Gerard Gallant says he wasn't fired by the Florida Panthers because he failed to embrace analytics

Gerard Gallant was sent packing by Florida Panthers management in a controversial firing at the end of November. AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker

Gerard Gallant isn't sitting by his phone waiting for it to ring.

Which is good, since not a single NHL coaching opportunity has opened up since the Florida Panthers fired him back on Nov. 27.

In fact, he's been the only head coach let go all season, which by NHL standards is certainly a slow year.

"And that's a good thing," Gallant told ESPN.com over the weekend. "I'm not sitting here hoping somebody gets fired in order for me to get a call. The good thing is I've got two and a half years left on my deal; something will eventually come up."

The runner-up for the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year last season, Gallant will no question be in the mix when the time is right, perhaps even for the NHL's 31st club. The Vegas Golden Knights are aiming to figure out their coaching situation in the spring, and Gallant, I would think, would be on their list of candidates.

In the meantime, I gave Gallant the chance to clear the air on the perception that he was fired in Florida over his refusal to embrace analytics.

"No, it wasn't huge about analytics," Gallant said. "For me, analytics is certainly part of coaching, but it's not the whole thing. In my mind, if I take a job, analytics is part of it for sure, 25 to 30 percent, whatever percentage you want to put on it. It's definitely a tool. If you get the right information, you're happy with that. Every coach uses analytics. We all go over the same stuff.

"I wasn't fired because of analytics," he continued. "I loved coaching the Florida Panthers and I'm a stubborn guy at times; maybe I said a little too much, maybe I gave my opinion a little bit too much. Maybe when they asked for my opinion, I have an honest opinion and sometimes it doesn't help you. Maybe it wasn't always what they wanted to hear. I don't know where it went from there ..."

From management perspective, owner Vincent Viola told the Panthers' website Nov. 28, "In seeking to earn a second consecutive playoff berth and bring a Stanley Cup to South Florida, we believe that new leadership is required immediately."

The Panthers were 11-10-1 on Nov. 27 when the coaching change was made and have since gone 6-6-7, but Gallant is not interested in looking back at a firing that bothered many in the hockey community. He's moved on. It's a business; he accepts what's happened, and he's looking forward to his next challenge.

"When I got let go, for two or three days I got an unbelievable amount of support from people around the league, coaches and general managers, it was really nice," Gallant said. "When stuff like that happens, they know how tough it is. So I got a lot of support but also heard a lot of great advice. I've had a lot of friends saying, 'Make sure it's the right thing. You did a great job in Florida, you'll get another job.'

"But you don't hope for somebody else to get fired," he reiterated, "because we're all coaches, we're all good friends, we all know each other real well."

Shortly after being fired, Gallant and his wife spent 10 days in Germany to see his daughter and 10-month-old grandson (Gallant's son-in-law plays hockey in Germany).

"We baby-sat for 10 days, which was awesome," Gallant said.

He also spent 10 days in his native Prince Edward Island during the Christmas holidays.

Now he's back in Fort Lauderdale, waiting things out and watching NHL games -- just not that many Panthers games.

"I haven't watched a lot of their games, to be honest with you, but I've watched their last couple," he said. "You watch a lot of other games on the NHL package, the late games. Just to stay with it. It's all good."