Category: Coaching

The positives and negatives of Rangers new coach Alain Vigneault

Alain it is.

Alain it is.

Every site you go to, every poll you read, most Rangers fans wanted Alain Vigneault over any other coach on the job market. Some wanted Mark Messier. A few wanted Dave Tippett. Maybe three people wanted Guy Boucher or Lindy Ruff. But for the most part, AV has been the guy from fans and media alike.

I understand the appeal. He’s the most winningest coach available (except for Torts, oddly enough). However, based on comments I’ve read on this site and on Twitter, it’s interesting how little people know about Alain Vigneault other than his win-loss record. Since the whole “Alain would have won a Cup, if it weren’t for Luongo” is pretty much the extent of anyone’s analysis, I figured today would be a good time to break down the positives and negatives of having Vigneault as our new head coach. Personally, I would have preferred an AHL coach, or maybe an assistant NHL coach, instead of the same old hat. Oh well.

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5 key questions in the wake of the Vigneault hiring

The Rangers have yet to schedule a formal announcement, but it’s all but official that Alain Vigneault will succeed John Tortorella as head coach.  The Suit will have more on the pros and cons of the hiring tomorrow, but let’s take a look at some key questions in the immediate aftermath of today’s news.

How does this affect Mark Messier’s future with the organization?

GM Glen Sather deserves credit for using his head, not his heart, in choosing Vigneault over Messier as coach.  Many surmised that Sather would be unable to reject Messier given their long history, but in the end Sather made the right decision for the team, perhaps at the expense of his relationship with The Captain.  The Fourth Period reported that Messier might join Vigneault as an assistant, but it’d be a little surprising to see Messier agree to play second fiddle to the man that was chosen over him.  Not only that, but it would be very unfair to Vigneault to have an apparent coach in waiting, beloved by the New York fanbase, looking over his shoulder.  Messier could remain in his current post as special assistant to the president and general manager, but that obviously depends on how stung he feels by Sather’s decision.  It’s possible that Messier could be so angry that he chooses to leave the franchise altogether. Read more »

Vigneault will be the Rangers next head coach

UPDATE: Pat Leonard and various other sources have confirmed that Vigneault has signed to be the Rangers next head coach.  There is no word on when a formal announcement will be made.

On the same night news surfaced that Alain Vigneault was in New York today to meet with Jimmy Dolan, news also broke that Vigneault has turned down the head coaching job in Dallas. While there hasn’t been any official word from the organization, many of the usual suspects in the media (e.g., Larry Brooks, John Shannon, Bob McKenzie, etc.) have put two and two together and are expecting Alain to take over.

I normally don’t put much stock in “hockey insiders” who aren’t in my cellphone, but McKenzie is reputable. One of the few in my opinion. If the reports are accurate, the meeting between Alain and Jimmy are likely just a formality. When this will be officially announced is uncertain, but it appears Alain could be offered the job very soon.

We’ll continue to keep everyone updated on this story. For now, it looks like the writers of this website — except for myself — may get their wish.

Oh Bylsma, what could have been…

With Vigneault in, could Messier be an option as assistant?

Image Credit: Mark Messier Project

Image Credit: Mark Messier Project

While Mark Messier has revealed he has already interviewed for the Rangers head coaching job, the likelihood all points to Alain Vigneault being awarded the job. In all honesty this would be not only the less risky option, but the right option. First time coaches rarely succeed in major markets such as New York, even if you’re a Mark Messier type character, but especially when you have little to no coaching experience.

That said, could Messier be an option for the Rangers long term? Absolutely. The Rangers could look at an alternative plan. The potential is there for Messier to be an assistant coach. He could learn the coaching side of the game while the incoming head coach could benefit from the leadership, demanding personality, and likely face-off coaching skills Messier could bring. Could Messier be groomed toward a head coaching role? The potential is there.

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Update: Pens ink Bylsma to two-year extension

Bylsma would vault to #1 on my list if he becomes available.

Bylsma would vault to #1 on my list if he becomes available.

Update: The Penguins have extended coach Dan Bylsma, so he is now eliminated from the head coaching pool.

Original Post: The Penguins were swept out of the playoffs last night, scoring just two goals against a red-hot Tuukka Rask in those four games. The Penguins were completely outmatched, despite winning the Stanley Cup on paper after the trade deadline deals. However, despite the additions of Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow, and Douglas Murray, the Penguins were no match for the Bruins.

A lot of fans in Pittsburgh are calling for coach Dan Bylsma’s head, and it’s been rumored that there is tension between the coach and management. It does baffle me a bit, since Bylsma won a Cup in 2009 and went to the Conference Finals this year. They were out in the second round in 2010, and the first round in 2011 and 2012, but that should really paint a picture about how hard it is to win a Stanley Cup. It’s not really indicative of the coaching. But hey, that’s just my opinion. Also my opinion: These Pens –as constructed– were doomed to fail and if the Pens fire Bylsma, Slats should go running to Bylsma’s front door for an interview. He’s a great fit for New York.

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List gets shorter: Dallas Eakins to take coaching vacancy in Edmonton

The Edmonton Oilers surprised a few people yesterday when they fired head coach Ralph Krueger after just one lockout shortened season. While the Oilers organization was a bit cryptic about the firing, the reason became clear a few hours after the firing. The Oilers will actually be hiring Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins, with a press conference slated for tomorrow.

Eakins was a top coaching candidate for a lot of teams with coaching vacancies, including the Rangers. It is rumored that Alain Vigneault is still the front runner for the job in New York, with names like Ken Gernander, Mark Messier, and Lindy Ruff still in the mix.

Gretzky out of running for Rangers head coach

This is a bit old, but Wayne Gretzky officially removed himself from the running for the new head coach of the Rangers. Gretzky never really appeared to be in the running to begin with, but was just “flattered” to have his name in the conversation, per Darren Dreger on TSN Radio. Gretzky was rumored to be in the running over the weekend, which drove a lot of discussion about how he would fit in after his disastrous stint in Phoenix.

The ideal hockey system for the New York Rangers

If he wants it, there are certain things he will need to do (Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images).

If he wants it, there are certain things he will need to do (Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images).

Since Tortorella’s firing last week, there’s been a lot of different coaches with different systems/philosophies linked to the Rangers head coaching position. As I said last week in my Tortorella obituary post, Sather left it open as far as what he’s looking for in his next coach. Since Glen gave fans the mushroom treatment again, I figured I would at least tell you all what I’m looking for in the next Rangers coach.

To be clear, this post is not about forecasting. I’m not reading into any beat writer rumors or any of the supposed “scoop” that apparently every Canadian insider has on the position. Sather only reveals nuggets to the press when he wants to. In this instance, he isn’t revealing squat. So please spare me the sourced articles. Glen’s table is smaller than Dolan’s moles would like to believe.

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Who replaces Tortorella? the Blue Seat Blogs take

Who will replace the temperamental Tortorella?

Who will replace the temperamental Tortorella?

Here at Blue Seat Blogs we feel that when we bring you Rangers information, particularly our own analysis, you guys benefit from well, our differing of opinions. As a group Dave, Justin, Kevin, the Suit and myself don’t always agree and that can lead to fresh ideas and interesting perspectives. The Rangers vacant head coaching role is no different.

With news of the Rangers approaching Alain Vigneault and Dallas Eakins as they begin their search to replace John Tortorella we have varied opinions on the HC role. We thought we’d share what we think with you.

Dave:

For me, it is either Vigneault or Eakins. Vigneault has run some very offensive minded schemes in Vancouver, and his personality is the exact opposite of Torts. You don’t follow up Torts with Lindy Ruff. They are the same personality, and you will get the same result. If the Rangers are set on being more creative and less north-south, then Vigneault is their man.

Justin:

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Messier/Gretzky interested in coaching the Rangers

If you missed it yesterday, the whole Twitter/blog-o-sphere was talking about how Mark Messier was interested in coaching the Rangers, and was on Glen Sather’s short list of potential candidates. About two minutes after that was reported, Wayne Gretzky’s name was thrown out there as well. It was, well, interesting to see those names mentioned, because neither really make sense for the Rangers given their current state.

The Rangers are a team that is right in their window to win. They have the best goalie in the world, they have a young core that is entering their prime, and they have a game breaker in Rick Nash. This is a team that is constructed to win a Cup in the next few years, and they need the proper coach to do that. The proper coach does not mean someone who didn’t have success previously (Gretzky) or has not coached at any level in his career (Messier).

This is no slight to the greatest player ever and the greatest captain ever, it’s just in the professional world you need to be qualified for the job. Gretzky is more qualified than Messier, but Gretzky didn’t really do much with a Phoenix team that saw great improvements under Dave Tippet. The best players don’t necessarily make the best coaches, and it’s something that should be kept in mind as the Rangers look for a coach that will take them to a Cup.