Should Alain Vigneault send a signal to his team?

October 12, 2013, by
McIlrath is one of several prospects that may be considered soon

McIlrath is one of several prospects that may be considered soon

The Rangers entered the regular season with multiple inconveniences behind them, so the horrid start to the regular season does come with some sort of asterisk attached to the team record. With a long road trip, multiple key injuries, a bloated (but necessary) preseason roster, and a new system all to deal with it is clear to see that the Rangers are well behind the eight ball four games in.

Despite all the issues Alain Vigneault and his team has had to deal with, and despite it being four games in, there has been no sign of progress and many of the same players are making repeated mistakes. Is it too early for Alain Vigneault to make an example out of a player or two?

It just so happens that while the Rangers struggle so horribly at both ends of the rink, many Ranger prospects (deemed not ready for the NHL) are off to terrific starts to the season down in the AHL. Danny Kristo has five points in three games, seven shots, and two powerplay goals already.

Chris Kreider has three points in three games, JT Miller has already bagged three goals since his demotion, Oscar Lindberg has three assists in three games as he acclimatises to the North American rink, and Dylan McIlrath has been dishing out punishment on the blueline while chipping in unexpected offense. There are a lot of positive starts on the Wolfpack, unlike in New York.

Part of the developmental process with prospects is rewarding performance. With their promising starts, bringing up one or more of the prospects to the big club would act as a sign to the under performing NHL roster. Should Alain Vigneault consider inserting a few of the prospects? The likes of Mike Del Zotto and Taylor Pyatt (and many more) could do with a wake up call.

If teams like San Jose can consider Tomas Hertl ready and are willing to put him in a position to succeed, there’s no reason why the Rangers can’t do the same or at least try. Thankfully the Hartford Wolfpack are providing some initial excitement and positivity while the Rangers are disappointing. Its early in the season and knee jerk reactions are not the hallmark of successful franchises but Vigneault should at least consider bring up the performing prospects for both the long and short term future of the club.


  1. Brendan says:

    I concur.

    The Wolfpack are a faster team than the Rangers. If they played head to head right now, Rangers are loosing again. There is a lot of speed to be had from The Pack. The main reason Miller was sent down was so he could log top 6 minutes and not be buried on the 4th line. With Nash injured, I am very surprised there were no call ups…

    Then again that could be salary cap related? AV did admit his decision making after training camp was effected by the cap.

    If they don’t have the $ to call someone up, why not give Justin Falk a look. If they really wanted to send a message, bench Girardi.

    I really don’t care what they do, as long as they play like they did against LA.

    • Chris says:

      I think Girardi has been god damn awful. I don’t think his confidence and self belief is fragile though so he needs to stay in the line-up. And its only 4 games.

  2. rwa says:

    No, leave kids where they are. NYR awful but, looking at the big picture, let them become their own team and get confidence playing with each other.
    Big team way overrated by the local media. So many holes a kid or two doesn’t change much. We lack a team speed and a physical presence. D men need time to learn new system.
    I hope I’m wrong, but I didn’t pick them to make playoffs.

  3. AD says:

    No stop using our youth to jerk them around between AHL & NHL, and back to AHL. If AV needs to send a message, maybe some players need to spend time in the press box, or get reduced minutes, or simply get traded. But, where is the coaching accountability too? This level of garbage hockey never occurred under Tortorella. and is rarely seen with other teams and coaches. It shouldn’t be acceptable to Rangers fans.

    The decision was made for our youth to get massive minutes i key situations down in the AHL. We are getting glimpses of that benefit but let’s let them continue having success down there for another 20-30 games — let the pros figure it out on their own and let’s not dangle our youth periodically in front of our veterans to “send a message.”

    Steeping back a bit from this topic, let me ask a question: despite the grueling training camps and exceptionally high demands placed on them, is it possible the players, with their actions, are indirectly stating “we liked playing under Tortorella”? Maybe these players are having a tough time, mentally, buying into a change in their on-ice style of play. I hear our captain make statements about “getting our identity back and becoming a tough team to play against” and that is all Tortorella and his style of play.

    Is it possible Sather took liberty with a few player disgruntled comments and prematurely fired the right coach, partly because that same coach did not hesitate to challenge Sather on key issues?

    The point of this is not to discuss JT vs AV — but is the blame to be placed with Sather, as much as anywhere else?

    • Mikeyyy says:

      It’s only been 4 games. Need more data to blame people.

      • AD says:

        I believe Sather has had 13 years. At 70 years old, is he really capable of building a Stanley Cup team? Some may even question whether he can put in all the hours needed of a GM.

        C’mon, to think Sather can lead this team/organization toward a Stanley Cup is beyond my ability to comprehend and understand.

    • Puck Luck (@Centerman21) says:

      Well look at the roster the Rangers went into the 12/13 season with. Sather I believe wanted Torts to open things up a bit so the players weren’t stuck in the D zone blocking shots 1/2 the game. Sather failed to replace the depth lost in FA & the Nash trade. They were bad to begin with so Torts went back to what he knew would win games. The Rangers now have the same problem as last year. They’re too easy to play against. They need a top 9 forward that’s fairly big and hard to play against but can chip in some offense. Like the kid Stewart from St Louis who we will see tonight. He’s a game fighter like Dubinski was but much bigger. He led the Blues in scoring last year. That big 2nd or 3rd liner is what this team needs, the Rangers aren’t really a small team but they play like they are. The few big guys they have aren’t the big nasty players other teams have. I wouldn’t mind seeing them put Mashinter in the lineup. See if he can be our Holmstrom in front of the net. We know he fights and having 2 small wingers on the 4th line isn’t intimidating anyone. Keep one sit the other. I’d rather see Powe play LW than Asham. Switch them and bring Mashinter up.

  4. Walt says:


    I agree that changes need to be made, and quickly!

    MDZ is way over rated, Pyatt just stinks to high heaven, the team is soft. I have called for the kids to play on the big boy roster, and let the dead wood rot in the A, or trade them for whatever we can get for them.

    AD may have a point about Torts, but the players are being paid to perform, and they aren’t, so send them, down. What was the results of sending MDZ down his second season with the team, he came back and played reasonably well. If the defense isn’t playing well, bring up McIlrath, give him a chance. I bet teams won’t take the liberties against our non-aggressive players, because he will inflict some whip ass!!!!!

    • AD says:

      Players are indeed paid to perform and, ultimately, this team will.

      The question is: has morale amongst a group of players which gave 110% for three seasons straight been so impaired that we miss the playoffs trying to right-size the ship?

      I hope not but I think it is a legitimate concern.

      In my view, Sather must go; the quicker the better.

      • Walt says:


        He won’t be around much longer, at least we can hope that will be the case. Gorton is being groomed for his position!

        • AD says:

          I thought Messier was being groomed for the position 3 years ago. Wasn’t that the story line? Messier, by the way, is now back with the Oilers organization – thanks Glen.

  5. Pete says:

    There should be cause for concern because of fundamental mistakes that are being made but the reality is that this kinda thing takes time.

    Would it have been nice to fly out the gate? Of course, but to get all worked up after 4 games is completely unnecessary, give it 20-30 at least.

    Besides, this team will not finish the year with this roster, they have the pieces to make some upgrades and surely will.

  6. Chris says:

    For what it’s worth this post isn’t in any way a cry of desperation but sometimes players need a message and there’s plenty of talent in the AHL that deserves consideration.

  7. FrankCerbone says:

    Start with canning Gordie Clark

    Let’s see Tim Erixon who Clark convinced Sather to give up 2 # two draft choices has been benched
    for the first 3 gms at Columbus EVEN though Tyutin has been out injured.

    When I posted on Blueshirt Banter that the trade for Erixon was insane for a guy that may never be more than a top 6 defenseman, I was crucified.
    Blueshirt Banter said he was DEFINITELY a top 4 guy.

    Brady Skjei is another disaster, as he was projected as a bottom 3rd pairing defenseman AT BEST. No offensive skills, totally finesse defenseman, and….scratched from 4 gms last season for indifferent, uninspired play.

  8. Bloomer says:

    Leave the kids on the farm for now. It would be wrong to drag them into the disaster that was of the coach and veteran players own making. Fast should be sent down to hartford and taught how hockey is really played. You know boring things like backchecking and discipline.

  9. JerryinMA says:

    Will Cerbone, the perpetual complainer, please reveal what his hockey qualifications are? All I read from him is that this guy is incompetent, that guy can’t play, “I told you that. . . (fill in the constant self congratulation). Gordie Clark has long been on his “fire” list, based now no doubt on listening in when Clark “convinced” Sather to give up draft choices for Erixon. I guess he was a fly on the wall during that conversation.

    Every certified hockey pundit I’ve ever spoken with, players and front office people included, speak very highly of Clark, claiming he is one of the best evaluators of hockey talent in the business. But, of course, they’ve never consulted Cerbone, the self-identified “maven” who knows everything. Just ask him, and he’ll tell you ad infinitum just how much he knows.

    • Mikeyyy says:

      I think he’s don cherry going incognito.

    • Frank Cerbone says:

      Your right; of Gordie Clark’s 11 number draft choices with the Rangers going back to Jessiman, only Del Zotto & Staal are with the current NHL team.

      2/11 is a rather remarkable success rate, isn’t it?

      By the way, you are not related to either Sather, Clark, or Dolan are you?

      • Mikeyyy says:

        Your talking out of your arse again.

        Two words Carl hagelin. Stop with the misinformation. Also they traded dubi and aa for nash. So 5 for 11 is pretty good. If you want to do deeper look at his picks that are still in the nhl. It’s a good record.

        Do your homework before posting. Your making the rest of us fans look bad.

        • Mikeyyy says:

          And it’s hard to draft well in the first round without many top 12 picks. But you wouldn’t know that would you.

          • Frank Cerbone says:

            Hagelin, Lundquist, & Fast were 6th rd picks awarded to long time Ranger scout Crister Rockstrom, who was brought to the Rangers with Neil Smith. In fact, Clark was NEVER sold on Lundquist and sent Carl Hagelin to find out why Rockstrom wanted Lundquist so. When it became quite apparent that Rockstrom was a better judge of talent than Clark, Rockstrom was let go. Rockstrom also was responsible for the Federov & Lindstrom being drafted by Detroit.

            Mikeyyy, I have forgotten more about hockey & the NHL draft than you could ever hope to learn in a lifetime.

            42 years in high risk management & personnel/talent evaluation at one of the biggest banks in the USA is my resume.

            I have followed the Rangers religiously since Cahan, Howell, & Worsley.

            • Mikeyyy says:

              Wh t are you talking about….read your post….you don’t mention it being first round picks.

              Your attempt at misdirection did not work.

              Stay on task. And if you were working for a bank in the position you say, you wouldn’t post it here, a clear violation of most bank practices. Low profile, don’t broadcast yourself on the net.

              Back on task…you were saying you were wrong about the drafting…

      • Spozo says:

        You do realize that Clark has only been the head of player personnel since 2007 right? 4 years after Jessiman was drafted.

        Also where does he get involved in the Erixon trade? He orchestrates the draft, not tell Sather who to trade for.

        Ps I will give you credit for actually responding. 99% of the time you don’t!

        • Frank Cerbone says:

          Clark was sign by the Rangers after leaving the Islanders in 2002. Clark was the guy sitted next to Sather at the draft table when Sather chose Jessiman over Parise. Maloney’s personal favorite.

          Clark lives in the Boston area and is in love with what he perceives to be New England talent.
          See Jessiman, Sanguinetti, Nieves, Kreider.

          He is on record as saying he has followed Tim Erixon’s young career for years, since the kid is from Port Chester, but you wouldn’t know that.

          • Spozo says:

            Wow that’s almost comical. The guy who was sitting next to Sather during the 03 draft is the reason he drafted Jesiman. The guy who was with the team for a season, and wasn’t even the head of player personnel. That is absolutely enough evidence to come to the conclusion that Clark was the mastermind of that draft.

            Ya know what I see every time you post something on here? I see opinions that you pass off as fact.

            Four players drafted while Clark has been with the team are from the New England area. So he must love New Englanders. I believe you have actually said that is because he is too lazy to scout anywhere else?
            How about the Russian they took in the first round of 2007, Clark’s first year as director of player personnel. Well that pretty much shows that allegation is complete BS.

            I also find it comical that you are labeling Skjei as a draft bust based on his projection. How about we call him a bust when he actually BECOMES one, not how he is projected.

            Another one of your opinions you pass off as fact is how Erixon was acquired. Show me the reference that you have that says he was involved in the trade. Not some quote you have where he says he has followed Erixon.

            That’s an idea. Include references for your outlandish accusations. Show me the article from THN that says Kreider will be a bust. No one can seem to find that one yet you seem to know it verbatim.

            Where’s the article with the quote from Sather that he didn’t like Lundqvist during that draft?

            Where’s your reference for the reason you stated Rockstrom was let go.

            Until you show me any of these I’m going to consider anything you say to be a load of crap.

            Please prove me wrong.

            • Frank Cerbone says:

              If you can find THN draft issue for the 2003 draft, you will clearly see the evaluation of Jessiman as 1) only one scout held a high opinion of him, and 2) most likely to be a 1st round bust.

              If you can THN issue for the 2009 draft, you will ssee a similar evaluation of Kreider. In fact, Blueshirt Banter tried to say that THN was not a well respected hockey reference and probably had some Ranger haters.

              As for Cherepanov, the blood doper, Clark never went out to see Cherepanov skate personally. Cherepanov was kept under wraps pretty much, mostly reputation guy who turned out to be an average skater, poor work habits, great finisher,
              very much a Pavel Brendl type player. That is why
              both Cherepanov & Brendl dropped like rocks before the NHL draft.

              Don’t know who Pavel Brendl is ???

              • Spozo says:


                See that’s a reference that tells me you don’t know what you are talking about when you say he dropped in the draft due to his on ice performance.

                But since you deflected away from my original argument, let’s get back on point. You said that Clark only drafts New Englanders. I responded with the Cherapanov pick. You response was to try and say he was a crappy pick, not address that in Clark’s first draft as director of player personnel he took a Russian.

                Back to the Jesiman draft. I don’t care that some article said he would be a bust, my issue is that you felt Clark was responsible for that. Your only reasoning is based on where he was seated on draft day. I’m still waiting for your reference that Clark, in his second year with the team, despite having a lesser role than the director of player personnel at the time, was the reason that Sather took Jesiman.

          • Paco33 says:

            Bobby Sanguinetti is from NJ, which I don’t believe is considered by those with 42 years of experience looking at maps to be in New England. I have over 40 years experience detecting people who are full of BS and my meter goes off the charts when I read Cerbone’s posts.

      • AD says:

        Callahan, Dubinsky, Anisimov, Hagelin (though he may have identified by our European scouts), Del Zotto, Girardi (undrafted free agent) and Staal seems pretty solid drafting to me.

        I think the fair criticism is found within our 1st round picks. As of today, we have little to show for them other than Staal. And 1st rounders are where you anticipate big difference makers.

        So, I think the criticism is fair but, overall, Clarke has done fairly well….a solid “B” in my book.

        • Frank Cerbone says:

          Girardi was discovered by Ranger scout Larry Bernard who recommended that the Rangers sign Girardi to a 2 way AHL contract as an undrafted free agent in 2005, much like Hrvik.

          I’m sure Clark knew nothing about Girardi, and just threw a bone to Larry Bernard for being a good soldier like he did with Crister Rockstrom.

          • JerryinMA says:

            Frank, being a member of the personnel department for a bank (was it Washington Mutual which is no more?) does not make one an all-knowing hockey maven. Your claim that Clark was responsible for Jessiman because he sat next to Sather at the draft that year is absolutely laughable. Did you take a picture of the two? Did they hold hands while whispering to each other? Please tell us because you must know.

            The fact is that Tom Renney badly wanted Jessiman after having scouted him personally several times. Renney was impressed with his size, believing he had the potential to become the prototypical power forward that the Rangers desperately needed. Thus he lobbied hard for his selection which he later admitted was an error of judgment. Clark had nothing to do with making him a first rounder, and the fact that you insist otherwise testifies to your unmatched ability to blow smoke. As for Cherapanov, he was chosen because Sather thought he could wrangle him away from the Russians where others felt they couldn’t. He didn’t “drop like lead”in the draft because of doubts about his abilities but because of tensions between the Russians and the NHL and fears he couldn’t be signed. Sather chose to gamble that he could sign him. Blame Sather not Clark.

  10. mitch says:

    give them a few more games to get their bearings . I think by Febuary you can look back at October and forget all of these lobsided scores

  11. Brian says:

    I’d leave the kids down for a little longer. Those guys are the future of this organization, let them learn the game and grow together, so when they’re all the in NHL, they know each other already. Especially for guys like McIlrath and Kreider. Don’t screw around with them anymore. Just let them get into a rhythm for a few months and then see if they’re ready.

  12. Ray says:

    Keep developing the kids properly. If you want to send a message, call up Haley and Mashinter.

  13. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    I agree with everyone who says keep the kids where they are. And I mean the impact AHLers (kristo, miller, kreider, lindberg, mcilrath). We’ve been down this road before, let them succeed over the course of several games before they see NHL time. Get in a prolonged groove, gain confidence. And give the Rangers ONE HOMESTAND before making any major moves. Let’s leave the kneejerk reactions for the Flyers organization.