Jan
08

Midseason Report Card: The coaches

January 8, 2018, by
alain vigneault

Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

Note: West coast games stink. I was asleep long before the game ended. I figure this post will suffice, given the bizarre roster choices made last night.

The Rangers have hit the midseason point of the year, and have a perfectly timed bye week to celebrate. I say it is perfectly times because it gives us a chance to do all the report cards before the Rangers play another game. Rob did the top-six forwards on Saturday, and it’s my turn to cover coaching.

The Rangers have four key coaches: Scott Arniel (powerplay/forwards), Lindy Ruff (PK/defense), Benoit Allaire (goalies), and Alain Vigneault (head honcho and decision maker). I promise to be as impartial as possible.

Scott Arniel – Arniel has had it relatively easy lately. He’s flown under the radar, since the forwards are very good and skilled. He’s been more on the radar of late, as injuries have somewhat crippled the forward depth. The main gripe I have with the way the forwards play is that they are focused on quality shots to a fault. They sometimes pass up on prime chances to get that super-prime chance, and that extra pass doesn’t always work. I wish they’d get more quantity. The powerplay was really clicking for a while, but has slid to 18.8% (17th) due to key injuries to Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. I want to give him a B+, but the PP slide and quantity of shots hurt. Grade: B.

Benoit Allaire – Allaire is a magician, there is no other way of putting it. He doesn’t have to do much with Henrik Lundqvist, but he’s had the difficult job of turning Ondrej Pavelec into a capable backup. So far, he seems to have done the job. Pavelec had a rough start, but has been stellar in the past three games. His .924 SV% likely will dip to something more realistic, but either way, he’s shown he can spell Hank for a night or two. That’s all on Allaire. Grade: A.

Lindy Ruff – Ruff was a weird hire. Many thought he was brought in to put pressure on AV, but that was not the case. Ruff is a bit of a tougher personality, but runs the same hybrid zone/man system in the defensive zone that AV runs. He was brought in because of his similarity with the system. I’m unsure if the pairings fall on him or AV, so I will defer to the boss on those. In terms of system execution, he’s simply not getting enough out of the team. They’ve cut down on backdoor plays, but still hemorrhage quality attempts. This is not a good defensive team. Goaltending is masking their issues, yet again. On the bright side, the penalty kill is significantly better this year (6th in the league). I’ll take that as a win. Grade: C, would’ve been a D if not for the PK success.

Alain Vigneault – Oh boy, where to begin. In the end, all decisions run through AV. Starting with the systems, we all know that it’s his defensive zone system, and we all know the faults by now. The system is great at transitioning to high quality chances for, but they give up so many chances against, the system has basically morphed into “score a ton and hope Hank makes the save.” That is not viable for future success.

The biggest gripe people have seems to be with personnel decisions. I think it would be unfair to judge him based on guys who should or shouldn’t be on the roster, so let’s stick with judging his lineup decisions based on who is currently on the NHL roster. There are two huge flaws here: Pavel Buchnevich and Kevin Shattenkirk.

Buch is a top-six forward, and should be given such ice time. His in-game demotions are infuriating, as are his demotions to the fourth line for weeks at a time. He is third on the team in goals and points, and yet was a healthy scratch last night. I just don’t get it.

Shatty, according to the coach, is a “work in progress.” I get that he isn’t the best in his own end, and that is a legitimate criticism of his game, but tell that to Ken Hitchcock, who got a ton out of the 28-year-old before he was traded to Washington. It’s a coach’s job to get the most out of a player, and calling one of the elite puck movers a “work in progress” is amazingly short-sighted and can be considered shallow.

One of my own personal issues with AV is his lack of consistent accountability. Rookies can’t make mistakes. Offensively minded players can’t make mistakes. But the minute you’re in his Circle Of TrustTM, then you can do no wrong. Just look at Nick Holden. It isn’t too much to ask when we want consistent accountability. It’s part of the job description.

All these criticisms said, AV is still very good at getting offense from his teams. Sure, we want more attempts, but it’s tough to argue when the quality chances keep coming year in and year out. At some point, that isn’t a fluke. For all his faults, AV is still very good at getting his teams to put up goals. The Rangers keep winning, which I find to be fascinating. The process is terrible, but the wins are there. The biggest question is always about how this translates to the playoffs, though.

Grade: C-.

 

"Midseason Report Card: The coaches", 3 out of 5 based on 7 ratings.
Categories : Coaching

72 comments

  1. Richter1994 says:

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Scratching Buch and Smith and allowing Staal, Holden, DD, and Carey to play?

    This guy can’t be fired fast enough. How many games do the Rangers NOT play a 60 minute game before it’s HIS fault?

    Just once, I would love for our coach to say “it was my fault.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard those words come out of his mouth.

    I’m totally done with this guy. I think he’s trying to get fired. I wonder how many players are tired of his “messages.”

  2. Richter1994 says:

    Lettieri: 3 games, 8 SOG (shots on goal, NOT attempts, which are slightly higher), 1G, 1A

    Carey starts the game in the top 6 and gets 8 minutes playing time while Lettieri gets close to 14 minutes. So by AV’s own admission Lettieri should be in the line up over Carey.

    • Walt says:

      Sorry my friend, you’re barking up the wrong tree, AV has 9 lives, and will be around for a while. He must have some big time compromising photos of JG, or Dolan himself? This coming from a huge critic!!!!!

      • Richter1994 says:

        I agree bro. You know he can be a good coach but he lets his assinine ego and stubbornness get in the way.

        I mean these line ups are nuts sometimes.

        I really wonder how this team plays under another coach. Out shot another game. I think it happens about 80 to 85% of the games.

      • Lace says:

        We don’t know that Walt. Gorton is the man now and I’m sure he is just dying to hire his own coach. As the post said the other day, so Gorton can make this team his own.
        Coaches have a shelf life. Sather admitted that when AV was hired. This is his 5th season now and although the Rangers have made the playoffs all 5 seasons, they have gone in the wrong direction since his hire.
        I think Gorton is leaving AV in office thru this seasons’ end and It’s cup or new job for AV now.

        • Walt says:

          Lace

          Let’s hope your right, I’m so tired of his bull crap that it hurts!!!!

  3. James Carr says:

    You can’t be impartial when it comes to the coach, you actually used the word personal in your “impartial” review

    • Richter1994 says:

      This is a blog, not the New York Times.

      And there is no media source that does not have an agenda and if you think there is then it is only because you agree with what they’re saying.

      My dad, God rest his soul, thought Fox News was “the truth” only because he agreed with everything they said.

      But if you disagree with Dave’s assessment of the coach then please share and please do not point to regular season wins as “the proof.” AV had great teams in Vancouver and had/has 2 of the best goalies in this era in Luongo and Lundqvist.

      • Odielishous says:

        So nhl guru…how does one quantify if he is a good coach or not? (if obviously you can’t use wins and losses)

        Honestly I like to hear how you assess a coach’s value, please enlighten us all!

        • Richter1994 says:

          Glad you asked!!

          #1) Does the coach put the players and the team in the best position to win?

          #2) Do they play hard for him? And buy in?

          #1) No way
          #2) The goalies he’s had have had a lot to do with his wins.

          Did you know that having Lundqvist instead of an average NHL goalie accounts for over a goal per game difference? With all the one goal NHL that accounts for a lot of wins that they would not have gotten otherwise.

          So yes, I can back up my claims.

          • Joe says:

            “I AGREE”!! nothing more needs to be said on the subject..
            WELL DONE

            • Joe says:

              Whoever gave a thumbs down on this, how can you justify it..
              1. Does the coach write up the lineup card before the game?
              answer: YES
              Does he put players and team in best position.
              Answer: NO
              See last night, Smith,Buch out – Kampfer in…as a small sample..
              2.Do they play hard, and play the system, and go through the wall for him.
              Answer: Hell no
              3. If it weren’t for Lundgvist,Talbot,etc last few years where would we be..
              4. Were winning in spite of the coach, not because of his brilliant decisions.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Thanks Joe. Everyone has an opinion to be sure and we respect those opinions.

                But I don’t see it, lol.

              • Walt says:

                Richter & Joe

                Respect has been earned with your posts!!!!

              • upstatetom says:

                need to give kampfer a break, not sure he’s any worse than holden, smith & sometimes staal. and someone needs to tell our damn captain to shoot !!!

  4. Gary says:

    For 1.5 years now this team has had a chronic habit of coming out lame in the 1st period. Somebody’s either not getting a message across or somebody is tuning it out. This is not a contending team and for the good of next year and beyond I hope they sell Nash & Grabs (two players I like a lot) at the deadline and fire the coach at the same time. Reset and contend.

  5. Odielishous says:

    I hear everyone wants to get rid of AV. Buch not playing 16 to 20 minutes a game is a horrible. But this discussion started the last time the rangers were in Vegas. Everyone came to the same conclusion…Who is going to replace him?

    NOBODY.

    No one out there is any good or has any nhl experience. Yeah hire Messier and lets see just how good this team of winners does! Look at Rich tocchet and Phil Housley. Newest Coaches in the league and boy they are doing just great! Cant wait for them to come coach the rangers. Babcock didn’t get the money he got cause everyone is the same skill level in coaching. And in just 2 years he has a team with probably less talent then Arizona or buffalo doing better then both of them combined. Toronto has 25 wins and those teams have 20 wins combined.

    • John B says:

      “Who is going to replace him?

      NOBODY.”

      I didn’t realize Alain Vigneault was the last human being on Earth….

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Ok—a lot of stupid in your post here, let’s address it:

      1. There are plenty of people available to replace Vigneault. My first choice has been Dave Tippett, since the end of last season. Given that NHL turnover annually runs into 6-7 coaches being replaced, there are lots of options to select a coach who has won the same amount of nothing that Vigneault has in his coaching career. Dave Tippett is a former Jack Adams award winner. (That’s the coach of the year award, by the way.)

      2. Gerard Gallant is doing damn well for any NHL coach, let alone a new coach in a new job. Citing Rick Tocchet as a cautionary “don’t fire Vigneault” example can easily be countered by that. Bruce Cassidy in Boston is also doing well as a relatively new coach too. Doug Weight has reinvigorated the Islanders. So mentioning a clown like Tocchet is meaningless, it has no bearing on the Rangers’ current coaching mess.

      3. Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Andersson—any chance that actually playing young talent a lot, in important situations, might have something to do with Babcock’s success in Toronto? Not to mention they acquired an actual NHL goaltender after years of subpar play at the position. Whereas with Vigneault, Auston Matthews would likely be benched for Desharnais or Carey if AV had him on the Rangers.

      4. Moving back to your last assertion—Arizona & Buffalo “have more talent” than Toronto? That’s a joke. A joke. Matthews, Nylander, & Marner alone have more talent than any players on Arizona, and only Eichel on Buffalo would qualify.

      5. Make no mistake—the Rangers are a team on the verge of imploding. You can’t replace Kreider with Carey, or Hayes with Desharnais. Without the phenomenal play of Lundqvist and Pavelec, the Rangers would be well out of the playoff race by now. Play Buchnevich, damnit!!!

      • Walt says:

        MC

        Your the man!!!!!!!

      • upstatetom says:

        buch needs the right type of player to play with, rangers haven’t found that combo yet. maybe chytil or andersson, hopefully.

        • Richter1994 says:

          I mean not knowing that Buch needs skilled linemates tells me one of 2 things:

          Either AV is worse than we thought or AV has a “thing” for Buch (in a bad way) and is screwing with him.

          When Kreider was healthy, the coach broke up the KZB line, the only one that was consistently good. Anyone know why? Anyone?

          • Walt says:

            tinker time, that’s why!!!!! Head games with the kid? I suspect so, just a gut feeling……………

            • Richter1994 says:

              What gets me is the coach wants to send a “message.” But why is it the same players over and over again?

              The Rangers play a game that is a complete sh-tshow and he picks on the same players to take a seat.

              Wash, rinse, spin.

    • Gary says:

      Nobody knew who the Bruins’ new coach was last year. He immediately changed the system to up tempo, lived with the kids’ mistakes (but held them accountable at the same time) and this year had to depend on them through a big injury stretch to key players. Now the team is on all cylinders.

      • Gary says:

        And BTW, Cassidy replaced Julien, who punked AV in the cup finals w/ Vancouver. And Julien is a dinosaur. What does that make AV?

      • Joe says:

        I agree with you 100%, that’s why I said fire AV, and replace him with Sheldon Keefe from the Marlies.. He’s a young and up and coming coach, that I heard is great at teaching and coaching and can relate to today’s game..
        Something that we need, because the players have tuned AV out.

        • Richter1994 says:

          Yeah, I mean just because we don’t have the replacement’s name at or fingertips doesn’t mean that there isn’t one.

  6. Joe says:

    First off, all the coaches would be getting a D to an F.. With the exception of Allaire who get the A,,,because it looks like Pevalec is turning it around under him and Lundqvist..
    As for Vigneault his decisions are outrights asinine.. every year the team is worse under his watch. (Unprepared at start of games, never put in a full 60 minute effort, no accountability on certain players, other have tuned him out, no adjustments on the fly and his biggest fault NEVER takes the blame).
    If this is truly Gorton’s team, take away AV’S toys so he can’t use them anymore (Holden,Staal,Carey,Deharnais) use some combo without trades of DeAngelo ,Pionk,Graves for the D, keep up Letteiri maybe even Holland.
    And if your looking to a new voice in the room, instead of the usual retreads,, how about Sheldon Keefe of the Toronto Marlies he’s young and good working with kids and accountability on the ice from what iv’e heard.

  7. Eduardo!Eduardo!Eduardo! says:

    I think the main reason the team has went the wrong direction is we moved a lot of the players that made up the core of the team that went to the finals and conference finals. I know certain moves had to happen but as I watch this team every night I know we don’t have any special players that are difference makers. You can cry all you want about AV but I don’t think there’s an available coach out there that’s gonna take these same players further

    • Gus says:

      Av is a cancer to this team right now. There are other glaring personnel issues but nothing will change until he is gone. After about twenty years of watching most games I’m done until he’s out. I Can not believe he is still coaching this team.

  8. roadrider says:

    Arniel (C-): The PP has regressed again and a big part of it is the time-wasting and usually ineffective zone entries that I’m pretty sure he designs. They’re also back to not maintaining pressure on the opposition’s PK by keeping the puck in the zone and limiting shift changes by the PK. Part of this is on the players otherwise I’d give him a D

    Ruff: Yeah, the D is a mess most nights and part of it is the system so I agree with Dave’s C

    The Goalie Whisperer: A+

    AV: I also agree with Dave’s C- but with different reasoning. The bad starts to games I put on his shoulders (mostly, the players are partly to blame too). I don’t actually disagree that much with how Buch and Shattenkirk have been handled. Buch is too passive without the puck and kind of lost in the defensive zone. That said, he has been jerked around a little too much. Shattenkirk has been terrible lately and part of the PP regressing is on him since that’s what he was brought here for. I also don’t think the Rangers’ forwards are as skilled as Dave does. There’s no legitimate sniper among them (Zib is the closest and Buch may develop into one) and the offensive output lately has been putrid. Is part of that on AV? Sure. But its also a function of the skill level and performance of the players. I think that AV is getting as much out of them as he can.

    I know many people on this blog blame AV for everything and think that another coach would magically turn the Rangers into a more legitimate Stanley Cup contender. I think that’s delusional. A coaching change and some different personnel/deployment decisions might give an initial spark and improve the team around the margins but I don’t think the results would be radically different than what we’ll get with AV. The team is too flawed and limited. There probably is some unlocked potential but not enough to make a huge difference,

    Given the choice of a coaching change and another top-six center I would choose the latter. Same goes for a real sniper or another solid right-hand D (and not by subtracting McDonagh or Skjei).

    • Richter1994 says:

      Doing the same wrong things over and over will not make it right.

      AV had his chance, time to move on because they’re not winning the Cup with him as coach.

  9. Crankie says:

    AV has got to go NOW. His lineup decision for last night’s game should be the final act of an incompetent coach. Playing Kamper over Smith, OMG. Holden and Staal should be sitting in the bleachers, we need to bring up some of the defensive talent from the minors. Don’t we have someone better to play over Carey?

    • roadrider says:

      Playing Kamper over Smith, OMG

      Huh? Smith has not been good this year. What’s wrong with giving Kampfer a game before the bye week after sitting for 16 straight games? He is needed in case of injuries you know. And how do you know Smith didn’t need a game off?

      Holden and Staal should be sitting in the bleachers

      And replace by who?? Do you think we have Bobby Orr, Brian Leetch or Paul Coffey sitting around waiting to be activated?

      Don’t we have someone better to play over Carey

      Actually, for that role, no, we don’t. Carey has been fine as a 4th line winger.

      • Mancunian Candidate says:

        Nice italics. Really makes your stuff stand out.

        • roadrider says:

          Mea culpa – I forgot to close a tag or mis-typed it. You should really take break you don’t have to be such hyper-judgmental prick 24 x 7 you know. Overwork is killer.

          • Mancunian Candidate says:

            Got it—it’s ok for you to toss out the dismissive snark and insult the blog’s writing staff, but nobody else is allowed to. Got it.

      • Spozo says:

        The same people that whine about the lineup decisions last night will whine about AV playing someone too many games later in the season. Ya know the same people that call for a rotation of players to keep them fresh.

  10. Jerry says:

    By AV’s own admission, he “leaves the room to the players”. In my opinion that only works when there is very strong player personalities. This team lacks those strong player personalities. So when the team consistently comes out unprepared, flat, it seems obvious to me the past and current, ‘leaving the locker room to the players’ isn’t quite working.

    I happen to like what Andersson did at the World Juniors. He showed just participating isn’t good enough for him. PASSION, desire, drive to win it all is something we really lack. Forceful player personalities are desperately needed.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the team you have witnessed over the first half of the season are the New York Rangers.
    If you’re happy with the status quo, maybe making the playoffs and if we do make them, a first or second round exit. Then my plan for the future will not work.

    I am not hedging as lots of us do here; if this happens then we should do that, BS.

    I say Jeff needs to be really bold here.

    Trade:
    Nash a UFA
    Grabner a UFA
    Zucc
    McD
    All before the trade date deadline.
    Trade them for some combination of: Picks in a VERY strong draft, prospects and maybe even a young talented player.

    Jeff, change the current Ranger culture which isn’t good enough to bring home the big prize, which is afterall the ONLY thing we are playing for.

  11. Spozo says:

    I say just fire the guy and get it over with just so they can get someone else in here to alleviate everyone’s bitchingg and moaning. Does anyone remember this blog when Tortorella was the coach? Literally every comments section was just like it is now. The coach is awful. He’s the problem and he needs to go. So when he was eventually let go (like every coach is) everyone was ecstatic about getting AV. Well he didn’t deliver a cup either so now we are back in the same place. It’s all the coaches fault. He’s an idiot and literally ANYONE would be a better coach especially the Czech Junior coach!!!!!

    So then we will have a new coach and unless this roster gets a serious overhaul (superstar talent please) we will be in the same situation in a couple years. A bunch of good players that need to be better than the sum of their parts and play perfect to have success. I give it about 2 years until that coach is blasted daily like the last 2 have been. But that will be 2 years that I won’t have to listen to this constant whining and complaining about every minuscule little thing that happens and is obviously the coaches fault.

  12. Leatherneck says:

    I was at the game last night, his line changes were bewildering as were the line up changes….2nd goal I told my nephew immediately it was due to a very bad line change by zibby…..these are coaching issues
    2nd this team shows no emotion….been saying this for a long time….how many watched the Phoenix game on MSG, in between perods what was Doogie saying? No Passion, no hitting, no response….quote “you have to get angry”…that’s a coaching issue
    Time to let AV go has been long overdue

    • Odielishous says:

      coaching aside…what can anyone do when you are down to 2 natural centers and you are playing fill in the blank at 50mph. Losing hayes while starting 7 D is hard for any coach to manage or player.

  13. Odielishous says:

    1.) Tippett is a clown himself …who just cause he won a Jack Adams award once doesn’t make him a good coach. You know who else has won 2 of those? You guessed it…Torts. So good point smart guy. How is making to the conference finals 1 time in your whole coaching career better then 2 stanley cup finals? That means AV has won more conference finals then tippet by 200%.

    2.) Gallant is a hell of a coach…but guess what he is on another team and no way in hell is he new at this coaching thing. So where are we getting Gallant from? Are we now trading NHL coaches at the deadline? And him coaching a new team that was completely designed to a T doesn’t make it necessarily a hard job to do well. You labeling the one success story amid 5 burning at the stake coaches is proof to my point. And please Weight is surrounded by absolute elite talent every time he gets on that bench. Want to understand why Edmonton went from a contender to a pretender just ask Eberle. Watch Barzal play …the kid is amazing. Calder trophy all the way. (psss…that is canadian for rookie of the year)

    3.) Dont understand how you got Toronto mixed up. Babcock is a amazing coach and deserves every last dime. Those 4 are it though. Not much in the talent department besides those 4. I have anderson on my fantasy team for the last 2 years and am well aware of how good he is. Arizona has Domi, Keller(Another Calder trophy Contender), Stepan, Duclair, Ekman-Larrson, Hjalmarsson,Raanta. They are very young and talented team. Florida, Carolina, Buffalo, these are all teams with a better talent pool then the rangers. yet somehow the rangers keep making the playoffs and these teams keep going no where. (But I do sincerely concede AV so would sit Matthews)

    4.) A player on a bad coached team can only accomplish so much. Proof is just take a look at Stepan’s stats this year or Raanta’s or Talbot’s. And Duclair’s rant to get traded. IMO …it is just like Ryan Leaf …you could have all the talent in the world but if the team and management dont set you up to succeed there is only so much you can do. I guarantee if Babcock signed in Arizona or Buffalo…those teams would be in the playoff hunt if not in first place.

    Does AV have his short comings? Without a single doubt in my mind. But the best piece I have read on here is replacing him with a Czech National Juniors Coach. I mean really? That is the god to honest best option? Tippet or any other coach who has been fired can stay that way. FIRED. I want the Bruce Cassidy…of the Rangers. I want someone who can see the talent pool and get management behind him. Unfortunately I am a realist. I know this organization all to well. IF AV gets fired Ruff will replace him for the rest of the year and then they will hire Rich Tocchet after he gets fired at the end of this season. Cause of the exact reason you mentioned coach of the year. Sounds familiar? Cough AV and Torts Cough.

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Your reply is pretty incoherent—I just want to make it clear that I didn’t say anything positive about Tocchet, hated him as a player, and he’s even worse as a coach. Dave Tippett is the guy I touted. I also think the Czech coach idea is ludicrous, don’t mark me as down with that plan.

      This team needs a new coach. Vigneault doesn’t care about the future, it’s time for a new voice for this team and a daily lineup based on production & skill, not on how well a player kisses the coach’s posterior.

      • Odielishous says:

        Disagree that AV doesn’t care about the future. I think people who watch a game from the stands or on a tv are idiots if they think they know more then the people who lived and played in the NHL. Not trying to suggest I have, just well aware of how much my opinion really counts. So I never critic an idea outside the norm. That is unless I am called stupid.

        The NHL is alot more complex and fluid then most on here notice. I am sure there is a ton of video in the rangers video sessions on why Buch is sitting or playing minimal minutes. We as fans are just not privileged enough to see it. I mean AV has to have some method to his madness. And to believe otherwise shows true ignorance.

        Look at the end of the day it is a job. Playing in the NHL or coaching in it. They are human beings and being such they have bad nights. And good ones also. This team is no contender as it stands. But to lay all the blame on this coach is really narrow sighted.

        If you are the coach of this team and management took away your 1c and let your 4c walk and they replace these 2 players with DD on a tryout contract.. how well are you going to do? And they take your backup goalie who was a horse for you and they let him go and give you a guy who is a NHL dropout. So what do you do in that situation? Do you play Lundquist 35 times out of 42? Do you mix and mash lines til you find a reliable center or two? Or do you just play what makes sense on paper and let the chips fall where they may?

        There is a reason AV is successful. He been around long enough to know what works. He just has never had the better team when it came to the finals. To fire him would just be a narrow minded impluse just like Torts. Amazing how the same coaches are year in and year out in the playoffs. While franchises like the Hurricanes haven’t made the playoffs in 8 yrs. Wonder why that is?

        The one trouble I have with AV is it really does seem like this team has lost it’s will to compete every night. Rangers came out so flat against Arizona and Buffalo for that matter but then last night looked like they really wanted to win and everyone was on board until Hayes got hurt. Seems like for the best teams in the league the Rangers try to prove to themselves that they can compete. They try to be the first to loose pucks, fight hard in front of the net, and rush back on defense. But for the last 4 or 5yrs I have gotten used to seeing that compete level day in and day out. Just watch Boo every shift he gets on. You can tell he is just trying. Then watch miller, tell me what you see. No way am I doggin miller. I just think he is in a really bad position.

        • Mancunian Candidate says:

          Here is what worked for AV in Vancouver—the Sedins and Luongo. Here’s what’s worked best for AV in NY—Henrik Lundqvist. And I agree that this team has tuned him out. Maybe it’s because he’s got 3 separate defenders who can carry the puck well out of the zone who aren’t allowed to do so by the system. Or maybe it’s because he’s got Buchnevich paying the price for the forwards’ collective inability to score. There could be a lot of reasons why the team & coach aren’t in sync with each other.

          • Odielishous says:

            Looking at this game from a one sided offensively oriented perspective is just not wise.

            Buch paying the price for the forwards collective inability is very narrow sighted.

            Russians’ throughout the history of the NHL have been stereo typed to be very offensively gifted but never a hard working back checker. And look a Malkin or Ovi for that matter. Offensively OVi or Malkin are as gifted as they come…Defensively they leave a lot to be desired.
            Just ask ovi how bad he wants to be in a conference final. As they have matured they obviously got better but those first couple years we played the penguins i always knew if Malkin was out there we had a real chance to score if you got the puck from him. Cause I knew his man would be wide open on the rush. Ovi scored a league leading 55 goals that one year but was a negative 50 in plus and minus.

            You are a coach you don’t sit or barely play your best point producer per minute cause you don’t like him. You sit him cause he is not making the effort defensively every shift. And even Miller is still doing this from time to time but I think AV just has no other choice but to play him.

            • Mancunian Candidate says:

              Now you’re using stereotypes to bolster your argument, and admitting it to boot. Nice work. Ovechkin has never been -50 in his career, the worst he’s ever been is -35. And Buchnevich is a good defensive player, the fact that Ovechkin doesn’t play D has no bearing on the defensive style of any other Russian player. Geez.

      • Bloomer says:

        I am with the Candidate on this one. Tippett dispite having little talent to work with, has always put a competitive team on the ice.

        Av was giving the reins of a young rising talented team in Vancouver then again in New York. He couldnt close the deal with Vancouver, they lost to Boston in the SCF. He was then defeated by the Kings in the SCF as the Rangers coach.

        Like I said when AV first arrived in Vancouver. He’s a good coach but not a great coach. No Scotty Bowman that’s for sure.

  14. Spozo says:

    I don’t feel like waiting for moderation so I apologize that this will come up twice.

    I say just fire the guy and get it over with just so they can get someone else in here to alleviate everyone’s whining and moaning. Does anyone remember this blog when Tortorella was the coach? Literally every comments section was just like it is now. The coach is awful. He’s the problem and he needs to go. So when he was eventually let go (like every coach is) everyone was ecstatic about getting AV. Well he didn’t deliver a cup either so now we are back in the same place. It’s all the coaches fault. He’s an idiot and literally ANYONE would be a better coach especially the Czech Junior coach!!!!!

    So then we will have a new coach and unless this roster gets a serious overhaul (superstar talent please) we will be in the same situation in a couple years. A bunch of good players that need to be better than the sum of their parts and play perfect to have success. I give it about 2 years until that coach is blasted daily like the last 2 have been. But that will be 2 years that I won’t have to listen to this constant whining and complaining about every minuscule little thing that happens and is obviously the coaches fault.

    • Odielishous says:

      AWESOME! WELL DONE SIR! I SALUTE YOU AND YOUR ARMY OF TROLL HATERS! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • roadrider says:

      Why bother with any actual hockey coach? Just get any one of these bloggers since they know so much more about how to run the team and the organization than the people who actually have those jobs? They’d probably work cheaper too.

  15. Resident Genius says:

    I quit!
    For the last few weeks, I have enjoyed life without putting AV down and or the AV supporters.
    I wish U all the best.

  16. doubled says:

    I for one was not a fan of the AV hire. I had seen what he had done with Vancouver after going to the finals and I did not want him as coach.

    He had the Sedins in their prime, Luongo in his prime but when the time comes, He comes up short.

  17. A sieger says:

    How is it that nobody seems to believe that if ur a bit more physical and u engage players in a fore and back check and u don’t let them stream into ur zone that perhaps this might make a diffrence? Perhaps the players would make more opportunities for themselves and would spend more time in the offensive zone rather

  18. rglv says:

    I don’r really care whose fault it is, coach, gm, players, but this team is going nowhere, and it is getting worse every year. I could practically count on one hand the times rangers were able to break out of their own zone clean, and even then the pass out of the D-zone was to a static teammate, or the one skating backward to the D-zone. And that is for the team that supposed to move puck quickly. I happened to watch Boston Pittsburgh game on NBCSN last night, and that was the real hockey game: passion, and speed and toughness. There was so much electricity in the building. Rangers don’t play that way anymore, it is like watching a slow replay. So, if this is a coach and his system, fire him. If that are players, trade everyone who has expiring contract or trade value for picks, prospects, and start over.

    • A sieger says:

      It is hard to watch. Been a season ticket holder for 8 years. If we didn’t win the cup when we lost the three over time games to the kings we ain’t winning it with this coach. Hank must b so frustrated. How come he doesnt tell them to grow a pair and start hitting. What’s the difference who u play. If there not aggressive it ain’t happening. They back up into their. One like s day or and Flanagan truck making a delivery. F them

    • A sieger says:

      It is hard to watch. Been a season ticket holder for 8 years. If we didn’t win the cup when we lost the three over time games to the kings we ain’t winning it with this coach. Hank must b so frustrated. How come he doesnt tell them to grow a pair and start hitting. What’s the difference who u play. If there not aggressive it ain’t happening. They back up into their. Zone like a raynor or and Flanagan truck making a delivery. F them

  19. John B says:

    I get the general impression from some of these comments, that there are some people here who would be ok with a doctor amputating a leg cause of a pimple on the face, because “Hey, they’re the doctor, I’m just the …..”

    • Richter1994 says:

      Vancouver: 313 wins, 233 by Luongo

      New York (through the end of last year): 192 wins, 129 by Lundqvist

      Total: 505 wins, 362 by the 2 best goalies of this era. 72% if you’re counting at home.

  20. Richter1994 says:

    Per Rotter’s blog, look at the shots 5 on 5 and the actual goals given up (Long Live Henrik):

    The Rangers enter their bye week with a record of 22-15-5 through 42 games and are in the first Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.

    The Rangers have a goal differential of plus 11, are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.

    At 5 on 5 this season the Rangers have 1,789 shot attempts for, 2,070 shot attempts allowed, 83 goals for and 78 against. (Natural Stat Trick)

    Mats Zuccarello leads the Rangers with 31 points, which is 67th in the league. Zuccarello is the only Ranger in the top 100 of NHL scorers.

    The Rangers have six scorers ranked between 100 and 200th in scoring.

    The Rangers are 18th in the league in PP percentage, 5th in PK percentage, 17th in shots for per game and 5th in shows allowed per game.

    This season, Rick Nash has 9 goals and 8 assists in 42 games:

    Kevin Hayes has 9 goals and 8 assists in 42 games
    David Desharnais has 4 goals and 15 assists in 39 games
    Jesper Fast has 7 goals and 10 assists in 34 games
    Jimmy Vesey has 9 goals and 7 assists in 42 games

    Sports Club Stats has the Rangers with a 79.6% chance of making the playoffs.

  21. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Well, I see we are “mired” in another 1 game losing streak and the blogosphere is going bananas!!!!! So comforting to see that somethings simply never change!

    All the hysteria and misinformation can’t overshadow the facts, which are….

    1) The Rangers haven’t gone pointless in two straight games since mid-November.

    2) Since then, they’ve gone 12-6-3 in their last 21 games, one of the very best records in the league during that time. They are 18-8-3 since Halloween, and of those 29 games, 13 have come against teams with more points than they currently have. Their record in those games against the best of the best— 8-3-2. They have beaten the top two teams in the the Metro, Atlantic and Pacific at least once. They’ve beaten the scorching hot Bruins twice and the red hot Caps in recent weeks.

    3) They have done all this despite dealing with injuries to McDonagh, Zibanejad, Fast, Kreider and now Hayes.

    Add it all up and what does this tell you? Not really sure, but here’s one thing it most definitely does NOT tell you—that a coaching change is in order. That’s insane, but of course, when it comes to sanity, why should anyone expect a sane and fair discussion when it comes to AV?

    The Rangers are scuffling a bit right now, no question. They are banged up, and it has affected their PP and their ability to score 5v5. Our pass happy team of overrated stars are simply not good enough to do a heck of a lot better at the moment. And McDongah nailed it yesterday—if we keep getting pedestrian performances from our Captain, from Shatty, from Mika (who finally looked like Mika at least briefly last night), from Miller, from Nash, what exactly is the coach supposed to do?

    The overreactions to Buch being benched are as hilarious and predictable as they were when people lost their minds when Miller was benched. Or Hayes. OMG!!!! The coach is sitting a struggling young “star” (even though Miller and Hayes were never stars, and probably never will be stars). No one wants to confront reality-Buch is NOT a very good player….not at the moment. He probably should have been sent to Hartford—that’s how useless he’s been in recent weeks. But it’s so much easier to blame the coach than the player. Can’t blame the player obviously, because then it ruins the whole “AV is the devil incarnate” narrative, so we can’t have that, right?

    I said this a few weeks ago, but it bears repeating. This was from a TSN article a few weeks ago.

    “But at the very least, some of (coach Babs) lineup decisions are fair game for questioning. The current flashpoint is Leo Komarov, the 30-year-old winger with just one point at even strength on the year(excluding empty netters) who nevertheless keeps getting more ice time than just about all the forwards. Meanwhile, guys like William Nylander watch from the bench. That’s going to get noticed.”

    It is patently false to say that Babs is somehow this patron saint of young players compared to AV. BTW, the same exact thing have been said this season about Weight, Hakstol, Hitch, McLelan, Q, Sully, Julien, Trotz….and those are just the ones I read about. But sure, much better to simply say ONLY AV does this.

    I SO wanted to be able to respond to Pat’s commentary the other day about the Czech coach. OMG…maybe the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever read. Was that written before or after the Czech team got smoked by first Canada and then the U.S.? And of course, the track record with international coaches making the jump to the NHL is just so stellar…I mean there’s been uh? Then uh? Wait, has their ever been anyone?

    So on the one hand, we desperately need a coaching upgrade because the head coach is killing the team. But on the other hand, we should hire someone with a resume as thin as a Slim Jim? It was amusing, I’ll say that for sure.

    Then there was MC, who has now essentially decided that we must now put an asterisk on coaching wins and losses. I mean, AV needs to throw most of his borderline HOF record back it seems because he had future HOF goalies propping him up. Perfect! Then let’s go through the whole coaching record book and purge all wins from coaches with great goalies. Or really, coaches with ANY great player. I mean, what would Coach Q have been if he hadn’t had HOFers in Chicago? Oh wait, we already know, he’d be AV….good coach who falls short come playoff time like he did in Colorado and St. Louis. Claude Julien certainly needs to throw back his one Cup, since that was done because Thomas stood on his head. So that doesn’t count. Bill Parcells certainly needs to throw back his wins when he was with the Giants. He had Lawrence Taylor. Unfair! What would he have won without Taylor? Oh wait, we already know when he left the Giants. He became AV! Should Sully send back his wins because he has two of the greatest players of all time on the same team?

    I didn’t realize having a great goaltender diminishes a coach. That’s a new one!

    This team is on track for 96 points. They are not underachieving. They are exactly where just about everyone thought they would be at this point. They are doing it despite injuries and sub par play from a lot of guys. I know some of you would be far more forgiving of AV if he would wave his arms more, throw some sticks into the stands at practice, maybe throw a water bottle at fans, take on the press, overturn a table in the locker room like Herb Brooks did in Miracle. If only our coach did more of those showy and deeply meaningful things, then that would prove to us all that he’s the man! 🙂

    For those claiming (yet again…how incredibly inaccurate and tiresome) that AV has lost the room and Gorton is chomping at the bit to replace him, sorry to say there isn’t a scintilla of evidence to support that is even remotely true. It was Gorton who decided to give AV the massive raise and extension. It was Gorton who stuck with AV despite the slow start. It was the players who, faced with seeing their season spiral out of control, who got it together and has one of the best records since Halloween. Not exactly a sign that any of those things are in play.

    Another things….we need a Junior League coach as our next coach? You mean like Dallas Eakins? Yeah, look at how well THAT worked out. Just another flavor of the month coach who was in over his head coaching in the NHL. But I forget, making the jump to the NHL, as a player or a coach, is easy according to half this blog. Anyone can do it and EVERYONE MUST be given a fair and equal chance!!!!!

    One last point. Notice who was behind the bench last night for Vegas. The supposedly clueless Coach Gallant, who was unceremoniously shown the door in Florida by an inept organization that had no idea what they were doing, imploded their team which many thought was a SC dark horse last year, and now he is in Vegas authoring one of the greatest coaching jobs of ANY coach in ANY sport EVER. Good organizations don’t do stupid things like Florida did. Firing AV now, without a legit upgrade, would be stupid. After the season, if an upgrade is available, of course you consider it. But fire him for the sake of firing him? No chance that happens this season or even IMO this summer. It’s all about upgrading, not change for change sake, which usually backfires.

    • Spozo says:

      I actually read the entire thing.

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      This is Nero fiddling as Rome burns, E3. Just going thru the last 10 games, they’ve been outshot in 7 of them. You seized on a 1-game performance against Washington as a sign that the D had turned it around—they haven’t. The same systemic issues plague this team every game. The slow starts. The overpassing. The weird distribution of ice time. We’ve seen it all before, man. Nothing changes despite the changes to the roster. That means some accountability has to fall on the coach.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        I’ve been hearing this “Nero fiddling” stuff for pretty much AV’s entire tenure here. Yet his Rangers teams, flaws and all, seem to find a way in a league that makes year in, year out success pretty hard to achieve.

        I’m not saying there aren’t reasons to be concerned. There are. If you are saying AV deserves “some” accountability, than you will get no argument from me. But worthy of firing? No. Not yet.

        This team really hasn’t been healthy at all this season. Maybe they won’t ever be this season. But Hank is having a season for the ages—maybe his best ever. I think it is worth seeing where this all goes before deciding the fate of the team or the coach. Just way too soon to bring out the torches and run AV or anyone out of town at the moment.

        • rglv says:

          These are the same narratives that we keep hearing the last 3 years, “the team is not playing great but we are winning…” Then come the playoffs. It comes down to two choices, keep making money for Mr. Dolan for one or two rounds, or make changes to put out a competitive team that can be a real contender not a pretender. My vote is for the latter.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Well since we don’t have a vote, I suspect Mr. Dolan will have the final say here.

            Also, I think you are overstating this. The last three years? Three years ago we were legit contenders until injuries wiped us out. Two years ago we got routed by the unstoppable Pens. The only playoff “disappointment” really was last year.

            I’m not disagreeing with you that the Rangers will have decisions to make at the deadline regarding which direction they should go. There’s a case to be made to sell. No doubt. But in the Metro, you can also make the case that IF the Rangers are healthy, and IF there are deals to be made that don’t seriously impact the future, that adding a piece or two could make the Rangers the team to beat in the Metro—especially given the extraordinary season Hank is having. And if it all breaks right and we are the team that comes out of the Metro, maybe the hockey gods will even the score and it will be the Bolts who get bit with the injury bug this time around. Hey, you never know.

            Tearing things down guarantees nothing except regression. Regardless of what path the Rangers choose—buyers or sellers—it should and most certainly will be based on what kind of deals are out there to be had. Is there a great deal where someone is willing to dramatically overpay and given us great future pieces for a Nash, Grabner, Zuc and/or McDonagh? If so, then Gorton will look at that. And similarly, if there’s a deal or two that allows the Rangers to upgrade their defense and/or center position, Gorton will look at that too.

            No reason at all to decide this now. There’s a lot of hockey to be played.

            • rglv says:

              Completely agree with your last sentence, and unfortunately have to agree with your first sentence. We all know which way the chips will fall.

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