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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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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.
Per Darren Dreger, the Rangers have been granted permission to talk to Dallas Eakins (Toronto Marlies head coach) and Alain Vigneault (departed Vancouver Canucks head coach) to replace the recently fired John Tortorella. These are just two names that the Rangers will be linked to over the next few weeks, and are two names we covered in scouting the potential head coach replacements.
Expect more news like this to spring up until the Rangers hire a coach.
Alain Vigneault is a front-runner to be the new coach (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press).
Whether you were a Torts fan or not, the Rangers are now without a head coach. The hunt is on for Glen Sather to find a suitable replacement, and there are a number of strong (or not so strong) candidates for him to choose from. If you are to believe the reports, then Torts lost the locker room, and that may have been the primary reason for his dismissal.
When a coaching change is made, it isn’t to just get a new style, but to get a new and different voice in the locker room. With Torts, the Rangers had a brash and outspoken coach who had an aggressive personality. His relationship with the media aside, Torts was known for using tough love to get the most out of his players. While it can be expected that the Rangers would go after a marquee name, they will likely go for a different type of person in the locker room, someone who is more of a player’s coach.
There are really four key names that stand out as front-runners for the position, and a few others that will at least have their names thrown out there:
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Per Katie Strang, John Tortorella has been fired as the head coach of the Rangers. This comes as a huge shocker, as no one here believed he would be fired, and that he was the right man for the job. Clearly the front office felt differently. Torts has been the subject of a lot of rumors, and now those rumors seem to have become truth.
Per Elliotte Friedman, Henrik Lundqvist’s comments after the season “changed everything.” It appears the organization chose Hank over Torts, and you can’t really blame them.
Per Renaud Lavoie, Alain Vigneault is a candidate for the Rangers.
AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt
Before I get started with our post-season evaluations, I just want to give some insight about myself and a bit of my background before we go down the road of critiquing people’s jobs and livelihoods. I have been accused with these posts in the past of being a pom-pom waver for the Rangers organization, specifically regarding the coaching staff. It’s an awkward balance trying to bring you all unbiased analysis, while simultaneously trying to respect the people that we cover.
I know from my own experiences how hard it is to break into the sports business. And I know it is even harder to stay here. The politics in front offices are fierce. The travel can be relentless — I know some random airport bars and bathrooms in this country better than I know my own city sometimes. The hours? Ask Mrs. Suit. Some weeks I’m lucky to see her at all. Thanks for your patience hun
You think Torts is tough on his players? You should have played for my father growing up. If I didn’t play well, my ass went right to the bench. I didn’t really understand it or realize what he was doing for me at the time, as I couldn’t have been older than 10-12 years old. Now I couldn’t be more grateful for learning a lesson in accountability. Though he never benched anybody else’s kid.
So when it comes time to share my perspective on the game at large, all of these things factor into the lens in which I write.
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