Dec
03

Being honest about Alain Vigneault

December 3, 2016, by
Please reconsider your defensive options, AV

Please reconsider your defensive options, AV

The Rangers are slipping. It’s no secret to anyone who’s watched the team these past couple of weeks. Poor defensive play and a lack of execution on the rush –and some teams figuring out how to stymie the Rangers’ game plan– mean that the team has either barely squeaked by when they’ve won games (Philly) or gotten totally hammered (Buffalo). Situations like this are always multifaceted in that there’s never one main issue with the team that, if fixed, would suddenly make them Stanley Cup contenders, but one issue that needs to be discussed at this point is the coaching.

Let me be clear: I am not advocating for the firing of Alain Vigneault. What I am suggesting however is that it’s time to be frank about his time as the New York Rangers head coach and take the good with the bad. Yes, he has gotten the team within a few games of a Stanley Cup, but coaches can’t only be evaluated on their achievements, they also need to be evaluated on their shortcomings.

With that in mind let me also say that evaluating a coach is one of the hardest things to do in hockey, with their influence on the on-ice result being diffuse and indirect. It’s difficult to statistically quantify the job a coach is doing (miss me with W/L please) and so I’m inherently uncomfortable passing judgment on a coach. There’s so much that we don’t see, so much that goes on behind the scenes, that it’s inherently risky to make broad statements about a coach’s performance in that role.

Nonetheless I think it’s time to be honest with ourselves. AV has done a great job as a coach in some respects, including getting the most out of offensive players like Rick Nash who would’ve been limited by someone like Torts, as well as the aforementioned Stanley Cup Final appearance, but he’s also done a poor job of coaching the team through adversity. We saw this last year when the team struggled – he failed to adjust. We’re seeing it happen again this year.

Coaches are most crucial when a team is going through a tough time, and what we’ve seen from AV suggests that he doesn’t plan on changing a thing, or worse, that he doesn’t even think the Rangers have played poorly. This should start to raise red flags about the guy as a coach and is something that management needs to address at some point. By the looks of things they either haven’t, or he isn’t heeding their directives.

Another important caveat is that I realize that practically any coach, even the best coaches, have their one fatal flaw. We can see it around the league, and there’s a reason why coaches in the NHL tend to last only a few years at any particular team, successful ones included. Firing AV at this point in the season would be a mistake, because the only real replacement out there (not counting coaches within the organization) is Gerard Gallant. Still, there needs to be some pushback from the media and from management with regards to the job that AV is doing.

I realize a lot of this is slightly alarmist, given that just a few weeks back we were talking about how the Rangers are the real deal when it comes to capitalizing on scoring chances, and given that it’s only been a couple of weeks’ worth of bad games. Still, that’s a decent amount of bad games, and coaches are often defined by how they react in times of adversity. In that regard it may be time to come to terms with the fact that AV is significantly limited as a coach, especially with respect to his defensive evaluation, and may in fact be holding this team back in some ways.

Rangers fans need to square with the reality that part of AV’s legacy as a coach will be his inability to innovate in difficult situations, just as much as his stellar record and many achievements will be. Criticism of the way in which he struggles to adapt and makes the same mistakes habitually is not unwarranted or lacking in perspective. It’s simply being honest about AV.

"Being honest about Alain Vigneault", 2 out of 5 based on 90 ratings.
Categories : Coaching

64 comments

  1. rich s says:

    My observations of AV,
    1. poor management of talent…..sits better younger players while relying on older washed up veterans[ glass, girardi, boyle, st louis, etc]
    2. double standard…….benches non favorites for one mistake, but will continue to play favorites no matter how many mistakes or poor performances
    3. overplaying Hank, who is not the same…
    4. game plans are unimaginative, same game after game win or lose
    5. constantly changing lines because he has no other idea on what to do…again players need to play together to develop chemistry, know where each other is….bossy-trottier-gilles, french connection, ratelle-hatfield-gilbert…..never broken up!!!!!
    6. Not good judge of talent…trading stempniak was disaster for playoffs when st louis was horrible ……keeping girardi over Strallman, wow…….losing hagelin
    7. defense get worse every year….no answer????? except blame and bench young player…clendening in buffalo game despite fact he had good overall game, while girardi was horrendous
    8.NO adjustments between periods
    9.Lost as far as what to do against trap!
    10. until zib and vesey arrived could not fix power play in three years
    11.most outrageous….traded my favorite player mcilrath , who has been a better player since girardi every game he has played!!!!!

    • Sammy says:

      He’s a coach not a GM. So I don’t know why you mentioned trading players

    • Jon says:

      AV may have some input into trades but ultimately that decision falls on Gorton. I agree that AV has his flaws like every other coach does but his strengths outweigh them imo. He’s inovative and believes in his plan, doesn’t stray.
      I do think he should know by now that you can’t live on luck alone. It always averages out to the mean in the long run.
      When the Rangers are going through rough stretches like this, AV would help himself by implementing a more basic game plan. Like what worked in 13/14. The Rangers only shot 6%-7% but were one of the best possession teams in the NHL.
      That got them to the finals and would help when luck isn’t working. Right now their NHL leading Sh% is tanking and teams are slowing their breakouts. Simply things a bit when in these slumps and maybe you get some critical points now that will come in handy later in the season.
      Look at the NYI. They’re in last place in the east but only 5 wins behind the NYR.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Rich–

      Holy cow. You are so off the rails here.

      1. Which young players has he sat that should have played? The ones the Rangers moved on from proved to be not very good. Others like Miller and Hayes had work ethic issues and needed time to develop. Every coach plays favorites. Every single one. It’s a silly argument.

      2. See above. This is not pee wee hockey. Leash lengths are different for different players. SOP for all coaches.

      3. Hank thrives on work. Those decisions are largely influenced by Benny Alaire and Hank, the latter of which has earned that right.

      4. When it was working it was imaginative. When it’s not then the game plan is no good. Can’t have anything at all to do with the players, right? They have no culpability for poor play. Just the coach. Of course.

      5. You have to be kidding me, right? Those are HOF players you are talking about. When even one of our forwards shows they can even hold those guys jock straps on a consistent basis, then get back to me on that one.

      6. You do seem to have difficulty with the concept of what a GM does and what a coach does. Let me help you.

      GM–among other things, “recruit, trade and dismiss players for your team. Manage team’s budget.”

      Coach–takes the roster given to him by the GM and instructs, teaches and deploys talent to get the best results on the ice.

      You see, the GM makes these decisions. AV will have input of course, but at the end of the day, you are blaming AV for Sather/Gorton’s decisions.

      Now to your criticism–I agree that Stempniak should have been kept. But let’s get serious here. Stempniak has played for 10 teams in 12 seasons, so teams are very quick to move on from him. To suggest he would have made any difference in the 2015 playoffs is a reach at best.

      Girardi over Stralman was a Sather call. Stralman wasn’t yet an established commodity at the time of the Girardi signing. He had already been let go for little return by three other organizations. Girardi was at the top of his game at the time of his deal. Total revisionist history, but if you are going to blame someone, blame Sather/Gorton ahead of AV.

      Hagelin–cap forced the move. That was Sather/Gorton. There is no evidence at all that AV had any desire to move on from Hags. Why would he?

      But hey, when you hate the coach, why not make things up to support a flawed premise.

      7. Defense has gotten worse because the personnel has aged. How is that on AV? But of course, let’s hype up a journeyman nobody like Clendening, now a part of his 6th organization in 2+ seasons, and somehow that proves AV doesn’t know what he’s doing because he won’t play him.

      8. Subjective. Sometimes too many adjustments can be disruptive. Didn’t you just say don’t mess with the lines? Now you complain not enough adjustments. Can’t have it both ways.

      9. Every team has weaknesses that can be exploited, especially in a hard cap league with a condensed schedule that screams .500 hockey. No different than most other teams.

      10. The PP was even more awful under Torts. AV did improve it a bit, but not much. So the blame for the PP shortcomings is all on the coach, but the credit for this year’s massive improvement is all on a first year player (Vesey) and a young player who’s just establishing himself (Mika). Makes perfect sense and again shows you are just piling on to support a false premise.

      11….awwww, we are so, so sorry that your favorite player was traded. How terrible for you!!!! Of course, you fail to acknowledge the harsh reality here. McIlrath was waived. No one wanted him. NO ONE. Finally a trade was worked out (I’m guessing his agent probably asked Gorton to try and get something done for the kid). He goes to Fla, plays one game, their coach confirms what was already well established–DMC is too slow and not yet a good enough skater to keep up with the speed of the NHL game. He’s now on his third coach. And he remains glued to the bench. Just amazing how the Minions can’t accept reality and look at him with the most skewed prism of any player I can ever remember.

      Not saying he will never be the player you were hoping for. But he clearly isn’t today. If he was, he would have been snapped up pretty quickly.

      • Sammy says:

        Eddie I couldn’t have said it any better. It’s mind boggling some of the comments. It’s always the coach never the players. Please give me a break people. Thanks Eddie

    • Spozo says:

      Hahahahaha you’re favorite player Mcilrath???????????

    • orangemike says:

      Hilarious. The team is tied for the best record in the league. Please take a deep breath and adjust your medication, Rich.

      -orange

    • bernmeister says:

      For the most part, this^.

      Bite me AV
      Maybe we can deal him for the guy FL just canned

  2. avsucks says:

    AV will not change, he plays favorites will not play the kids. if hey fire him please take Klien and Stall to.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Right. He doesn’t play the kids. Must be someone else playing Vesey, Buch, Miller, Skjei, Hayes, Fast, Kreider, etc.

      • Ranger 11 says:

        I don’t what team these guys are watching. I just love that one “he hates the kids” or “he don’t play the kids”. Yet right out of the gate this year we seen Buchnivech and Vesey playing on the top lines. I will admit I have concerns about the team here n there and the D I knew wouldn’t be good enough this year but I don’t know how much they think AV is gonna be able to do with what he has to work with. I stil say that while the coach has to motivate guys they’re still professional players and shouldn’t need a coach to tell them move your ass out there.

  3. Ranger 11 says:

    The only thing I’m not sure if I can agree with is when you mentioned he may not even know when they’re playing bad. I could be wrong but I’m assuming,I got you’re referring to his press conferences after the game. Maybe he’s just not looking to say anything negative about the players at that time and saves it for behind closed doors. Let’s remember when Torts said this guy or that guy wasn’t good fans got on him and said he’s throwing his guys under the bus. Again, I’m assuming you’re talking about AV talking to the media. As far as his coaching I do wonder about him being too loyal to the vets at times and I am concerned about his defensive assessments. I don’t think there’s any perfect coaches anyway.

  4. Richter1994 says:

    Good write up Pat and very timely.

    Overall AV gets good marks, not great marks IMO. My issue with him is that he lets his own biases get in the way of good “business” decisions. Meaning it doesn’t matter the name on the back of the jersey or what they did 5 years ago or on and on and on. You play your best players in the best roles that will help that player succeed. End of story.

    The other issue I have is in game adjustments. He stinks at it. You cannot continue to do the same things over and over when the opponents have neutralized them. You have to try something else and I think the coach’s stubbornness and ego gets in the way of those adjustments as well.

    Overall it’s been a good run but I believe the Rangers should have a Cup during this run. There are a lot of reasons why teams don’t win a Cup and IMO the Rangers’ coach is one of them. Sorry to say.

    • Jerry says:

      Hmmm 15 thumbs down…… Can anyone say “rose colored glasses”. Richter, you’re as most always, right on the money. I couldn’t agree more and where’s that ‘thumbs up’ button

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      The reason the Rangers have not won a Cup is that they have not had a roster that’s good enough. Do you think that any coach, given the choice of the Rangers roster vs the other top contenders during his three plus season run, would choose to go to war with the Rangers roster over TB, Pit, Was, LA or Chicago? All of these teams were and are much better talent wise, with high end future HOFers that the Rangers do not have.

      You are all putting way too much on the coach. This is not Herb Brooks coaching the 1980 Olympic team. The coach is only as good as the team he has.

      To me, AV is being punished out here for getting more than most would have out of a very good but hardly great group.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Hey bro, I don’t agree at all that they didn’t have a Cup worthy roster. The King is a great equalizer and allowed the Rangers to not need the Crosby and Malkins of the world to play for them up front.

        My friend, you are letting your bias or maybe simply the coach’s regular season record to get in the way. I didn’t see the game yesterday as I am out of town but Miller on the 4th line, not getting to play the last 8 minutes of the game? Per Larry Brooks. That’s INSANE. Just another example of the confusing way this guy plays his players. I would rather have a 60% Miller than a 100% Fast in the top 6, as the difference in talent is night and day. I have no answers for what goes through this guy’s head.

        Clendening played fine the other night but he’s out again. Why? Because he took a penalty? Again, the parameters for assessing play are different depending on whether the player is a fave or not. Put the same parameters on Girardi and he’s in street clothes on a regular basis.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          “Cup worthy”? Maybe. But BETTER roster than TB, Pit, Was, LA or Chicago? No chance. I ask again, your career depends on this choice. Select the roster of any of those teams to give you the best chance to win the SC. You think any coach would choose the Rangers? They would be the last choice of that group. Doesn’t mean you can’t win if everything breaks your way, but it’s hard to make the case they’ve underachieved relative to the talent on the roster compared to those aforementioned teams that possess higher end elite level talent.

          I respect and admire Hank as much as you do. But there’s only so far and so many rounds that “great equalizer” argument will take you.

          As for the rest, the Rangers were brutal most of the game, but played their best hockey in the third. It’s hard to suggest that we’d have been better off if Miller had played more in the third, when in fact the outcome suggest the proper course was followed.

          And again, as so often happens out here, we jump to conclusions without any facts to back them up. How dare AV sits Miller! Miller is dealing with a significant knee laceration as I understand it. Maybe he gave all he could and had nothing more to contribute. I have no problem limiting his playing time under those conditions.

          And can we please stop overrating Miller and underrating Fast? You’d rather have a 60% Miller? I’d be with you if Miller was Crosby, Ovie, Kane, etc. This is JT Miller we are talking about, someone with a very limited track record of success who’s slumped in recent games. It’s not some major news story that he sat and played on the 4th line.

          As for Fast, no doubt he doesn’t possess the raw ability that Miller has. But if he was so terrible, why is it that his teammates lobby to have him on their line, because they believe he makes whatever line he is on better? Was reported last year in Newsday.

          I’ll take a 100% Miller over a 100% Fast any day, but I think most coaches would take a 100% Fast over a 60% Miller all day every day.

          And lastly, sorry buddy, we will have to agree to disagree on this one. You are not dealing with reality on this. Virtually every coach in pro sports plays favorites. That is based on trust developed over a period of time. Some players get longer leashes than others. This isn’t PeeWee hockey where everyone is treated the same. And this isn’t PlayStation hockey either, where personalities don’t matter and the fabric of the room doesn’t need to be considered.

          Clendening, by your own admission, was just “fine”. Why should “fine” warrant more time? He’s another on the margin player that for some reason half this blog is obsessed about that can’t stick for more than a few weeks or months with any NHL team. And this is the guy who should play more? Why do we obsess about players on the margins? That’s not going to likely change a thing in terms of the outcome. Didn’t we have this exact same argument about McIlrath last year? AV was tarred and feathered for not playing him, and this year, with not one but two different coaches, the kid STILL can’t crack the lineup. You can now make the case that AV overplayed him
          last year rather than underplayed him.

          Players on the margins don’t change the narrative. What WILL change the narrative is Kreider, Miller, Hayes, Zuc and Stepan showing up and producing on a consistent basis. If our best players actually play like our best players, we can be a very competitive team, warts and all. It won’t be because Clendening plays or doesn’t play, any more than it would have made a difference if McIlrath played or didn’t play. Marginal players make no more than a marginal difference.

          • Egelstein says:

            Not to dig into all of this, but one quick point: “just fine” is better than Klein and Girardi have been playing for most of this season (and other defenders too at times, although those two of course are the obvious culprits right now). That’s why people want Clendo to get an extended chance, even on a rotational basis; not necessarily taking one player’s spot outright. He had the misfortune of committing a bad penalty in his chance. As soon as that happened, I cringed because I knew what that means with AV.

            The “this isn’t pee-wee” argument is irrelevant. Maybe it is true that all coaches do play favorites, but AV would certainly be on the extreme end of the spectrum as far as I can tell. So what if Clendo being in there more nights might only be a marginal improvement? I’ll take it. And again, nobody – literally nobody – is claiming that Clendo is a superstar and will fix everything wrong with the D, any more than people were with McIlrath. All people want to see is if perhaps there will be that marginal improvement with him out there more regularly.

            AV has shown a downright penchant for forgiving veterans making “throw your shoe at the TV” caliber mistakes, with no comeuppance. Sometimes those mistakes are repeated (the textbook Girardi snow angel as he drifts to the corner leaving the slot wide open is one we’ve seen time and time again) and do cost the team points some nights. That’s what rubs folks the wrong way – not just that he plays favorites, but that he takes it to extremes in some cases and doesn’t even so much as alter minute distribution as an attempted solution, or shelter veteran players in a slump.

        • Bron2016 says:

          Clendening is not playing because Rangers want to hide him from expansion draft. Or you prefer to give him to Vegas for free

  5. Richter1994 says:

    Great Fanpost on Blueshirt Banter relating to Lundqvist.

    • Dave says:

      I think this proves my point that people thumbs up/down based on user name, and not the comment itself.

      • Richter1994 says:

        It’s ok Dave, I don’t reposnd to stupidity and ignorance.

        Thank you to you and the writers here for having such a great site to talk Ranger hockey. As in all phases of life, nothing is perfect but there are plenty of great fans here to talk intelligent hockey with. Keep up the great work, we all appreciate it very much.

  6. Jerry says:

    Pat, great write up. I’d like to add that I believe hAv’s hands off approach, in his own words, ‘allowing the locker room to be dictated by the players without coaching input’ works ONLY under certain circumstances. Todays Rangers are not one of those circumstances. When a team has a captain, or a captain and alternate captains who have a strong personalities and lead by example along with being vocal, coaches are wise to leave the locker room to the players. Today’s Rangers aren’t blessed with that type player leadership. McD is a great D-man, but I’m not sure he, Staal and Girardi are the type of leadership that works with this team.
    Also, AV got his wish and has a team molded exactly the way he want’s it. FAST and well, …….I guess fast is it. One dimensional. AV can’ adjust to any significant degree to a team that runs an efficient 1-3-1 center zone trap. Not because he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t have the players to consistently defeat that defensive system. Trap teams will put the Garden crowd to sleep.
    AV doesn’t have that forward and/or that D-man physical enough to change the flow of the game, and wake the crowd up.

  7. Michael Lazzaro says:

    Nash scored 21 goals in 44 games and 26 in 65 under Torts. Hugely false narrative to put in this article.

  8. SalMerc says:

    AV’s biggest problem is in game adjustments.

  9. Stevesse says:

    AV may be judged by the Stanley Cups he has not won, but what is the real measure of the job he has done? Is Mike Sullivan a better coach? After all he took a floundering mid season team all the way. Or is it really the talent that you have that makes a winner. I think the GM has a greater role in who wins. The mid season pickups by Pittsburgh fit perfectly with their style of play. AV can’t help it that he has limited talent on the blue line. You also can’t say he doesn’t develop his talent. Look how his tough love has transformed Miller and Hayes.
    When he inherited this team the core was all about defense and Lundqvist. Well that core( including ) Henrik has deteriorated and AV has transitioned the style. Now it’s up to Gorton to finish the job.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      100% correct!

    • Ranger 11 says:

      Well said. I wonder how many of these fans that talk about us not winning the cup against LA remember that we hit the post in every one of those over time periods. We hit it a few times in some. My point is with a little bit of puck luck we coulda won those 3 OT loses. Unless AV is responsible for hitting the post too. Besides LA was a team that was just bigger n stronger n better, besides just winning the cup two years before.

      • Richter1994 says:

        I agree that 2013-14 was lost based on bad officiating and bad luck. If the Rangers win just one of the first 2 games in LA then it’s a different series, no question.

        That first year for AV was his best as a Ranger by far and I give him full credit for the job he did that year.

        • Egelstein says:

          One of the closest 4-1 series ever, IMO. I live in LA and while the Kings fan base is rife with many complete “tourist” fans who don’t know much about hockey, the more legit and knowledgeable Kings fans know that series could have gone a lot differently with just a couple bounces going in the Rangers’ favor. Virtually everything in that series that could have gone one way or the other went the Kings way. It happens sometimes, but it was infuriating to watch. I feel the Rangers were much more evenly matched with the Kings than the 4-1 result on paper would suggest at a glance. I mean, the Kings won the first two games without having a lead in regulation at any point. Then the third game they won 3-0 on 15 shots. Shit happens and all…but a lot of shit happened in that series that didn’t go the Rangers’ way, unfortunately.

  10. DAVID k says:

    I don’t care how much you prepare your team to play the bottom line is that a coach no matter what sport needs to make adjustments throughout the game when things are not working. This is what separates good coaches from the bad ones. That is why a coaching change should be made. AV can’t or won’t adjust the way he does things. That is why after 54 years they brought in Mike Keenan to win the cup. AV was fired from Vancouver because he got to the top of the mountain and then fell off and he will never get past that point.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      You do realize that when they hired Keenan, he had the same resume as AV. Very good coach who couldn’t win it all–until he did.

      There are only so many adjustments the coach can make. Why is the narrative constantly that when the Rangers win, it’s the players. When the Rangers struggle a bit, it’s on the coach. Totally bogus.

      • Sammy says:

        I find that amazing. When AV made line adjustments and we were winning nobody said a word. But now it’s the coaches fault. We don’t have a team of superstars and we’ve done very well under him. You do need talent people. And you need players to not take vacations and disappear. We have a lot of vacationers lately. Watch when we start winning again nobody will say a word about the coach except for some nit picking

      • Ericdgrossman says:

        I’m a rangers fan living in St. Louis. Blues family so bitched and moaned about how Coach Q couldn’t win in the playoffs. And you know what? He couldn’t. That is until he got a roster of players littered with Hall of Fame level talent. He was a loser until he won multiple Cups. Now he’ll be in the HOF.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Thank you Eric for bringing some needed clarity and sanity to the conversation.

  11. Rangers Rock says:

    Talking about this is like talking about race. If you say x race does x amount of crime, you are a racist.
    If you talk about AV you do not know about hockey Only AV knows and no one can challenge him because of his record.
    And if you look at his history, he constantly repeats it and shows why he does not win.

    Everyone else gets the blame, but not the coach. Now I will get blamed for thinking this and AV gets another pass. I am not the problem though you will focus on the complainer, not the actual problem. I did not put the wrong players together(he always puts the right players together). I am not the one who can’t adjust(it’s the player’s job to adjust). I am not the one repeating the same mistakes over and over.
    Look at you selves AV fans you support the problem. The more you support him the longer we suffer.
    I want to be wrong about AV. I just don’t like to suffer because of him and his fans. I did not make friends today, but through this journey of life, I could not respect someone if they did not say what they felt. In the end, I will be either known as a jerk or right, but I will not be responsible supporting what I think is a loser. Right or wrong. This is the USA. Not Cuba. Retaliate at will.

  12. Bloomer says:

    When Alaina Vigneault stint with the Rangers comes to an end, his legacy will be similar to what he left behind in Vancouver. A roster of talented underachievers who won’t have what it takes to get past the first round in the playoffs.

  13. Blue76 says:

    After reading all the comments I am confused … why is this seasons recent slide not because of Tanner Glass …. no one even mentioned him as the reason like so many did last year??? LOL

  14. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Pat, some of your concerns are valid. But you present little in the way of tangible evidence that says this current “mini-slump” is legitamately a cause to pin this on the coach.

    Point by point…

    The Rangers are slipping the last few weeks– true. That being said, they are “slipping” at a 5-4-1 clip over the last ten games, and doing that while obviously not playing well. They haven’t gone pointless in back to back games all season. That to me is more of a positive than a negative. Ten days ago, there was an article written that suggested at the quarter pole, AV would be the Jack Adams Winner if one were given quarterly. Now, a handful of games later, it’s time to start considering if he’s the problem more than the solution? I don’t buy it.

    Have you checked the last ten games record of the teams in the East? Many are playing at around a .500 clip. The so-called top contenders–TB (5-5), Pit (5-4-1) and Was (5-4-1) are all similarly “slipping”. I wonder if their bloggers are as impatient with their coaches. Or perhaps they actually understand that most teams, even the good ones, will have stretches where they will struggle. You are significantly overreacting it seems.

    Haven’t the Rangers substantially improved their special teams year to year to be among the top quartile in the league in PK and PP? I suppose that’s in spite of the coach though. 🙂

    “he’s done a poor job coaching the team through adversity”? What?! Isn’t he the only coach in NHL history to bring his team back from a 3-1 deficit in a playoff series two seasons in a row!? Of the two, the one vs the Caps in 2015 was most impressive, simply because unknown to us, Zuc, the heart and soul of the team was fighting for his career and indeed his life in the hospital. Yet AV and the players found a way to stick with it and pull off an incredible comeback against a great team. I can’t think of a more adverse situation that AV as Rangers coach has faced than that.

    He’s won five post season series as Rangers coach, more than any other Ain franchise history not named Lester Patrick. He’s won as many as Emile Francis, who coached the Rangers for twice as long and got to coach a roster of high end future HOF players the likes of which AV has not had. Playoff success is all about overcoming adversity. As Rangers coach, considering the roster he’s had to work with, he has thus far passed the test mostly with flying colors. Sorry, you couldn’t be more wrong about that and you have provided no supporting points in your article to even make a case.

    “He’s failed to adjust”–we hear that a lot. Yet again, you give no specifics. A coach is only as good as he roster he’s given. What adjustments should he have made that would have altered the outcome? To try and learn your perspective, I went back and checked a few of your posts from last year. In March, you complained that AV was wrong for not playing Lindberg. We found out after the season Oscar was dealing with hip issues that required surgery. Mid-season, you took AV to task for daring to bench Kevin Hayes for all of two games. This despite the fact that Hayes wasn’t good last year, AND of course, we later learned that in fact Hayes came to camp in less than ideal physical condition last season. So AV was right to sit him and in fact, if the Rangers had had better options, he probably should have benched him sooner and for more time. With all respect, it seems to me you are quick to point fingers at the coach when there usually is a pretty good explanation that we know nothing about.

    Now, where I agree with you is regarding the future. Barring a massive meltdown, no way should or in my view will AV be canned mid-season. But even I, an AV supporter, understand that this is year four for him. While to me AV has overachieved with a good but hardly great roster for these three plus seasons, the fact is that every coach has a shelf life. AV has one more year left on his deal. It’s perfectly reasonable for Gorton to assess if AV is the right guy going forward. He has one year to go on his deal, so a decision will have to be made to either extend him or move on. I believe, based on the lack of star power on the roster, that he has done overall an excellent job and that Gorton will see it that way. But that doesn’t mean that if the right alternative was out there, that a change wouldn’t be in order.

    • Rangers Rock says:

      If you don’t know what it means to fail to adjust, is an example of blind allegiance. It’s not blind, it is intentional as to persuade others to believe in what you write and not what we see. Again you try to deviate from plays to get the out of the zone. To adjust defensively to the other team’s attack, to put the correct players on the ice. Do you understand what it means to be out coached? It is to keep playing a style that is not working to continue to play the same way without considering other techniques. AV got burned in the playoff when the other team moved some players around and AV did not counter and stayed with the same lines and the result was a loss. Stubbornness is not a great attribute.

  15. HARLEMBLUES says:

    I stopped reading when you said that only one man in all of North America Gerald Gallent could replace AV at this time. Why are two assist given on a goal where a player puts in his own rebound?

  16. howiehockey says:

    In other words a V is no Mike Keenan…LOL

  17. howiehockey says:

    In other words AV is no Mike Keenan…LOL

  18. lv says:

    Players need to be self motivated and give 100%. If not, they must be traded. Lack of full team effort falls onto the coach. So if lack of motivation spreads, the coach has lost the team and needs to be replaced. It’s that simple.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Maybe, I don’t know, they actually needed to lose a few games in a row before we jump to the latter conclusion.

      Our so called stars–Kreider, Hayes, Miller, Zuc, have all gone MIA (missing in action–not Miami!). So is that more on the coach or the players? To me, it’s much more the latter.

      • Rangers Rock says:

        Thats because he is not putting his players in a position to succeed. Fast! Today he did.

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        Again Stepan gets a pass. He’s supposed to be the teams number one center. He’s the highest paid forward beside Nash and you don’t mention him.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Harlem, more than fair. It was an omission on my part. Stepan has to be better as well. But he was good last game and really good today.

          And as I’ve said over and over, as Kreider goes, so goes the Rangers. We need to see that more often from him. Of all the supposed “stars” we have at forward, he’s really THE one who has the greatest upside potential to truly become an elite player.

          • HARLEMBLUES says:

            Fair enough Eddie. I agree Krieder has tremendous upside and untapped abilities. He needs to stay focus and hungry for a whole season. He needs to release the beast. The first star was Krieder, Henrik was the second star and then Stepan. The man scores the last two goals in a 4-2 game. Zuccs isn’t putting up many point but he is creating opportunities for his linemates. While behing moved up and down the lineup. He makes guys around him better. He’s just so smart and skilled with the puck. Krieder needs a highly skilled center like Mika to play with for a full season. Get well soon Mika and Pavel you guys are sorely missed. Buchnevich is the REAL deal and his upside is just has big as Krieder. Yes he has to get stronger to take the hits but he’s a bigger,faster, highly skilled version of Zuccs. Tremendous talent.

  19. Peyrouton says:

    Av is a good coach I do agree with a lot of things that people are saying but he needs guys who are game changers which is more the gems fault for not putting together a more character type team! Too many different styles of guys that are or closely related to their needs! They need a flowing lineup a little more time to make a team like the devils or islanders do where their farm guys are each way they do something they Gel together like a Yankees lineup where every hitter afterwards is a bigger slap shop or better defensive than the other side!! I know it is tough to do but these teams like the isles do it idk how the rangers can’t see it!!!

  20. Aubrey Wallace says:

    Rangers hav best record in leage ,shut up please

  21. agentsmith says:

    the only thing here i buy is that av is a poor adjuster. his approach seems to be a one size fits all. and if it fails, it fails. stepan even said they have a tough time as players adjusting to a simplified offense when needed.

    but i mostly agree with his personnel decisions. no adam clandening isnt bobby orr. and clearly cant defend eichel by the walls. the ans to our defense isnt on the roster right now so stop whining about it.

  22. Andy says:

    AV is a great regular season coach. He has yet to prove he has the ability to inspire his team’s on winning the Cup.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie!w says:

      Same thing was said about Keenan and Coach Q before they won. Flipping that narrative, look at the post-Cup resumes of Torts, Keenan and Crawford. Mediocre to Abysmal. Past performance isn’t always a predictor of what’s to come.

  23. amy says:

    this team is inconsistent you can’t beat a team like buffalo but you do beat Carolina not playing your best this week they play the isles and Jets and Chiago

  24. Loch says:

    I agree that the Rags have been playing inconsistently lately but it would really kill me to see AV go anytime soon. I really disliked Torts and his dump in/dump out style. AV has the Rags believing in their skills and, at their best, playing a truly beautiful kind of hockey on all 4 lines. With Buchnevich and Zbinejad they have the talent to bring O with every line. Without them, not as much. That seems like the difference to me.

    It would kill me to watch the kind of BS hockey we played under Torts at the end. Yeah, winning is the ultimate goal, but I don’t think you win the cup unless you score the kind of goals that talent produces, or unless you are the LA Kings of 2014 (what a pile of hack goals they got out of “crashing the net with big bodies”). We are more trying to emulate the Blackhawks, who score goals by moving the puck side to side and creating more open net chances than most teams. I think building your game around trying to create the lucky goals that result from pressure and big bodies is boring. Give me AV’s style any day.