May
10

The myth of experience – Resting on laurels killed the Rangers

May 10, 2017, by

alain vigneault

Throughout the series against the Senators, the one word that consistently came up is experience. “The Rangers will win this series because of experience.” “The Rangers will be able to come back from down 2-0 because of experience.” “The Rangers won’t blow leads because of experience.” “The Rangers won’t panic and will come out firing in Game Six because of experience.”

What the $#&*$#&$ are you guys talking about?

None of that is true. The Rangers were a flawed team for sure, but their coaching cost them a pair of games and a series victory in five. Then their “experience” led to them not showing up for the first two periods last night –which I put solely on the players. How do you not show up for an elimination game?– which in the end cost them the series.

Experience is a cop-out term used by so-called experts to say that a team has been there before and knows how to manage the situations. That’s all well and good, but if the team doesn’t learn from their mistakes in the postseason, how can you bank on experience going forward? Their experience was their downfall.

Their experienced defensemen blew three late leads, all leading to overtime losses. Their experienced coach never learned or adjusted the blue line to account for this. Their experienced forwards didn’t show up until it was too late. I can count on one hand the number of skaters that showed up every game. Their experienced grit had a few nice games, but was that really the best choice?

But that’s what happens when you rest on your laurels the way the Rangers did. You get complacent. You get lazy. You get cocky and overconfident. And then you lose. You allow an inferior team to beat you in six when you should have won the series in five. And let’s be clear: Ottawa is not a better team. They are a .500 team led by a generational talent on the blue line, whose presence alone gives them a significant boost.

The reason why this series loss hurts more than most others in the past (excluding a few, of  course) is because the Rangers were the better team. To me, this hurts more than the 2015 loss to Tampa, because at least Tampa was a great team. Ottawa is a decent team. The Rangers should have won this series. But they got lazy. Up and down the lineup they got complacent. The coaching staff didn’t adjust and leaned on a phantom adjective.

In Alain Vigneault’s own words, experience only matters if you’re effective. The Rangers’ experience was not effective. And while a lot of focus should be on AV, since he’s one of if not the main culprit here, the onus does need to fall on the players too. It boggles my mind that guys with such great experience, guys who came back from down 3-1 multiple times in previous years, could lay such an egg.

In the end, experience cost them the series.

"The myth of experience - Resting on laurels killed the Rangers", 5 out of 5 based on 30 ratings.
Categories : Playoffs

106 comments

  1. tanto says:

    This series proved to me that AV will not change and although he’s a good coach, he may never be a great coach. Yeah, we should have won this series in 5.

  2. amy says:

    in this series AV was outcoached by Guy Boucher it seems the decision that AV made were the wrong ones

    • pas44 says:

      Outcoached by Jon Cooper in 2015 too.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        No he was not. AV was “outcoached” by having no Zuc and virtually no healthy defensemen.

        • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

          No, to be fair, the ‘lack of intensity’ pattern has been repeating itself with this squad for years now.

          The problem is, I don’t think a laid back personality like AV is the correct skipper for players that apparently need to be yelled at to care about the playoffs.

          Honestly, I think (torts griping at them over this) played a far bigger role in his firing than anything else.

        • Richter1994 says:

          Bro, that line up for Game 7 was laughable and so was the deployment during that game.

          Virtually 1/3 the team was rendered useless by the coach.

    • Brad says:

      Bottom Line hes a regular season coach. im sure everyone here is watching other play-off game, notice anything their head coaches are talking yelling showing intensity. Ohh and one last thing they are drawing up plays, AV just stands there with his F in arms crossed. Thats not a coach.

  3. Agentsmith says:

    We probably should have made the ecf … But only bc of the rediculous new format. This defense is no way near ecf worthy. So none of this should be any shock.

    • pas44 says:

      New format or not, we should have made the ECF.

      AND IT STINGS LIKE ROAD RASH NOW!

      excuse my caps lock, but this article hit the last nerve I have… Man this one hurts!

      I wanted a crack at the upset in the ECF

      • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

        You mean, you wanted to hear the pit band wagon go on about how we let Cindy score 27 goals in a playoff series?

        They couldn’t even be bothered to show up for one home game vs OTT. ONE!

        Thanks, but no thanks lol…. I’ll take the upgrade in picks & move on to golf.

      • Brad says:

        The Coyotes would have beaten this bunch of scrubs

  4. Tim says:

    I agree with every point made here. What a disgusting playoff series for the Rangers and their fans. Hire Lindy Ruff or Darryl Sutter before the Rangers end up like Vancouver, depleted and irrelevant!

    • pas44 says:

      Sutter’s not coming to Rangertown… Ruff I could see, but I doubt Sutter although I am with you!!

      How about Montreals recent coach, Michele T?

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Shuffling deck chairs. Grass is always greener syndrome. Ruff did a horrible job. Sutter had great talent and then couldn’t even make the playoffs 2 out of the last 3 seasons. Therrien? Seriously?

        If Coach Q becomes available, then we can talk. But then again, he won NOTHING before he had generational talent.

        • Rangers Rock says:

          Your afraid that any coach takes over and can lead us to a Cup! You are content with failure. That is why you want to repeat the failure every year! Shame yon you.
          AV must be fired!

          • paulronty says:

            Absolutely! Eddie’s a company man, so he values authority as unassailable. If AV coaches next year, it’s more of the same. He WAS & still IS the elephant in the room.

          • 'The Original Rob' says:

            He gave you 3 facts, and you somehow turn that into Eddie being afraid lol.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Exactly. Thanks Rob!

              As I said on the other page, if you want to be the dysfunctional 1980s Yankees, sure, off with his head. Or you can be a joke franchise like Florida or Buffalo.

              Most NHL coaching changes usually result in no change or a downgrade. Pittsburgh was a prominent exception. Florida went down. When Pit fired Bylsma they went down before going back up. Minnesota, St. Louis, Montreal and Boston didnt improve their fortunes. Vancouver cratered after AV left.

              I have no problem with any coach, player, GM, trainer, whomever being fired or traded. That’s NOT the question. The question is, with any move of this nature, is there an upgrade out there? Based on what I see, I’d say no. Based on Sather/Gorton’s evaluation in January, they likely came to the same conclusion.

              I’m not a “company man” per se (maybe I am on some things). I just believe in an orderly, no emotional look at any problem. The record clearly shows this coach has had more success with this team than Torts had. He has won more playoff series than any modern coach in Rangers history. He is not the clueless idiot you make him out to be, That’s hysterical crazy talk.

              The chances of finding an upgrade over this coach that is currently available is extremely slim. This is his first real disappointment, and it seems pretty clear from management’s actions that this was not meant to be an “all-in” season. Based on that, to me, he deserves another year.

              • Egelstein says:

                “This is his first real disappointment”…I don’t even know what to say to that. Was game 6 the first Rangers game you’ve watched during his tenure? That’s the only way that statement is possibly accurate in any way, even if it would apply only to you.

                Sorry, but “company man” is exactly the proper term for continuing to defend Vigneault. Any coach in any sport has a much higher capacity to blow a game with dumbassery than to win it with brilliance. That’s just how coaching works. A great coach usually can’t do much with a bad team. A bad coach can absolutely neuter a great team. Maybe the Rangers players haven’t been great in every way; maybe Vigneault isn’t bad in every way – to disclaim, that’s not what I’m saying by illustrating these broad concepts. There is a baseline theoretical limit to how many games a team can win with the talent they have. There isn’t really a similar limit to how many games a team can lose as a result of – or due in large part to – poor coaching.

                How many times does AV have to make major, painfully obvious contributions to blown games (playoff or regular season) with a variety and array of repetitious ill-advised coaching decisions before he takes some blame from you?

                Absolutely, the players are to be blamed as well, and I don’t think it’s harsh to say most of the blame…of course. They didn’t show up nearly enough. Nonetheless, our best players (some of which are those dreaded “inexperienced” guys who can, you know, still skate and all) can’t be blamed for being on the bench in HUGE moments when they should have been on the ice. Even when on the ice, players can’t be blamed for having an anchor on either side of them. They can’t be blamed for a ridiculously bad series of deployment mistakes and minutes distribution that have been made more or less consistently for three years from this coach. They can’t be blamed for being out of gas when their coach doesn’t use timeouts correctly. They can’t be blamed when the opposing coach is clearly eating AVs lunch with simple counters to what he is running without recognition of and adjustment to said counters. Etc., etc., etc., friggin etc. with this coach. It’s a hell of a lot easier to change a coach than overhaul a roster to fit a coach’s system.

                The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Enough is enough. Vigneault needs to go. He’s not creative enough, he’s not flexible enough, and he will always take his personal theories –
                many of which have been proven disastrous on multiple occasions with the core of this roster – over daylight-clear common sense moves.

                Any coach who will learn from his mistakes and adjust, and who might have a better chance of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the roster, simply put, gives this team a better chance instantly. I don’t care what that guy’s name is. They could pull him from a high school program for all I care, as long as he is committed to running a system that fits the roster’s strengths and minimizing the effect of their weaknesses…not trying to jam a system into a roster over and over when the system just clearly is not working for this set of players.

                Is a coaching change a guarantee they will be better? Of course not. It’s asinine to even use that point against people who want a change. No coaching change is ever a guarantee for success…that doesn’t in any way make it less necessary, however.

                As I’ve said about AV many times before, I sincerely hope he proves me wrong. Once again, however, I sit here fully correct about my expectations of him. Multiple poor coaching decisions have, as was as predictable as the sun coming up tomorrow morning, played a significant role in another season’s final result during the Vigneault Era.

              • Walt says:

                Egelstein

                Great post, hit every point on the head, but your wasting your time. There are too many who can’t see the forest beyond the tree with this coach, not just E3, whom I’ve disagreed with on too many occasions, but he is loyal, you’ve got to give him credit for that. Someday, soon I hope, JG will wake up and say ENOUGH of this crap, and give him his walking papers!!!!!!!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Eg-

                Six playoff series wins in four seasons as coach clearly shows he is a good post-season coach. Certainly, there were questionable decisions here, and absolutely AV has to shoulder some of the blame here, no doubt.

                But this is a deeply flawed team that most thought wouldn’t even make the playoffs. They’ve played .500 hockey since mid-February and they played .500 hockey in the playoffs. They are what their record says they are.

                This article by Ken Campbell in The Hockey News says it all about the Rangers–

                http://www.thehockeynews.com/news/article/rangers-blew-golden-opportunity-and-now-are-bound-for-nhl-purgatory

                He echoes what I’ve said. This is a good but not great team that always succeeded by defying the odds with a “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” approach. The core got frayed. Thus the results we’ve seen the past two seasons.

                There are no real stars other than Hank. There are aging parts who ain’t what they used to be. The roster needs an overhaul. Plain and simple.

                The coach needs to be better too, but that’s not the primary issue.

              • Rangers Rock says:

                People are finally turning on you as they should. Your as pampas and as wrong as O.

              • paulronty says:

                Egelstein(no reply button) so I put it here), that was a post worthy of an Einstein. Well done, well thought out & logically definitive. Bravo man!!!! It’s my nomination for best post of the year.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Eg-

                Six playoff series wins in four seasons as coach clearly shows he is a good post-season coach. Certainly, there were questionable decisions here, and absolutely AV has to shoulder some of the blame here, no doubt.

                But this is a deeply flawed team that most thought wouldn’t even make the playoffs. They’ve played .500 hockey since mid-February and they played .500 hockey in the playoffs. They are what their record says they are.

                This article by Ken Campbell in The Hockey News says it all about the Rangers–

                (I omitted the article for now because it is awaiting moderation on a prior post, but it hopefully will show up eventually).

                He echoes what I’ve said. This is a good but not great team that always succeeded by defying the odds with a “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” approach. The core got frayed. Thus the results we’ve seen the past two seasons.

                There are no real stars other than Hank. There are aging parts who ain’t what they used to be. The roster needs an overhaul. Plain and simple.

                The coach needs to be better too, but that’s not the primary issue.

      • Tim says:

        Too similar to AV

      • Stevem says:

        Is Jean- Guy Talbot available?

  5. Hatrick Swayze says:

    I’d really like to add to the conversation here, but I couldn’t display my own thoughts more accurately than you did here, Dave. Very well written and as usual agree on all counts.

    • AD says:

      the question in a day or two will be: where do the Rangers go from here?

      to me, the answer will be: expect more of the same this time next year, but with a couple of new twists, as long as the club is led by Vigneault.

      all else in between makes for interesting dialogue. i am looking forward to re-engaging on this site next season and following the club more closely, as this past year had some +ve life changes that precluded my involvement and focus

      but the day Vigneault was hired I began crossing days off the calendar for when he will be fired. it’s all been so predictable.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        It will be good to have you back AD.

        Of course, let’s not forget that the day AV was hired, we actually entered into the best years we’ve had as Rangers fans since ’94. That was never an issue. He was and remains a significant upgrade over the previous coach who wasn’t even an upgrade over the guy he succeeded. Throwing water bottles and growling at everyone doesnt make someone a better coach—just a side show.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Eddie, you cant have it both ways. “If Coach Q becomes available, then we can talk. But then again, he won NOTHING before he had generational talent.” Over and over you site that AV has had more success than Torts, and I’d agree with you. But let’s also agree that a significant part of the reason why is because he has had better players: 2013-14 and 2014-15 were our best rosters. Torts did good things with mediocre teams- namely the run in 2012. Also got a group in CBJ to over perform this year. We were best served by moving on but AV is not objectively better than Torts, as he has been put in a better position to succeed when looking at the rosters each of them were handed.

          • Ray says:

            There are two differences between AV and Tortorella. One is that they structure the team differently and we can argue who is better. However, it is also true that Torts is a high intensity guy and AV a low intensity guy. It is not clear if either is better – certainly the high intensity guy Boucher just beat AV. However, there are two known facts. One is that high intensity guys tend to wear out their welcome. The other is that teams tend to perform well when a low intensity guy replaces a high intensity guy. That AV had his best year in his first year is not that surprising.

          • Walt says:

            Hatrick

            And if you followed his record, as in Vancouver, he went from King of the hill, to bottom of the barrel, in a few years, which will happen next year unless they rid us of this milady!!!!!!!!

            • AD says:

              Ray/Walt,

              both spot-on!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              And if you follow the record, the Rangers got better when AV came on board replacing Torts, and Vancouver cratered when the reverse happened out west.

              • Bloomer says:

                Eddie, I gotta interject here. Vancouver peaked during the 2011 Stanley Cup finals when Claude Julien’s Bruins mauled AV’s Canucks- who were favoured to win la coupe Stanley.

                Since then it was downhill, as the flailing Orcas had consecutive first rounds exits: losing to the Kings 4 games to 1 in 2013, followed the next year by getting blown out 4 straight by the Ducks.

                The Canucks management in a desperation move, tried to light a fire under their players’ hockey pants. They canned AV and hired Torts and Sully hoping they could inspire the West Coast deadbeats.

                Torts wasn’t successful, nor was Willi who followed him. Sully went on to win a Stanley Cup and Torts pulled CBJ from the ashes as they had a very respectable season which included a 16 game winning streak.

                I get why you defend AV, statistically he does have a impressive regular season winning reason. But like I said when AV first joined the Rangers…he is a good coach but he is no Scotty Bowman.

          • paulronty says:

            Now there is a well reasoned out analysis that places logic above partisanship.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Can’t agree Hatrick.

            The 2012 team was hardly mediocre. Gaborik in his prime (we have NO player like that). Richards. Hank at his Vezina best. A way better defense. In 2013 add to that Nash in his prime.

            I think some folks like to forward a narrative that somehow Torts made chicken salad out of chicken S$%&. It’s just not reality.

            The team AV took to the finals was mostly the same team that flamed out on Torts the prior year.

            I dont understand how it’s perceived that Torts overachieved this year and AV somehow didnt even though most thought the Rangers were a borderline playoff team at best?

            • Ray says:

              You’re right. The Rangers were a certain playoff team (what idiots thought that was in doubt?) and Columbus was a long shot to make the playoffs. Columbus finished well ahead of the Rangers to everyone’s surprise. Obviously AV had the better year.

              Look, one year does not make a coaching career AND it would be crazy to say that 2016-2017 proves Torts is the better coach. But give the devil his due. Tortorella (with his first good year since 2012 frankly) had the better year.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                When did I say AV had the better year?

                I would agree that Torts had an excellent year, and arguably a better year than AV. But sorry, with a flawed roster in transition, most experts had the Rangers as a borderline playoff team at best. They overachieved expectations.

                Both coaches did.

        • Ray says:

          No, the hiring of AV didn’t enter the Rangers into anything. The dream that these Rangers could actually win the Cup began in 2012 whether you like it or not. Torts was not fired because he could not make the Rangers a contender. He was fired because Sather didn’t think he could take these contenders to the promised land.

        • AD says:

          he inherited a team in need of change at the helm but that team was well-versed and constructed to have deep success…those were peak seasons for much of what this team has been all about the past 8 years. Vigneault simply needed to guide the ship and, in that sense, it was a good hire.

          that team and era is over…was over last year; even moreso now. when your team gets outplayed by an inferior club and out-coached by an inferior coach, even Vigneault’s most vocal fans have to question whether he can ever overcome his own deficiencies.

          Not gonna happen. I’ll keep crossing off the days.

      • paulronty says:

        Hey AD!! Missed your cogent & insightful comments. I just said the same above & then read your post. If one goes back before he was hired, one can find posts by me(didn’t post that much then) saying no don’t do it, don’t hire this guy. I really thought that 2014 team would win the Cup & I thought I was wrong about AV. But I wasn’t & like I said before, I wake up every day, read Rangers hockey, praying that the headline says “RANGERS FIRE ALAIN VIGNEAULT”

        • AD says:

          thanks paulronty (and Eddie as well in another post),

          I’ve missed the crew and dialogue; I peaked in here and there and found the quality of the site has gotten even better with even more informed opinions….all good stuff.

  6. Mike says:

    Experience only matters if the level of skill and talent are equal to (or at least close to) the level of play during that previous experience.

    I have experienced running a 7min mile. This was ten years ago, I’m not ds heavier and not the same level of talent I am today. But for AV, he would have be running the final leg of a 4×400 relay.

  7. SalMerc says:

    Two for two Dave. Buy some more tickets, we’ll go halves.

    There was something missing. Some element, that I would call desire or complacency. Dare I compare it to the Democratic party in the last presidential election. All we have to do is show up and we got this series (or election) in the bag.

    Do not underestimate any opponent OR overestimate your own abilities. Play the game, make adjustments and go hard for 60 minutes. This is what happens when you mail it in. If you were Ottawa, you wanted to end the series last night, because anything can happen in a game 7. They had a plan – we obviously didn’t. We put on our sweaters, we had the home crowd, surely that was enough — sadly, it was not.

    • paulronty says:

      In my view, the team seems more confused than complacent. We talked about something not being right in the locker room. Stepan carping at Hank like he did, publicly, serves no purpose other than to empower the opponent. Keep the garbage in the room, and there is garbage there.

  8. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    I think Dave’s column is pretty fair and on track. I think there was a lot of doubling down on experience and clearly it didnt pan out. But the thing I think you may be missing is–the young guys didnt distinguish themselves either. Hayes/Miller/Kreider–to quote the Grinch…stink…stank…stunk. Smith and Skjei didnt have good games yesterday. Who’s to say what they would have done if given more responsibility. Perhaps exposed–badly.

    This would be like saying that you have a reliever in the bullpen that you’ve always trusted. He’s been a bit uneven. You have a young guy who’s been good against certain matchups in certain situations. But you KNOW (or believe) deep down that right now, if further exposed, he would probably not succeed.

    This was the same argument used last year with McIlrath. Once he was exposed to more responsibility this year, it became clear he wasn’t even an NHL player. Yet everyone, based on a small sample, said the kid MUST play. We heard the same thing with Clendo. Six organizations in two years. He MUST play. He’s probably 50/50 to even be in the league next year.

    The point is, I agree, experience means nothing–but if you REALLY DON’T have better options, than I think most coaches would double down on experience.

    Our young guys need to grow and develop and actually become options that FORCE the coach into playing them more and trusting them more. I think, in the end of the day, these guys just aren’t that good.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      When Staal is on the ice for half of the high danger scoring chances against in a particular game, he is not a guy you should be doubling down on. He and Holden were brutal and we saw far too much of them during most games.

      And while I agree that we are where we are more so because of what Hayes/Miller/Kreider didn’t do rather than what Staal/Holden did, it is still frustrating knowing that we likely should have written a different ending.

    • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

      Why do you keep making the same ‘appeal to authority’ fallacy in regards to Clendenning?

      You’ve said it yourself (and I agree). AV is, strictly relative to the NHL, a ‘good’ coach. But, even said ‘good’ coach cannot evaluate talent well enough (as evidenced by continued failed end game deployments, the Yandle debacle, among other things). It’s his Achilles heel, if you will.

      So, if a ‘good’ coach did not identify the value of 4, how can you possibly invoke the prior opinions of 5 past teams to justify what has occurred with Clendenning? Total logic fail there

      • Ray says:

        it isn’t even true that five teams didn’t want him. Pitt gave him up to sweeten the package for Hagelin. Anaheim believed that they could send him to the minors safely and sadly watched Edmonton snap him up on waivers.

        It is true that Edmonton discarded him, but it is also true that Edmonton was desperate and just cleaning house. They also discarded Justin Schulz.

    • Ray says:

      The point is that you want to use good players and you want players who will maintain their composure. Veteran status means nothing really, either way. I would play Girardi ahead of McIlrath because the evidence suggests he’s the better player. I would play Clendening ahead of Staal or Holden because the evidence suggests he is the better player. As for composure, it is the same thing. Some veterans are; some aren’t. Likewise with rookies. Brady Skjei is was totally composed last year while many veterans struggle.

      Honestly, I don’t know if Clendening would have made the difference in this series and neither does anyone else, including AV. I do know that, were AV a really good coach, we would know the answer. And that’s why this obsession with veterans is the Ranger downfall.

      • Egelstein says:

        I concur with this…I don’t think there was any one deployment or minutes distribution move AV could have made differently to change the outcome. There wasn’t just one move there to make all the difference IMO.

        I believe there were several minor moves he could and should have made that very well could have changed the outcome dramatically. And that’s my problem with this coach.

    • paulronty says:

      McIlrath was exposed to more responsibility this year????? You mean he had to get coffees for Slats & Schony in the press box??? Your brain has been hijacked by aliens, c’mon fess up!

      • Rich S. says:

        100% corresct paulronty !!!!

        McIlrath played very well when given the opportunity, in fact statistically outplayed all defensemen except mcdonagh…….
        Would he have developed into the second best defenseman on the team if given the ice time the past year and a half? probably not, would he have been better than stall, girardi and holden, almost definitely…….partly because they are sooooooo bad!!!
        Would the rangers have been better off dressing mcilrath and clendening over the pylon twins????? We all know that answer except AV!!!!

  9. upstatetom says:

    how do you not show up for the first two periods of an elimination game ? that’s easy, be highly overpaid and not have anything to work for, that’s how. these so called players should only be paid for what they’ve earned and not what they think they deserve !! (stepan ) if you’ve already got the $$$$ why would you want to work another month into nicer weather and take away from you’re personal time . it’s absolutley horrible !!!

    • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

      Aye. AV is gonna AV but this nonsense cannot be blamed on him.

      If you need a guy in a suit (AV) to tell you why you need to try in a playoff (!) elimination game (!!!!)…. then, I gotta say, when you fail to listen, don’t blame the guy that didn’t take the ice.

      Not to absolve him from the head-scratching deployments, but still…. this was an all around LOLWUT on their part (save for a few of them).

      • paulronty says:

        Remember when Espo said that when Fred Shero tapped him on the shoulder, he wanted to win for that man. Did the Rangers play like they want to win for AV?

  10. avsucks says:

    Glad this season is over. What a crappy performance, no one escapes blame.

  11. Arisrules says:

    Are we ready to have the same conversation that we had this time last year or the year before? I feel like I am in a horrible version of the movie Groundhog’s day. The defense is absolute garbage. It was when we lost to the Kings. It was the year after when we made that run. It was last year when the Penguins impaled us. And it was this year when we struggled to beat a poor Habs team, and lost to a horrible Senators team. Everyone was aware of that except for 3/4 of our fanbase, AV, our front office, and the beatwriters.

    The issue is because Gorton didn’t make a move last year, it’s going to be hard to make the moves needed to get the cap space we need to sign both Smith and Shatt to shore up the garbage right side. AV talked about veterans, but he was rolling out three AHLers (Girardi, Staal, and Holden are at best AHL level players) in high leverage minutes, pretending they were legitimate options. I’d laugh except it is so freaking sad.

    My dream is somehow AV gets fired and we hire Sutter, while Girardi/Staal/Klein/Holden/Glass all get fired into the sun. We only have probably two years (likely less) left on Hank’s all-time great career. Not winning with him in goal is legitimately a historic debacle in terms of team management. Outside of CuJo and Luongo, every great goaltender has won. And Hank is a top 3 goalie all time. Sather and the whole braintrust should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Chris F says:

      Shattenkirk is not the answer. Not at all.

      But, whatever the answer is, I’m fairly sure we’ve seen the last of Holden, Staal, and Klein. I think Girardi will be back, but he’ll be playing behind a new 1RHD and Smith.

      I actually think our D is going to look much, much better next season.

      We have a number of ways to creatively generate some changes working around the NMC and buyout options.

      I think Gorton is up for the task, considering all indications point to this season being a transition period for him. I think he was always eying 2017-18 to make the real run.

      Stay tuned.

      • Ray says:

        Nothing that happens will really surprise me. I expect AV will be back, but his firing won’t amaze me if it happens. I can see Gorton undertaking a major housecleaning or some adjustments like last year.

        I really hope that Staal retires. Obviously he is just not right; presumably it is his vision or just his self-confidence on the ice. Either way, one of these days, he will get badly hurt if he keeps playing. He already has enough money. Time to get smart.

        • Walt says:

          Ray

          Staal hasn’t been the same since his brother gave him a concussion, which was two years ago. What leads anyone to believe that he will get better???? Nothing!!!!!!!!

          • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

            To be fair, neither has Nash since Lucic mauled him right after we acquired him some years back. It (although a significant part of his diminished play) doesn’t explain the train wreck, in totality, we see with him.

            The concussion, while brutal, only explains certain aspects of his decline, such as his newfound(ish) reluctance to be physical when he has the opportunities. His diminished stick skills (poke checks etc) are not as easily explained by that alone.

            I think what did him in was the combination of the aforementioned & that gruesome eye injury he sustained a few years back. I think it may have compromised his eyesight a bit (specifically, depth perception) to the point where he has little chance of ever becoming one half the player he once was.

            • Richter1994 says:

              A lot of wear and tear on that body, for sure. Don’t forget, he started at 19 I believe.

    • paulronty says:

      The problem with Sutter is the opposite of AV. Whilst AV leaves the room to administer itself, Sutter was very intrusive, in there all the time, & the players started locking him out because they needed a break from him.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Exactly right. I have a friend who covers the Kings and he told me that room was a mess these last few years. Probably would be a real bad fit here.

        The rumor is he’s done with coaching anyway, but we will see.

    • supermaz says:

      Hank, top 3 all time? You’re delusional.
      Off the top of my head…Brodeur, Roy, Hasek.

  12. DAVID k says:

    AV it’s time to go.

  13. Rangers Rock says:

    The best experience that the team had was coaching! Our biggest let down was because of AV.

  14. 43 says:

    The truth behind the adage, “Practice makes perfect,” is that practice makes permanent. Thus, why some teams, Cleveland Browns, are always bad. And why others, Rangers and Sharks, for example, just can’t get over that last hurdle.

  15. rjcy says:

    The roster and the coach lack a certain level of intensity or, as it is now commonly called, “compete level” or “jam” (Torts). This should be no surprise as it was emblematic of AV’s teams in Vancouver and, in my opinion, is generally, GENERALLY, emblematic of the college players who play pro. They often seem to have nice skills, and play a nice game, but lack that killer instinct.
    Hank couldn’t see shots in the games we lost (and let in some softies, but he is human). The crease wasn’t cleared. It doesn’t get that way by asking nicely.
    Top players other than Nash and Zucc and Mik just didn’t show up. Top players simply MUST when the money is down; otherwise they aren’t top players, they are just nice players will skill sets.
    In the Montreal series and in the games we won vs Ottawa, the intensity, the hitting, both offensive and defensive, was virtually non-stop. You could feel it as well as see it. In the games we lost, you could see the drop off. Once the Rangers stopped hitting (and, yes, hitting alone doesn’t win anything) you could see it was a result of general intensity lagging; it was the Rangers going back to playing that nice, pretty game. That alone doesn’t win anything.
    The power play became to tic tac toe instead of putting shots quickly on goal either with no pass or with only a pass or two at most. No urgency. Tentative. And not enough of a net front presence CONSISTENTLY.
    This team as currently comprised and coached is not reflective of this town. It is like a NY Giants team that plays finesse defense (see: Reeves, D). It is like a NY Yankee team that plays to manufacture runs. And it will never see a Cup.

  16. Mikeyyy says:

    We have great assistant coaches. Jeff Beukeboom comes to mind. But they need a vocal leader. On a team where you don’t have vocal leadership you need someone who’s larger than life, an ex ranger , bald, and a multiple cup winner.

    I wonder if Mark would swallow his pride and help us pick up the pieces from this debacle.

    • paulronty says:

      Mess would take the job in a NY minute, but they picked AVs experience over Messier’s leadership. Bad choice. Experience doesn’t mean you were an advanced learner or a good teacher.

      • Walt says:

        Experience only showed us how to lose, and for that experience, well keep it, I want no part of it at all!!!!!!!!!!!

      • upstatetom says:

        definitely need an experienced leader, McD great player, not a team leader. need toughness, not very much on this team. that’s why they needed dylan mcilrath and tell me now that he wouldn’t have helped this team over what we’ve seen.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          He would not have. Every NHL team has weighed in on that one. The 2016-17 Dylan McIlrath was not NHL material. Next year? TBD

          • paulronty says:

            Dylan McIlrath played for two nitwit coaches that never gave him a chance, AV 7 Tom Rowe(since fired). But AV was willing to suffer through growing pains with Skjei. The best thing that ever happened to Dylan was being picked up by the Wings. He’s playing a lot of hockey now for a great coach(Todd Nelson is really impressive). He’s moved up to the top pair with Hicketts, a top Wings prospect & they were +3 in their first game together. Nelson described Dylan as “outstanding on the PK.” Think AV would use him on the PK? Nelson has also coached Dylan to keep his composure while playing very physical. They are in a dogfight with the Chicago Wolves & Dylan has taken his play to another level. Eddie, you’re like Jon Snow, “you know nothing.”

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I know this….

              Dylan McIlrath is doing all those things….all true.

              But he’s doing it on the AHL LEVEL!

              If Wings believed in him as much as you say, they would have called him up.

              If the NHL believed in him, he wouldn’t have cleared waivers—TWICE!!!!!

              I hope for his sake he can parlay his modest AHL success into something meaningful this summer. His time is rapidly running out.

            • supermaz says:

              McIlrath will soon be a very good NHL defenseman, best thing to happen to him was getting away from our clown of a coach.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                The McIlrath Minions are relentless in their devotion, that’s for sure. Very typical of most cults. 🙂

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      And you know we have great assistant coaches based on what exactly? What says that Beukeboom is a “great” assistant coach? The fact that he won Cups as a player decades ago?

      Beuke may very well be the guy who’s shown the door here when all is said and done.

      As for Messier, it’s a fantasy. If was serious about coaching, he’d be doing it. Just because he was the greatest captain of all time does NOT mean he would be a great coach. It’s just grasping at straws to reaassmble the old ’94 crew. It would likely fail miserably. I’d say zero chance Gorton would go for that. Imagine being the guy to tell Messier one day,”You’re fired”?

      Messier also strikes me as the kind of guy that would not work easily with a GM. He needs to be THE guy.

      He’d inspire the team for sure. X’s and O’s? He hasn’t been a part of this game in a long time, and the game has changed. Would likely be a nightmare.

      • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

        “Beuke may very well be the guy who’s shown the door here when all is said and done.”

        Yeah, I have a bad feeling that might happen. SO much easier to fire him than actually address any real issues on the D…

        Also, unless Messier had an excellent trade or five in mind…. I don’t know if he (despite Alien Bingo being from another planet) gets the job done either. Kind of unfair to assume he would.

        Can’t fix indifferent I guess.

      • Mikeyyy says:

        . Beuk is a good coach because for four years he was coaching them in the A. All our prospects got better playing in Hartford under the coaches there. Beuk was one of their coaches.

        Mess would be better than av. At least he would command the respect of the players and they might show up for 60 minutes.

        Cause obviously AV can’t do it. Nor could torts.

        And actually av is following his same downward trend he did in Van.

        My opinion is mess would help. Much more than av is doing.

  17. joe cafardo says:

    This guy has to go as head coach,. Its just not going to change. He is who is….his record is what it is. The evidence is clear: Outcoached by Boucher; Outcoached against Tampa…and its the same thing when he was in Vancouver: Complacent in the big moments; bailed out time in and time out by a great goal tender ( Luongo); Never committed to young players or their development and otherwise simply a good regular season guy who can’t get it done. He chews gum while we chew our fingers off.
    http://vancouversun.com/news/community-blogs/why-canuck-coach-alain-vigneault-deserved-to-be-fired

  18. roadrider says:

    The reason why this series loss hurts more than most others in the past (excluding a few, of course) is because the Rangers were the better team.

    Really? By what measure? Regular season points?

    I don’t know how you can say that the Rangers were the “better” team when they choked on two leads with < 4 minutes to go (one of them by 2 goals) and then failed to even show up for the first two periods in an elimination game – although some credit clearly goes to Ottawa for how they were able to force their game on the Rangers in their own building. With the exceptions of Games 3 and 4 Ottawa played with more passion and urgency and took advantage of the Rangers' mistakes to come back from late game leads. The Rangers had pretty much the same opportunities in Games 1 and 6 and didn't get it done. The 4-minute PP last night was a perfect example. Oh, sorry, I forgot .. you can win the Cup with a shitty PP.

    I can agree that the coach made some highly questionable deployment choices that were a factor in the Game 2 debacle – but far from the only factor. And Ottawa still had to score those goals – its not like the Rangers shot the puck into their own net (OK, they kind of did on the tying goal in Game 5). Furthermore, the Rangers played very sloppy hockey in both Games 2 and 5, coughing up leads almost as soon as they got them. That’s not all on the coach.

    I don’t care how many minutes the Rangers’ had the lead as opposed to Ottawa. It only matters who is leading at the final buzzer. I don’t care how many Corsi or Fenwick points or what have you the Rangers may have piled up. Those don’t count on the scoreboard.

    The simple fact is that many of the Rangers’ key players had sub par or even atrocious performances against Ottawa and they got exactly what they deserved. Sure they had some bad luck but bad luck is something good teams overcome not whine about. Sure the coaching staff made some blunders but there’s no guarantee that even if Skjei and Smith had played in the last 5 minutes of Games 2 and 5 that the outcome would have been any different. That pair were pretty bad last night.

    Ottawa won this series fair and square. They were the better team and deserved to win. The Rangers didn’t get it done – deal with it. They had every opportunity but spit the bit when it mattered most. Ottawa didn’t. That’s why they’ll be moving on and the Rangers will be playing golf.

  19. Rangers Rock says:

    I know what’s wrong with Hayes. During the playoffs in his first year, he got hammered by someone. I swear he has not been the same since. He is afraid to be checked.

  20. James says:

    And their experienced goalie…?

  21. craig says:

    Hey all,
    In the beginning of the year, many said, the Rangers wouldn’t make the playoffs. We got over 100 points, and advanced to the second round. It was a year somewhat beyond expectations. Next year hopefully some changes for the better and our young players maturing. Besides, the Rangers being eliminated saved us the aggravation of getting our heads handed to us in the next round. Everyone have a blessed summer!

  22. Chris F says:

    Hey, it could be worse, we could be Caps fans.

  23. supermaz says:

    Excellent article. I agree on every point.