Should the Rangers fire Alain Vigneault?

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

For those of you who have been following Blue Seat Blogs for several years, or perhaps follow me on Twitter @thehockeysuit (shameless plug), know that I’m an eternal centrist. I try to see multiple sides of an argument no matter how extreme. Since the Rangers laid an egg to Pittsburgh – and probably even before that – fans have been asking whether or not the hourglass has run out on AV. The reactions to this question have been obviously polarizing.

Rather than give you my opinion and back it up with pretty gifs, or advanced stats, etc., I’ll share with you what the thought process likely is inside the walls of 2 Penn Plaza under different scenarios. From there, you all can form your own opinion on what the Rangers front office will likely do with AV. As always, please feel free to sound off in the comments.

From my experience working in sports, there’s generally three different philosophies/personality types among executives or owners when it comes to the hiring and firing of coaches and other personnel.

1. Results Driven Types

The first type of executives/owners are the purely ‘results driven’ guys. These types of individuals are pretty straightforward. You have a job as long as you’re getting results. And by results, I mean you are hitting your goals or are on pace to hit your goals that you set out at the beginning of the season.

These types tend to be very involved in daily operations. Coaching positions at these organizations are usually a revolving door. Meaning at most, every few years there’s a new guy in place. At the other end of the spectrum, you can have multiple coaches in one season.

The New York Knicks are a pretty good example of the former, having had six coaches in the past ten years. Palermo, a soccer team in the Italian Serie A, is an extreme example of the latter. So far this season Palermo has had, wait for it…nine coaches! Literally guys are getting sacked every few games. Crazy Sicilians.

What does this mean for AV?

Despite James Dolan’s micromanagement of the Knicks, his approach for the Rangers has historically been the extreme opposite. Most insiders know that Dolan isn’t the biggest hockey fan and has trusted Sather to manage the Rangers as he wishes.

Of course, Sather has moved on to a ‘Presidential’ role (which in sports is code for consultative responsibilities) and no one knows how much Dolan will micromanage Jeff Gorton. If he is to become more involved in the Rangers operations, then AV likely won’t get fired this summer. However, if we have another disappointing season, then Dolan will probably force Gorton to force AV out the door.

2. My Guys

The next type of executive generally exists with owners who are less in the weeds and have some level of autonomy. These guys tend to be a little territorial and old school, meaning they don’t want to oversee coaches or staff whom they didn’t hire. They only want to work with ‘their guys’.

Brian Burke is a good example. He has hired David Nonis three times, having worked together in Vancouver, Anaheim, and Toronto. These executives try to come off as strategic and plan for the long-term, but they tend to be just as results driven as the owners in section #1 of this post. They will generally hire coaches and staff they can control that will buy into their plan.

What does this mean for AV?

The question is, was AV Sather’s first choice or was he Jeff Gorton’s choice, or somewhere in between? We simply don’t know. Assuming AV was Gorton’s choice then he will probably give him the benefit of the doubt and let him coach through the end of his contract (two more years I believe).

In the meantime, you have to assume Gorton has bought into AV’s process of wishing to see high tempo, man-on-man hockey. In order for this vision to succeed, Gorton won’t ask AV to alter his system to be congruent with the roster. Instead, he will try to find the right pieces for this system to be successful.

The outcome in this scenario is Gorton doing whatever he can to remove Dan Girardi and/or Marc Staal from the roster. Neither has been able to execute AV’s system consistently over the past three seasons and both are on the downside of their careers. For this to work, the blueline has to get upgraded to incorporate defensemen who can stick with their checks and get the puck up ice.

3. Long-term Planners

Last, but not least are the long-term planning types. These executives and owners are what everyone in this business wants to work for. They come in, develop a plan, hire experts, and let them do their jobs over the course of several years. Short-term results don’t matter.

I can tell you from experience, these types of leaders are rare. It takes a lot of balls and conviction to see things through when you’re not getting immediate results and taking hits at the gate.

Good examples of these types are Sandy Alderson (the current GM of the Mets) and Jerry Reese (the current GM of the NY Football Giants). First, both have been in their positions for a long time. Second, they stuck with coaches – who the media and respective fan bases wanted to run out of town – not because these coaches are “their guys” but because they believe they can maximize the rosters they’ve carefully constructed.

What does this mean for AV?

If Gorton believes in this roster, he will want to oversee a coach that will tailor a system to the assets in place. Whether or not AV is that guy depends less on Gorton’s temperament and more on AV’s willingness to adapt. Right now, his system does not fit the current roster, which has been documented many times on this site.

If Gorton can’t offload Girardi, Staal, or other high cap real estate (e.g., Nash) for assets, then you have to start thinking about a coaching change. You can’t expect this defense to turn back the clocks or to continue to rely on a 35-year-old Lundqvist to steal you four rounds of playoff hockey. That’s just not a sustainable strategy.

Ultimately, a new coach with a different philosophy is certainly not the answer to everything, but having someone who can at least mask our weaknesses and amplify our strengths could be a welcomed addition. Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of AV and probably will be since I’m just not a fan of the processes he puts in place (e.g., lean on veterans, lack of in-game adjustments, etc.). But I’m biased and it’s not about me.

What do you guys think? Which type of executive would you be in this situation? Would you give AV another year, two years?

Sound off in the comments.

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  • Don’t fire AV. Change the coaching staff around him (Keep Allaire though).

    If the coaching situation still isn’t up to snuff halfway through the season, or another embarrassing first round exit happens, then firing AV is a good move.

    • The coach chooses his staff. Not really plausible to hire a coach and force personnel on him. As a GM, give him full reigns to succeed or fail and go from there.

      • I agree Hatrick. You can’t ask a coach to trust a staff that was forced upon him. He should be able to bring in who he wants. It’s also worth noting (as suit said above) we don’t know if AV was Gortons guy or not. My guess is yes given Sathers’ past hirings. I don’t think this season is reason enough to fire AV. The team (defense) was not able (built) to play the way AV needs them to execute his system. Fix the back end around McDonagh/Yandle/Klein and possibly Skjei/McIlrath if they liked how much he improved.
        The problem for McIlrath is that the Rangers use “Fronting” as the tactic in front of Lundqvist (which I think should change) which pretty much excludes McIlrath’s greatest strength, clearing the crease. The Rangers played so well in front of Talbot when positioning their Defense “net side.” Do that for Hank and let McIlrath clear the way so Hank sees the shot.

        Up front I think we are good except for the RW. We could use 1 or 2 (if not 3) more righty forwards to play the right flank. At even strength lefties will mishandle the puck on a scoring chance and it’s a much tougher pass from the distributor (i.e. Centerman). A guy like Santorelli would be a perfect fit IMO. He plays all 3 forward positions. Maybe use Hayes as a trade able asset to acquire some depth on the right side.


    • I thought the coaching staff has done a great job with this team. Aside from the “eye in the skybox” Leroix, the same staff exists from the team that went to the finals 2 years ago.
      What has changed since then? The defense has not been changed much in a long time. The same guys that blocked 200 shots each under Torts are still here. Get 2-3 younger, faster, better puck moving defenseman that can keep up the pace of the game. I hope Marc Staal would be willing to waive his NTC to follow his brother Eric back to Carolina or wherever else. Then use a buyout on Dan Girardi but we could live with one of them IMO. Not both. Again IMO between 2 defenseman you keep the righty first. They’re harder to come by and teams don’t trade them for beans. I think puck possession starts and ends with your back end. In 13-14 5 of our top 6 d were over 50% CF at evens. Since then the older D have alien down and the NYR overall possession dropped off. What do you guys think? I like what we have up front. The 4th line needs tinkering because Dom Moore’s status remains up in the air. I’d keep him 1 more year if he wanted to stay. Otherwise we will have a replacement on the farm shortly if Lindberg isn’t that guy.

      The back end has gotten older and even though younger guys have continued to rotate into the lineup, that only happened up front. Management stuck with the 6 defenseman they had. At the time I have to admit I was glad they paid Girardi. I felt with an offensive, up tempo coach like AV, having a “stay at home” defenseman would only help balance things out. I saw what you BSB guys have been saying for years but didn’t listen. Hindsight is 20/20 so now it’s time to fix it. Before that tho I will say the Staal signing was attrocious. I was hoping they’d trade him at the deadline last year instead of spending all that money and giving him free reign with NTC/NMC. That’s the killer with Staal. At least make those begin after 3-4 years of the contract. Anyway the defense is what needs the upgrade.
      Please keep Yandle. He is what the Rangers lack on the farm for at least the next 2-4 years. Give him the money he wants as long as it’s not more than 6 years and don’t include NMC from day 1 of the contract. If he insists then make it begin after year 2 or 3 of the deal.
      McDonagh/Yandle/Klein are the core of the defense. Skjei can probably handle your 5-7 D spot next season. You still need to add 3 defenseman to the mix. It hurts now that Stralman was allowed to walk. He’s a great skating top 4 defenseman with a righty shot and that’s another problem because righty D don’t grow on trees in the pros. I know Cam Fowler is a lefty but if I’m GM I would trade the farm for him. He’s a speedy, slick skating defenseman that moved the puck well. He was a +9 with 24 points in 49 GP this season. Jason Demers is another guy I’d look to get. A righty with good ability all around. Great possession defenseman.

      • Straight forward: Rangers need strength on the blue line, a no nonsense type; 2 Rangers need strength down the middle- move Brassard,one dimensional player, and move Stepan, get bigger puck control centers and optionally move a wing perhaps Nash. This must be done at the very least, perhaps fine tune afterwards.

  • Irish, I’ll go the other route. Only and ONLY if a qualified replacement can be put under contract, I’d fire him. I’d look for a coach who isn’t so rigid in his approach and isn’t so detatched to the team and the locker room.
    I don’t think AV should get a pass on his personnel moves. Specifically his failure to allow rookies to make mistakes, bring those mistakes to their attention, and give them the chance to actually develop. Specifically I am talking about his refusal to develop McIlrath while playing Boyle who was a total defensive disaster all year.
    I actually think it’s more important to win playoff rounds then it is to win the President’s Trophy. Proper use of vets would be to periodically rest then throughout the year. Hank for one, maybe he should get every 7th or 8th game off and let Raanta play, regardless of the opponent.
    Nash, is another example. Nash looked better this playoff series against the Pens. Maybe because he was rested due to injury. He’s our most lethal scoring weapon, what in God’s name is he doing killing penalties. He might be fresher and more of an offensive threat had he not been on the PK unit.

    This off season should be interesting. The way I view it, we already improved our D-corps, as Boyle will never dress for another Ranger game.

    • Addressing a few points here….

      1) most coaches are as rigid as AV. You don’t get to this level without that. “Flexibility”, taken to its extreme can be even more disruptive to a team than “rigidity”, in that in can lead to abandoning players and systems too quickly. Torts and Keenan, for example, are certainly stylistically different than AV, but hardly were “flexible” in their thinking. Both were as stubborn in their ways as anyone. This notion of flexibility is way overstated and not realistic.

      2) This coach has won five playoff series now in three seasons. Torts won three in five seasons. Renney two in three seasons. He has been, hands down, the best coach, both regular season and post-season, of this era of Rangers hockey. It’s not even close. And he has as many post season series wins as a Rangers coach as the legendary Cat Francis. Only Lester Patrick has more. No coach wins a playoff series every season (ask Boudreau, Sutter and Quenneville), so your statement about not winning playoff series really holds no water at all.

    • I don’t know why people are so hard on Boyle for his defensive play. That’s not what he was brought here for and he’s one of the Rangers top Dmen as far as CA/60. He was on the 18th hole of his career (forget back 9) and he still ended up with 10 goals and a half decent offensive season overall. I agree AV made some questionable roster moves this season but you have to understand the man is human. He has pressure on him to make the playoffs at least and this team played the last 2 ECF and made the SCF 2 years ago. Pressure like that to win can make people make decisions based on emotions or past experiences. I think all coaches are thick in some way. They have their way and that’s it. AV did the right thing with Miller. Everyone wanted him to stay with the big club but AV kept giving him nhl stints until he was ready. This season he was ready. These were McIlraths first true NHL games. He needs to be the YO-YO until he is ready. His skating got better but his positioning is not. Maybe by some point next season he will come into his own and stay in the show for good. I would have liked to see Boyle play less games but for whatever reason it never worked out that way. He was still the Rangers best puck moving defenseman. Yandle best distributor and great skater.
      I thought those 2 games down the stretch against Carolina & Buffalo would be a perfect opportunity for AV to rest Hank. Instead we lost both games 4-3 and Hank had to play the 3rd attempt at clinching a playoff spot. Raanta could have done what Hank did in those games. WTH!!
      I think this season falls on Sather. The Gorton regime begins this summer and I think he gets this defense younger and more mobile somehow. With that the Rangers will be a lot faster as a team. I would keep McDonagh and Yandle and retool the rest. Keep Klein if you can but if he can get us assets or a younger defenseman then go for it.

      • Totally agree, Jon. You have people out here who think you just slot in young players and they automatically will shine on the NHL level. Sure, some can, but there is a learning curve. And when you are trying to win games, the growth of young players often takes a back seat to trusted veterans.

        Miller got the tough love he needed and took a big step forward. Hayes hopefully learned some lessons. McIlrath played in nearly half the games he was healthy enough to play in. A nice beginning. He hopefully can take a step forward next year.

    • Nash needs to go, he’s takimg up too much cap and is getting old. The production for the money isn’t there.

  • First of all Suit, great piece, and thought provoking!!!!!

    I for one hope they dump AV as fast as the toilet can flush him down the drain.

    What else would you expect from me, after all my negative posts about Clarabelle????? I hope that Jeff Gorton is a combination of My Guys & Long Term Planner. You want your coach to have your back, as well as you going to protect his. Open communications is vital, another reason for this type of management. A certain amount of lead way should be given, but as we’ve seen time, and again, AV is dead set in his ways, and won’t budge at all. He has run a system that works with gray hounds, not pack mules. Both Staal, and Girardi are pack mules, and they were set up to fail under this system. Lots of people wanted a more wide open system under Tort’s, but he liked the block shots approach, and we couldn’t score. That played into the strength of these two players, slow as heck, great shot blockers, very effective under that system.

    Now there is a time, and place to look over your players, and come to the realization that maybe, just maybe, the system AV runs, is just not suited for both players in question. What is a coach to do, well maybe, just maybe think out of the box. No, pecker head insists on driving a round peg into a square hole, and expect it to work. The men were exposed, especially Dan in the cup finals, were LA made him look real poor. Management decided to resign him, major mistake in my opinion, but that’s for another day. You as a coach have no say as to the players you get, according to Mr Eddy, so AV is stuck. Then the thinking man reevaluates his team, and makes adjustments accordingly, and AV failed in this area. AV couldn’t, or wouldn’t make these necessary adjustments, so he failed the team, players, and the organization. For that he must go sooner, rather than later !!!!!!!!!!!

    • Walt, come on. Personal attacks and name-calling aren’t necessary, and don’t become you. This man is a proven winner at the NHL level. He’s not going anywhere. Get over it.

      Go ahead and give me thumbs down all day, everyone. AV will be the coach in September, so you all might as well adjust your medication, enjoy the nice spring weather, and get used to it.

      Regards- orange

      • he may be coming back next year, to the determent of the team, but he is still a pecker head!!!!!!!!! the name fits him well……..

        • Peckerhead…charming. Oh and it’s “detriment”, not “determent.” Spellcheck is your friend; look into it.

          Yep. Fire everybody, shoot the coach, shut down the franchise. You guys are hilarious. Repeat after me- He’s not going anywhere. He has two years left on his contract.

          Regards- orange

          • The discussion here isn’t just “will he go anywhere?” it’s more “SHOULD he go anywhere?”. And after the way this season came to an end many have strong opinions that he should. And they are consistent with what they’ve been saying all throughout the season.

            On the other hand, you’ve continuously preached that the coach knows more than other people, so don’t question him. By that logic, why not have everyone watch like a drone without an opinion.

            No reason to get all uppity about spelling. It’s a comment section on blog, not a professional dissertation.

            This season was a disaster given the roster we had in place. Moves need to be made and questioning the coaches tenure is absolutely something which should be included in the discussion.

          • Nobody’s getting “uppity”, but it would be good if some of the posts here could be legible. You guys are so easy to poke it’s not even any fun anymore. And you are the ones who told me all year all the players “suck” so I guess making the playoffs with such an awful roster might be considered a job well done. And it’s my opinion in general that a coach who’s spent 20 years in the NHL probably knows a bit more hockey than even some of you. I guess I’m wrong as usual.

            Also, no one is saying moves don’t need to be made. Most of the posters on this board would fire the coach every other week, which I would say is probably not practical. All I said was that personal attacks and name-calling don’t really add to the discussion. If that point of view is a problem for you, I’m sorry.

            Regards- orange

          • I suppose the problem a lot of people have with your perspective, orange, is that it doesn’t really add anything to the discussion.

            Sure, there are plenty of knee jerk reactions in this space that would never be a practical reality in the operations of a pro-sports franchise. However, simply saying “he has coached in the NHL for 20 years, he therefore knows more than you; making you unqualified to comment on his performance” brings the conversation no where.

            You clearly feel that you occupy a reasonable space of patience and deference, how about giving us some information as to what about AV’s decisions or philosophies you agree with, which would move the discussion forward? Just a thought if you are sick of people telling you you’re wrong.

          • You’re asking for too much, Justin. Once you challenge people to actually explain/defend their point of view, they disappear.

          • Amen! Authority is not above challenge, in fact good leaders challenge themselves and are at least receptive to the input of others

      • by the way, for your information, I’m not the type of person who gives the thumbs down, I respond with respect………..

      • He is not a proven winner. No cup. He’s like the buffalo bills of hockey.

        Great guy shows up to playoffs can’t get past the big game. I’m talking about the Thurman Thomas and Andre reed. bills.

        • Yep…that certainly proves it. Joel Quenneville coached for 11 seasons prior to Chicago and had an awful record…then low and behold became a winner when he had a roster of budding superstars. Darryl Sutter was unsuccessful in Chicago and San Jose, and couldn’t win the big one in Calgary. Then he shows up in LA and he gets a roster that was deep and talented. And he wins! Wow, he must have suddenly gone from the dumbest guy in the room to the smartest I guess. Brain transplant maybe? 🙂

          And how about Joe Torre. Wasn’t he “Clueless Joe” when he managed the Mets, Braves and Cards. Then he comes to the Yankees and gets to manage some of the most iconic players of the 90’s. Wow, he won! How did such a loser do that? I don’t know….couldn’t be the elite talent, could it?

          Meanwhile, coaches with Cups on their resume like Keenan and Crawford are in exile overseas, Carlisle is out of a job, and other guys like the St. Louis coach (wont say his name or will get flagged!) and the Nashville coach (wont type his name because I can’t spell it!) haven’t won anything in over a decade.

          Prior success as a coach is nice, but if it was the pre-requisite to winning, then why would anyone with a contending team hire a coach who has no SC on his resume?

          Way too simplistic Mikey

          • I am all for going with an unknown.

            You stated outliers. Not typical people. Are you telling me AV is on the same level as these coaches?

            No cause AV is the norm. Most people don’t win a Stanley cup. And he had good deep teams that couldn’t win the cup either.

            not enough evidence to make me want to keep this guy.

          • Huh? What?

            AV is one of the winningest coaches of his time, has won or been nominated for the Jack Adams several times. That proves he most definitely is on the same level as the best in the business. What made Coach Q a great coach before he came to Chicago?

            Every coach has to have a first time. And it can take years to get there. Show me the elite talent that’s he had in NY to get the Rangers the Cup. It’s not there. That’s not on the coach.

          • not to disagree with your original point, but Torre was brilliant with the Braves and excellent with the Cards.

            He learned the job with the Mets and excelled thereafter.

          • Exactly, and that’s the point. Coach Q, Sutter, Torre and AV have ALWAYS been good coaches, especially once they learned their craft. However, the first three didn’t become champions until they had the elite talent to push them over the top.

            For AV, you can argue whether he had it or not in Vancouver. He most definitely has NOT had that here. Given that, he’s done an excellent job.

      • I agree with you, AV will be the coach of the Rangers at least for the coming season, but I also think that the Rangers will never win the cup with AV. as their head- coach.

        • I wonder about that too Scrangerfan! He had a ton of talent in Vancouver and got to the finals but lost to a less talented (meat n potatoes) Bruins team. Tim Thomas stole that series and the Canucks lacked depth after the Sedin line. Kessler did nothing when they needed him most. From that SCF it was all downhill for AV and the Canucks.

          That was over a much longer period of time as that team grew up with AV over 7 seasons but they went nowhere after that loss. Teams took the Sedins out of the series (Shea Weber-Nashville) every year after that and AV had trouble every post season after that.

          The NYR became predictable when in possession of the puck. It won’t matter if the other team knows what’s coming if the Rangers can skate and move the puck like they did in 2014 but that starts with addition by subtraction.

          I’d like to hear some opinions he in the form of a reply. Keep the coach(s) rebuild the team (back end) around the strategy.

          One thing AV should change a bit is his forecheck when playing with a late lead. May have had a little bit to do with the slower/older D but they were way too “prevent” for my liking this past season. Allowed more winning or tying goals last 5 mins of a game than any team in the NHL.

      • Proven winner? What has he won, exactly? Do they hand out participation trophies in the playoffs? Is there a lord Stanley’s coffee mug? He hasn’t won a damn thing. That being said I think you give him until December and reassess.

    • Well said, Walt. You bring up great points which often get lost in the details. Spot on with the systems analysis (G and Staal being better suited for Torts than AV) as well as your thoughts about G’s contract after the loss to LA in 2014.

      Full marks.

      • Thanks to both you, and of course the Suit!!!!!!!

        People’s feathers are ruffled when they hear someone express a point of view that runs counter to theirs. Again, thanks my friend !!!!!!!!!

    • Walt,

      As far as your theory that the D (Staal n G) perhaps had a hard time with AV’s system has two sides to that coin.

      Yes, when the puck was in our zone, Torts had our boys play super defense, but on a general level, Tort’s system was extremely an offensive system as the 2-1-2 (NON Hybrid) with very aggressive strong side D men pinching made our D men work even more.

      I see your point but that one aspect of Tort’s system got way overblown to the point that the avwrage Hockey fan now thinks that Torts was the second coming of Jaque LeMaire, which if anything is the furthest thing from the truth.

      • Walt,
        *Just wanted to make myself clear and let you know, I wasn’t calling you an average Hockey fan. Was towards other sports media outlets that couldn’t tell you what color a puck is.

        Your opinion is always valued by me.

      • That’s very true Rob. People think just because Torts had guys blocking shots that his strategy was “passive”. In truth Torts system was very aggressive overall. It was just his Dzone coverage that was conservative.

        To my point that I made above the Man/overload coverage AV uses is much more aggressive in that end and the Rangers look to create offense from the defensive end. It would be a mistake for the Rangers to change that because so much of their scoring came off the rush. I forget what the numbers were but one of the BSB guys did a piece on the ratio of their goals that came off odd man rushes. It was close to 1/2 of total scoring.

        Under AV the Rangers aren’t as aggressive WITHOUT THE PUCK over the other 150 ft of ice. I think if AV altered or changed his Dzone strategy to better fit Staal/Girardi he would have to change a lot of things. Possibly be more aggressive on the forecheck, try more stretch passes out of the Dzone instead of his short, quick, controlled breakouts. I know it isn’t going to be easy but unless this team wants to go thru a 2-3 year rebuild (may as well trade Hank so he can win a cup somewhere) I think they should just repair the back end. Draft defense, sign defense in free agency, (PK Dman?) and if a trade is possible for a young pro (AHL or NHL) ready defenseman make it happen.

    • Looking at #2 option. Could AV used Girardi and Staal, as well as Boyle, to show how badly they fit into his system? Building a case for Gorton to get rid of them if he believes on AV’s system?
      Also, what about the players exit interviews- they sunk Torterella’s boat in a seemingly unexpected manner.

      • So does Gorton even conduct interviews with the players? Inquiring minds would like to know.

    • I usually agree with you Walt but when Torts was coach everyone complained this team couldn’t score because of the “defense first” philosophy. I know you aren’t saying go back to that low zone collapse per se but much of this teams offense under AV is created in the defensive end. If AV alters his strategy to fit Staal & Girardi that will not work and this team will be back to hard skating and tough defensive zone minutes. That is what we wanted to get away from 2 years ago when Torts was fired (which I was against at the time).

      What I think is a more realistic play this summer is to rebuild this team to fit AV’s system. That starts with a slick skating, smart, puck mobile defense. Moving away from a guy like Anton Stralman was a huge mistake and right now (not last year) is when it hurts most. We got 2 slow years from Boyle and he wasn’t bad this season but management was too worried about that PP QB when the Rangers went pretty far in the playoffs with even strength scoring.

      The back end should be the major concern this summer. Depth up front should be ok (unless the perfect trade offer for Nash comes along I think he was ready for a big playoff this season had we gone further) but I think Gorton is going to have to find some bottom 6 guys that can play all situations. Nash can kill penalties but there’s no reason why he should be a top 4 penalty killer. He’s our best goal scorer, use him on the PK in the right situations to get a scoring chance for when the opposition has a liability handling the puck at the point. Not against the ops primary guys. Hagelin is gone but that doesn’t mean we can’t get a speedy 2-way 3rd line guy that kills penalties. Trade Hayes for assets and players like that if need be.

      I think one of Girardi/Staal can be bought out to save a few bucks and the other could be asked to waive his NMC to be traded. Get rid of these slower moving older D and get younger. In AV first season Staal was a good possession player playing next to Stralman. Since then tho the Rangers D has gotten older and slower. Let’s build a solid 6 D again. Jason Demers is a FA this summer. He’s a righty and I’d give him big money if I can’t pay Yandle enough to stay. Kevin Shattenkirk has 1 more year on his contract in STL and they already have Petrangelo locked up long term. Another righty top pairing D. I saw a graphic on the STL PP with W/O Shatty in lineup and they were like 5% without and 25% with. He’s a 2-way guy and is from the state of NY. Trade whatever for him if need be.

  • ‘Suit’ – These concepts seems abstract and entirely implausible. But kudos to you for the click bait. AV is a winner everywhere and should be at the helm for a long time.

    And for the record, soccer in Italy and the rest of the world is called football.

  • To me, this could be a chicken/egg thing. Do you hire a coach to coach a system or do you seed the team with certain types of players to match the system the coach likes to coach? Not sure the team this past year had the horses that fully matched the run-and-gun offense AV likes to coach. Does that make him a bad coach or did the GM misfire on player signings?

    If Gorton and AV can agree on players (or players style) he needs to be successful and Gorton can get them, leave AV in place. If Gorton cannot give him the speedy, aggressive forward that makes the AV style succeed, then AV needs to go.

    We know the yeoman, shotblocker was a Torts type player. When the tide turned (as well as league speed) he was not the right guy (leaving out his explosive character for the moment). AV is an under the radar, soft-spoken coach who seems to let the senior players manage the locker-room. If we go young, and bring up 5 kids for next year, AV may not be the patient coach to lead them. There needs to be a player-style/coaching-style collaboration to be successful.

    • Couldn’t agree more with you, and it will be interesting to see with the cap issues we have, and knowing that we have to go young due to poor contracts, what will AV do, can he adjust ????????????? Stay tuned folks, it should be fun !!!!!!!!!

    • Agree Sal – kind of like the last time the Cup was raised in Rangeland.

      Keenan and Smith made some pretty bold moves to get the type of team Coach K wanted. And it worked….

      I know every coach has a system they love. Torts has his, AV has his. But sometimes the team that is in place just does not fit the system.

      A good coach has to be able to be flexible enough to understand the talent he has, put them in the right spots, and develop game plan around the team’s abilities. And sometimes the team does not fit the system.

      Phil Jackson seems to only know and love the triangle offense and will, to the detriment of the team, force it down their throat – even from the GM seat.

      I honestly don’t know if AV is a good coach or not. His first two years were very successful – even more last year after losing Boyle and Stralman. But there is a tipping point and losing Hags (as well as MSL) as inconsequential as it may have looked to most, was a big deal.

      Even a HOF coach cannot win the Cup without some level of talent. At the end of the day I believe this team, as it was constructed, played up to the level of mediocrity that was reflected by the roster.

    • And the coach has to also buy into the personnel moves the management makes.
      We made a trade for Yandle, so he can be the puck moving defenseman and power-play quarterback, and AV sticks him on the bottom pairing with minimal power play time the first year. So what was the point of giving up all those assets?
      We trade for E. Staal, and AV can’t find the proper use for him.
      Dylan is kept on the team, so he can watch Boyle play from the press box.

  • So what would the Suit do here?

    Has AV earned “another kick at the can” despite what went wrong in 2016 given the results in 2014 and 2015?

    I, by nature, am not impulsive. I try to make sound, calculated, deliberate decisions which I would have no trouble explaining to anyone if questioned in the future. So despite this year’s very underwhelming results, normally I wouldn’t call for AV’s job.

    That said, the fashion in which things unfolded this year was maddening. Adjustments were absent. When made, it was too little too late.

    Depending upon a replacement, I would welcome a change. Unless, that is, he decides to change.

    • I’ve never liked AV, even in Vancouver and he wasn’t my pick for coach. None the less, we are where we are and there isnt anyone available worth hiring. I’d give him another year and at least one better defenseman. If he can’t get us past the second round. See ya.

  • “If we go young, and bring up 5 kids for next year, AV may not be the patient coach to lead them. There needs to be a player-style/coaching-style collaboration to be successful.”

    I think this is key and something Gorton should seriously evaluate.

    • Looking at this, you assume Skjei is a lock. Buch is likely a lock. McIlrath is a wild card. That’s really it for the kids next year.

  • Yes get rid of AV

    game 4 sealed for me that his team has no emotion. There was no time out, no animation, no force to say hey boys this is embarrassing. Game 5 nailed the coffin shut. McIlrath should have played if just to gain experience instead of Diaz.

    His system was flawed and exposed a lot of the Rangers. He could not course correct the entire season.

    He just rubs me the wrong way. I do not like him.

    • “McIlrath should have played if just to gain the experience instead of Diaz.”

      Yes, of course, because in Game 5 facing elimination, giving players “experience” is always the top of any coach’s agenda!

      • Eddy

        So Diaz was such a great addition ?????????

        If that were indeed the case, why did he waste an entire season in the AHL ????

        Just asking !!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Simple…he was injured and the Rangers had massive cap issues. If McIlrath hadn’t played well in camp, and/or he could have been sent to the minors without being exposed to waivers, I have no doubt Diaz would have been the 7D.

          • Eddie, and the Ranger fans would have been cheated out one of the few highlights of the year. Mcllrath is the face of the Ranger D-line future, along with Skjei. He is a solid, hard hitting defenseman, he can shoot the puck, knock an opponent on his ass, and who will defend his teammates. He also provided one of the years most exciting moments at MSG, his pre game chat and sub-sequential heavyweight bout with Wayne Simmonds rocked the Garden, and jacked everyone up, by the way we won that game! But you have Diaz as the superior player???. Man, GET REAL!!!

          • Bobby…please re-read. When did I say Diaz was the superior player? I simply said that I suspect AV and Gorton brought Diaz in to be the 7D, because they did not know if McIlrath could even make the team. And, I suspect that if he wasn’t eligible for waivers, that he might have started the season in Hartford.

            That does not mean Diaz is better than McIlrath…just that he might have been a better fit as a 7D…or 8D if they had the cap space. Very different thing.

          • I agree here. McIlrath was a lock to be on the roster because of his waivers eligibility. Diaz was more insurance than anything.

      • Maybe not for “experience”, but sheer enthusiasm. If anything, DMc would have added some emotion.
        The idea of Diaz wasn’t bad, but if the thought was to bring a puck mover to the PP, why not try it during the year.
        What really annoyed me is once again shoehorning Girardi into the lineup, as if that was the solution. Love the guy, but he was being skated around after the first 10 minutes

        • On that, I agree. I would have liked to see McIlrath play more, but again, it would have likely made no difference to the final outcome of the season.

  • I don’t think the style of AV “suits” the Rangers.

    You need someone new and fresh.

    I know it’s all pipe dream but im still dreaming of a messier leetch beuk party behind the bench. Stupid of me i know. But that’s why they call it a pipe dream.

    • I think AV should stay, but don’t be surprised if the next coach of the Rangers is ol’ #23.

      Leetch wouldn’t do it though. Love the guy, he’s my all time favorite Rangers, but he doesn’t seem to like being around lots of people. I don’t think he has the personality to be a coach, just like he really wasn’t suited to be a captain, and he was visibly uncomfortable in front of the MSG cameras over his two year stint at the network.

      • Leetch confirmed that if Messier had been named HC, he would have been an assistant.

        I’m never a fan of that nostalgia stuff behind the bench. Coaches are hired to be fired. All coaches are hired to be fired. Imagine how difficult it would be to have to do so when the inevitable day comes when the axe would fall.

        • He reality is what do we have to lose?

          We already haven’t won it. There’s only like two years left we can keep “going for it”. Go out with a bang.

          Call up the captain

    • His style suited them just fine the past two seasons. I guess Sutter, Coach Q and Boudreau’s styles no longer fit their teams either.

    • That would definitely bring a stronger personality behind the bench.
      Of course, we have no idea if the Moose can actually coach, nor Brian. The only proven commodity is Beuk, on the AHL level.

      • Can you think of any elite level HOF player in ANY sport that went on to be a successful coach or manager? I can’t think of one.

        • None come to mind.
          I’ve always thought that fringe players make the best coaches, as they had to rely on constant analysis of the game to stay in it.
          The HOF players don’t really know how to translate their individual gifts to teaching or coaching on highest levels.
          Gretz was a bust, Roy might be too, Trottier lasted what, three weeks?

        • Actually Frank Robinson was a very good manager. He flopped in his first job, but subsequently largely adopted Earl Weaver’s style and was excellent.

          Joe Torre was a HOFer — elite?

          Larry Bird was an outstanding coach of course.

          That’s just off the top of my head.

          • Frank Robinson had a losing record as manager and never made post season.

            Torre made the HOF as a manager. He was a very good player but not a HOFer. He would be possibly the closest to the criteria. But my goodness, what an incredible collection of talent he got to manage with the Yankees! He was a failed manager everywhere else.

            I forgot about Bird. That’s a good one but he only coached for three seasons and didn’t win it all.

          • The 1982 Braves was one of the greatest managerial feats of all time actually.

            If you dismiss Bird for not winning it all, you can’t praise AV.

            I think the real truth is that Wayne Gretzky is as likely or even more likely to be a great coach than Dan Girardi, but there are so many Girardis and so few Gretzskys and the Gretzskys get disproportionately too many jobs because everyone just assumes they will be great.

            Incidentally, as a player-coach, Bill Russell won two championships.

          • True on everything you said….BUT…..

            The point of the discussion is that some would suggest that Messier, with all his championship experience, would give the Rangers a better chance to win a championship as coach as an experienced HC like AV.

            Absolutely, Torre did a great job with the ’82 Braves. Ted Sator similarly did a great job in post season with the ’86 Rangers. Neither resulted in championships or were sustainable.

            As for Bird, it’s a valid point you make, but again, if Messier does what Bird does, how is that an upgrade over AV?

            Great point on Bill Russell. Totally forgot he had coached.

            As for Messier, some would argue that he “co-coached” the Rangers to the 1994 Cup in order to keep Keenan from imploding himself and the team, so maybe Mess does have a coaching resume to fall back on after all. :). (Sorry Paul….couldn’t resist!)

          • Commenting on your reply Eddie – thread has maxed.

            We disagree on Frank Robinson’s managerial record, but in fact his case supports your basic point. With his career barely over and no apprenticeship, Cleveland hired him. He totally flopped. I think he grew into a good manager, but even if I am right, that doesn’t justify Cleveland’s decision.

            Likewise Torre wasn’t good in his first job with the Mets.

            Larry Bird was an exception, but basically the idea of getting a superstar who hasn’t paid his dues doesn’t work.

            Oh, and Russell also informs the Messier thoughts. Player-coach and coach are different. Russell flopped in the latter role.

  • I agree with most fellow bloggers that AV is too stubborn to change his ways, he will always play the washed up veterans ( Boyle/Girardi) before giving a shot to a better qualified younger player ( Mcllrath) , that has to change, will it??, I do not know?. That being said he does have an outstanding resume, and I do believe he was hand picked by Gorton, so AV being fired is not on the immediate horizon. I would drop his two assistants ( Harnel & Samuelson) should be cut loose, with AV on a very short leash.

    • Can we lose the “he won’t play young guys” narrative already? Isn’t this thrown out the window with the amount of ice time he gave Skjei in the playoffs? Turn it in to “he wouldn’t play Mcilrath” (justified or not) and not a broad, all encompassing bash on the guy.

      • I’m tempted to give you a thumbs up (cause you deserve it), but it is just funny that all the replies are positive and yet the thumbs go the wrong way.

        Bottom line though is a coach wants and needs players to play his system. He gives ice time to players who do this, not players who are good (whatever that means) but may not play the desired role.

        • Agreed Ray!

          Even if the guys that are on the, “fire AV” side of the fence were completely right, and he were justifiable wrong on this particular aspect of coaching. Does it actually warrant a firing?

    • There are so many reasons that a coach could have a bad year. One being if you had injuries to key players. What I find disturbing in this case is the lack of adjustment to the players he had in front of him, but maybe that what separates a good coach from a great coach.

        • That’s the point, he didn’t adjust….anyone can ride a good wave….but when things get bad…that is where you can see adjustments. He could not right the ship

        • If the man was capable or open to adjustments you would have already seen them. This relates to one of the Big Five personality factors labelled Constraint vs Openness To Experience. This dimension correlates very highly with the Conservative vs Liberal dimension. My conjecture is that AV would score highly on the constraint variable if I were to test him. Those scoring high on that dimension are highly structured, rigid, and value predictability. They are more anxious than the other type and as a result do not like surprises, risk or unpredictability. As a result they are less likely to deviate from their patterns, choosing to see their “reality” as veridical & lack of success the result of others not following their way. They value tradition & experience & the risk of trying something outside their “reality” makes them very uncomfortable. In it’s most extreme form(not AV) one gets debilitating OCD, where an individual is paralyzed by the anxiety engendered by the unknown. The critical personality factor that can hamstring this type is the lack of flexibility in their behaviour and to what degree it controls their ability to think divergently.

          • Paul,

            Hahahah… Did you just call AV a right wing fanatic?

            OMG I think I heard it all lol lol.

          • Well not exactly, but there is a high correlation between Constraint & Conservative values for sure. I have no idea how AV votes, just the personality style that I think influences his coaching style.

          • Without getting political, there is an explanation for his bazaar behavior, constant tinkering, and refusal to adapt to unfamiliar circumstances, thanks, I knew he was a nut job !!!!!!!!!

          • Paul, brilliant analysis and well thought out and expressed. That being said, a few things…

            1) Aren’t your guys, Torts and Keenan, also exactly the same in terms of being stubborn and inflexible? Different temperamentally, but hardly known as flexible guys. How would they score in your testing?

            2) Change may come slowly to some, but change is essential for survival. Keenan wouldn’t change, and now he’s in Siberia (literally). But coaches do adjust. How about Tom Coughlin? He was as rigid in his ways as any coach I’ve ever seen. He was like Keenan/Torts. Tightly wound, would make it very tough on his players, to the point where he would eventually lose the room. Finally, he realized he had to change. He did, his players loved him like a grandpa, and he won two Super Bowls.

            2015-16, one off season (if you want to call 101 pts an off season) hardly proves he will never change.

          • Keenan was all about change, Torts not so much. Keenan was like Toe Blake, improvising in situ. In fact, he got Smith to completely change the makeup of the team that resulted in that lone Cup that we cherish. See below, he was a Task leader predominately but his speech before game 7 which aroused his team & resulted in Messier calling it the greatest FN speech ever, was a great stroke of maintenance leadership that created a focused & cohesive group. As for Coughlin he made a remarkable change in maintenance leadership when his team revolted against his rigidity. Appointed a leadership group & listened to them. That was a key change in behaviour, becoming more flexible, that led to a Super Bowl.

          • I agree with the latter, but that proves though that people can change when change is needed. The question is, was this more of an execution issue, which is more on the players, or a system issue, which is more on the coach? And if the latter, why did the system work so well the first two years but not this year?

          • Torts was not totally inflexible. One year he wouldn’t play kids and the next season he fully embraced the youth movement. I’m sure Sather had made it clear to him that the old Torts would be fired because he didn’t mesh with the personnel, but still he embraced a new philosophy with open arms. Keenan would never have done that.

          • Torts ran a different system in Tampa than he did in NY, so I don’t get this whole he forces systems down people’s throats.

          • Torts’ system was geared to guys that aren’t great skaters or skilled, which is what the NYR team was when he was here.

  • This is a tough one. There’s reason to fire him and reasons to keep him. Biggest reasons to fire him in m view are 2.
    1. His player deployment is severely flawed towards veterans and favorites irregardless of their performance. Tanner Glass being the obvious flaw here, but also they way he deployed M. Staal and Girardi all year in assignments that were way over his head. And he sat McIlrath when our biggest defensive flaw all year was poor coverage in front of our own net. Also playing Hayes and scratching Lindberg for a bunch of games when Lindberg and Stalberg were the only guys who seemed to have any chemistry at all with E. Staal is another example. And I disagree he developed JT Miller well. I would ague his mistreatment of JT may have held him back,in spite of the coach; while his lack of accountability with Hayes hurt his devlopement also. All this = stubborn to a fault. Also, why was Scott Arniel not fired as special teams coach? He was just awful like our not so special teams.
    2. By the time he even came to make the right decision (D. Boyle scratch in game 5 of the Pitt series) it’s way too late. These are sort of the same problem.

    Why would you keep him.
    1. Well in spite of how things turned out this year he did get you to the SCF and ECF the first 2 years.
    2. He was able to fit the square peg in the round hole for 2 seasons before things went south.
    3. As bad as this year was they did produce 101 points. To be fair here if it was not for Lundquist we probably would have had more like 81 points, but the numbers are the numbers.

    How to assess going forward.
    1. we need to get younger which means looking to move people like M. Staal, Giradi and Nash, no matter what the returns. The cap space is invaluable.
    2. Under that scenario next years coach will need to be someone with a good track record of developing young talent. Here I give AV a D grade at best.
    3. If we refuse to do 1. then let AV stay. We will crash and burn and get a good draft pick in 2017. Do we have a first that year? I think so.

    My view is we need to get younger and we need to bring in a coach who can develop these young players properly. Av has shown throughout his career he is not that guy. just ask Tanner Glass…

    • He didn’t mistreat Miller. Total myth. Miller had well documented work ethic issues that were reported by Dan Rosen of, confirmed by Miller himself, and taken even to a higher level by Dave Maloney on a Rangers post game show when he acknowledged that it was a real question whether Miller wanted to be an NHL player! Pretty strong indictment from a former player who’s there in practice every day. To me, he needed tough love, and he responded. He’s only 22 and he clearly had some growing up to do.

      With Hayes, not sure what you are saying. Was AV too tough on him or not tough enough? Some criticized AV for benching Hayes for all of two games. Some in the press said AV gave Hayes way too great of a leash.

      No matter how you look at it, how is this any different than the way Torts jerked Kreider around in 2013, which to me was far more agregious an act given the fact that that you can argue that Kreider might have saved his job because of his stellar play in the 2012 playoffs? And how is it any different than the way Torts jerked around Zuc, who he seemed to have little use for. Zuc has thrived under AV.

      • Torts jerking around Kreider is a myth. He did the same thing that AV did to Miller, which was teaching them how to play positional hockey. This idea that Zucc suffered under Torts is a myth. Torts was sung Zukes praises when he came back from the KHL and gave him a top 6 mins during the 12-13 season.

        • You make a valid point here Suit. I think I have gotten too caught up responding to the “AV is ruining the kids” nonsense that I now do it with Torts in comparing what he did with AV’s approach. So, fair criticism.

          I do believe however that it was a huge head scratcher to understand why Kreider played such a diminished role in 2013. Unlike Miller, who really had done nothing to warrant more playing time until this year, Kreider burst on the season in the 2012 Playoffs and was spectacular. You can easily make the case that the Rangers would have gotten bounced in the first round vs an inferior Ottawa team if not for Kreider’s play in Game 6 to stave off elimination. You can argue that Kreider saved Tort’s job, since a first round ouster of the regular season EC champs would have been perceived as yet another playoff failure for Torts. So, it just seemed to me that Kreider had earned a little more leash than what he got.

          But in the end, you are right, there were necessary lessons for Kreider to learn (and it’s unclear if he has yet fully learned them or ever will, but that’s another matter), and Torts tough love approach was necessary. My question to the folks who take AV to task for how he has handled Miller, Hayes and McIlrath…how is AV’s approach any different than how Torts handled Kreider and Zuc, among others?

  • At the end of your article, you mention a new coach/philosophy might be “someone who can at least mask our weaknesses and amplify our strengths could be a welcomed addition.”

    My response is that has been well documented how poor this team has been in certain areas (weaknesses) and, in my opinion, we have no true 1st line forwards, only six 2nd liners, plus a sub-par year for McDonough. Yet, AV got 101 pts and 46 wins from a team ranked in the bottom third of the league in many key advanced stat categories.

    I would argue that he has maximized potential with this sub-par team. Give him some true 1st liners, upgrade the defensive corps, and sprinkle in some Brian Boyle/Carl Hagelin types (Not Hayes or Glass) and AV will take them to the Stanley Cup Finals.

    The problem is the roster. You can’t win the Kentucky Derby with a pony. You win the Kentucky Derby with Secretariat.

    • Well put, but we have no assets or picks to get those players. The only card we have left to play is my namesake, Pavel, and it’s not even a given that he’ll come over next year.

      And we do have a pony, his name is Zuk. We just need the bigger horses to start pulling. I’m looking at your Kreider and Hayes.

    • I don’t agree with this at all. People who are good at anything make you think more highly of the people around them. A great goalie makes you think the defensemen are good. A great passer makes you think his teammates are great goal scorers. The less capable underline the weakness of those around them. When you talk about how much AV has accomplished with so little talent, what makes you think the Rangers aren’t talented? The Rick Nash the Rangers acquired was a guy who may or may not make the HOF depending on how his career played out. Now he isn’t even a first line forward.

      As for advanced stats, sorry, they are rubbish. They tell us that Toronto was better than Washington this year. Couldn’t even correctly rank the best and worst regular season teams in order.

      I am not calling for AV’s head here – or saying he is a bad coach. We have a lot of evidence on him – just saying that this year wasn’t a plus for him.

  • Very interesting analysis Mr. Suit. In the leadership literature two main types of leader are often alluded to; these being the Task & Maintenance types. If you can get a combination of both those types in your leadership you have a winner. The Task leader is like your Results type. This is the guy that drives hard & pushes people to their maximum performance. They value work ethic & deplore madiocrity & if you are not pulling your weight, you are history. The Maintenance leader focuses a lot & has skill in dealing with emotions, cognitions that maximize behaviour. He promotes team & its cohesion by dealing with each personality in the room in a unique way. He does not have a one style fits all. He supports while using criticism in an adaptive way, teaching each of his charges new behaviours while being attentive to their input. An example I remember in hockey was Phil Esposito talking abt the effect Fred Shero had on him(1979 team that unexpectedly made the finals). He said that when Shero tapped him on the shoulder he would become so emotionally energized that all he wanted to do was win FOR Shero, he wanted to make his coach happy. AV’s strengths would be found more in the task dimension, providing structure & “playing the right way.” He is weaker in the maintenance dimension, often passive aggressively criticizing performance & not being able to entertain risk if he sees the player as less able to follow his system.

  • Don’t fire AV but Arniel needs to go. 3 years of bad power play is enough. AV needs to have more of a personel decision and after that it’s all on him. He should have a say if they try and move Mac D , Nash, Kreider.

    • Before Arneil, the last useless special teams coach is now coaching the machine that ran through the Rangers while going 8 for 20 on the power play. Hmmmm…… That’s sounds an awful lot like that is a player issue, not a coaching issue on special teams.

      • Right in the button, Spozo. You stole my thunder! I was just going to write that.

        Sully and Torts were ripped to shreds because of the inept PP they had when coaching the Rangers. I guess Sully must have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express between jobs, because all of a sudden, lo and behold, he’s a PP genius. I mean, it can’t be the dramatic upgrade in talent he now has, right?

    • For the record I’m not saying that Arniel should stay or go. I’m just saying that coaches have to play the hand they were dealt.

    • It is very unusual for an assistant coach to be fired without the head coach being fired. That’s his guy so I can’t see that scenario evolving.

      • Paul, it does happen. Many coaches change things up. Heck, at his closing presser, AV said as much that it was no guarantee his coaches were coming back.

  • Three year record in NY includes:

    1) Surprise trip to SCF
    2) Loss in ECF in 7 games while playing without a healthy defenseman
    3) Disappointing season though still reaching 101 points

    Based strictly on results, he should stay. However, if there’s a major overhaul in personnel and it’s deemed AV isn’t the right match for the talent, it could, perhaps, be justified.

  • I don’t think AV’s system is good for Hank, especially as he gets older. He was able to steal games early on this year, which is the only reason they were able to make the playoffs. Another month of the season and I bet they don’t make it this year. He is going to need more rest in the next few years. With an “up tempo” system that is going to cause even more break downs and odd man rushes, which will put more pressure on “The King” and we saw what those results looked like against Pitt. Bottom line, love him or hate him, Torts system of clogging the slot was the best thing for Hanky. AV’s system does not play well for Hank, especially as he ages. 5 years ago I think it would have been fine but not at 34 and getting older.

      • Reasonable, but in this day and age, you can’t win championships by blocking shots and hoping you win every game 2-1.

        • I agree Eddie but letting guys run loose in your own end and stand alone in front of the net doesn’t really work well either. It’s tough, somethings got to give tho because what they did this year in the d zone cannot continue next year.

    • This is a perfect example in relation to my post earlier, if you read up above.

      Generally speaking, AV’s system should help more on Henriks performance as opposed to Tort’s.

      With respect Billy, the clogging of the slot isn’t a “system” but a part of the system. Yes, when the puck is in our own zone, Tort’s system would be more beneficial to Hank, but his system would/has made us more prone to more odd man rushes. We witnessed this many, many times over the years under Torts. This was when Henrik shined in my opinion.

      The one area where Henrik benefitted from Torts was when the puck was controlled by the opposing team in our zone.

      • Generally speaking, AV clogs the middle of the ice more opposed to Torts.

        Tort’s philosophy was, go forward, keep the puck in the opposing teams end of the ice and manufacture goals, and if we give up a few odd man rushes because of it, it’s okay since we have the best goalie in the league.

        “Safe is Death!” – John Tortorella

  • There is a dilemma. On the one hand AV’s system is very good. On the other hand his usage of the players made the system less superior.
    The smart AV can get you to the cup finals if ST Louis’s mom passes away and everyone is buying into the plan and its us against the world.
    The stupid AV gets his players and cuts out the heart of the team and does not play the best players available. I am the boss and I will force this down your throats. I will experiment my way and there is no other way. I will adjust only after exhausting my options.
    I want him gone! Go ! Get! Don’t let the door hit you in the ass! You are poisonous. Game after game the stupid AV appeared throughout the whole season. Defenders of AV just said he has a winning record and it doesn’t matter what and how he’s doing. You can not think here there is a superior coach out there and knows better than anybody.
    I can not see an other coach making so many mistakes in the season and not having to answer any questions. Line decisions, player decisions, benching decisions, timeout decisions and many more decisions. He lost us approximately 6 games and that generous.
    We invest our time and money and family for years and years and this year I contemplated not watching hockey anymore just like I have done with baseball. I was not going to go down without a fight. The stinking coach make so many mistakes and he has his blind minions defend game after game and the only defense is he is a HOF coach and he has winning seasons and there is 30 seconds in the game and he fails to call a time out when everybody was tired. He takes out the player that was winning all the draws and we lose.
    Can you believe that AV’s decision making does not effect the players? Did you see a bunch of players playing their hearts out for the coach?
    The GM has a very hard time ahead of him and I think the biggest question is, did the coach lose the team and can he get them back?
    The answer is
    not up to me.
    Last year we lost because we did not have Zucc and some players were hurt. What is the excuse this year?

    • If they fire him I would not be upset. If they give him another year I wouldn’t be to disappointed either. My issue with AV is his unwillingness to change his game plan during the game or at any time really. You touched on this in your post. Rather than change your game plan, he changes line s like I change underwear. Just because a line combo didn’t work for one shift doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have another opportunity. Maybe it’s not your line combos, maybe it’s your game plan! I guess the more I think about it the more I’d like to see someone else behind the bench.

    • Rock, you of all people should know exactly what the excuse was this year. The Rangers made a HUGE mistake letting last year’s would be Game 7 savior James Sheppard leave the team and go play for the Kloten Flyers. If we just had kept him, it all would have worked out differently. I mean, some guy out here couldn’t stop talking about that last year, so clearly, that’s what killed us this year! 🙂

  • Multiple issue here. Can Gorton transform the roster to get the players AV needs? Can AV adjust to be successful with the roster he ends up with. Does Gorton believe in AV and the roster? Is AV more dedicated to his system than his roster?
    We all know the roster will be somewhere between what we need and what we are stuck with. Not all of the “dead wood” can be removed and we won’t get everything we need. Does Gorton believe in AV’s ability to adjust? If so, give him 1 more year to prove it. Is there a better alternative for the roster we have? If not, doesn’t he get a pass anyway?

  • My take on wether or not AV should stay or go is simple….

    I personally want him to stay, HOWEVER There’s a big part of me that wants me to see him leave now, only because I don’t think I can take another full year of reading about nothing but AV bashing throughout the season next year, on my favorite site in the world :-).

  • AV staying or being fired should be driven by Gorton’s plan for the team, which hasn’t even been communicated publicly. This was his first year as GM and the mindset seems to have been, all along, we’re going to give this group one last shot.

    If the plan going forward is for wholesale changes in personnel as part of a multi-year reconstruction of the roster, I’d prefer Vigneault be replaced this summer and a coach more suitable for younger, developing players be brought in. This is the approach I hope Gorton takes.

    If the plan is more of a modest re-tooling of 2-3 key players with customary carousel of mercenaries filling out the bottom six forward spots, then I’d rather let Vigneault see out his contract. A new coach for this type of go-slow approach would be almost pointless.

    I hope Gorton articulates a plan for the team. Right now, it’s not clear what this team is all about or where it is heading from a strategic perspective.

  • One thought slightly tangential, but relevant to keeping a coach. There is one real shelf life factor. All coaches overvalue some players and undervalue others. The good ones that are undervalued (Hagelin?) disappear quickly because there is a strong market for them and the organization does not want to pay the price. The overvalued players tend to stick around in much the same way. So there is a tendency for the number of overvalued players to increase with time.

  • Wonderful column, Suit — as always

    A month ago, I would have been astounded to see AV go. Now I am not so sure. I am even less sure about what I want to happen. In his earliest days, Torts got a lot of criticism for not playing the kids. The Rangers clearly needed a new coach IMO and they got one, a revamped Tortorella who was committed to the youth movement. It was like night and day.

    This year AV demonstrated two flaws that are hard to live with. First, he is very rigid. As people say, he stuck to his systems without the right personnel for those systems. Personally, I won’t criticize him for his even strength decisions. We can argue about whether or not the Rangers were a good even strength team or not and so we can argue about the wisdom of his systems. However, the PK was awful. And nothing ever changed.

    The second flaw is that he seems bland. He provides no real spark and the 2015-2016 Rangers were largely a lifeless team. Players like Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards brought an energy to the team and the team didn’t need spark from their coach. However, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist simply don’t move their teammates in the same way. Maybe a new team leader will step up next year. But if not, AV is probably the wrong guy for the team.

  • I would say Yes he should go. He’s had time and while he’s gone close each year has been a regression from the previous. It’s time to freshen things up and make a change. Don’t ask me who – my knowledge isn’t that in depth. I would also say that I’ve enjoyed AV’s time immensely and he should be applauded for the great run he’s given us.

  • So much knocking of AV because he hasn’t won a cup. Well Tortorella has, does that make him a better coach than AV? A cup isn’t the end all be all of a good coach!

    • Exactly. Since winning the Cup, Torts has been a painfully mediocre coach record wise and especially in the post season. After winning the Cup in NY, Keenan put together a record that was arguably the most abysmal ten year run ever compiled.

      The only coach I can ever remember winning a championship on his shear will was probably Herb Brooks in the 1980 Olympics. But those were amateurs. What did Brooks win as a pro?

      If you don’t have the players, you have no chance. There are NO elite players other than Hank on this team. Very hard to win it all that way.

      • It’s lazy commenting like that that really pisses me off. Pick apart his personnel issues, his lineup, and deployment. But don’t say the guy is horrible because he doesn’t have a cup. That he’s horrible because he has only made it to 2 Stanley cup finals without winning it all. Just lazy and stupid.

        • Also, the exaggerating as well… To the point that I misconstrued some posts over the past week, all because of words that were used to the limit 🙂

          I think most are still a bit emotional still, including myself, so I understand.


  • AV has had two very good to great goaltender’s
    So that skews his W/L record he’s stubborn as hell
    Most of the dman we have can play switch
    Or he will get fired the forecheck in non existent
    That needs to change also

    • So, goaltending is not part of the game?

      Take Hank off this team over the past decade….except for last season, we are a lottery team. AV has gotten a lot out of very little.

  • Get rid of EVERYONE making 4 million or more and fire the coaches and rebuild. AV is not the right coach for a rebuild, too laid back to coach kids. Just like Torts was the wrong coach for a group of high paid veterans because of his tyrannic attitude. Bring in Messier for a rebuild and give it 3 years to get us on the right track.

  • What do you want from a coach in today’s game?

    *Talent dictates tactics: AV has failed in that regard.
    *You have to integrate younger players: AV has had a mixed bag in that regard.
    *You have to work hand in glove with the GM: Unknown, but I can’t really see how you can say how things were in sync.

    At best, a coach adds 10% to a team, at worst makes them 30% worse: AV has regressed, probably now -10%. I’m pretty sure the trend line isn’t about to change for the better.

  • Suit, I really admire your objective perspective. Very fair and even handed write up.

    A few random observations here…

    1) Rangers out….Hawks out….Kings out. All in the first round. What do they have in common? More playoff games played over the last five seasons than anyone else. This fatigue factor is absolutely real. The Rangers just looked gassed.

    2) ok….quick question for you all…which team had the biggest first round failure? Hawks, Kings, Ducks, Rangers or Panthers?

    To me, when I consider the roster of those teams and the opponent that knocked them off, it is, in order….

    1) Ducks
    2) Kings
    3) Hawks
    4) Rangers
    5) Panthers

    The Ducks were the very popular choice in pre-season to win it all. Then they became the popular pick again once they got hot. With that roster, to lose to a good but not great Preds team is totally unacceptable and Boudreau should be fired.

    The Kings, with their roster and playoff pedigree, to get bounced, especially after the moves they made after NOT even making the playoffs last year? Again, unacceptable.

    The Hawks have an incredible roster of elite talent, and gave up more of their future to go for the repeat. Yes, the Blues are a great team, but still, the Hawks were terribly mediocre for much of the season. Bad year. Unacceptable.

    The Rangers? They lost to the hottest team in the league that’s on a historic run right now. They have a good but not great roster that was exposed against a team that simply was better than them. The only blemish? The fact that they were non competitive in Games 4 and 5.

    The Panthers? Actually, you can make the case that their first round failure was worse than the Rangers. They were the Atlantic division champions and lost to a banged up Islanders team. But I give them a pass because they haven’t been a playoff team in years.

    Then, how about the job done by Claude Julien, John Tortorella (remember, he was brought in to turn around a team that many thought was good enough to win the Cup and he led them to only a .500 record), Paul Maurice, Bob Hartley, Willie Desjardins and Michel Terrien did? (Yes, Terrien lost Price, but to completely miss the playoffs and be totally non competitive???)

    You can make the case that every single one of these guys, other than Quenneville, Sutter and Gallant, should be fired way before anyone should be thinking about ousting AV. And even in Coach Q and Sutter’s case, they did a far worse job this season with their more talented squads than AV did with his. Are they losing the room? Have they forgotten how to coach? Too stubborn? Not stubborn enough?

    3) You could make the case that Hank might be the single most important athlete to his team in any sport of the past decade. An article I saw the other day showed that Hank was by far the most important goaltender. Other than last season, the Rangers are likley not even a playoff team without Hank. Think about that and then ask yourself, how good was this roster? Has it ever really been a true championship roster? I will argue until I’m blue in the face, AV over the past three years has OVERACHIEVED as a coach with this roster, not underachieved.

    4) Hank….great award winning goaltender. No Cups. AV…great, award winning coach. No Cups. Why is Hank a keeper and AV needs to be shown the door? Seems to me they have virtually identical resumes.

    5) for the “fire AV” crowd, my question to you is this….yesterday, all I kept reading is how we need to retool this roster…the window is closed. So what you are saying is, the roster is flawed, right? Then why is this on the coach? The GM (past and present) assembled this team. If you had a roster like the Ducks, Hawks, or Kings let’s say, and you didn’t win the Cup over three seasons, then yes, coach needs to go. Do yo think those three teams will tear down their roster? I doubt it. The Rangers will make big changes. So again, how is that on the coach? This team is totally devoid of high end talent, and to win the Cup that way, you have to play virtually letter perfect hockey. Again, no GREAT players. How is this on the coach?

    6) Gorton is getting a huge pass here, and maybe it’s understandable because he is a first year GM. But why? Other than the Stalberg and Raanta signings, his moves were busts. We lose key players like Hags and MSL and they weren’t adequately replaced. We were a weaker team (with NO elite players like the other legit contenders). The GM did not do a good enough job here. To me, he is far more culpable than the coach.

    7) rumor has it that it was Gorton that pushed for AV. If true, unlikely he makes a move now. Even if not, he was part of Sather’s team for many years. Torts was given four plus seasons, and Torts did a far worse job than AV. AV has only coached three seasons here. Two great years and one not so great for AV. Meanwhile, Torts started off with a first round playoff ousting, no playoffs and another first round playoff ousting, and yet somehow kept his job despite REGRESSING from what was accomplished during the Renney years. Firing AV now hardly seems consistent with this management team’s approach.

    Conclusion…..after two of the best seasons back to back in Rangers history, there’s no way on God’s green earth that the coach should be fired after a 101 pt season and losing to the hottest team in hockey.

    Now, I’m not saying a change couldn’t or shouldn’t happen. It just won’t because of this season record. That makes no sense. I do believe that if Brooks’ sources say AV won’t be canned, then that is probably where they are. He is the most well connected writer on the beat. But, I do see that AV COULD be canned because…

    1) interesting that Gorton has gone radio silent. That’s a possible red flag.

    2) also interesting that AV said publicly they are all going to take a break and re-evaluate everything in 7-10 days. My instincts as a reporter say keep an eye on this….

    3) as I said, no sane management team fires this coach after the prior two years based on record. BUT….

    4) if a rebuild or retooling is coming, then all bets are off. What if Slats/Gorton and AV don’t see eye to eye on what needs to be done yet? Then the coach can and should be gone. Not his fault, but change in that case is best for all parties.

    5) Here’s a crazy notion….AV might have no interest in a rebuild. perhaps it’s AV that is hearing through back channels that a better opportunity may await. He must look at so many teams that underachieved (like the Ducks) with superior talent than the Rangers have and think…hey, my clock is ticking too. I want to go to a place that wants to win..and now. And have elite talent that can thrive in my system and not have to coach the “no-margin-for-error” team he has right now.

    So what I’m saying is, the only way I see AV leaving is if, a) coach and management don’t see eye to eye on who stays and who goes, or b) AV decides that HE is the one that want out, and they decide on a mutual parting of the ways.

    If AV leaves, he will be hired in about two seconds. That’s how well regarded he is. And given a roster like in Anaheim, he will win. He’s a far more accomplished coach than Boudreau.

    Boudreau comes here? AV to the Ducks? Anyone want to make that swap? Not me.

    End of the day…AV stays…but how hot the seat gets next season depends on the quality of the roster he’s given.

      • Charlie, they don’t have that much time. A team that goes to the Stanley Cup Finals will have maybe three months to rest and recover before camp. The good thing about the Rangers getting eliminated early is they will have almost five months of rest until camp starts. This will be of particular importance for guys like McDonagh, Girardi and M. Staal, all of whom had their summer rest, recovery and training regimen disrupted due to injury last year.

        I expect all three to be much improved next season, which right away will solve lots of the problems he team had.

    • Eddie, I will agree with you 100%, if AV does get fired, he will not be out of work long. He has an outstanding resume, I did not like the moves he made this year with the Rangers, but the guy has been a winner with every organization he has been with.

    • You know Ed, there were teams, Montreal, Islanders, Oilers who went deep in the play offs, and won cups by the way, who never experienced fatigue, enough already with that lame excuse !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Walt, we talked about this before. Those teams of the 70s and 80s played in a total different era.

        First, there was no competitive balance, so great dynastic teams like the ones you mentioned generally cruised through very weak teams in the first round or two (much like the NBA today, where there are rarely early round upsets). Today, even the first round battles are wars just to survive.

        Second, there were less rounds to play in the 60s and 70s, so again, shorter path for the Canadiens teams of that era. Not at all comparable.

        Third, the most recent of the champions mentioned, the 1990 Oilers, lifted the Cup on May 24. The Hawks last year lifted it three weeks later.

        Greater competive balance + longer playoffs + shortened off season = greater chance of fatigue factor. Again, just look around at what has happened in the league post lockout. It’s been a clear trend. What’s the Blackhawks and Ducks excuse? Did their coaches lose their team all of a sudden? Or certainly in the Hawks case, did all that hockey just finally take it’s toll?

        Lastly, I think it’s even more of an issue for a team like the Rangers. There is no high end talent on the roster. Most every playoff game is Armageddon, because they have to win them 2-1 or 3-2. That takes a huge mental and physical toll.

        The fatigue factor is a very real phenomenon.

    • A long bla bla bla. Were you able to watch ever single game of Ducks
      Kings, Hawks and Panthers? Well we watched the Rangers. We watched the coach screw up all year long and despite his mistakes they got 101 points.
      Where you think the coach OVERACHIEVED most people that watched the games will say he UNDERACHIEVED. You under value the core and that’s your problem.
      Hank can be shown the door with AV. Just kidding Hand doesn’t set the lineup and play the players with little or no talent only because he likes someone.

      And the rest bla bla bla 😉

  • Here’s an analogy for how I feel about AV…

    A shovel is a great tool for digging a hole. It is not a great tool for driving nails. If you saw someone trying to drive nails with a shovel, would you:
    A. Say, “Wow, that shovel is crappy, it is doing a terrible job driving those nails!”
    Or, B. Say, “Wow, why is that idiot trying to drive nails with a shovel?”

    Don’t know about you, but I’d go with B.

    Tying what happened this season far too often into that analogy…that person swinging the shovel is AV, and players like Yandle, Hayes, Fast, McIlrath, Skjei, Glass (hell, the whole 4th line at times really), etc. are the shovels. Misuse, misuse everywhere! His lines were often just complete hot garbage, and they never stopped being tinkered with…that should stop by like December more or less.

    Players who shouldn’t have even been playing (or on the NHL squad even, ahem, Tanner…) often were, and worse, were getting big minutes. Players who should have been playing weren’t. Players who should have been seeing bigger minutes in lieu of others weren’t. About the only area that AV was completely proficient in was his goalie usage. Which, well…kinda hard to mess that up when you have a generational starter at your disposal.

    Don’t even get me started on ultra basic things like how AV infuriatingly refuses to use his timeout on a regular basis, when it is painfully clear a timeout is in order.

    Yeah, yeah…he’s won ____ games and ____ playoff series and a President’s Trophy in his tenure here. Okay. Cool. None of those are the ultimate goal. I firmly believe that a coach can do a lot more to lose games for his team than he can to win games for his team. If this were not the case, then largely talent-less teams with great coaches would win the Cup at least occasionally, because, well, they are great coaches…but that never happens. Doesn’t work like that.

    I think AV lost us more than a few games this year with his decisions be they general line construction, usage, minutes distribution, or…frankly…often all three at the same damn time.

    I think his dismissal would absolutely be justified at this point, but it’s only really worth it if they are going to bring in someone who will let the strengths of the roster dictate the approach to some degree (I personally think to a large degree would be nice). If they are gonna go out and get another egomaniac who keeps on trying to jam square pegs into round holes, insisting on a system that clearly doesn’t work for the roster available and a process that is impossible with the personnel at his disposal, then why bother? Might as well just stick with AV. Which I do think they will do, at least for the first half of next season.

    And to be clear, I’m not saying it is all AV’s fault. We did have some notable under-performances this year even among players who were employed mostly correctly according to their skill set. Even the most ardent of AV supporters has to understand, however…he cost us some wins this year with decisions that were no-brainers, but he went the opposite way on. He really did. That’s kind of unacceptable.

    • absolutely great post !!!!!!!!!!! can’t top the analogy either …………you hit on just about every point of frustration on my part with this coach !!!!!!!

  • No doubt that AV is a good coach. He has had the Rangers operating like a machine for long stretches in the past. But, maybe he has outlived his welcome here? Possibly, but who would replace him? (Torts? He is always getting fired somewhere so he may be available!)

    Seriously, I’d like to see who is going to be better before replacing AV. I am not against firing him, but the new guy should be hired because he is better, not just to make a change.

    • Every coach has gotta make his name somewhere I guess. In that regard, I wouldn’t even be opposed to trying someone who may not have all that much NHL experience or a big name. I just personally would like a coach who isn’t so stubborn as to not see the big neon sign in front of him during every game that basically reads “THIS SYSTEM DOES NOT WORK FOR THIS ROSTER!”. Maybe Gorton/Sather tells AV those are the terms, and maybe we see a more flexible AV next year. Hard to say.

      That said, I don’t think there are a lot of available big names right now in the NHL coaching world. I imagine if we did make a change, it might be to one of the highly-regarded assistants around the league, or perhaps a from-AHL hiring.

      • Again your spot on about a coach not needing a great resume, should be given a shot. I look down the PA turnpike to Filthadelphia, and see a college coach from North Dakota, given a shot, who turned around a terrible team, and made them a play off team. He wasn’t afraid too use a kid from the AHL, I won’t even attempt to spell his name, on defense, which turned the team around 180 degrees. I suspect AV would never consider something like that ??????????????

        • That’s all very nice, Walt. Making the playoffs is just fine. Let’s talk about Philly when they actually win something. The league is full of one hit wonder coaches who fade fast. Cameron in Ottawa and Yeo in Minny come to mind.

          Just like some promising rookie who teases us and fails, first time coaches often do that too, and then we overrate them and think they are the second coming.

          I’m not at all sold on Hakstol..I’m near North Dakota, and while he did a great job at a storied program, he won ZERO championships. He leaves and his successor wins the title.

          My point is, let’s not get carried away here.

        • And as for the kid you (and I) can’t spell, it’s easy to integrate youth on a team that’s in rebuild mode and where expectations are low. Much, much harder on a team with a playoff pedigree and lots of veteran players. Not even remotely comparable.

  • I’ve never understood the GM – Coach scenario. Who’s in charge? Who says what players come to the club. If “I” was the the coach I would want the players “I” want – not what the GM says I’m having. Probably a British way of thinking but how can a Coach succeed if he can’t even choose his own players.

    • Good question Charlie!

      In its broadest definition, it’s the GM’s job to manage the cap and make the trades or acquisitions he’s feels are necessary to either make the team better in the here and now, or if rebuilding, then in the hopefully foreseeable future. It’s the coach’s job to win as many games as possible with the players he is given.

      Now, there is certainly an overlap. Every GM consults with their coach on deals, and the coach certainly has input. But with the complexities of the cap, the days of one person being the GM/Coach are long gone.

  • I never see the obvious problem the rangers have discussed…..i watch every minute of every game for 30 years…Girardi and M.Staal were awful this year and thats an understatement..they were terrible…and yes not long ago they were a big part of what made nyr great…maybe they blocked too many shots under torts…anyway theyre bad and slow…anybody notice Diaz playing the point on the first unit in our last game of the year???

    • If AV stays it’s the end of McIrath. He sits and AV brings up Diaz and McIlrath still sits. Well – with Tarasenko still available why was McIlrath picked?

      • On the McIlrath question, obviously, no one really knows what AV thinks of the kid. But I wouldn’t be too quick to buy into that fan blog driven narrative. Last year, they were saying the same thing about Miller and the kid played and played well.

        As for the Tarasenko vs McIlrath choice, first of all, that was in 2010 and AV wasn’t part of the organization then. In fairness to Sather and his team, they had drafted Del Zotto the previous year and they envisioned a very talented pair between the two. And Tarasenko (and Kuzetzov for that matter) wasn’t all that highly rated, since other teams passed on them too. And McIlrath suffered a significant knee injury a few years ago, so if he had been healthy, who knows? Maybe he would already be a top tier player on the team now.

        But clearly, in retrospect, it appears the Rangers made a huge mistake.

        Either way, regardless of who was coach, a coach has very little say as to who is drafted. As Torts found out, the odds are whomever is drafted will likely be coached by your successor!

  • “Right now, his system does not fit the current roster, which has been documented many times on this site”. AV is the most overrated, hyped up hockey coach that ever donned a 3 piece suit.

    A coach coaches a team with the players they have not the players they wish they had. Mike Yeo is the kind of coach that can get the most from his players. Sign him Mr. Gorton before someone else does.

    • Mike Yeo?! Seriously? Yeah, he did a real great job with a Wild team that was supposed to go far this year. The man has done NOTHING.

      • Mike Yeo took a team of grinders (with the exception Parise) and a castaway goalie Devan Dubnyk and knocked off the mighty Blues in the playoffs. Mike would reinstitute a defensive system which is a concept foreign to AV (useless you consider their PK a success) this would help Henk and a tired blueine get their mojo back.

        AV took a young sucessful hockey team (Vancouver) and coached them to their demise. He is on pace to do the same in New York. You can slam Torts all you like Ed, but he has something AV will never have..a StanleyCup Ring!

        • So does Marc Crawford. I hear he wears his ring all the time on the streets of Switzerland. Means nothing about future success. As proven by Torts, who was a barely mediocre coach in NY….and then AV took over and dramatically improved the team’s fortunes.

          Boy do you have your facts wrong about AV. Coincidentally, it was AV who took over for Crawford in Vancouver, and that young team took off with emerging stars like the Sedins and Kesler, who all had their best years under AV. He led them to the most successful run in franchise history. They were denied in the end because Luongo was terrible when it mattered, and Thomas played out of his mind. I don’t know what you are talking about. All the young players Gillis drafted were awful and Gillis was fired the year after he fired AV (that was the year Torts the Train Wreck sunk the franchise and probably became the first coach in history to be fired in back to back seasons….heck of a job!)

          Nice work by Mike Yeo to win two playoff series in four seasons coaching before getting canned in the fifth. That’s a very impressive resume.

          I thought the idea was to upgrade the coaching, not downgrade.

          I can see the headlines now…”Rangers Fire Vigneault….hire Yeo.” If that’s the best Gorton can do, he probably should get his resume together and fast.

  • The other disturbing thing is that for a hands off coach, it sure seems like they didn’t play to the expected standard to the point where you would allow them that much of a leash after the Alberta flop.

  • He never should have been hired. To steal from many Ranger fans back in 2013, AV MUST GO!

    Sadly firing AV now won’t change history, but HOPE! CHANGE! FORWARD! and any other silly slogans you can think of that are applicable. Time to move on.

    • Huh? Steal from Rangers fans? Steal what? He turned this team into mostly a borderline playoff under Torts to one of the best teams in the league and delivered two of the best seasons back to back in Rangers history.

      If that’s “stealing”, sign me up for that anyday!

  • The coach’s responsibilities:

    1) Play your best line up every night.
    2) Be able to make adjustments and have an actual game plan.
    3) Get the most out of your players.

    Strike 1, 2, and 3. Fire him. Let’s look further:

    Year 1, no personnel input, SCF.
    Year 2, some personnel input, ECF.
    Year 3, a lot of personnel input, first round exit.

    Fire him.

    • Omg! Hilarious Richter!

      No personnel input in year one? How do you know this? There were several moves made in pre-season. You think he had NO input? Think he had no input on the MSL deal that took the team from average to SCF?

      Either way….irrelevant. He took a mediocre borderline playoff team and took them to SCF. That’s coaching!

      Year two……let’s not forget guiding his team to the best record in hockey. Hardly a regression. Likely misses back to back SCF trips only due to the crippling injuries to Zuc and most of the defense.

      Two years….five playoff series wins. Unprecedented in modern Rangers history.

      And this year, in an obvious off season, he still guides them to a 101 pt season. Heck, he should be given a raise and extension, not a pink slip!

      So what about all the other “failures” that either got bounced in the first round or didn’t make the playoffs at all? Should they be fired too?

      • Ed

        On a lighter note, just for laughs, should AV get canned, what will you post about?????? You can’t be the team apologist after that move, can you ????????????

        • I will have to tap dance! 🙂

          No, seriously, already dealt with it in my post above. To me, he does not deserve to be fired. His record here with a good but not great team is exemplary. I doubt seriously they would can him based on performance.

          But if it’s based on a differing view of players and where the franchise needs to go from here, perfectly reasonable and I would be fine with that. No coach is immune to being fired.

          Heck, given the openings that will likely be out there, he may be fine with that, too. I’m sure it gets tiresome coaching a team that has no high end stars and has to win playoff games by the skin of their teeth every year. He must wonder what he could do with a roster like Boudreau has.

          • One difference between management and fans is in how they view coaches. I don’t have a strong opinion on the fire AV idea, but it is all about whether or not he is the right coach for this team going forward.

            Is he actually one of the finest NHL coaches coaching today? Absolutely. But that is a different question.

          • Ray-

            I 100% agree and if the question is “is he the right fit going forward?”, that’s a more than fair question. If he’s not, then moving on is appropriate. If it’s about simply judging him on what he did these last three seasons here, it’s a no brainer…he should be back.

      • love you Eddie. 🙂

        first year, coach gets his feet wet, I don’t think he comes in and starts telling a new team what to do personnel wise, ESPECIALLY the New York Rangers.

        you know what? the regular season is BS. just make the playoffs. winning the President’s Trophy did a lot last year as we got shutout in their last 2 home games.

        this coach is hideous and as long as he’s here then you can bring in whatever players you want, won’t matter.

        Boudreau just got fired, as a matter of fact, my friend…

  • I haven’t read one solid case made for Vigneault being the right coach for the needs of this team today and the next few years. I’m not just talking here at the BlueSeats, but anywhere. Fans on both sides usually emphasize either Vigneault’s rigidness or career W/L record. Neither are relevant.

    To me, the question is: which coach is the best caretaker of this team for the next 2-5 years? If Gorton chooses to rebuild, over re-tool, it’s not only a matter of whether Vigneault is the right coach, but does Vigneault WANT to oversee a rebuild with only 2 years left on his contract?

    I think the Rangers organization is presently stunned and surprised at the state of the team just 12 months after being the top team in the league which nearly advanced to the Cup finals with a number of key players who had no business being on the ice that last game or two vs Tampa.

    I also think Vigneault prefers not to be a caretaker for a mid-table team not contesting for the Cup. Obviously he is under contract so he can only show dismay over any gameplan Gorton presents, if it is a rebuild. Gorton would then have to decide if he wants to move forward with a reluctant coach.

    As Rangers fans, we should all be thankful for what both Tortorella and Vigneault have done for this organization. To me, those coaches managed the transition of this organization from mediocrity to consistent top tier status. They inherited different circumstances and players at different points in their careers, but both served us well.

    Gorton needs to go rebuild with a multi-year mindset on both coaching and personnel decisions. Nothing wrong with bringing a coach out of the collegiate or AHL ranks as part of a long-term plan. Or an NHL coach deemed very good but still developing.

    As a near 50yr fan of the organization, though, odds are we opt for a re-tool and let Vigneault run out his contract.

    My 2 cents.

    • AD, brilliantly and eloquently written. I agree with most of it.

      The only thing I will tidy up here is that the era really started with Renney. He gets credit too, and it’s often forgotten about. Post lockout, after all those horrible seasons, Jagr comes on board and the team electrifies the Garden, especially in the ’07 and ’08 playoffs. Statistically speaking, Renney’s tenure was arguably more successful than Torts. But you are being diplomatic and so will I. All three deserve credit with a good but not great group. And it’s more than fair to determine if AV is the right choice going forward if a significant retooling is to happen. As I said, maybe he’s the one who will ask out.

      • very good point about Renney. I tend to overlook him for his role but certainly he gets credit too.

        • Tom Renney, Jaromir Jagr, Hank, and Glen Sather all had a hand in bringing this organization back from the dead.

          I know Sather gets killed by a lot of Rangers fans, but fans forget that the reason Slats had to sign every big name free agent had more to do with Neil Smith leaving the farm system in tatters. After all, someone has to play for the Rangers, and Jimmy Dolan wasn’t going to allow the team to tank, after all, there were seats to fill.

          • You are correct about how Neil Smith left the team.

            That’s been my concern with Sather in his last few years, and with our last trade for Staal.

            I fear we are going to struggle for a handful of years before regaining a top 6 spot in the league. I hope not, obviously.

    • He isn’t the coach we need the next few years…unless he learns the harsh reality that if you’re not going to tailor your system to the talent to a degree, things probably are not going to turn out well. If he can get that through what appears to be a very stubborn/ego-maniacal/thick skull concerning system and process, maybe we’ve got a shot at a quick rebound.

      Still think he’s bullocks with young guys though, more on that in a bit…

      As far as this post and others above suggesting he turned a “mediocre” group into contenders…sorry, but we’re gonna have to agree to disagree there. He inherited some pretty competent vets. He inherited a roster full of guys who were already developed and about to enter prime years (Brass, Step, Kreids, Zucc, McD, etc.). I cannot point to any one guy on this roster that was all his except Hayes, and well…Hayes grades out first line on a WARRIOR chart and AV has given him the runaround and a very short leash at times. People can trumpet Fast if they like, I suppose, as a guy who responded to AV quite well…but AV has been misusing him in the top 6, so that kinda cancels out a bit.

      A harsher way of putting it…I don’t think AV has developed a damn thing. I firmly believe that with any baseline competent coach, the Rangers were well-poised to take that next step, regardless. That was NOT a mince meat roster AV inherited. Where we are at now, most of those young guys just aren’t progressing the way they should have. That to me is the biggest indictment of a coach.

      Or to look at it another way…if you were a 24 year old free agent right now, similar to Hayes where it just didn’t work out with your original team but you have undeniable talent and now can choose your destination…would you want to come play for this guy seeing how he messed with Miller last year? How he’s treated Hayes this year? How McIlrath and Lindberg rotted on the bench while other tangibly and demonstrably less effective players got tons of minutes?

      I sure as hell wouldn’t. I’d honestly argue AV is complete shit at player development (which is also what his MO was in VAN, to note, ask a Canucks fan), and since we can’t exactly just go buying more proven vets…I just don’t think he is any longer the man for this job. We need our young guys to A. reach their potential and B. be deployed correctly. AV is bullocks in both areas from what I can tell.

      And indeed – solid post AD, even if we don’t necessarily agree on some points.

      • Nobody said he inherited a mediocre team. I said he inherited a team of good to very good players, but no great ones other than Hank. What the Rangers have had that have made them successful is depth. Compare the Rangers roster (any of the last three seasons) to any of the Stanley Cup Champions of the past decade. Indeed, compare them to any of the Stanley Cup Finalists of the last decade. Virtually everyone of them have high end star players…in many cases one or more future HOFers. Is there any team that’s made the Finals, other than the Rangers, who’s best player HANDS DOWN is its goalie?

        I’m not saying you CAN’T win that way, but there is no margin for error at all. There is no Kane/Towes/Crosby/Malkin etc to bail you out. That’s not on the coach…that’s on the failure to draft well enough and bring in elite talent.

        To say he inherited polished players is fundamentally false. All the players you mentioned had their best seasons under AV.

        Hayes was benched for all of two games in the regular season. Hardly a short leash. He’s had well documented issues with effort and maturity. If anything, you can argue he should have been benched more often.

        Fast misused? Maybe. Or maybe he realized that since his forwards struggled so much defensively, he had no choice there.

        AV’s not a “competent” coach? Please, drop the ridiculous hyperbole. His records and Jack Adams nominations say exactly the opposite. There isn’t anyone in NHL establishment that would agree with that absurd statement. It would be akin to saying Hank should be a back up goalie.

        As for FA, again, more nonsense….Hayes did see how Miller was treated and chose to sign and play here. And AV played him and he thrived last year, did he not? And this year, despite his struggles, AV largely stuck with him.

        Miller was NOT jerked around. It’s been well documented he had significant work ethic issues and needed more time to mature. He had a breakout year this season because of it. You are trumpeting a totally false narrative.

        Player development in Vancouver? He took over a squad that was going nowhere, grew the Twins and Kesler into elite players, and the Canucks had the best seasons in franchise history. Then at the end, he and Gillis didn’t see eye to eye on the young talent. AV was fired and a year later, so was Gillis. Why? Because most of those young players he brought in sucked. Another false narrative.

        Now, it’s more than fair to ask if AV is the right man moving forward if a rebuild is in the offing. TBD. The rest of your diatribe would have you laughed out of a room if you attended a GMs meeting.

        If AV goes on the market, he’ll be hired in two seconds.

  • Not AV’s fault that Staal + Girardi suddenly losing step etc

    It IS his fault that
    he did not play Skjei/McIlrath/Diaz enough

    broke chops unnecessarily + extensively w/both Kreider + Miller

    makes WAY too many changes, constantly

    I would bet Eric Staal was not Gorton’s idea.

    This friggin win now mentality IS more his fault than Gorton’s and that has to bend, buckle and break.

    Only reason not to fire AV is he may have trade value to Ottawa!

    • Diaz was injured most of the year. So, he wasn’t an option. He also wouldn’t have fit during the regular season due to cap/roster size concerns. Remember, in the playoffs there is no salary cap and you can carry as many players as you like on the roster.

      Skjei played 18 minutes a night in the playoffs, so I’m not sure how he wasn’t used enough.

    • Ottawa fans are pining like crazy for Boudreau now that he’s been relieved of his duties. AV may not even be welcome there anymore either! Haha.

  • I love his style of play but AV has a major flaw in his ability to make the tough decisions that great coaches do for the better of the Team. Very tough to get to the cup & confeence finals. Harder to win the cup. He forced Richards, St Louis & Boyle on us when they had little or nothing left to offer, especially in playoffs. And to make matters worse at the times of their most horrible play. They all got huge minutes and pp time. It was beyond any hockey fans comprehension. Especially to us Ranger fans. Read somewhere with Boyle on pp since December, 90 minutes of pp time for him. 1 goal !! If GM doesn’t give AV a perfect team. He’ll never win the cup. Look at his history. If a better coach is available, yes. Fire Him.

    • The major flaw here is in your recollection of the facts. Richards was acquired serveral years before AV arrived. All three guys mentioned were acquired by the GM, not the coach. So if you want to blame anyone, blame Sather/Gorton.

      While not perfect acquisitions by any means, Richards helped lead the Rangers to two deep runs. What you said about MSL is factually inaccurate. He was acquired at the time when he was among the leading scorers in the NHL. He and Richards were instrumental in leading he Rangees to the SCF.

      Now Boyle certainly was another issue. Clearly, that was not Sather’s best move. But again, while the coach certainly has input, it’s the GMs decision as to who to acquire.

      I agree, Boyle played too much and too much on the PP. But there weren’t a lot of better options. And, he was the Rangers leading goal scorer among defensemen.

      The team has had two great years under AV and one not so great. The record does NOT justify a firing. Determining if he’s the right man for the job moving forward is another matter altogether.

  • Time for vigneault to go.we need to bring in some emotion and leadership.we also need someone who knows the roadmap to the cup.that man is Messier.he got us to the last cup,let him do it again.the rangers need his leadership big time.

  • One more year. If a playoff run happens, with one series win. Then i would look into keeping him longer. Unless i see the lack of character, Passion and Poise i saw in the First round Exit Against the Pittsburgh Penguins this season. I was at the mind to fire him just after the Early exit. Because there seemed to a lack of that “it” factor this season. Too me those things are a direct imprint of the Organizations Coach. But, his Track Record might be whats giving him that, one more year feel. With that said, the long Playoff runs the last two seasons, with hard fought 7 game series in those deep runs. Might be also playing into the thought process that the Rangers Corp players just ran out of gas this past season because of it. How can you blame that on AV. So, i say with a rest and a little bit of Roster Movement, one more season.

  • No… Vigneault isn’t the problem.. he’s a good coach.. this team needs retooling.. they need to get bigger & faster… losing guys such as Stralman & Hagelin over the last few summers has hurt this team…

  • Alain Vigneault IS a good coach, but not for thos team. His style is finesse and speed. The speed part works, but too much finesse with no grit leaves this team soft and exposed.

    If anyone’s been paying attention to what’s been going on with the Penguins the past 3 seasons or so, they’ve had the same core group of guys with that hadn’t been able to produce with multiple coaching changes. They finally found the right guy in Mike Sullivan.

    Jeff Gorton needs to find a coach that’s on the same page as he is, although, AV’s contract could be a problem. Alian’s already, in my opinion made bad personnel decisions, if he stays and picks guys he wants, this could be a problem for the organization that wants to re-tool. We have players and contracts we need to unload now, as well as guys we gotta re-sign.

    Let AV go while it’s still not too lare.

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