Alain Vigneault cannot continue to be outcoached

Photo: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Photo: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, Alain Vigneault got what he thought was his dream matchup. His two remaining –Ryan McDonagh is hurt– stud defensive defensemen out against one of the best players in the world in Sidney Crosby. Then the unthinkable happened, the perfect matchup exploded in his face, allowing three even strength goals.

Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were beyond ineffective last night, which is sad because they actually did a decent job in the possession department. It’s also sad because last night’s game was just a microcosm of their respective seasons. In fact, their seasons were summed up in one well timed picture from Josh.

This right here is what we’ve been seeing all year, yet Vigneault insisted on not only creating the pair, but keeping them out there despite getting destroyed by the Crosby line. Sure, they controlled possession, which was not only surprising, but a welcome change in positive process from the duo. Yet, those three goals happened, which brings me to this rant:

Click on the tweet to read the full rant. But as great as it is to control possession and show proper process –which the Rangers did for the most part– they didn’t have full proper process. There’s more to it than controlling possession. Right now the Rangers are flunking Hockey 101, sticking your man in the zone and recognizing reads.

The Rangers need to make changes in order for this team to even have a shot against the Penguins. Those changes are going to be tough to stomach, as it involves potentially removing these two from the lineup. It stinks to say, because we all recognize everything they’ve given to the team. Not only am I an unabashed Staal lover (well documented throughout the years), I was at one point considering purchasing a Girardi jersey. Despite the criticism I lay on them, I still love what they’ve given to the team.

It’s fine for me though, since I’m a fan. A coach cannot continue to play his favorites when they can’t do the job they are tasked to do. Something needs to change. If it’s reducing their roles, so be it. If it’s sheltering them, so be it. if it’s changing the system to better suit their skills, so be it. If it comes to scratching them, so be it. I, and you, want this team to win a Cup. These are coaching decisions that AV seems unwilling to make, and the opposition is, has been, and will continue to take advantage of it.

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  • you would of thought with a third string goalie in there the rangers would of peppered more shot on him they didn’t

  • Skjei would have been literally (literally!) nailed to the bench if he’d flipped a shot into traffic then dove at the lead pass.

  • That game was so painful to watch in so many ways.

    Why does it feel like the Rangers never win games when they put up good possession numbers? Why!!!!???

    • Advance stats, like corsi, can only objectively evaluate the number of shots you attempt…it doesn’t assess the quality of shot or the individual play of players without the puck.

      • It obviously covers up the biggest issues of the game and the reason(s) we lost, but if you watched every game with only the scoring plays removed, I can’t see how you wouldn’t think we dominated last night. Fenwick was on, you just can’t tout it when the breakdowns were sooooooo breakdowny as to invalidate all the good.

        • Mister,

          Right on….Mister!

          This is why it’s not all gloom n doom for me like it seams to be with so many here today (even for my regular BSB´ers).

          We just have to tighten things up a bit in the Neutral zone, and YES, I’m positive G and Staal are STILL capable of doing so. Although, I believe that those breakdowns weren’t completely on those two, as it was more on all the 5 skaters as a unit on each breakdown.

          Again, it may sound like I’m nuts, but I truly liked what I saw from us last night, minus a few brain farts.

          • “We just have to tighten things up a bit in the Neutral zone, and YES, I’m positive G and Staal are STILL capable of doing so.”

            – Based on what? What more do you need to see other than the 2015 and 2016 seasons?

          • RFIB,

            I was responding to Daves article more so then to try and pick a fight with anyone, let alone with you out of all people.

            However, to respond to your question. I’ve been on record many, many times that our Defencemen get a lot of the blame if anything goes wrong in Rangerland

          • Woops I hit submit before I was done writing sorry :-).

            Well, aside from feeling that our D gets blamed more then they should, I absolutely have to agree with you and many other that our D stunk up the joint last night!

            However, G and Mark have been better lately and aside from G’s blunder and M.Staals inadvertent stick to Hanks eye last night, it looked to ME, they stepped up their game, as even Dave mentioned above about the “Process” in which Mark did well with possession etc.

            I gotta believe as the grizzled vets G and M.Staal are, they will be even better in their approach and execution next game going forward.

            Sorry about the bad punctuation but my phone is wigging out a bit for some reason so I rushed it.

        • All year long I have been hearing about how good this team is based on the numbers. The only number that matters is 60 which the NYR can not seem to play. I don’t care about their dominant play at times especially when you compare it to their sloppy play in those same games all year. Sitting Girardi would require management to admit his contract was a mistake – not gonna happen is my guess… Stall whatever…

          • The numbers said this team wasn’t very good this season: possession, PK %, high danger scoring chances against, goals against, etc. All below Ranger standards. They were more reliant on Lundqvist to win games this season than any in recent memory.

  • “Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were beyond ineffective last night, which is sad because they actually did a decent job in the possession department.”…I ask what is the purpose advance stats/analytics if they don’t reflect how the players actually played?

  • I would prefer taking any defenseman from the minors and subbbing him for girardi………

    girardi’s play make tanner glass look like wayne gretzky!!!!!!!!

    AV should be fired NOW, right in the middle of the playoffs!!!!!!!

    AND macilrath continues to sit………

  • I’m done with AV. And there is no way he is making a single change except for putting Hrivik and Lindberg in for JT Miller and Kevin Hayes. Partially benching Miller last night while giving Staal and Girardi a pass. what a stubborn horse’s ass. Take your nepotism and your weed-gum and go coach the devils. they are full of vets you can play without consequence and rookies you can “show a lesson to” and players in the minors that will never get a chance while you are coach.

  • Well, I think we will see a much better team performance Game 2 and, frankly, if Zatkoff has to play up to 4 games, I expect to ultimately win the series; it may be our best hope as I otherwise would not have this view. His mobility and positioning will get badly exposed going forward, I believe.

    I won’t specifically comment on other obvious issues at this time. Suffice to say, we are making too many unforced errors that have been a theme this year, and there are ways to rectify them.

  • This just in from the coach: “He’s been checked by our doctors; at this time we don’t feel that it’s anything too serious,” Vigneault said. “There’s a little bit of swelling near the eye and around the eye, so he’s going to see another specialist this afternoon and we’ll have more news tomorrow.”

    Thank goodness, but in a way I wish we didnt spill the beans on the good news. Would have preferred we strung Pittsburgh along, like they did to us with MAF.

  • Possession and winning do not hand in hand. Possession means you control the puck. Winning means u score more. Let’s try to remember the difference

  • Pretty frustrating isn’t it? This goes back to AV’s “last kick at the can” comment. The fact is he’s going to let this season go down in flames because a select few of his old stalwarts “deserve” one more shot at redemption. Not only that, one of them is taking out his own goalie. It’s a bad look.

  • I should not complain I have been watching this entire season with the sound off. So I guess it is what it is… Lets Go Rangers!

  • Biggest sign of where AV’s head is at: when Nash has the puck at his feet on the PP and goes for a change that leads to the 2 on 1 SHG, AV is pissed that Miller didn’t backcheck 100 feet from the play and 50ft from where Nash should’ve had the puck.

  • Dave

    How dare you question this future HOF coach?
    How dare you say he was out coached?
    How dare any of us question his decision process?
    How dare we question Girardi’s play?
    Or Staal’s play?
    How dare we question Miller’s benching, or Nash’s stupid line change?
    How dare any of us question why the kids sit, while the dinosaurs play, with lead in their skates? Oh yeah, they earned it based on history, remember?

    I said I wasn’t going to comment until after the play offs, but I’ll just ask questions !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I thought Girardi made a number of mistakes, but I thought that Marc Staal actually played pretty well – except for his careless high stick (NHL players are just too careless in this regard and sometimes it is a teammate who pays).

    It may be though that Brady Skjei is the best left Dman the Rangers have at the moment and AV needs to make the leap of faith that he doesn’t have to shelter him by pairing him with Klein against lesser players.

  • Speaking of Rick Nash, once again he was non existent in a playoff Game. ( the unfortunate trend continues ) How is this for a Stat , our big time, high paid goal scorer has been in 63 career playoff games and has a grand total of 11 career playoff goals. In comparison, Tyler Johnson of Tampa Bay has been in 21 playoff games and has 12 goals. Nash may be the most overpaid power forward in the game today. He also plays a very soft game for such a large man. Top priority to move him this off season, along with Girardi.

  • Dave, you seem to think AV is good enough to not be out coached. He’s not, and we will be out coached in every game and series as long as he’s here. If we win, it is in spite of him while dragging the wonder twins and Glass along with us.

  • What qualifies AV as a coach?
    He makes no in game or pre game strategy adjustments…….
    Our power play from year to year stinks…….
    Our younger players never get a chance to play or develop properly…..
    He plays guys [ girardi, st louis, glass, stall……etc] and sits better ones- stempniak, mcilrath, lindberg, sjell, ……..[last year and this]

    A great offseason would be ridding us of girardi, AV, stall…..for nothing…
    and Messier new coach…….

  • For me, that was the worst thing that could have happened to the Rangers. It was a veritable clinic describing just what you guys have been pointing out all season. All I can say, “Ugh!”. I really don’t think what happened last night is indicative of the team, but I haven’t seen a breakdown like that in a long time. In the first game of the playoffs no less. I still hope your wrong and I’m right, as I know, you do as well. Just one game no reason to panic! However………that was tough.


    • Joe

      Agree, we all are pulling for this team in spite of the last outing. I just don’t’ see this coach making too many changes with the line up, or game plan, so I’m not putting too much stock into his style, or inflexibility!!!!

      As for Cindy’s goal, what can anyone say, the sweet thing can indeed play the game, while whining like a spoiled baby. Let’s start a collection to get him some oversized diapers, the pair he wears is getting too tight. Maybe he can stop the crying once and for all ?????????

    • Joe,

      The Rangers had the same type breakdowns all season. It’s on the coach to do just that “coach”. AV wouldn’t sit vets that failed to backcheck, of ancient Boyle who plays the weakest D game I have witnessed in a very long time.

      • That should have said “or ancient Boyle” not “of ancient Boyle”. I apologize for the typo.

  • I just noticed your headline, Dave. Perhaps you meant “AV MUST not continue to be outcoached.” He certainly can continue to be outcoached, and he very well may.

    I am still annoyed at him for challenging the offsides against Detroit when we beat them in a game we should have been content to lose. On the other hand, I don’t get worked up about his personality style as it appears so many here do.

  • Probably the two most important things right now are 1) Is Hank OK and ready to be their virtual one man defensive core? 2) can the Blueshirts make the Pens’ goalie look like the third stinger he is?

    We need Hank to save us and to the rest to pepper their guy with quality shots.

    • let’s not bad mouth that mental giant, not !!!!!!!!!!!!

      I guess that things could be worse, but not by much ??????????

  • Pen’s forwards outplayed our forwards
    Pen’s D outplayed our D
    Pen’s THIRD STRING goalie outplayed our second string goalie
    Pen’s coach, outcoached AV

    It’s really that simple

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