Sunday, April 08, 2018

Fired: Alain Vigneault

Polite, professional and passionless NY Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault has been "relieved of his coaching duties," according to the club. The fired Vigneault apparently did get fired up after the Rangers blow out 5-0 loss to the Flyers in yesterday's season finale. During the postgame media briefing Vigneault "made an impassioned defense of his record and said he expected to stay on as coach." So with his neck on the chopping block, AV got a wee bit emotional and worked up, but not enough to take any personal responsibility for a stinker of a season and the team's four year downward trajectory since the 2014 Stanley Cup finals. Sorry, that doesn't work.

Justin Tasch / NY Daily News:
Alain Vigneault expects to remain with Rangers as team ends season with loss to Flyers --

Vigneault launched a vehement defense of his coaching ability and resume after the game before saying he does expect to remain with the team for the 2018-19 season.

“Yes, yes. Without a doubt,” Vigneault said. “I think my staff is the right staff for this job. This is just my opinion, but I think one of the strongest assets of this organization is its coaching staff and their experience. We’ve been able to do it with veteran players, we’ve been able to do it with younger players. Our development record, and our record, wins and losses, you know what? It’s pretty good, with older and younger players.”...

Not once during his several-minutes-long address did he take responsibility how the team’s season went.
Most Rangers fans checked out of this season months ago. So this move comes as no surprise.

Vigneault's fate was signaled back in October by Rangers management, with Larry Brooks saying that his job was in trouble after a 3-7-2 start to the season, with his NY Post article: Alan Vigneault may have one game left.

The Hockey News breaks down just how terrible this season was:
Vigneault getting the axe isn’t all that shocking... Consider then that New York finished in the bottom third of the league in goals, goals against, shots and shot against per game, finished with the sixth-lowest regulation and overtime win total and had absolutely dreadful underlying numbers across the board. At 5-on-5, the Rangers’ shots for percentage was last in the league, their Corsi for percentage was last in the league, and only one team, coincidentally the cross-town rival New York Islanders, allowed more scoring chances against and high-danger attempts against. So, yeah, it’s wholly unsurprising that a coaching change was made as a result of a season this objectively poor.

What is slightly more confusing about Vigneault’s firing, however, is that the decision wasn’t made sooner.
Firing AV was the right thing to do. In 5 years he's proven that he is not the guy to bring the Cup back to New York.

Joe Fortunato writes a nice eulogy for the newly departed AV, over at Blueshirt Banter: Alain Vigneault Never Blamed Himself And It Got Him Fired --

  • the biggest red flag: Inconsistent Player Development... 
  • the second problem: Vigneault never knew how to look at himself and realize the things he wanted to work weren’t actually working...
  • the third problem: Vigneault never knew how to adjust when things weren’t working.

NY Rangers fans have now had 5 years of "fire and fury" with John Tortorella, and 5 years of "ice and inconsistency" from Alain Vigneault. What's next? Are we now due for 5 years of "pain and suffering" for the sins of Father Sather and protégé Jeff Gorton. A rebuilding of this team could certainly take several, if not 5 years.

Ironically, the best person for the job of Rangers head coach slipped thru their fingers a couple of times: Mike Sullivan. Tortorella's former assistant and now two-time Stanley Cup winning coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins would have been an interesting choice to coach the Rangers, if AV had not gotten the job.

The speculation on who the next coach will be interesting, one of the few things Rangers fans can do during a dismal off season. But, please no Lindy Ruff.
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ICINGS:

Sporting News:
Rangers' five best coaching candidates to replace Alain Vigneault --

  • Lindy Ruff, Current job: Rangers assistant coach, Age: 58, NHL record: 736-554-125 (.561)
  • Dan Bylsma, Current job: NHL Network analyst, Age: 47, NHL record: 320-190-55 (.615)
  • Darryl Sutter, Current job: Free agent, Age: 59, NHL record: 634-467-83 (.565)
  • Sheldon Keefe, Current job: Toronto Marlies head coach, Age: 37, NHL record: 0-0-0
  • Jim Montgomery, Current job: University of Denver head coach, Age: 48, NHL record: 0-0-0