defenceman John Moore, who was suspended two games, but returned later in the 7-4 Montreal win. The Canadiens didn't discover that Weise was concussed until the next day, even though the team denied he was suffering from a head injury.

"The NHL has a protocol that needs to be followed after a hit," Bergevin said Monday during his post-season meeting with the media. "If the player says he's OK, and the test says he's OK, then he's OK. Players have a list of things they need to do before they return to play and he passed with flying colours.

There are flaws but I'm not a doctor. The league is working on making it safe as possible but that's a discussion that's ongoing with the league. We all worry about our players but we can only go by what we are given."

Weise didn't play in Game 6, a 1-0 loss to the Rangers that ended Montreal's season.


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