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.


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.


My strong preference is for Vigneault.  He brings a pedigree and a track record of success, which I believe it key for a team who fancies itself a contender.  He has shown a propensity for thinking outside the box from a systems perspective and his teams have shown all sorts of offensive creativity.  He essentially had to win 4 out of 4 home games in the Finals in 2011, since Roberto Luongo had an allergy to stopping the puck in Boston.

If AV cannot be had, I think I would go with Ken Gernander.  He knows the org and the current core very well and is a more player-friendly personality than Torts was.  For that reason I would instantly eliminate Lindy Ruff and Ron Wilson from the conversation.


It has to be Vigneault, for many of the reasons mentioned in this great post by Canucks Army.  The Rangers are a team that has to win now and Alain is the only available guy with recent NHL success of any magnitude.  I’m encouraged by his willingness to embrace modern tactics and advanced data, but I’m probably more excited by his track record of both getting the most out of his star players and finding them strong complimentary linemates.

Another positive for me: the Roberto Luongo/Cory Schneider controversy has been a major distraction for years, but I think Vigneault has handled the situation about as well as you could hope for.  Finally, I just think all the other candidates have fatal flaws.  I’m not in favour of handing over the reins of a Cup contender to guys without NHL experience like Ken Gernander, Dallas Eakins, Mike Eaves and Jeff Beukeboom.  Lindy Ruff hasn’t had much success in recent years either.

Dave Tippett would be my second choice, but I don’t like the idea of having to wait until the end of June for him with no promises while everyone else gets snapped up; the Rangers can’t afford to take that risk.


I’m not as much of an X’s or O’s guy as guys like the Suit, and we’ve heard in the media about how apparently modern NHL coaches need to be more personality managers than the chalkboard stars of yesteryear. If coupled with a veteran NHL coach – to offer the right blend – I’d have no qualms in thinking outside the box with a guy like Mark Messier.

The more I thought about it the less I panicked about Messier’s lack of experience. As a soccer fan – where ego management is the greatest challenge of any modern coach – I have seen great players become great coaches; the individual’s skill set is more important than the clichéd failings of great players not making it in the coaching fraternity. Mark Messier commands respect, he wouldn’t accept less than 100% and if the the greatest leader hockey has ever seen cannot inspire an extra 10% out of these Rangers are we not in trouble anyway?

Aside from outside the box thinking (aka Rangers number 11) I’d be happy with Alain Vigneault as an option because he brings the impressive track record and should have plenty of motivation to prove the Canucks wrong. Should Gillis have gone instead of Vigneault? After all, it was Gillis who couldn’t settle the protracted mess that was the Canucks goalie situation.

In a perfect world Glen Sather will make a phone call to Detroit and entice Mike Babcock to the Rangers but unfortunately that isn’t happening.

The Suit:

My vote is for Jeff Beukeboom for three main reasons. He knows what it takes to win here. He has experience coaching but isn’t some other org’s cast off and I think he can be the right mix off tough love and support for his players. Plus it helps he has coached a few of our kids.

If the Rangers hire someone who is just gonna come in here and play nice with the players, we are doomed. We need someone who is going to hold guys accountable without tossing them under the bus to the media.

How Glen Sather deals with the Rangers head coaching job promises to change the Rangers significantly down the road. With both internal and external candidates both proven and unproven, the fallout from Sather’s next major decision will be significant. 

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  • The more and more I think about it, the more I think Messier may land this job. It just has that feeling that that is the direction Sather will go.

    I’m not even sure how I feel about this either.

  • Chris, I’m with ya… If Mess and an X’s and O’s assistant cant get these guys going then we got some serious problems houston.

    • That’s the only thing keeping the idea of Mess being coach from a good one. The X’s and O’s of it. What would he use? I’m starting to like Boucher more. Since he was in the Eastern Finals he hasn’t had a goalie or a Blue Line. The 1-3-1 he uses was great. Once you get a lead it becomes a Trap. So he just moves guys back but it’s the same system. Less miscues during line changes. The Rangers have great skating Defenseman to back check from the offensive zone. Hank might not get a Vezina but the Rangers will win with Boucher. He also knows how to use the top offensive talent. Stamkos and St Louis had great years. Nash will under Boucher.

      • The trap almost ruined hockey when the devils won with it! It’s boring and the game suffers. I don’t want a trap guy no matter what. I rather watch the Rangers lose than watch them win with boring slow trap hockey! It is just not fun!

        • Not so!! The Trap with the the RED line almost ruin Hockey (2 line pass) and the Devils were the best at it, and not the only one who used it. The Red Wings used it to help sit on a lead among other teams that also used it. The 1-3-1 is good to use, but not all the time, and Boucher didn’t always deploy it. He used it to throw the opponent off their game. A coach who can get the players on broad with it to use at the right time will be very successful, especially now that the Red Line rule is gone.

      • Boucher never had a McDonough or a Moore to play the back one in the 1-3-1. He never had a Hank either. No doubt that system could work with our personnel.

        More neutral zone turnovers for us would also lead to more offense, and less dump-ins.

  • Messier would be the Kreider of coaches. We don’t have time for his learning. It’s got to be Alain Vigneault.

  • The reasons for bringing in Vigneault aren’t very compelling for me. He had a lot of good players in Vancouver & he didn’t win when it counted. Messier is definitely the man for the job here. It’s a team game and Mess knows how to get players playing for the team & not themselves. He was also the proponent of the high risk-high reward play from time to time and if it backfires he won’;t bench the mistake maker. He’ll make players accountable and he’ll be balanced in his emotions-winning or losing. This team will be more relaxed under his leadership and frankly do you not think that he knows how to run a practice? Being a motivator and steady hand at the keel is more important than experience at this stage. Frankly, I have no fears about his coaching ability at all.

  • Mess was a wonderful captain, as was Gretz, but coach, I think not!

    AV should be the man, if not him then Gernander or Beuke, but no way Jose do we go with Mess!! We all love the man, let him learn the job first, be an assistant, and then after he mastered the skill, give him the team. I have one question, why hand a team over to him, has he earned it??? Just think this thru, again with your brain, and not your hearts.

    • AV.yes, but Gernander absolutely positively no!!Look at his playoff record with all those talented Rangers players in Hartford. It is Bismal!! No Gernander! Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I don’t want Ruff. It would be the same thing; defense oriented at the expense of any offensive creativity. I don’t know much about Vigneault, but I am leery of a Western coach mindset; would be an adjustment period for him to adapt to a more physical Eastern style. I don’t think Beuk has proven anything a a coach yet; and I don’t think Eakins is a big enuf name for NY. I still feel that Sather is going to give the keys to Mess. I think he will surround him with some proven NHL assistants, and go from there. It could be a disaster of epic proportions; or it could be the move,for 1 least, that propels this team to the Finals. I still believe that if it is going to happen, the Captain will be named THE COACH on June 14!!!!

  • There are different kinds of good coaches. Tortorella is among the best: they can make changes on the fly in a game and between games. Renney is a teacher and he’s good for forging a team but he can’t adjust fast enough to actually win something. What is Messier? A pig in a poke. Next year will be a tough division and there is no guarantee the Rangers can make the playoffs let alone win the cup. The Rangers of today lack the depth for a cup run. Look at the final four: they have NHLers in their prime at F and D in reserve. We had to go to AHLers and a D on his last legs. Last year we got lucky with Kreider. It’s amazing that with the expensive stars the Pens have they can bring in Iginla, Morrow, Jokinen, and Murray. But that’s what we are up against. I’d prefer Boucher and let him grow with the team since no one has picked up on Nolan.

  • Does Tony Granato deserve some consideration? AC on a successful team, has HC experience and some Rangers DNA.

  • Mess with a veteran assistant. If your on the ice and see that guy behind the bench you play hard with confidence. With a veteran guy next to him to lean on and better treatment of some talented youngsters, Rangers are on the right track.

  • Not being a patient man or a professional hockey player with a successful resume, Tortorella stubbornly attempts to force players to play his system without the nuances required to recognize those players that need positive reinforcement. Messier is the type of motivational leader that a team with this type of unused potential needs. Surround him with a X’s and O’s assistant, and we’ve got a guy that doesn’t force round players through square hoops like Torts. I was BEYOND tired of his act – Avery was absolutely right, and guys like Kreider were the victims, as well as the fans.

  • Messier with beuk running the defense pk. Gretzky running the forwards and pp

    Allaire well he will never go anywhere.


    • Definitely! Mess with the Great One and Beuk. Why? Because Messier knows the organization and these young players look up to him. Gretzky was a head man in Phoenix and would do wonders with the PP. Beuk has been coaching and worked with AHL guys this year. Could be big with up and comers like McIlrath. If Gretz says no, I go with Gernander here. I might actually prefer him over Gretz because he coached all of the “Kids”. Either way I think we win! PS – If Gernander comes, offer the AHL job to Sullivan. I understand he was well respected by the players.

  • Obniously Alain has THEE experience, he came AWFULLY close during his tenure with the Canucks, my 2nd choice, definately MESSIER / GRETKZY / would make a GREAT TEAM !!!! Go Rangers GO !!!

  • Dave Tippet – no question. This guy has was given a disaster and took them to the post-season 4 times, with a trip to the west finals. Sound like a certain East team we all love? Let’s face it – the Rangers don’t have the same consistent talent level that other teams do. They win on grit, the PK and shot-blocking, and King Henrik standing on his head every night. Tippet is the due for a step up to the big time!

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