Midseason report cards: Alain Vigneault

January 17, 2017, by


It seems like ages ago that New York and Vancouver took part in a Coach Swap, something each team needed. Long tenures are tricky because coaching flaws can begin to show. If the coach isn’t willing to adapt, their future with that team looks murky.

It’s how they create reputations and the reason that so many get hired, as is evidenced by that Rangers wife-swapped squad; tired of the aggression and hard-nose, “gritty” hockey, the Rangers opted to hire the offense-minded Vigneault who had come very close to Stanley Cup glory in the Northwest.

It is because of this tenure that in Vigneault’s fourth season on Broadway, his coaching grade would be clearest. We’re halfway through a season that has seen some strange ups and downs, with an xGF% with peaks and valleys resembling a mountain range. What this means for eye-test aficionados is that your blood pressure spikes and mood swings are actually quantified with a fancy stat. What a time to be alive.

All of this takes away from the topic at hand: how can we grade Vigneault’s performance? First, we need to separate out what Jeff Gorton and the front office has done with this team. A strong — really, some of the strongest in the league — corps of forwards, with enough depth to kinda sorta manage despite losing two for a third of the season and one for extended periods of time, a porous defense (let’s just keep it there), and one generational talent in net every night with one very competent backup. Benoit Allaire consistently gets an A in these report cards, for the record.

A good coach adapts; if they aren’t willing to, it usually ends in their firing. We all know the Rangers defense is lacking — if you dispute this, you haven’t been watching the game or analyzing stats. In fact, you may be looking for a blog for the different team altogether. But let’s start with where Vigneault exceeds.

He’s great with the media. He’s good with forwards and tends not to break up lines that have been playing well with one another. He knows how to get a lot out of his team, urges the importance of moving your feet, and hell, he’s even gotten Chris Kreider to utilize his size and get in front of the opposing net. It’s not a coincidence that Kreider is blossoming as the player we all knew he could be with a coach who knows offense. Additionally, AV holds players accountable… sometimes.

But Vigneault is stubborn. He’s frustrating as all hell with his player choices. In the face of a defensively challenged team, Vigneault spent a whole bevy of time juggling forward lines and toying with healthy scratches. My personal favorite moment of this season so far was when he called out Henrik Lundqvist in the postgame. That was pretty, pretttt-ay good.

While I want to give AV the benefit of the doubt, the story arc and similarities to what happened with his Canucks teams are looming nearby. Consistently playing Dan Girardi, an aging defenseman (that’s not a fancy stat, guys, that’s basic math), over 20 minutes per game when the idea was to rest defensemen doesn’t sit well. Much like a cheating spouse, no amount of phony words will mask the fact that Girardi is getting top pair minutes every single game despite being not-good-at-hockey.

This loyalty is really nice, but this isn’t a scorecard for congeniality. The major changes that need to be made are in the hands of Gorton, but AV pairing Girardi with McDonagh (who’s had some gaffes and lapses of super heroism this year) again in the game on Saturday is telling. It’s worrying.

Above defense issues, the most glaring issue is the lack of consistency. Early in the season, the team played a complete 60 minutes of dominant hockey. This hasn’t been the case for several weeks now. Injuries have taken a toll on the team, but injuries have taken a toll on every team halfway through the season. A team that is as wildly inconsistent as the Rangers have been for the majority of the season is troubling.

Nobody knows what the future will hold, or if the Rangers will go far in the playoffs. We’re only halfway there, after all. But I’m sticking AV with a very average midseason grade. He has to stop selecting those he wants to hold accountable and utilize players to their maximum potential. He has to sit his older players in an effort to keep them fresh for the postseason run. He needs to stop calling out the face of the franchise to deter attention away from the fact that his D corps is pathetic at best.

Despite anything that can be posted here, AV is beginning to become a polarizing figure in Rangerstown.

Vigneault gets a C so far. Let’s see what the rest of the season brings.

"Midseason report cards: Alain Vigneault", 2 out of 5 based on 26 ratings.
Categories : Coaching


  1. Richter1994 says:

    LOL, I won’t even bother.

    • Sammy says:

      Good idea, don’t bother. We already know how you know how to coach better. I don’t agree with everything he does but I don’t think any of us can say with a straight face that we can coach better than a guy that’s been an NHL coach for years and won plenty of games that we can do better. I disagree with some of the guys he’s sticking with on a regular basis on defense but I’m not with the crew of people that says he’s a clown!!!!!!!!!!! I know the big comeback is how he’s never won a cup. Well there’s some very good coaches that can say the same. No matter who coaches you still need the players to do their job. I think in the time he’s been here he’s gotten us pretty far for a team that doesn’t have the Crosby’s and Malkin’s etc. But I’m sure this post will get a ton of comments so here we go

      • Richter1994 says:

        No, I don’t think he’s a clown. And I never said that I know how to coach better, but he’s subject to criticism just like any player, that’s the nature of sports and fandom. If we can’t do that then there are no blogs to post on because there would be no purpose to them.

        Here’s my problem with this guy. It’s no secret that ALL coaches have their faves, no question. But this guy’s faves are players who have no business even being in the line up, no less important positions within the line up.

        If there are 2 players and they are basically even in talent and the coach has a thing for one over the other then ok. But when Glass got in the line up night after night after night after night, with almost any player as a better option, it draws the ire of fans.

        Same with Girardi. There is zero basis for him to be in the line up, putting emotions and sentiments aside. But yet, he keeps re-appearing on the top pair because a few shifts of McD-Skjei didn’t work. Well there have been YEARS that McD-Girardi hasn;t worked.

        As a matter of fact, there is data that shows that McD’s in game stats are better when ANYONE is his partner, other than Girardi. These are facts, not my opinion.

        • Jerry says:

          100% agree.

        • Walt says:

          Couldn’t have said it better myself!!!!! Oh, I’m in the camp that feel this coach is a clown, that’s for Sammy’s benefit.

          Let’s get real, where is there accountability when players mess up? That only applies to a hand full, not the like of KK, DG, MS, or even Hank when he screws up. He is so rigid, refuses to make adjustments in his game plan, gets out coached by Sutter of all people, likes to tinker with the lines consistently, when is enough enough?

          His regular season record, while admirable, means squat to me. He coached some very, very talented teams in Montreal, Vancouver, and here, without the ultimate goal, a cup victory. He has won the president’s trophy twice I believe, that shows he had some great talent, Sedin twins anyone, yet fell short. Bottom line, he can’t, or won’t make adjustments when it comes to his BOYs, Dan anyone, yet jerks kids around, relies on dead legs on his defense, and won’t make any changes in his defensive scheme, he can’t think that far down the road. I honestly can’t believe he’s still here, and pray that at seasons end, they show him the door, and wish him fair well.

          Other than that, he’s doing a great job, barf !!!!!!!!! Grade D at best………….

        • Stranger Nation says:

          Thumbs up! (is that still a thing?)

        • Pas44 says:


        • Blue76 says:

          Richter I agree they need Glass back asap!

        • Sammy says:

          That’s why I said I didn’t agree with everything he does. I don’t like some of the choices he makes with the guys that are playing on a regular basis. And of course your entitled to your own opinion. The clown comment wasn’t for you either

      • Rangers_Underscore says:

        It’s terrible that the fan knows nothing and should not comment on stupidity as it is displayed on a daily basis.
        You know there would be no complaining if he wasn’t fucking up!
        It is fine if you want to stand in the middle of the crossfire and defend the jerk. But it looks pretty foolish to me to defend the stupid things he does.
        Yes he is a clown with lots of our money and time we invested in. This team is our team with a coach that shoots himself in the foot every opportunity he gets a chance.
        maybe the people that are happy with this coach should just shut up because you happy with the way the team is going.

  2. Reenavipul says:

    The analysis is pretty much spot on, though giving credit for the offense is tenuous as coaches just get out of the way beyond pearls of wisdom like “go to the net hard.”

    Doesn’t maximize strengths & minimize weaknesses(if anything he does the opposite more often)

    Doesn’t manage the schedule (only a handful of off days for players, none of late.) so even if this team makes the playoffs they will not be fresh enough to capitalize on it.

    The forward corps is deep and skilled, the D needs desperate measures just to stabilize it. They could fix it in house, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Gentleman C-

  3. Spozo says:

    I’ve been called an AV apologist plenty of times on here. But if you look at most of my posts, they are reactions to other posters. I feel that so many times people just see that something happened in Rangerland and without even really understanding what happened just decide that the coach is behind it, it’s the wrong move, and the coach is a moron. So with that said I don’t always agree with everything the guy does.

    His usage of Girardi is certainly an area he could improve on. I’m not in the camp that says Girardi is done as an NHL player but I don’t think he should be getting 1d duties. Kleins drop in performance has certainly exaggerated this situation. I’m not sold that Clendening is the answer as an everyday player. I would be fine with a rotation of Clendening, G, and Klein, but only to keep the latter two fresh, not because I think Clendening is a better player.

    I tend to give the coach the benefit of the doubt when it comes to evaluating what D-men he has on the bench and in Hartford. He had it right with Mcilrath. In fact I actually think AV should be commended for how he handled Mcilrath (something few would even think of ever doing). The devils greatest trick was convincing man that he didn’t exist. AVs greatest trick was convincing so many that Mcilrath was the next coming of Chris Pronger. The coach was able to put the kid in situations and limit his ice time so that in 9 minutes on any given night he played, he looked like a decent player. 29 other GMs and 2 other coaches have since confirmed AVs assessment that he isn’t an NHLer.

    I’m fine with your C grade since there is clearly room for improvement. I would have gone up to a b- but we’re splitting hairs. All I know is that so many that were arguing that this team would barely make the playoffs this season are now discussing all the flaws the team has that will keep it from being a cup contender by seasons end. In my eyes that means this team is exceeding the expectations of many.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Agreed on 8&5, but the flaw of the D was obvious to many of us from camp(I called it a horrorshow.)

      • Spozo says:

        But what could have been done?

        No one predicted Kleins decline like this. Staal has bounced back somewhat. But Klein has really been the dagger in the heart. It’s much easier to live with Girardis sub par play on the right side than Klein and Girardi.

        • Reenavipul says:

          AV should’ve been rotating Clendening/ McIlrath/anybody in with Girardi & Klein from day 1.

          • Al Dugan says:

            You do realize that McIlraith is now in the AHL and couldn’t crack a lineup for a team MISSING the playoffs?

            • Reenavipul says:

              Irrelevant. You only have the players you have. Klein & Girardi missed games early due to wear & tear. With Lindberg being hurt could’ve been placed on LTIR and carried 8 defencemen until Lindberg was ready for return.

              AV just wasn’t going to play him. Now the Rangers will have to replace the entire RD next season and have a horrorshow this season. Bad man management, bad organizational decisions both short term and long.

        • Ranger 11 says:

          That’s what I keep asking. What war is AV supposed to do when Klein jumped on board with Girardi this year and is playing lousy too. A lot of fans are saying he shoulda made moves (whatever those moves are) right off the bat. Well first of all Girardi actually wasn’t playing bad early on and as a matter of fact we started losing more when he was out for a few games (probably a coincidence really) but over all the team was winning and didn’t even lose back to back in regulation time until now. So if we were winning and hanging around first place he probably figured at least Klein would work out of his funk and start playing like the Klein we’ve seen the past few years.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Excellent Usual Suspects quote.

    • Blue76 says:


    • Fr ed clendening says:

      I agree about the coach grading,however his inability to change or mix up pairings is not a good choice because of friendships.Hockey coaching is a buisiness and you have to make choices even if it hurts friendships with players, but need to be made. Especially game after game the defense gets all the blame this is a team oriented sport and not based on certain stars. I believe that its the whole team not playing two way hockey instead of padding thier points for personal gain.

  4. Hatrick Swayze says:

    “We’re halfway through a season that has seen some strange ups and downs, with an xGF% with peaks and valleys resembling a mountain range. What this means for eye-test aficionados is that your blood pressure spikes and mood swings are actually quantified with a fancy stat. What a time to be alive.”

    Now that is some wildly wise and witty writing. Well done Becky!

  5. Jerry says:

    Hi Spozo. First please let me say I have never called anyone any names, be it players, coaches or other posters. Save one time when a poster denigrated “Leatherneck” and his service. That was over the line. Just about all of us on here are FANS, and as individuals we all have our opinions. I’m not sure why we can’t disagree in a respectful manner. That said onto AV.

    Richter and Reenavipul make valid points I happen to agree with. But I’d like to go a bit further.

    I think AV is a very good coach, but not for this team. Besides from Richter & Reen’s comments I’d like to add his “giving the locker room” to the players, only works when you have a strong player presence which the Rangers lack. McD is a very good D-man, yet I do not think he is captain material.

    Also, AV has “his” team. GM’s go one of two ways. They get the players the coach wants or the coach the GM wants for the players fitting his philosophy. Sather brought in AV with a well publicized proclamation that AV would get the team he wanted. And for the most part that’s exactly what’s happened. So while I agree AV’s options were somewhat limited in “what he could do”, that lack of options is solely on him.

    AV has a one dimensional team structured in his image. FAST FAST and FAST. To be successful, even fast teams need the ability to adapt to an opponent and sometimes grit, and ‘pest like’ players are what’s needed to change the flow of a game being dictated by the opposition and maybe even getting the fans into the game. Rangers sorely lack any sandpaper in the line-up.

    I also think AV allows other coaches to dictate match-ups even at home, where he has the last change. Maybe that’s on his assistant or maybe it’s on him, but either way he’s the boss out there so it falls on AV.

    I’ll stop now before this post becomes Eddie size in length *s*

    • Walt says:


      I’m guilty of the name calling, and have been critical of this coach from the Cup finals on. His inability to adjust mid game, or refusal to do so, drives me nuts. As mentioned, he let’s other coaches lead when it comes to match ups, even at home, why do we fight to get home ice advantage if we don’t use it? Maybe it’s his coaching style, but he has gotten under my skin, and I usually break out in a rash when he stands there chewing his gum, that blank stare, and repeats the same old, same old. I may be too rough on him, but I believe he brings the criticism on himself !!!!!!

      • Jerry says:

        Walt, I can’t stop laughing at your “breaking out in a rash” comment. Thanks for the morning humor!
        You and I disagree on Girardi. I think he still can be a serviceable THIRD PAIR D-man when given some days off to rest. But you and I have disagreed on that point in a respectful manner. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
        I missed you while you were on your self imposed exile and openly called for your return.
        You add lots to the discussion here……………………………

        • Walt says:


          We can agree to disagree on Dan, but I respect your opinion very much just the same my man…….Thanks for the kind words as well !!!

    • Spozo says:

      So the answer to “what could be done” is that he built the team how he wanted? So Gorton/Sather gave him free reign to dictate how they assembled the team? They blindly let AV decide what players to sign/trade for/let go? Since so many can see that this guy doesn’t deserve a job in the NHL why are we letting Gorton off the hook for blindly letting AV maneuver him like a puppet? Didn’t Gorton get like a B+ in his grade? I don’t believe that since he clearly can’t see that he should have fired this useless coach the moment he took over!

      • Jerry says:

        Most of this team was here already when Gorton took over. And I think the only bad trade Gorton made was Eric Staal. And I don’t forget he (Gorton) is saddled with two big no-trade contracts on D. I think his trade for Z was not only gutsy but brilliant and I like the Holden trade as well. I think Gorton does deserve a B+.

        I’m not in organizational meetings, so I can only go by what I read and see on the ice. Sather openly said he was getting AV the team AV wanted. I never said AV doesn’t deserve a job in the NHL. On the contrary, I said he’s a good coach. I believe he’s best suited to coach a more veteran team. A team with strong player leadership. Just because you’re a good player does not automatically make you a good leader. This team needs leadership from the coaching staff.

        • paulronty says:

          Right on the money!!

          • paulronty says:

            Well this ended up in the wrong place but I wanted to respond that Gorton maybe didn’t make a mistake with Eric Staal because he seems to be doing just fine in Minny. The mistake was AV’s inappropriate use of Staal. He played him on the wing which was a mistake. To quote the Dave mantra, he was not put in a position to succeed. And don’t forget Jerry, Staal IS a veteran player.

            • Hatrick Swayze says:

              Your double standard is offensive at times. If a player succeeds it is in spite of AV. If he fails it is because of AV.

              • paulronty says:

                Offended are you? LOL!! Then don’t read it. What is offending is your condescending attitude. Did you give me a thumbs down?

            • Spozo says:

              To be fair, AV tried him at both center and wing while ultimately playing him most at center.

        • scrangersfan says:

          They also need leadership from the Captain and IMO. McD.does not provide it. We need an in your face captain. That’s my 5 cents worth.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Jerry, very valid point on the point that AV allows the players to police themselves and with a “weak” Captain in McD that maybe this approach does not play well with this group.

      Excellent observation my friend.

  6. Agentsmith says:

    You can rip the defense usage all ya want but does 3 mins less of g and more of klein make a dif? Every permutation has been tried.

    Bottom line is that it’s bad on paper. Management fig’d they can make it w insane fwd depth.

    They havnt been totally wrong but not cup worthy either

  7. SalMerc says:

    I want to be a little on AV’s side here. In the last few games, I have watched Clendening’s game; it is far from 2nd pair level. He is 3rd pair all the way. So what is AV to do? He has Klein who has denigrated into a less-than 3rd pair defenseman. Girardi, who continues to try, but surely is a 3rd pair defenseman, who requires sheltered minutes. He does not have the horses on defense.

    On offense, he shows patience with some (Jesper Fast, Stepan) and less with others. But why? Maybe it is the work ethic in practice that none of us see? I am Stepan’s biggest critic and want him moved in the worst way, but still AV rolls him out there all the time. Why? AV has trust in him. Just because I don’t think he has shown value as a #1 center doesn’t mean AV doesn’t think he isn’t #1C material. All I am trying to say is that what we see and what happens is not the whole picture.

  8. Stranger Nation says:

    Clendening is an emerging 3rd pair offensive Dman with above average puck moving and PP QB skills making 600K. He has never played more than 17 games in an NHL season (currently at 13); in 1/3 the amount of games of Girarid/Staal has similar offensive production. Don’t understand the hate.
    Declined is 32 and played 607 games and Done G is 32 with 765 games. Both are on the back end of their careers to be kind. Decline’s regression has been very troubling for a D unit with no room for error given the drop in performance for the anchor twins and an inconsistent Shea.
    Alas, poor McD…

    • Al Dugan says:

      MDZ who we all ran out of town is still very young and will probably play for another 5 years at a level well above KK. Does everybody still think we won that trade?

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Yes, considering where we were and where the Flyers were at the time the trade was made. Klein cemented himself on our right side. He wavered between best RD to solid top for for parts of 3 years in NY. And it directly coincided with a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals and EC Finals. That is the kind of thing you do when you’re a contender. I can live with Klein’s decline now (this year and next at 2.9 mil if we don’t move him). That is a good example of a trade a contender makes. An example of a bad trade a contender makes is Washington trading away Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat. So again, yes. Absolutely, yes.

        • Reenavipul says:

          But even at his best he was a 2nd pair guy who got exposed playing 1st pair minutes.

          With his skating style that uses a lot of his quads, he desperately needs to have days off to recover.

          • Hatrick Swayze says:

            And where would we have been without him?

            This year is a nice glance into that world, as he is not the same Klein and we are seeing the fallout on our back end. Not pretty. Many many high danger scoring chances against, especially coming from the right side so says the heat map.

            • Reenavipul says:

              Last year? Out in the 1st round like we did anyway.

              You don’t always have to sell high, but it helps.

              • Hatrick Swayze says:

                I agree that we could’ve/ would’ve/ should’ve sold high on Klein. But that’s a separate point from cementing a stance on the original trade.

      • Stranger Nation says:

        Del Zaster was a money decision; they chose to keep McD and Staal on left side over MDZ. Debatable if Philly thinks he is worth $3.8M per.
        Klein ($2.9M) was our 2nd best defender last 2 seasons forced to play 1st pair because Girardi ($5.5M) is toast.

        • Jerry says:

          I have to agree Stranger.
          Klein was a steal, a righty D-man at his salary. It’s only been lately that he has regressed.

          Philly has a pretty good stable of up and coming forwards and D-men, (hate saying that) so I can see them exposing or trading MDZ.

  9. Leatherneck says:

    I don’t like his style of coaching and his pulse on a team is also head scratching. He has always had soft teams and I do not support that. He appears condescending to me, shuffles players too much and is hypocritical on how and who he benches.
    Too many times this year opponents have taken liberties with our players with no push back. The worse of them all was when McDonagh got challenged by Crosby and nada….zilch happened. That is as much a reflection of AV as it is McDonagh.
    His counter punching system is dangerous that leaves his defense vulnerable. All the Dmen have declined since his arrival…coincidence? Yes even McDonagh has declined.
    As for his changing of line mates and not taking a time out when clearly it should be taken his also one that makes you say hmmmm. He has ridden the coat tales of some highly skilled teams and has failed to win the Cup. That is a sign of him not making adjustments that are not the right ones or the timely ones such as benching Lundqvist in the playoffs last year against the Penguins when clearly the entire hockey world could see Lundqvist was being dominated.
    My grade D-

    • Al Dugan says:

      What grade would you give no playoffs Jon Cooper?

      • Leatherneck says:

        None…I follow the Rangers not the Lightning. I would give Trots an A though

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          John Tortarella or Barry Trotz?

          I agree on J. Torts getting an A in 2012 with the Black and Blueshirts, but he did not reach that mark other years while at the helm. There were years he had a C level resume as well.

  10. joe719 says:

    A predictable, safe, un-offending grade for the coach. A perfectly respectable C. Wow, what a surprise! Almost as unsurprising as the reactions on this board. All the typical reactionary responses from the same posters, covering the same points they’ve made Ad nauseam throughout the year. Once again, totally ignoring the fact that a coach is only as good as what he has to work with. And of course, there will be those to bring up other bench jockeys; pointing to their successes working with a lot lesser tools. Once again, showing an unending, overestimation of the talent of this team. The bottom line: the team is performing at/better to where we could have expected them to be; given the shortcomings of the roster. The defense is well past its prime; the forwards—even allowing for a much needed infusion of youth,— can be unpredictable on any given night—some guys disappearing from sight altogether . Add to that the injuries and the sudden ineptitude of our goalie, and its a wonder, they are where they are at all. Does the coach not get any credit for that? Only the blame for not having a roster that goes “balls to the wall” on every shift. Is he to blame, solely, for a defense corp that does not seem to believe that there is a need in this League to have the gumption to protect the front of your own net—AND your goalie? Yes he didn’t want McIlrath to handle that job—-which says more about DMac then it does about the coach’s philosophy. Surely you can’t really believe that a coach, (on the 4th year of a 5 yr. contract), would not want his team to be the ‘baddest guys on the planet’—and try and win at any cost, do you? But again, you work with what you are given. IMO, the coach is the least of the problems on this team. Let Gorton give him some better talent to work with—and if he then fails—get his ass out of here! Until then, hes the coach. To go on an on, childishly name calling, is nothing more than scapegoating. I know there’s a faction out there that will not be happy, until Messier is behind the bench—and that might happen someday. But not today. If AV got fired today, he’d be behind the bench of another team by opening night next season—guaranteed. Until further notice, hes here. Get over it!

    • Reenavipul says:

      The coach isn’t the least of the problems with the team, but his job is to minimize those problems.

      He’s failed miserably at that.

      • joe719 says:

        Helping to guide a team into the Finals, the Conference Finals, and to keep them in contention with all the obvious flaws this roster has, would seem to me an indication that he has done pretty well in ‘minimizing’ those problems, no? If that’s failing “miserably.” then sign me up for that!

        • Reenavipul says:

          The trend is not our friend.

          • joe719 says:

            Then contact Gorton and get him to fix the defense and get them a true #1 center. Maybe then, with the coach’s continued guidance, they can buck the trend and get back on the upswing.

            • Walt says:

              Sorry Joe, even if he got a first rate right defenseman, he’d play Girardi over him. I’m not trying to be a smart ass, but why would any coach play a hurt man, with knee issues, over a healthy player in the first place. This is fact, not fiction, and I wouldn’t follow him in a street fight !!!!!!!!!!

              • joe719 says:

                Walt, the fact that he is forced to play Girardi as much as he does is due to the fact that they have NO viable replacement who can handle the minutes that Girardi plays. As a coach, he must really not like what he sees in Clendening and anybody else they could bring up. WE might disagree with that, but hes the coach. He sees him in practice and the meetings. Think about it—even with Girardi’s knee issues, Clendening is only an injury replacement. That says it all for Clendening, in my view. The same went for DMac before. Do you really believe that if they get a Shattenkirk or a Trouba down the line, that the coach will cut off his nose to spite his face? Even when he is basically auditioning for a contract extension? Hes not that stupid.

              • Walt says:


                The point I was trying to make is even with better options are available to him, last season DMac was better than Dan, he refused to use the kid. I never said the kid would set the world on fire with his play, but even Yandle commented how comfortable playing along side of DMac he felt. Hell, even E3 commented at the time how the kid impressed, but again AV refused to use him. That is the point when AV is comfortable with certain players, proven to be wrong at times, but come hell, or high water, he plays those guys, and the rest sit. Talk to the wall, you’ll get same results, nothing penetrates that think skull of his!!!!!!

              • Rangers_Underscore says:

                We don’t see practice but, practice is not game condition.
                Yes he might be stupid.
                We have seen his choice pf player selection and lineup. Not a genius. What is the name of the of that defense-man we let go for nothing? And How did he use him?
                the coach will cut off his nose to spite his face, you betcha!

      • paulronty says:


    • paulronty says:

      You realize Joe that just like the rest of us, you too are repeating your usual mantra.

    • Dave says:

      Dude. Paragraphs. Seriously, they are your friend.

  11. paulronty says:

    I’m not even going to say AV is a good coach anymore, to me he’s mediocre at best. In Montreal, he did not have a really good team, like he has had in NY & Vancouver, and he didn’t last very long at all, even more significant given he’s French-Canadian & fits the Montreal market to a T. All the reasons have been given above so I won’t repeat. I think his biggest failing are his leadership skills, which he abdicates by demanding that the players lead themselves. Players need to be leaders, if that is part of their DNA, but true leadership comes from the top down. I’ve mentioned McAdoo’s performance as an example of how leadership & flexibility, and I don’t rule out the role of talent, can turn a team around. Even unadaptable Tom Coughlin realized that his style of leadership was alienating his players, and although he did not relinquish control, he listened & adapted. AV does not have this quality. Like a true obsessive, he suffers from doubters disease, anxiously trying to find answers, while his focus is narrowed by a desperation coaching style, that relies on inflexible perception & misguided trust in some but not in others. What he is certain of is not so certain & what he is uncertain of, rarely is meaningfully tested. I don’t listen to his pressers anymore(thanks to the guy on the other BSB who proposed that strategy) because I’m tired of his superficial answers, or his vague comments about how he can’t say till he sees the tape. Listening to him results in my losing hope. Sad to say, but every day I go to the Rangers news, hoping to learn that AV has been fired, even though I know the odds are low. Screw the President’s Cup, I want that 94 feeling all over again, & I have no faith in AV to make that happen. Grade: Fired.

  12. flatbush says:

    Interesting comments and observations on this coach by all. I’m not going to give him an out because of the D men or what the GM did or didn’t do. The coach has a concept of how he wants to play and the type of players he wants or that he thinks he needs. He is loaded up front albeit all the players have the same MO> very skilled and majority are fast. He has two very good goalies even if Hank has struggled but when the King is on that’s better than most teams.. Yes his D is the liability. So the temptation is to say if we only had D. But look at the pens D last year. My perception from watching and listening to AV is that he does not have command. He always says the guys in the room are veterans and know what they need to do. Are the players too comfortable knowing how predictable AV is after a loss. He plays an offensive game. My perception that its ok to dangle instead of a chip and chase. Its ok to continually try the long pass which when it works looks great but when it doesn’t it negates a forecheck and there is no Gap Control. Its ok to pass up a check after the opponent passes the puck. Thats the way the rangers play so I think thats what AV wants and or accepts. A leader must make a stand when things are going wrong, take action, get everyone out of their comfort zone, say follow me. I think that is all missing from his style and translates to his team. Below average C at most.

    • paulronty says:

      “My perception from watching and listening to AV is that he does not have command.” Excellent flatbush, you said it better than me. That sentence captures my sentiments exactly.

  13. Bayman says:

    A ‘C’? Really? Before the season, who wouldn’t have signed up for 28-15-1…in, far and away, the toughest division? AV-bashing seems to be a popular subject here, but what Blueshirts coach has had a better four-year run?

    Yes, the defense is an issue, but is that the fault of the coach or the men stocking the roster? Does it matter much if Clendening plays a bit more? The greatest debates here seems to take place over who should be the 12th forward or the 6th D. In reality, it doesn’t matter much. How much time was wasted arguing McIlraith should have played more when…as we have now discovered…no other team had interest in him and, in his current landing spot, the mediocre Panthers can’t find PT for him.

    AV’s not perfect, but he’s an outstanding coach and the Blueshirts are lucky to have him. B+.

    • frank barone says:

      Why is he outstanding? What has he done to deserve the highest mark?

      • Bayman says:

        Year 1: Stanley Cup Finals (first in 20 years)
        Year 2: President’s Trophy; reached Game 7 ECF with 1 (?) healthy defenseman)
        Year 3: 101 points, despite long run in playoffs prior two years
        Year 4: 28-15-1 to date in expected rebuild/reload season.

        Has there been a season where the team has underachieved under AV? Isn’t it fair to say they’ve overachieved each season?

        • Becky says:

          This is a rebuild season?

          • Bayman says:

            That’s what many expected after last year. We were an old, tired team. Gorton made some nice moves to modestly reload, instead. Still, to repeat the point…is 28-15-1 in the league’s strongest division above, in line with, or below your preseason expectations?

  14. bernmeister says:

    Thumbs up for being well written.

    C to AV is very generous
    D- is more like it

    Personnel decisions rate an F
    Only his solid Xs and Os bump that up — slightly

    • Zutta Real says:

      Is there a reason Girardi can’t be sent down ala Redden? Does his no move clause preclude this? If not, send him down, now. Waive Klein. Bring up Graves and Gilmour. Pair Mac with Skjei 25 min./per. Pair Staal and Graves. Pair Clendening with Gilmour until trade deadline and look for some help. Can’t be worse than playing G and Klein who are both horrible. There’s is no way on God’s green Earth we can make any kind of a run with those two in the lineup getting regular minutes. PS…AV stuck with Boyle last season when he was nothing short of a travesty on D.