The last change is sabotaging the Rangers at MSG

March 8, 2017, by

alain vigneault

The Rangers are solidly in a playoff spot, and barring a collapse of epic proportions, will qualify for the postseason. It’s been a much better season than most predicted, with a juggernaut offense and elite goaltending (minus the first two months of the year) carrying the team. One area for improvement that will drive any success in the playoffs –beyond the defense– is their performance on home ice.

Madison Square Garden has been a horror show for the Rangers this year. They’ve been wildly inconsistent, posting a barely .500 record at 19-14-2. Simply put, that won’t cut it in the playoffs. The only saving grace is that the Rangers are 24-8-0 on the road.

Overall, the Rangers have scored 111 goals and allowed 102 goals at MSG through 34 home games. On the road, the Rangers have scored 102 goals and allowed just 71 on the road through 32 games.ย ย The systems don’t change, and the Rangers technically have the advantage at home with the last change. So what’s the issue?

I can only theorize here, but the above seems to be a matchup issue. At home, Alain Vigneault has the last change and is presented the opportunity to get guys like Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Kevin Klein, and Nick Holden out there against tough competition. As we’ve seen all year, these guys are getting eaten alive. That would certainly contribute to the inflated goals against at home.

Meanwhile on the road, the opposing coaches get last change, andย likely try to do the opposite to their detriment. Thus, we see significantly fewer goals against.

This shows up in the shot attempt numbers as well. The Rangers have a home CF% (score adjusted) of 46.32%, but on the road it’s 49.37%. For scoring chances, it’s 49.83% at home and 52.56% on the road. The Rangers allow 8.83 scoring chances against per 60 minutes of even strength hockey at home. On the road, it’s 8.24 SCA/60.

Long story short: Alain Vigneault appears to be getting victimized by the last change at home, and that may be one of the reason why the Rangers are having issues winning on home ice. We’ve all seen that AV is loyal to a fault to his own guys and has major deployment issues. The numbers back it up as well.

The saving grace here is that the Rangers likely won’t get home-ice advantage in the playoffs, likely getting the top wild card spot. That means they will only get at most three home games per series, so AV won’t fall victim to last change in the road games. But something needs to give for the Rangers to have any success in the playoffs.

"The last change is sabotaging the Rangers at MSG", 1 out of 5 based on 24 ratings.
Categories : Analysis


  1. Rhodork says:

    Wait, are we now saying that AV is not a good coach?

  2. DAVID k says:

    Three time SCF loser- enough said

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Actually two….and of course that proves nothing. Pat Quinn was a great coach and never won it all. So was Emile Francis. Total nonsense.

      I’ll take a coach that wins and has a track record of playoff success over one that wins a singular Cup because everything breaks right but then never comes close again. I’ll take that all day every day, and so will most GMs.

      • Walt says:

        Just once I’d like to see everything break down for us, and we get a cup!!!!!!!!

        I could give a rat’s tail end about going to the finals, Marv hasn’t delivered squat!!!!!!!!

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Me too, but in fairness, in NY at least, he hasn’t had a team that is GREAT enough. Not compared to the teams he eventually lost to. Ultimately, its far more about the players on the ice than it is about the man behind the bench.

          • Reenavipul says:

            Like they say, a great coach adds 10-15% to a team’s performance, but a lousy one is -30%. Players most impoprtant.

            I don’t think any NHL coach is a -30%, but AV should slot @ -5%. Only Hakstol and Maurice IMO would be under-performing AV and by a lot.Maurice has his hands tied somewhat, I just don’t think Hakstol has adapted to the other team’s accounting for his system.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I doubt seriously that, given the roster hes had to work with, that anyone associated with the NHL believes that AV has underperformed in any way, shape or form. Certainly Gorton does not, and that’s all that matters.

              • Reenavipul says:

                Yes, AV has both hands tied behind his back buy being forced to play Yandle on PP2, run warhorses like Girardi(last season) and Klein(this season)into the ground through his usage.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                The Yandle point is valid. I thoroughly disagree with the Girardi/Klein argument. In any case, neither makes any difference in my view as to whether we would have enjoyed a bettter outcome.

                You can nitpick any coach in the league and find something that you don’t like about them. Many folks blasted Torts when he was here for his usage of players. That’s part of the territory.

                Again, I know you fancy yourself as someone who is more knowledgeable than most of the actual GMs out there, but obviously Gorton and I suspect the rest of the league does not share your view.

          • paulronty says:

            Not true, his teams in NY have been far superior to what Torts had.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              How so?

              Torts had Hank in his prime, Girardi and Staal in their prime, Gaborik in his prime (who he foolishly chased out of town because he wanted to make him a shot blocker) and for a brief time Nash in his prime.

              The biggest playoff fail of the past decade was when Torts barely got by a weak Ottawa team, wore his squad out, and then lost to an inferior Devils team. That team should have EASILY made the SCF. Epic fail.

              Neither coach has had all that much to work with. Thus the result. Good but not great teams that occasionally can surprise and make special playoff runs.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                And also had Richards in his last two seasons. So let’s not make Torts into Herb Brooks coaching the Miracle on Ice team here. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • CTfan says:

        Both coaches who eat up weak teams but never beat better coached teams when it counted. Bridesmaid coaches. Great coaches to have if you like pretty good teams. Not great if if winning by it all means something to you.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Not correct.

          Torts won a Cup. His playoff resume since then has been pretty unimpressive but you cant say he never did.

          AV has made deep playoff runs. You can debate the cause of the 2011 playoff loss until the cows come home, but as Rangers coach, he has largely excelled in post season, winning five playoff series in three seasons. That’s as many as HOF Cat Francis won in ten seasons. He beat a Pens team that was far more talented in 2014, and beat an outstanding Caps team in 2015, rallying back from 3-1 deficits each time to do so. And the teams hes lost to in NY (LA, TB, Pit) all were far superior squads talent wise. All you have to do is look at the rosters and see the amount of World Cup players on and future HOFers on each and compare it to the Rangers. It’s not even close.

          Torts was not a succesful playoff coach in NY. AV has been. The record clearly shows that.

  3. Reenavipul says:

    I wonder what Skjei’s splits look like on home & road.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Here are all splits ex Smith

      Home CF% Road CF%
      Girardi 43.47 47.57
      Staal 44.49 49.75
      Holden 44.69 51.81
      McD 45.06. 48.48
      Skjei 47.95 51.13
      Klein 49.83 48.19
      Clendo 51.31 56.32

    • Reenavipul says:

      If I’m looking at zone starts, the biggest thing that jumps out is Girardi gets more DZ starts on the road over Staal and the opposite at home when AV has the last change.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Since Girardi out
      Player CF%
      Skjei 49.23
      Staal. 44.14
      Holden 45.18

      Florida trip
      Skjei 53.58
      Staal 46.34
      Holden 53.37. CF60 71.97
      McDonagh 39.14. CA 60 79.42

  4. NY JetBlue says:

    Can you explain what you mean here ?

    “Meanwhile on the road, the opposing coaches get last change, and likely try to do the opposite to their detriment. Thus, we see significantly fewer goals against.”

    • Chris A says:

      I think Dave is trying to make the argument that only we see that Girardi, Klein, Staal, Holden are bad and AV, along with the other 29 coaching staffs/front offices in the NHL don’t see it. So, opposing teams are matching their best players against the Rangers bottom D pair and suffering for it.

      My theory, the Rangers are focusing on starting the transition/fast break too much at home, and anytime they make a blue line turnover at their own blue line, the Rangers are stretched defensively and they pay for it by allowing easy scoring chances against.

      The solution, play a simpler game at home.

      • Chris F says:

        So, we’re seriously contemplating the idea that all 30 coaching staffs in the League are incompetent when it comes to judging defensive ability and talent?

        Is it possible that possession metrics aren’t the best assessment of defensive prowess? Is it possible that foot speed isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for being a capable defender? Is it possible that when guys like Tyler Seguin declare that Girardi is one of the toughest defenders to play against in the League that they know what they’re talking about?

        • Chris A says:

          It’s possible. I’ve been saying this for a couple years now, that counting shot attempts for vs against might be a little too simplistic for judging Ds. Especially Ds that can’t drive offense.

          • Reenavipul says:

            In absolute terms, I’d agree: but one team’s D corps playing the same system it makes sense relatively.

            This is why Clendo treatment is so puzzling.

      • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

        So wait… wait just one second here. Do you both mean to say that it’s possible, just possible, that a team tied for 9th in the NHL in GAA and is 6th in points percentage might just have a D corp that isn’t just one awful D-man after another (with, of course, the exception of McD)???

    • Reenavipul says:

      AV is either overthinking matchups or overevaluating his players.

  5. SalMerc says:

    Once again , it is the fact that he ONLY puts defenders on and not forwards? Maybe if the line change he makes actually puts one in once in a while, the home record would be better? Ever think of that?

    22 games and counting…..

    • Jack says:

      Lol 22 games and counting for our top paid center to do something for once as well.

  6. Spozo says:

    I’m not sure I buy this Dave. No disrespect but if this theory is true, how come you figured it out and the 29 other teams in the NHL didn’t figure it out?

    And once again the blind AV hate rears its head again in the comments. If AV is an idiot for poor matchups than the rest of the NhLs head coaches must equally be idiots because per Daves theory they are matching up the complete opposite while the Rangers are on the road. Therefore sabotaging themselves. But hey, that only means AV is the bad coach.

    • Reenavipul says:

      From what I’m groking is everybody in the league thinks the Staal pairing is better than the Girardi pairing and that they’re all wrong.

  7. Spozo says:

    At home, Alain Vigneault has the last change and is presented the opportunity to get guys like Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Kevin Klein, and Nick Holden out there against tough competition. As weโ€™ve seen all year, these guys are getting eaten alive.

    Take that statement and apply in your theory that the opposing coaches are deploy the opposite of that, well who does that leave for the opposing coaches to match up against? When this team is healthy that leaves Mcdonagh and Skjei. So according to your theory the opposing team avoids Girardi, Klein, Staal, and Holden because AV favors those guys? The opposing team then puts their tough competition out against Mcdonagh and Skjei? Yes in theory that would benefit the Rangers but what Sane coach says “ok let’s match our top line against Mcdonagh as much as possible”?????

  8. Rangers_Underscore says:

    Sabotage is AV’s middle name. He is his worst enemy and anyone that honestly exposes what AV is doing(coaching). Lets all watch what he does with Glass.
    Again Glass is not the problem it’s the coach who is unable to put the best players together and put in the best position to succeed.
    Let the delusional’s argue against the math.

    • rglv says:

      I don’t think he is trying to sabotage, but he certainly is not capable to adjust whether within a single game or for a particular opponent’s tactic.

    • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

      My math shows a team with the 6th best record in a very competitive league.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Yes, and one of the winningest coaches in the league since coming to the Rangers…far surpassing the mediocre performance of his predecessor.

        Maybe there are two AVs….the idiot who gets out coached at home vs the genius who finds ways to win better than anyone else on the road.

        Or maybe, it’s an off day and we have nothing else to write about? ๐Ÿ™‚

        This is like stats you see in baseball. Player X is better in day games vs night games. Fun stat to observe but essentially meaningless.

        • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

          And maybe a factor are MSG crowds that, all too often these days, sound more like many of the those on this blog rather than the far more supportive fans who used to go when ticket prices were cheaper. The crowd in FLA last night didn’t sound much different from what I hear during a home game.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            This is not unusual in NY sports. I seem to recall the Giants Super Bowl teams were great on the road and terrific on the road. Why? Who knows? Just one of those things that cant easily be explained.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I meant to say, regarding the Giants, great on the road and mediocre at home.

              To me, it all means nothing. Sometimes, there’s just no explanation.

          • Dave says:

            While I don’t buy into the argument that more expensive seats means fewer “real” fans, I can tell you that I, for one, have 100% been priced out of going to games regularly.

          • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

            Dave: To be frank, unless you’re over the age of at least 45 you simply can’t know what it was like back in the day. Question: when was the last time anyone here wasn’t able to hear a word of the National Anthem before a playoff game? That was typical until the late ’90s. That’s just one example. I simply can’t begin to describe how totally nuts it was at MSG for Islander or Flyer games – even during the regular season, much less the playoffs.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I have to agree with Rod about this. MSG is still loud when it wants to be. I was at MSG for Game 4 of the ECF in 2014, and I thought the roof was going to blow off when MSL scored the winner in OT.

              However, go back to playoff games and even regular season games back in the “good old days” when the old Blue Seats were affordable, and it was raucous almost all the time. I’ll never forget the “Dave Brown Eat S$#% and Die” banner that was unfurled by the American Flag during the national anthem back in the 80s. The Garden was a zoo back then and it was a loud zoo!

          • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

            I neglected to finish my own thought! I saw it happening as tix got more expensive. I don’t think it’s a matter of “real” fans who can’t afford tix vs. less “real” fans who can. I think it’s a matter of fans who live and die with the fortunes of the team (and whose devotion manifests in their volume level at games) and those who are merely attending a game and rooting for the home team (and who cheer like normal people, rather than lunatics).

            • Reenavipul says:

              Garden remodel took out huge sections of the blue seats(my old seats in 94 are now the press section, the corners like 410) and also changed the acoustics.

              They might sell fewer tickets, but they get more people in the building thanks to online reselling instead of oceans of red corporate blocks sitting empty. The downside is those affordable seats for diehards really are crimped.

          • Richter1994 says:

            I go on a regular basis and the Rangers get their share of fan support. But when you lose game after game at home, what is there really to cheer about?

        • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

          Hey Eddie!: My guess is you were as pleased as I was last night to hear that Emile The Cat was at last night’s game and still hasn’t exceeded his 9th life. He’s, of course, first in wins as a NYR HC. AV, who pretty much just got here as measured in head coach lives, is already 3d. All-time. Third.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            I was! And it was great seeing Vickers, Park and Nevin in the stands too!

            The Cat was a great coach for sure and an excellent GM. The fact that he didn’t win the Cup doesn’t change that all.

            As for AV (3+ seasons) not only is his regular season record impressive compared to the Cat (10 seasons), but the Cat had his Rangers team play in 13 playoff rounds in those seasons, winning five. AV has already had his Rangers team in 8 playoff rounds, also winning five…the same amount the Cat has won in triple the amount of seasons.

            And while both coaches had HOF goaltenders to work with, AV has nothing even remotely close to players like Ratelle, Gilbert and Park–all future HOFers.

            AV, with the talent he has had to work with, has done an excellent job thus far. Not perfect. But overall, excellent. And Gorton knows it which is why they locked AV up long term even though they certainly didn’t need to do so at this point.

        • Reenavipul says:

          Your baseball analogy is flawed as the sample sizes for day games is 1/3 the size of night games.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Please. That’s still quite a few games. Sometimes we try to make stats out into something more than they really are. Sometimes, there is simply no rhymne or reason to it. Not everything has to have an explanation.

            • Reenavipul says:

              No, no it isn’t. Too many variables(1pm vs 4pm vs 6pn just to start) and zero repeatability means that there’s too much noise. The only one? The Yankees: why? Teams spending 2-3 nights in NYC are gonna have booze flu on getaway day.

              However a sample that has two discrete, even variables & 1 measure(home & away; CF%) has statistical worth if the measure is granular enough(looking backwards, not predictive beyond suggesting what a coach should do to optimize his lineup/usage.) Then you look at other data, come up with a theory, then watch the video to confirm or rjeect theory.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Okie dokie! I’ll try to remember all that.

                Bottom line take away then? AV is a complete idiot coach at home and the league’s greatest genius on the road. Makes sense.

              • Reenavipul says:

                Bottom line is everybody thinks Staal is better than Girardi, plan accordingly and are wrong this season.

  9. Mythdoc says:

    This is the dumbest article you have ever posted, Dave. It’s not even pseudo scientific. It’s not even worth rebutting it’s so bereft of reasoning. Look at the man in the mirror and do better.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Those differences are meaningful with more than enough of a sample size, so what’s your point?

    • stevesse says:

      I concur with the over analysis. I have a theory too, See how many times the home team has put in their 2nd string goalie against the Rangers. I know they missed Price at least once,Bobrovsky, Luongo,etc. At home the road team always plays their best goalie.

  10. jerry maley says:

    Lots of meaningless statistics. Sit Stepan when Oscar comes back .Whoever Stepan plays with, he brings them to his level.

  11. Steve says:

    Ok wait so AV matches up with the wrong guys who get eaten live at home. But when they go on the road the other coaches do the opposite and don’t match up vs the worse Dmen?

    Ok is this article sarcasm? If it isn’t then I am baffled.

    Maybe they just play a simple game on the road and as Carp always says fancy boy hockey at home.

  12. pas44 says:

    I think some of the older players are better off without the distractions of being close to home.

    look at St Louis, he moved home and I remember an interview he gave and said how his oldest was on his bed early like 6am asking him if he will watch his practice on an off day.

    not happening when daddy lived in florida..

    these older guys all have kids, and yes female wives too, and we all know how they can be… no matter what … OY

    Road Games Rock!

  13. 43 says:

    Correlation does not automatically indicate causation, Dave.

  14. Spozo says:

    Maybe Dave wrote this article in order to deflect the criticism off of Stepan and Glass and on to himself.

    • SalMerc says:

      Some people who engage in betting often never take a team when they return home from a road trip, as the comforts of home don’t always mesh well with winning. Not trying to say this is what Dave is alluding to, but this is often a factor of many first home games.

      I feel the match-ups are less of an issue than the in-game corrections that AV fails to make. Any coach in any league is a genius if he changes things up and it works and a fool if it doesn’t.

      If you think sitting Buch didn’t work, watch him lately. Same is true with moving Vesey down and now moving him back up. I think AV’s biggest fault is staying true to guys who no longer consistently produce; like Girardi, Klein, Stepan, Staal and even Zucc at times. Yes, even Tanner Glass. He looks at these guys and sees the 2014 versions of them. Each could use a period on the bench or a visit to the pressbox as a healthy scratch, but that only happens to the kids.

      Let’s hope AV is smart enough to play the hotter goalie come playoff time.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Sal, with all respect, you don’t honestly believe that AV (or any other NHL coach for that matter), would sit Hank, the greatest goalie in franchise history and arguably the best Game 7 goalie ever in favor of Raanta, a career backup who’s NEVER started a playoff game. You cant be serious. That would ONLY happen if Hank goes into the playoffs in a funk similar to what we saw mid-season. And even then I’m not so sure.

        Simply put, Hank will be the man and should be the man.

        • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

          There’s a better chance of spotting Chelsea Clinton in Ivanka Trump jewelry than anyone but Hank starting a playoff game.

      • Dave says:

        I think it’s both. He lacks the in-game adjustment strength as well as the matchup strength.

        • SalMerc says:

          OMG – I agree with Dave

          • Dave says:

            That’s always been my issue with AV. I love his systems, but his in-game coaching leaves a lot to be desired.

        • Walt says:

          See Stanley Cup finals vs LA Kings, was out coached by Sutter, who really didn’t have a great team, and won not one, but two cups. But there are some who say Marv is wonderful, look at the record, what’s to brag about, being a bridesmaid !!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Chris A says:

            I hear this all the time about the SCF, but no one ever gives an example. How exactly was AV outcoached by Sutter that series?

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I agree with Chris, Walt. How was he out coached? Do you similarly believe that Torts was outcoached by Deboers and then Julien in his final two seasons? Or does this just apply to AV?

              Conversely, I assume then that you also believe that AV outcoached Berube, Bylsma (SC Winner), and Therrien on his way to the Cup Finals, and then outcoached Johnston and Trotz the next year?

              I think you are putting way too much credit/blame at the feet of the coach. This is not Herb Brooks at the 1980 Olympics. If you are looking for someone to blame, then look no further then the good but not so great players we’ve had on the roster this past decade. It’s hardly a surprise they’ve been exactly what they’ve been.

            • Walt says:

              Every move AV made, Sutter had a counter move.

              Do you remember how the puck was dumped into Dan’s corner, he would panic, and always lose the puck on a turn over. Take Dan off the top pairing, let the Kings do the same thing, but with smaller, slower players that he could handle them. No not AV, that would require changing something mid stream, and he can’t think outside the box.

              Hank had a habit of trying to move the puck to his right, time and again LA was there waiting for the easy pass to them. Pierre Mcguire pointed this out, and someone on the staff must have heard the TV feed, because the first stoppage in play someone said something to Hank, who then started going to his left instead. Why do you need a TV color man tell you what adjustments that are needed to be made?

              I don’t study the game, and have a memory like you may, but I remember that like it was yesterday. Bottom line, AV can’t, or won’t make changes in game, and is loyal to a fault depending on his vets, doesn’t want to rock the boat. I stand by my point, he was out coached in that game as an example.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


                You have an amazing memory and i cant say i can recall those games as well as you. Those are valid points. But part of a coavh’s job is to assess if a move actually makes the chance of winning greater, not just a move just for the sake of making a move. Maybe Sutter had a counter move for everything that AV was able to do because he simply had more talent..which he did. They won the Cup two years earlier. That team was damn good, and the Rangers would have had their hands full regardless of any adjustments that could have been made.

                You artfully dodged my questions though. Did AV outcoach the team that he defeated in 2014 or 2015? Or does the out-coaching narrative only apply when AV loses? And was Torts outcoached when his teams lost in 2012 and 2013? Or again, does that narrative only apply to AV?

  15. Blue76 says:

    I think you will see a difference in play at home with a certain recent call up who has 500+ NHL games under his belt, who knows – he may even score a goal too, oh wait he did that already … remember a player with low TOI means another player with more TOI, that could translate into goals at some point right?

  16. Steffen says:

    It doesn’t make sense, especially when you also look at Reenavipul’s post about the corsi at home and away. All, except Klein, improve, to me that tells me there is a simple system change. Perhaps just mentally, that since they play away they just focus on their tasks, while perhaps at home they focus more on the match-ups than their own play. So, perhaps they do not play their own game.

    Or perhaps every team just really wants to win at the garden for some reason (perhaps status or something, but I don’t really wanna go there).

  17. Walt says:


    Nice write up, and I’m amazed at how you have this figured out, and lamebrain can’t!!!!!!!

  18. Rangers_Underscore says:

    As soon as liberals lose control they start to squeal like a pig and start protesting and call people delusional.
    I hope you are happy with yourself. A lot of people are unhappy when they look in the mirror or see the light.
    Some people think the 6th best record is a good place to be or we came close to winning the Cup or AV has the best record without a Cup.
    All that they are saying is they are happy with failure.

  19. Richter1994 says:

    Woof, this is about as big an indictment as there can be. No need to convince me and others about this. My point of reference on this topic is very simply: Games 5 and 7 against TB. Enough said.

    I think Dave was looking to “Tanner Glass” the site and bring some energy, lol.

    • Walt says:


      When George Steinbrenner owned the Yanks, he named Reggie Jackson Mr October, and Dave Winfield Mr April !!!!!

      Maybe I should stop calling AV Marv, and start referring to him as Mr April, maybe that name is more appropriate, people could relate to that easier than Marv Levy !!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Reggie played with a bunch of stars around him. When he had those players around him he won. When he didn’t, he fell short.

        Messier won one Cup in NY. The other years the team around him wasn’t good enough. Was he Mr. April those years?

        Keenan had great teams and won a sum total of one Cup. One. And that only happened in an era when the Rangers could buy any players they wanted. What was Keenan before he came to the Rangers? He was AV. What was he after he left the Rangers? He was Jean Guy Talbot.

        Talent matters.

        • Walt says:

          Please defend Mr April all you want, he will never reach the promised land………….And what about our HOF goalie, or Luango, or any other stars he coached, the twins, I guess they all weren’t all that good either. I bet both Daniel & Henrik get to the Hall before Mr April !!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Joe LaTempa says:

            Walt You have to be the biggest jerk on this site. I guess you think you’re funny or something. If you’re mentally challenged then I apologize. But it sounds to me that you think you’re a comedian. You don’t like the coach. Great. But you blame him for stuff that ain’t his fault. You are truly a horse’s ass and ruin this for a lot of us. I have no doubt that makes you happy. With that said, go shit in your hat. Goodbye to the rest of you. I’m done

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Joe, respectfully, i do not agree. Walt and I don’t see eye to eye very much, but the whole point of this site is to disagree (respectfully of course) and debate.

              Walt in my view is a passionate fan and a good man. Glad he’s here to debate.

              • Richter1994 says:

                I agree E3.

              • Joe LaTempa says:

                Eddie that’s my point. He’s not respectful. He’s just ripping people including you. Enough with the nicknames for the coach already

              • Walt says:

                regarding your response E3, thanks, but the dude isn’t worth your reply, we never agree, but it’s not personal…………

            • Walt says:

              They used to use vinegar and water in a bag, to clean a given area, that’s what you are schmuck!!!!!!! Again I’m a jerk for having a different view than a putz like you………..

            • paulronty says:

              There was no need for that, go blog somewhere else.

        • paulronty says:

          You know what your problem is? Whatever you are told goes in & if it doesn’t fit out it goes. Keenan faced waaaaay tougher teams in the finals than AV ever did & only the Rangers team was a favorite. He lost to the oilers in 91 because Mark Messier put on a performance that was even greater than 94. He also lost in 87 to a GREAT Oilers team. Only coach to go to two game 7s in the SCF and lose to fantastic Oilers teams. So you are full of bullcrap on this as I said before. AV had the heavily favored team in 2011. He managed to F that up by alienating his All-Star goalie & losing to an inferior Bruins tea,. In 2014, LA ran roughshod over the Rangers in winning.

          • Walt says:

            I believe E3 is quitting his current job to become a mouthpiece for Mr April. No matter what is said about the man, Ed feels compelled to stand his ground, and defend him to the bitter end.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I just call it as I see it my friend. His record speaks for itself. And Jeff Gorton, who you have praised as being very knowledgeable and have suggested the organization is now in good hands with him at the helm, obviously seems to be more in my camp than yours. He had no reason whatsoever to resign AV at this point. He obviously believes that in AV, they have the right man for the job.

              • Walt says:

                Two points of interest regarding Gorton, he refused to trade his #1 pick, and the reason he signed AV was to keep him from going to the Canadians!!!

                Keep in mind that Jeff’s boss may have exerted some pressure to re-sign him, I’ll wait to see if he finishes out the contract !!!!!!!!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Interesting points Walt! My thoughts….

                I believe you are insinuating that Gorton NOT trading the number one pick this year signals a change in organizational philosophy. Possibly, but not necessarily. I offer for proof last year, when Gorton went all in and gave up picks and a prospect for Eric Staal.

                I believe that this is simply part of the “circle of life” (cue the Lion King music) that is the approach of most NHL GMs when it comes to when to go all in, and when not to. The Rangers have parted with a lot of future assets in order to make Cup runs the last three seasons in particular. As I’ve said before, I totally agree with each of those moves, and believe virtually every GM in the league would have done the same (at least with the MSL and Yandle trades) given the Rangers position in the standings and the opportunity in front of them.

                This year was always going to be about taking a step back and rebuilding on the fly. The team has exceeded expectations (thus why AV was extended IMO), but objectively speaking, Gorton felt that given the trades made previously, making a big splash for let’s say Shattenkirk would likely not change the end result of the season.

                Gorton in his press conference when he was hired, made it very clear that his philosophy on team building is similar to Sather’s (no way Sather promotes him if it’s fundamentally different) and he also said that when the situation calls for it, he will make moves to “go for it”.

                This just wasn’t the year to go all in. But next year or the year after? I absolutely believe that when the Rangers are close again, he will sacrifice future assets to get that final piece. No doubt.

                On the AV/Montreal thing, what’s your source on that? I’m assuming your just speculating, and if so, I cant see what the basis is for that speculation. At the time of AV’s extension, Therrien was still the Habs coach. And even if he wasn’t, AV was under contract to the Rangers. There is no chance that AV could bolt the Rangers to take the Habs job unless the Rangers allowed it. The contract extension was not necessary to keep AV in the short term. The only explanation for giving AV that extension was a show of faith by management. In my view, it was their way of saying, you’ve done a real good job. We know you will have options after next season. We aren’t quite there yet but we will be soon. We want you here for the long haul, and this contract gives you security while we rebuild on the fly. Next year or the year after will be our year.

                That’s the way i see it anyway. What other possible explanation would there be to extend him?

                Now, as for Sather being the one who wanted this done? I’m confused. On the one hand, you are implying that Gorton has a different philosophy on trading assets from his predecessor, yet at the same time you are saying Slats still decides who’s coach, against the wishes of his GM? I highly doubt that’s true.

                I’ve said all along, Gorton and Sather are likely more in sync than not in sync on personnel matters. It’s Gorton’s call, but clearly he consults with Slats on all decisions.

                I have no doubt that both Gorton and Slats wanted AV signed long term because he is considered among the handful of “superstar” coaches in the league–and those coaches command the big bucks.

                As for finishing out his contract, I guarantee you he will NOT, because virtually no coach does. Either he will be fired or extended again before the deal ends.

                No chance he is fired after this season, and virtually no chance next season either. I think he’s a lock to start the 2018-19 season and then after that it all depends on where the team is personnel wise and whether he as a coach continues to exceed expectations.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


            You do realize that in your second sentence you are directly describing yourself, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

            Look, we both can be stubborn old cusses at times (although I think you are clearly more stubborn and definitely older, but I digress! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

            I try to deal as much as I can in fact and be balanced. So to your points…

            Valid points on Keenan vs Messier and the Oilers. However, you are forgetting that Keenan had some epic playoff flame outs, losing in the first round with very good teams in Philly and Chicago. None worse than their loss to the NYR in 1986, a team that finished 32 points behind him in the standings!

            AV coaches in a different era where there is little difference talent wise between the one seed and the eight seed. It is MUCH, MUCH harder to advance deep today than it was then because bad teams don’t make the playoffs very much anymore.

            You also refuse to acknowledge that while its true that Keenan won the Cup in NY, he also had a controversial run of self-created distractions that were unnecessary and almost de-railed his team. While Neil Smith played a part in this, the fact that the same things happened at every stop he made as coach shows that the man was brilliant but deeply flawed. He was only able to win it all when he had an unbelievable roster of SC Champions and future HOFers. Not exactly Herb Brooks coaching the US Olympic Team. That kind of team cant be as easily created today with the rules being what they are.

            And you conveniently skip over the fact that Keenan, post-NY, was a train wreck as a coach. Has there ever been a worse coaching record following a SC championship than what Keenan compiled once he bailed on NY?

            That’s all part of the record too, but you continually fail to acknowledge any of that.

            As for AV, he lost in 2011 because Thomas stood on his head. And he lost in 2014 because the Kings were defending SC champs one season removed and were simply the better team.

            • paulronty says:

              This has nothing to do with character, once again you are confabulating character with coaching ability. No way I let you freely denigrate the coach who brought us the Cup in 94. Shame on YOU!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Shame on me for telling the truth about the pros and well as the cons of a very complicated personality….someone who i would think you, as a psychologist, would acknowledge had some pretty deep personality flaws?

                How much of what I just wrote was about character? Most of it was about record. You chose to focus on one element. I’m focusing on the whole picture.

                He is who he is. He helped to bring us the Cup in ’94. No doubt. He also nearly derailed the team with the moment close at hand. Every reporter who was there and many of the players on that team have publicly acknowledged this to be true.

                Why does everything with you have to be so black and white? Personalities and the circumstances they find themselves in or create rarely are.

      • Richter1994 says:

        There are certain coaches that do well in the regular season and not win the big one, similar to players. We have one of them unfortunately.

        He is a good coach, just not a great coach. He can’t be a great coach with the unfathomable personnel decisions he makes. If the players are close to even, ok, but in his bad decisions, they are not.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          I don’t agree at all. He’s been an excellent post-season coach. Look how many playoff series he has won. You make it sound like he’s Barry Trotz…out in rounds one or two every year! He’s one of the most successful post season coaches in Rangers history. That’s fact. And he’s done it with a roster that’s pales in comparison to what Francis and Patrick had to work with back in the day.

          Show me the great players he’s had on the Rangers other than Hank. There are none. You need great players to win the Cup. Very hard to do it without.

          Keenan was AV until he wasn’t. Joe Torre was AV until he wasn’t. The list is endless.

          Give him a roster that can win, and he will likely win. I don’t buy this argument at all.

          Just remember your quote from a few months ago…..”I trust Gorton”. Gorton clearly believes that AV is the man to deliver the Cup….one the team is actually good enough to do it.

          • Richter1994 says:

            I do agree with some of the things you’re saying E3. I have made no bones about the fact that the Rangers have not had elite players other than Lundqvist.

            But the Rangers have come close to winning it. And the difference between winning and losing the Cup is sometimes minimal. And that’s usually where the coach’s decisions matter.

            So, does it matter that G is on the top pair? For example? Going against the opponents’ best players? I would say that’s a mismatch that can lose playoff games. Just one major example.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              True, but opposed to what option?

              And lets not forget, Girardi was instrumental in shutting down Ovie and Crosby in the playoffs. Today? That might be a different call. But you need to have options. The team is what it is..

              • Richter1994 says:

                Bro, anyone. You, me, anyone. I love the guy but please, for God’s sakes, if he’s going to play then put him on the 3rd pair.

                I mean, even recently, even though he played top pair, AV himself cut his minutes towards the ends of close games, like the Devs game, because G couldn’t keep up. So why insist on playing him there?

                And now Staal on the top pair? Put Skjei there. Put Smith there. Put Clendening there. I gave you options.

              • Walt says:


                That would require Mr April to get out of his comfort zone, he feels good knowing how Dan will react, but not so in maybe how Skjei would??????

                On many occasion some of us have been called delusional, well to think that playing a man with a busted up knee cap, and another with a fracture in his foot is fine, and expect not to have a drop off in their play, now that’s delusional in my book!!!!!!!!

                Say what you may, E3 will defend him, it’s almost admirable of him to do so, but this coach is not worth of that kind of support……

              • Richter1994 says:

                It’s a fundamentally huge problem that keeps the team from maximizing it’s personnel.

          • Reenavipul says:

            Joe Torre was a loser at 3 stops until he was handed the team that Buck Showalter had cultivated and Stick had assembled. Talent (and his light touch) made him a legendary manager. He added 10% to the team.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              That’s right. And that’s my point. Torre was handed an incredible team of future stars. This roster, other than Hank, is largely devoid of that caliber of player. There’s only so much a coach can do.

              • Reenavipul says:

                Then you have talent evaluation issues.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                That’s fair and reasonable. But the thing is, every coach or baseball manager is subject to that same scrutiny. And even the most brilliant make moves that seem odd to us that we want to second guess. Torts made lots of bizarre decisions with his roster that were second guessed (“stop coaching Pat”). I don’t believe AV is any better or worse at it than anyone else.

                Correction, I’d have to say on the whole, he’s better. Why? Because as Bill Parcells once famously said, “You are what your record says you are”. And with a roster of mostly good but not great players, we shouldn’t be shocked when we get good but not great results.

      • Reenavipul says:

        Call him Mr. President.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Game 5 and 7 were much more about the defense being a train wreck due to injuries, and a sporadic offense doing what they’ve done far too often….not come through when it was needed most. Just like they blew it when they had the chance under Torts vs the Devils and Bruins. Just….not….good enough. Not on Torts. Not on AV. Mostly on the good but not great players.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Bro, please, what was the score of game 6 against TB?

        And Game 7 was a D train wreck because he started a crippled McD and a 7th D man in Hunwick who was benched after 4 minutes, rending over a 3rd of the D corps useless for the most important game of the season. McD should been an injury scratch.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          That’s true about Game 6. But hockey is unpredictable. Did AV “outcoach” Cooper in that game or did the players simply perform?

          I don’t know what you expected AV to do in Game 7. As I understand it, McDonagh was good to go (although badly hobbled as was Girardi, Staal and to a lesser extent Yandle). The “freeze” on the foot didn’t take, so last minute, they had to get him back to the dressing room to get in re-freezed. So are you saying that at the last second, it would have been best to SIT arguably your best player not named Lundqvist? For who exactly? James (Klotten Flyers) Sheppard?

          To me, AV was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. Sometimes, the hockey gods just aren’t smiling on you. It was a shame. Healthy, I will always believe that team goes to the Cup Finals. But I doubt they could have beaten a far superior Blackhawks team anyway.

          • Richter1994 says:

            Bro, Sheppard should have played along with Hunwick. I know sitting your captain is not ideal but the fact of the matter is the guy couldn’t skate throughout the entire game.

            On the offensive end, solving Bishop is easy: Make him move side to side, like they did in Game 6. They did none of that in Game 7 even after being shutout at home in Game 5.

            After no goals in Game 5 and then 6 goals in Game 6 employing a different strategy, wouldn’t you go back to that in Game 7? Common sense?

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Last second decision….again, damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

              If you honestly believe that James Sheppard, a pathetic player who never played another NHL game, would have made ANY difference in Game 7, I don’t even know what to say.

              We lost because, as usual, our erratic offense disappeared, which is par for the course for the past decade. Same thing happened under Torts. Again, you protect your boy. Was Torts outcoached by Deboer and then Julien in ’12 and ’13? Or maybe, the team just wasn’t good enough.

              Why are the players blameless here?

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                And, NOBODY sits their captain and best defenseman in Game 7 unless the medical staff says he can NOT go. Did Keenan sit Leetch even though he played Game 7 with a partially separated shoulder.

                No coach would have done that.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Sheppard was a HEALTHY BODY. If you recall:
                McD – crippled, played Game 7
                G – leg injury, played Game 7
                Staal – ankle injury, played Game 7
                Glass – useless, played Game 7
                Hunwick – dressed as 7th D, played 4 minutes

                That’s a huge chunk of the line up rendered useless in a “lose or go home” game. This isn’t about how good Sheppard or anyone else is, it was about playing a line up that cold even compete and win the series.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Look at your list again. With that many players compromised, it was miraculous that they were in it until the third period of Game 7. Sometimes, you just run out of bullets in the chamber. The hockey gods spoke. If the ’94 Rangers had their entire defense wiped out, do you think Keenan starting lets say Mike Hartman would have made any difference? Of course not.

                James Sheppard was healthy. But James Sheppard wasn’t good. There is virtually no chance he changes the outcome of game 7.

              • Richter1994 says:

                They definitely had injuries no question but they had the same injuries 2 days before when they beat the crap out of TB.

    • Spozo says:

      So you’re buying in to the theory that AV sabotaged himself with the last change at home. Since the opposition does the opposite when the rangers are on the road does that mean the rest of the league is sabotaging themselves when they play the rangers at home?

      • Richter1994 says:

        Not purposely of course. Dave is pointing out that the coach’s decisions may have something to do with their home record which sucks.

        BTW, the coach knows he has the availability of a time out, right? You can’t accumulate them like travel points.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          You have one. And there is value in saving it in case dire circumstances come up.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Are we losing these games at home in the last minute? I don’t think so. I don’t get your point.

          • Richter1994 says:

            Just another example E3. How many times have the Rangers’ iced the puck and could have used a time out? That even players implied that should have been called?

            It’s an accumulation of head scratching decisions or lack thereof that in of themselves don’t lose games but in the aggregate could lose games. That’s what coaches get paid for.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              And what Gorton evaluated he must be doing well, since AV was given an extension.

              “In Gorton we trust”….don’t forget. ๐Ÿ™‚

              • Richter1994 says:

                And Torts was gone 4 months after his “extension.” ๐Ÿ™‚

              • Walt says:

                Nice !!!!!!!! I had forgotten that……..

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                You are dreaming, Totally different situation. Torts’s contract was coming up, and I believe he was extended only one year. Then Torts lost the room (wait for it…Paul will be out here denying it even though its been reported again and again as reality), they realized Hank might bolt if Torts stayed around. Other players were done with him. Game over.

                AV’s contract wasn’t close to being up. And he was given an extension through 2020, not just a year. There would have to be a substantial issue that would suddenly crop up for AV to have any chance to lose his job short term. And if that happened and it wasn’t because of a new development, that would be a huge black mark on Gorton. A second year GM handing out one of the richest and lengthiest extensions in league history, only to then turn around and say to Sather and Dolan…oops, my bad, sorry about that? Good luck with that.

                If that were to occur, let’s put it this way, Gorton would soon be needing to put his resume together.

                Dream on my friend. Assuming that AV doesnt morph into Torts (AV throws a water bottle at a fan, sits let’s say Rick Nash, sends Kreider to the minors, loses the goaltender and the room), AV will be the coach for AT LEAST another year, and likely another two years.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                One other point of difference. In 2013, Sather extended Torts, but he ALSO made a significant deadline move in trading Gabby for several key players Torts wanted for his playoff run. The move failed in that the team regressed from the prior year.

                The Rangers this year failed to make a splash at the deadline. Gorton obviously doesnt believe this team has a string chance to advance. So the contract extension was the club’s way of saying to AV, “be patient, you are our guy. We are going to build you a winner in a year or two. Here’s a big raise and extension.”

                Totally different situation.

                BTW, while I realize that the team would have had a different look, I often wondered what would have happened if Sather refused Torts request to deal Gabby. It was ironic that he may well have been the difference maker in the 2014 SCF. I often felt that Gabby would have shined in AV’s system once being liberated from the “every player must block shots” mentality espoused from the stubborn and inflexible former coach of the Rangers.

  20. Ray says:

    Bizarre fact.

    Raanta is 4-5 at the Garden and 9-0 on the road with wins against
    Chicago, Pitt, Columbus, Edmonton, Boston.

  21. roadrider says:

    “The Rangers allow 8.83 scoring chances against per 60 minutes of even strength hockey at home. On the road, itโ€™s 8.24 SCA/60”

    That’s a difference of 0.59 SCA/60. Is that even significant? I’m just asking. I don’t follow the advanced stats but I do understand the concept of a statistically significant difference. And aside from statistical theory what’s the evidence that such a small difference could produce such a large discrepancy in the home and road records. Even if we equate a SCA with an an actual SOG a good shooting pct is something like 10%. So then we would be looking at 0.059 GA/60 difference. Is that really meaningful? Again, I’m just asking.

    • Dave says:

      It’s about an 8% difference, which is fairly significant over the course of a season.

    • paulronty says:

      You’ve got it, without a statistical significance teat, statistics are meaningless, a point I have been making for 3 or 4 years now that never seems to register.

  22. Reenavipul says:

    Will be possible to tease out any differences as Girardi won’t be in for the next couple of games, giving a 10-11 consecutive game window. Small-ish sample(5 home, 6 away), but may be illuminating.

    But hooboy does that injury scare me. The literature on vacuum debridement suggests a secondary infection that makes a lot of sense. The vacuum seems to work(avg 16 day treatment, usually patched by re-suture or skin graft), but considering the gap between stitches and getting shut down AND he had a hole in his ankle; worried about possible bone infection. If it’s a MRSA infection, who really knows if he makes it back this year.

    • Walt says:

      Great update. As much as I want Dan gone, I don’t want him gone this way, he deserves better !!!!!!!!

  23. paulronty says:

    Fact of the matter, as I understand it, is that AV doesn’t match up lines & doesn’t care about the last change thing, so its, by default, likely not a factor at home games. What could be happening is that the team is too uptight playing before the home fans & doesn’t play relaxed. When you are not relaxed you can’t perform effectively.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      On this, once again, we agree. See, it is possible! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Stef says:

      I Agree to this, I can remember a playoff game where the garden willed the team to a good finish. The Rangers were under a lot of pressure but every defensive zone clear was cheered upon. However, during the regular season the garden seems to sometimes turn against the team as well.

  24. SpentlyJMcQuay says:

    Look, the Rangers are going to be fine…seems like with some toughness added they are back to playing elite hockey. Will it be enough against the Caps and Pens and BJ’s???? who knows…but I will tell you this…first round of the playoff will knock one of those teams out…right now its BJ’s vs Pens first round….Ranger will get Mtl. I like my chances in the First round.


  25. Peter B. says:

    Ice at MSG is chippy and soft. Rangers strengths are skating and puck movement. Ice is better in most rinks that don’t host 500 events a year, so they do better.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Very astute point that I had not even remotely considered. Might explain their issues at Barclay Center as well.

      • Peter B. says:

        Thanks kindly. As a Canuck, growing up in Leaf land, i’ve taken lot’s of flack over the Rags; but maybe we see the game differently? Who knows… but a factor like ice quality is a big deal.

        Don’t know why so many New Yorkers have AV so much. I like what he has done. Until the other nigh, something like 11 of their previous 12 wins were by 1 goal (or 2 with en). To me, that epitomizes good coaching.

        If the man should be replaced, I suggest it is fair to name your man. Who is “the guy”? Aside from Babcock and Quenville, i can’t think of a name … and they ain’t coming!