Should the Rangers Fire Vigneault?

alain vigneault
Times up?

There are three constants working in the sports business. One, always wear a suit (preferably a well tailored one) to the arena on game day. Two, have thick skin. Three, get results or get out. The latter isn’t something I particularly agree with and those of you familiar with my work here or @thehockeysuit (shameless plug) know that I am process driven and not results driven. Regardless, the fact remains the same. You have to hit your goals in this industry or you go the way of Ned Stark.

All of which brings us to today’s topic – Alain Vigneault.

Last year I wrote a post not so creatively titled “Should the Rangers fire Alain Vigneault?” Sentiment was mixed. Some threw eggs at me for even raising the question. Last go round I took a more neutral stance, offering:

I’ve never liked AV, even in Vancouver, and he wasn’t my pick for coach. Nonetheless, we are where we are and there isn’t 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.

This time around I am going to take a more definitive stance. The Rangers should fire Vigneault. Not because we didn’t get past the second round or because of the results-driven culture of this industry, but because the process here is broken and that’s on AV and no one else.

What process am I talking aboot?


1. Bench Management

Watching AV manage his bench is eerily familiar to how Tom Renney went about his business. He rides or dies on the backs of his veterans. Under Renney, guys like Callahan and Staal rode pine in big moments while Redden, Rozi, and Gomez got the golden opportunities.

With AV, Brady Skjei, who has been one of our best defensemen since February, watched the 2nd half of third periods and OTs from the bench while Girardi was sent over the boards again and again.

Oscar Lindberg also brought playoff hockey to the table. He was hitting, forechecking, winning board battles, scoring timely goals, etc. How do you only play him under 10 minutes a game? He’s not Stu Bickel.

2. Lack of Accountability

When your power play is clicking at a 7% clip, you should probably bestow icetime to guys who are actually earning it. Derek Stepan had some horrendous games this postseason. Yet, he was rewarded with over a half hour of PP TOI where he contributed a whopping three shots on goal, 3 giveaways, a 42% Face-off %, and one assist.

Go compare those numbers to Mark Letestu, the Oilers 3rd line center. Night and day.

3. Flawed D-Zone System

The Rangers struggles with man-on-man defense since AV got here are well documented on this site. I’ve beaten to death over the years that this squad is not equipped to play that style. Four seasons in and we’re still watching opposing forwards burn our defense and rip by our F3s in the neutral zone.

I’m not advocating for parking the bus, we’re not built for that any more, but watching Hank stand on his head at age 35 isn’t a sustainable strategy. The way the Rangers play hockey we have to score 3-4 goals to even have a chance. That may work in the regular season, but not come May when everyone is gassed.

4. Coaching Candidates 

Last year I said there wasn’t anyone worth hiring. This year, not so. If you want pedigree, Dan Byslma and Darryl Sutter have both won Cups in the modern NHL. Paul MacLean, a Jack Adam finalist and Mike Babcock disciple, never had much in the way of resources in Ottawa, but consistently had them playing puck possession hockey, if you care about that sort of thing.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Jack Capuano, who somehow managed to steer the worst franchise in the NHL to three postseasons with some really green talent. There are numerous AHL coaches getting looked at for vacancies in Buffalo, Florida, and LA before Stevens got hired. And of course there’s always Mark Messier ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

In the end, AV likely won’t get fired. He’s a good coach and he’s gotten results everywhere he’s been. But in my humble opinion, just because he’s a good coach doesn’t necessarily make him the right coach for this roster moving forward. If it were up to me, I’d move on.

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  • it is time to look at AV what he has done and what he didn’t do he took this team to Stanley cup finals they lost in 5 games to a kings team that won their second cup then they went to eastern conference finals without mats they lost in 7 and then losing in the first round to Pittsburgh who would win the cup and then this year losing to Ottawa where he was outcoached by Boucher where he didn’t make adjustments give him one more shot

  • Does AV have the team to win? Did he go about as far as he could with the team he had? IMO, probably yes. We should have beat Ottawa, but that is where it would have ended. Is he stubborn? Absolutely! But don’t give a carpenter a good set of chisels and his work lacks polish. I am not sure another coach would have been better. He may have made better in game decisions and changes, but the tools are the same. Smith and Skjei over Girardi and McD for a shift – I buy that, but there would be second guessing too.

    AV needs another year with a fixed defense. He also needs a PP QB and a PP coach. Hopefully he gets both.

    Of all the coaches you named the one who is most intriguing is Capuano. Never considered him but he is interesting.

    • Completely agree with the PP coach concept. I’m flabbergasted that Arniel still runs the power play when the results have been so terrible. We may not have a perfect team, and lack a genuine game breaker stud, but there is enough talent, creativity, and skill to have a better power play.

      I’m not a fan on AV, but our 5v5 play was pretty good, maybe not the best possession numbers (not that I watch the game for statistics, I just like seeing goals and plays), but solid and well distributed scoring. Yet, the same players can not score on 5v4.

    • Only a bad surgeon blames his scalpels.

      Did he take the team as far as he could? Yes

      Did he take them as far as they could? NO

      That’s why you wish him well and show him the door.

      • Great analysis… they don’t play for the Gold Medal in the NHL… AV had a huge say in how this team is built. He prefers ballerinas to grit and that just don’t work, like socialism, never has, never will

  • Capuano…..? Countdown to E3 lecture in three… two…

    lol, sorry but, I’m afraid he’s one of the few that even I wouldn’t fire AV for.

  • My answer is: No, not yet. Get him a relatively complete team with a competent blue line. If he doesn’t get them deeper into the playoffs, then it’s time.

    • He had a “relatively” competent blueline if he gave his players the minutes they earned – more for Skjei and Smith and boatloads less for Staal, Holden, nd Girardi.

      AV made his choices and those choices diminished the value and prospects of the roster he was given.

      Fire him immediately.

      • God bless, Dunc. Are you the only sober voice here?

        Dude, it’s as if The Zombie Apocalypse has come to reign over BSB.

        I mean, yea; why not give AV another season? Hell, another extension while we’re at it; maybe ten years.

        Then let’s give old Jerry Sandusky a shot at running The Boy Scouts of America.

        Then let Dick Cheney and Armitage and Richard Perle talk that talk of “great and gathering storms” all over again… Yea, let’s invade Iraq.

        • Fotiu, that is completely over the top! Where was the “relatively” competent blue line? Where?, I did not see it.

          • You give Brady Skjei and St. Brendan regular shifts, we’re past The Senators.

            You shelter Marc Staal a little better, we’re past The Sens.

            You slot in an acceptable puck mover, Clendening, at least two of the six games, we’re past The Sens.

            A more imaginative bench boss talks to Jeff Gorton; then those who wield the best knowledge of say, Ryan Graves, Sean Day, Sergey Zborovskiy.

            I mean, why not call up a kid? Charlie McEvoy didn’t look at all that out of place on The Bruins back line.

            Now let me turn this around, Joe: whose blue line corps would you rather have: Ottawa’s or ours?

            The cause of our demise was extremely poor to completely regrettable use of assets. If our D-corps were more astutely deployed, we’re talking about facing Sidney and Hornqvist and Nick Bonino right now. Fighting tomorrow’s fight instead of our last war.

    • He had that in vancouver for several years….odds on favorites to win it all!!! And he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory twice….even worse than blowing two games against ottowa in closing minutes!!!!

      Makes same mistakes over and over and over again……

      In the words of dPres trump…..You’re fired!!!!!

    • Think Out of the Box, Mark.

      But at the same time, from within–WITHIN–Our Culture.


      HC: Dave Maloney; Assistant coach Adam Graves joining Beukeboom.

      HC: Dave Maloney; Assistants Ron Duguay, Anson Carter.

      HC: Messier; Assistants Graves and Beuk.

      HC: Messier; Assistants Graves and Leetch.

      HC: Paul Ronty-Walt (co-coaches); Carol Alt, powerplay/D-specialist


      But if the inclination is to go from without, I’d look at one of the brighter-younger minds in The OHL.

      Say the most imaginative, New-Agey bench boss in Sweden.

      And perhaps Phil Housley, who won gold with our US World Juniors, and serves as the perfect foil to Laviolette. (Housley packaged with PJ Subban.)

      • Fotiu,
        Some REALLY interesting suggestions. Personally I love your #3 suggestion.
        Can anyone imagine a Ranger team not giving all every game with Messier as HC? I can’t. I doubt you’d see the Tort’s tantrums…..they would be replaced with the Mess stare. And that would be enough.

        AV has openly stated that he leaves the locker room to the players. And if that locker room had a strong personality wearing a letter, then maybe that approach would work. In my opinion AV has taken his approach to the point of being detached……..

        • Stick tap, Jerry. Thanks.

          But the subtext of your post speaks volumes.

          I mean, you wouldn’t bless Big Walt and Paul Ronty as our new bench bosses?

          Or, is that you see Assistant Coach Carol Alt, her great legs and penchant for strong drink as a distraction?

          • I really like Walt and paul, however, I LOVE hockey, and with the ex-Ron Greshner squeeze on the bench, I’d be staring at her and not paying attention to the play on the ice. Sorry Walt. Sorry paul.

          • Jerry

            I would use Carol as a distraction!! Please reconsider, it sounds appealing to me…Great eye candy don’t you think?????

          • Sei uno dei Buoni, Walt. Peccato che siamo in estremità distinte del paese. Vorrei abbandonare con un buon vino. Allora avremmo potuto risolvere questo riso di Ranger. Ho visto Carol Alt avere liquorato una notte in Uniondale; Metà degli anni ’90. Anche dai posti a buon mercato ho potuto vedere chiaramente che la bella creatura leggiadrae cade meno di tre o quattro righe. Non so se hai mai preso un gioco Isles nel loro vecchio fienile. Buio. Ripida. Tutto il meglio per voi questa estate.

      • Love the ideas……have been touting messier since the tortorella days…
        I think he demands so much respect the younger players would listen and grow under him!!!
        And he certainly would light a fire under hayes I believe……

        • Rich

          Remember AV never played in the show, and thinks like a minor player….Mess would demand an all out effort!!!!

      • Nicky – I really like Bylsma. He’s like a more even keeled Torts. Basically like a CBJ Torts, not a NYR Torts. He doesn’t take any cacca and preaches north/south hockey. He’d have my vote.

        • I like him as well, Suit. Always have. Young. Smart. Seems personable.

          Inasmuch, the whole Buffalo implosion is way baffling, though.

          Do you have a read?

          Is it that Eichel considers himself a demigod?

          • Buffalo is a train wreck. He wasn’t in a position to succeed there and the roster is littered with head cases, albeit talented ones.

      • Fotiu, can I apply for a scouting position with the team? I like this Kid in the Detroit organization named Mcillrath, I think we should try to re aquire him. 🙂

        • And Bobby, he’s a UFA this year.
          Perfect third pair D-man.
          And I know what we’ll hear, “thirty teams passed on him, TWICE”.
          However, the Panthers did get Vanek for him, so obviously he has some value to some management people.
          And you know, thinking back to last years playoffs. We wone ONE game against the Penguins. One. Guess who was dressed and played, yep McIlrath. I am NOT saying if he dressed for all the games the outcome would have been different. I AM saying the dissenters can’t blame Dylan for the four losses, can they………

        • Sign him, Brother Bob.

          I’ve never bought, nor worn a jersey other than ours:
          a Chris NIlan home white/30; a Fotiu/27 and a Troy Mallette blueshirt.

          But, truth be told Bobby, I was poised to buy a McIlrath red and white. You just saved me.

    • I would hire Ted Nolan over AV.

      I would never hire Ted Nolan unless I needed a Buck Showalter type.

      The Rangers don’t need a Showalter.

  • What do they say….the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results? Then AV should be committed. I’m sorry, but putting Holden and Staal on the ice repeatedly in game deciding situations, when you have Smith and Skjei sitting on the bench, is completely inexcusable. It’s time for a change.

  • T paraphrase an old country song… And you can tell AV there with you he’s got to go. Any of the other coaches named in the above article would be better than aAV and that includes Capuano…..

  • AV should be fired “TODAY” along with Arniel. Futhermore they should have been fired last year.TOO many times his teams are are unprepared to play in the playoffs. His mismanagement of personal (starting lineup and in game management) are horrible, failure to adjust to in game situations, stubbornness and smugness etc.If he was relieved of this duties I don’t want to see (Sutter,Bylsma, maybe Quennville if he’s let go) lets try a new approach, I’d like to see Maybe Beuk or Gernander get the job and surround them with good assistants.. or bring in Messier or Leech if they want to coach.

  • Should he stay or should he go? Wow…

    Can I mull a few other burning-vexing questions, like:

    1. A vacation in Chernobyl

    2. Starting that heroin habit I’m forever putting off

    3. Hiring Stephen Bannon to run an Aryan Nations PR office in West Baltimore

    4. Playfully kicking some of our UXO (unexploded ordnance), say a cluster bomb when backpacking through Cambodia or Laos

    5. Placing myself between a 1200-lb Grizzly bear and stream full of spawned out salmon

    6. Signing Bobby Holik

    7. Placing Bryan Trottier behind our bench

    8. Trying to even skim each one of Eddie’s 25,000-word treatises

    • Fotiu is God,
      Hilarious comments especially number 8! Thank you I am still laughing!!
      Like Joe before you wrote “”Today”” he should be let go!!! His stupid decisions with personnel cost us THREE playoff games and advancement to the next round.
      We are not cup favorites but do have a lot of talent!!! Its the coaches job to help the youngsters grow and develop! Benching sjkel, smith, lindberg, zucc, miller , fast and even nash during the last minute with a lead led to our downfall!
      I am still pissed the rangers let anton strallman walk! AV had to have input on that horrible decision!!!! Top 15? defenseman wanting to stay here! INECUSABLE!!!!

      • What are you drinking, Rich S.? Doubles on me, bro.

        Not unlike Richter’s obsession/bizarre man-love for Kevin Shattenkirk, this narrative is Complete Absurdia folded into High Nonsense.

        How, how, how the ‘eff do you even consider perpetuating AV’s tenure?

        It’s as if we’re revisiting The Darkest Days of the Red Wings; specifically the insanity that was then-GM Ned Harkness. My best friend, Detroit Jimmy will tell you, without any hint of irony, “That Ned Harkness ruined my childhood.”

        I believe The Norris family owned them during that era–Eddie3 will in all likelihood correct me–and ownership just kinda’ let Harkness run that proud franchise into the ground. No one intervened.

        Analogy to anger now… For every responsible member of the franchise, the Ranger fraternity, the radio and TV personalities not to be calling Vigneault out for his self sabotage is boggling to galling to… WTF?!

        Say hello to The (New) Blue Wall of Silence.

        • Bro!! My “man-love” for Shatty stems from a beyond awful 3 for 39 “success” rate in these past playoffs. Even if the Rangers get him there will be a dire need to acquire the top pair righty to play with McD.

          These playoffs? I would have strolled Grabner, Lindberg, and Fast out there after, oh I don’t know, maybe 15 failures on the PP from the same old, stale units.

          Funny thing about Lindberg, he SHOOTS the puck when he is in position to do so. Something huh?

          • Paisano, I’m simply messing with you.

            We’re in agreement, Anthony. If Shattenkirk comes aboard that’s without question a significant upgrade.

            The question turns on cost, coupled with contract length.

            I’d still pursue Marco Scandella; plus the Kings’ prospect we were linked to (on TSN/Canada) leading up to last season’s trade deadline: Paul Ladue.

            But hell, if either Ryan Ellis or PK want out, I’d make that kind of splashy move with Nashville. Send Kreider to Music City, along with his sports psychologist and his teddy bear.

          • I just wanted to be clear that Shatty IS NOT the top pair guy we need. He is a 2nd pair 5 on 5 guy but a big upgrade in the PP portion of the game. I suspect 6 years at $6M/$6.5M will be the numbers, Shatty giving a hometown discount and to make it work for the Rangers cap.

            Spurgeon would be great along side McD. Not good, great. Would love to have him.

            The latest is Justin Faulk from Carolina. They have a lot of young D men coming and they need offense. How about Stepan and Staal for Faulk?

            Tell me how many teams have a better top 4 in the league than Nashville. Any? I can’t think of any.

          • The key element in regard to signing Shattenkirk is he is a PP specialist and very good at carrying out the puck to begin the transition play. However, he is below average at holding up the blue line ( allowing defensive zone entries and defending in his own zone.

            If Staal and Giardi is still on this team along with Coach Arnel running the PP, I question how much of an improvement this will be.

            The Rangers and Gorton need to make a big change by means of putting together some sort of package for a defensive like Trouba, TJ Brodie, or go the route of obtaining a young d-men (25 years old) of Josh Manson, Brandon Montour, Matt Dumba. Maybe a Mark Fayne who has no offensive but He’s big, strong and smart position ally and can handle the toughest opposition at even strength and on the penalty kill. Also, Jonathan Ericsson is another shut down d-men who is right handed and would be a nice side kick for McD.

            I would look to keep Oscar and move him up into the top 9 and find a replacement for the 4th line center position. I would also not rule out Gorton calling AZ about OLE again..

          • I read an article on the TSN.CA web site where Shatty wants to be first pair wherever he goes. That is a disaster in the waiting!!!

          • We’re totally in synch, Anthony.

            I knew as much, in terms of Shatty projecting as a superb number three-four.

            Again, the devil is in the details: term length and cap hit.

            Faulk? Absolutely.

            Jacob Trouba? Enjoy Winterpeg Chris Kreider.

          • As one of the great psychotherapy teachers counselled, when you do an intervention, study the outcome. If it doesn’t work, then don’t think doing it longer, harder, or louder will make a difference. He’d say, “Paul Ronty, there are no mistakes in therapy, only outcomes. So if the outcome is negative, DO SOMETHING ELSE!! ANYTHING ELSE!! Like maybe putting your fourth line out on the PP.

          • Hey Pablo: Doing the same wrong things over and over does not change the results.

            3 for 39 on the PP in the playoffs. You think there was an opportunity and enough of a sample size to say that maybe a change is needed?

            Typical Ranger PP:

            Win the face off (maybe).
            Kreider to the front where he twittles his thumbs while the Rangers pass it around the “umbrella” for 40 seconds.
            Lose it because they pass it too much and it gets sent down the other end of the ice.
            By the time they bring it back they are 70 seconds into the PP without not even a shot attempt, never mind a SOG.
            Now they are desperate just to get a SOG and it usually gets messed up from there.
            Sound about right?

            That’s why I wanted Lindberg on the PP. He SHOOTS when in position to do so. It’s not rocket science. And Kreider screening the goalie is wasted.

            Where are playoff goals usually scored? Down low. Deflections, rebounds, garbage goals, etc. The Ranger forwards generally do not like to play that way. Getting 12 goals against the vaunted Habs’ D was pretty bad. And take away the goals that Anderson should have stopped easily and their series against the Sens was ok, offensively. But they should have buried this team. That’s the sadness in them losing in the 2nd round. This should have been a slam dunk and it’s on the coaches and the players.

          • Your description of the PP is right on. The shooter from the left circle was supposed to be Z. But the Rangers always underestimate the necessity of a big shot from the point, which they do not have. Ryan Graves has a 103 mph shot, but knowing AV he’ll never see the PP.

    • HAHAHA!!! Wanting Alain Vigneault to coach another year is like wanting Pee Wee Herman to marry your daughter. When Slats hired Trottier because he was a great writer I railed on another blog that Trotts was “dumber than a sack of hammers.” The nice guys pilloried me for being so nasty. I said hey Trotts is a nice guy, but he’s dumber than a sack of hammers. I can’t help it, I really, really value inteligence & character make-up that translates to success. AV has neither. in fact, I’ll say it here & now–“He’s fn dumber than a stump.” He’s neurotic as hell. HE CAN’T THINK ADAPTIVELY TO LEAD A GROUP OF MEN TO VICTORY!! He should have got his pink slip after that Pitt debacle last year. His synapses work like Flash The Sloth in Zootopia. I’m FN 73, I need another Cup before I die!!! And I’m not going to get it when the GM keeps extending stupidity. Bring in Messier, Leetch & Graves. MAKE ME EXCITED TO BE A RANGER FAN AGAIN!!!!! Let’s have a leader who won’t let you play with lack of passion or fear of losing. And besides Messier looks great in a suit, he’s smart too & he takes no prisoners. He’d walk through a field of UXOs with disdain. He wants to bring that damn Cup here as a coach too.

      • Messier, Leetch and Graves were awesome Cup players for the Rangers, but what makes them coaching material? Are you guys serious with this nonsense? They’ve never coached before, and you are going to give them the NYR? Now that’s the definition of dumbass!

        • Sorry Joe, but you are clueless here. You are stuck just like AV in the experience means competence narrative. I went counter to that narrative often when I was in a position to hire. Get that treatment 🙂

  • On bench management:
    ~Everyone has their preferences on how to run the bench, we all have favorites, and many have theories about what would or would not have transpired if certain guys were played in certain high-pressure situations. But it’s all pure speculation. Ryan McDonagh was on the ice for both of Ottawa’s late goals in the blown 5-3 lead, and he was on the ice for at least one OT loss. Brendan Smith was on the ice for the game tying goal in game 5 against Ottawa. In the single most important game of the playoffs, game 6 against Ottawa, Brady Skjei was a disaster. There’s no objective analysis that would suggest that Brady Skei and Brendan Smith would have fared any better at protecting leads, and in fact all evidence shows that no one –not even these two– were immune to folding under pressure. While you may not have made the same decisions as AV, the brutal reality is no one on that bench got the job done when it mattered most. Bench management doesn’t mean squat if even your allegedly best defenders can’t protect leads or make calm decisions with the puck when your season is on the line. As for Oscar Lindberg, he played as a 4th line center, so I’m not sure how many minutes you expect of him, but he did play more than 10 minutes in 8 of the 12 postseason games. I would have liked to see him out there more, especially late in the game, but this is hardly a fireable offense.

    On accountability:
    ~Blaming the PP inefficiency on Derek Stepan seems highly prejudicial considering he played less time on the PP than Ryan McDonagh, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, or Mika Zibanejad, along with a whole slew of other players who got decent minutes on the PP. None of these guys were able to drive the effectiveness beyond 3-for-39. I’ll exempt McDonagh since he assisted on each of the 3 PP goals, but no one else gets a pass. Mika Zibanejad also only had 1 PP assist and was also 42% on faceoffs, with more ice-time. Derek Stepan wasn’t nearly good enough, but I feel like you’re picking and choosing who to blame without looking at how Stepan compares with everyone else on this team (not Mark Letestu).

    If Gorton makes the right decisions this summer, getting a genuine 1RHD, shopping Stepan or Hayes, while protecting Lindberg, and figuring out a creative and beneficial way to clear the books of Klein and Staal or Girardi, and if one of Pionk or Bereglazov can make the transition to the NHL, then I am fine giving AV another year to see what he can do with a full roster, and depth from forwards through to the defense. But, if he’s given this, he needs to get us to the Finals next year. I won’t say he has to win it, because who knows who the opponent would be, or what the situation would be regarding injuries, etc. but another 2nd round or even ECF exit just won’t cut it with this much talent.

    • I agree Chris. And after thinking long and hard about this, while I do not think AV should go, nor do I think they will boot him, nobody mentioned the one coach who could put us back on track. That coach is none other than John Tortorello. He has the heat and soul and gumption and emotion to kick some ass in that locker room. He is the guy we need in 2017-18!

  • Suit, I agree with completely. The Rangers should and likely won’t change coaches. And I think largely for the reasons you mention. I will add a couple.

    Trottier — His record was comparable to the other Ranger coaches 97-lockout. Didn’t work out, though not a real disaster. The Ranger QUICKLY moved on. If Messier, for example, can’t coach, the Rangers can move on when they find that out. Bad coaches are not as much of a problem as ones who are not quite good enough.

    Almost every game has two objectives – win and learn. AV is all about winning. This is basically Suit’s points about reliance on veterans. The Rangers fell short because they did not have enough arrows in their quiver. But the reason for that is that the coach didn’t collect arrows. I cite Dylan McIlrath. I agree with AV that DMac was not destined to be an NHL defenseman. BUT BUT there is a difference between getting a sense that the Crosbys and Ovechkins would carve him up and actually knowing. Let him play first pair right D a few games and actually see what happens. If Ovie takes him to school once, talk to him about what happens next time. If it doesn’t work, and it probably won’t, you lose a game or two, look foolish, and move on. Then again, consider the payoff if things go well. Give it a shot before you swap a first round pick for a journeyman minor leaguer. Being a good coach is different appearing to be a good coach.

    [THIS IS ABOUT AV, REALLY] I’ve looked at the Ranger records over AV’s tenure and my conclusion is that the Rangers are as good without Lundqvist as they are with him. Because of sample size, this may not be precisely true, but it seems clear that Hank’s value is nothing like goalie stats suggest it could be. There are three possible explanations. One is there is something extraordinary going on which makes the numbers suspect. {I don’t buy this.] A second is that Hank just isn’t that good. HOWEVER, the third explanation is that the Ranger systems simply don’t mesh with Hank’s style of play. Systems are tricky. If your system is incompatible with the way Kevin Hayes plays, you trade Hayes for someone who fits in. If your system is incompatible with Sidney Crosby, you adopt a new system. If Hank is who most here believe he is, the system has to fit Hank. *** And this may be Suit’s point about man to man.

    • Very interesting points of view Ray…..I must agree with all of what you said…
      Hank had some throwback games reminding us of what he used to be at times, but some stinkers costing us games… this point in his career I think he is overated! …and like many other wished we kept talbot instead!!
      Av’s biggest flaw of many is putting out the same slow/old/washed up players instead of young/fast/playing well guys like sjkel, fast, smith, lindberg etc

    • With Trotts the Rangers moved on because the poor soul had a nervous breakdown. Your points about McIlrath hit the mark for me because that’s what galled me so much. In psychology, you get patients, esp. hard-core obsessives who live their life in preconceived realities. If I do this then that will happen people. The intervention with these people is to tell them their strategy is maladaptive. They make a decision before they have the experience, instead of having the experience & then making the decision. It brings to mind Rangers brass watching Gordie Howe in training camp & telling him he was not an NHLer. AV coaches from his own desperation to win the Cup for personal redemption(See I told you I could do it) rather than focusing on what is good for the group. He’s forever consulting with management becaus he’s a company man like Eddie & doesn’t want to piss people off. Eddie worries about having to fire Messier if he fails. That’s how loser’s think. Messier would even give the possibility of failure a thought. I reject the fase consensus bias that AV is a good to great coach. He’s a mediocre coach who does not get the utmost from his group. FIRE HIM NOW!!!

        • In this typo-riddled world, I hope all of us have an auto-correct in our read function. It would be sad if Mess failed, but Steinbrenner didn’t cost the Yankees any fans when he fired Billy Martin (and many others).

      • Paul your the one who needs to see a doctor. Every time I read your comments I can’t believe you’re not a little kid. I seriously thought for a while you were mentally disabled

    • Dirty little secret: McIlrath is leading his team in +\-, has 3 pts in 7 games and his team is likely going to the conference final.

      • Very good, you’re following like me. A little story. I tweeted Dylan and told him I was volunteering to be his unofficial psychologist. Then I tweeted jokingly that he would have to change his number to 4 because that was my lucky number & would be his too. Then I check the Springfield site a couple days later & see to my amazement he’s changed his number from 8 to FOUR. I tweet him & say awesome & he likes my tweet. I tweet him again and recommend a Sport Psychology book & he & another sport psychologist like it together. He goes to Grand Rapids & there is a 4 & 44 so he takes 52, but they report he’d take four if up with Detroit. I then send him info on mental training and tell him adversity is only going to make success sweeter & adversity makes people appreciate success more. Recently, I tweeted him about a goal he scored in Hartford where he skated in a deked the goalie out of his socks(really!!). A week later he does the same & going past the net with the goali way out of position from an awesome deke, he puts it in front & Bertuzzi scores. Todd Nelson has really taken Dylan under his wing, credit to him, & he’s taken his game to another level & being very judicious about when he fights, which isn’t often.

        • Not enough thumbs up. The hints where there, but super genius stuck to his hubs and hindered this team even more than usual.

          Now Gorton deserves a bit of blame here as well. He needed to spell out that McIlrath needed to play X games so as to retain his rights, FULL STOP. For whatever reason, it didn’t happen.

        • Big, big ups here Paul.

          McIlrath and Bertuzzi: two great kids with plenty of upside and jam to their respective games.

          Hope The Wings build around both of them successfully.

        • Gonna do the drive from Erie to Chicago to see him play Saturday.

          The routing has worked out, closer than Sioux City.

  • Hey Suit, maybe the Rangers can trade 2 first rounders for the rights to Torts!…LOL

    AV is fine, get players who are willing to play!

  • Really liked what Smith had to say today in his exit press interviews. He said that this is the best team he’s played on, and that he came to NY to get a chance to play deeper into the playoffs than he thought would be possible with Detroit, and that he really enjoyed playing for this organization. He also said that the Rangers lost this series because of what they failed to do on their end, which makes the loss all the more bitter because they should have defeated Ottawa. Said he’d love to be back with the Rangers next year, that this organization “does it the right way,” and he’s looking forward to meeting with the coaching and management staff to see what is on the table.

    Very much, he seemed like a guy committed to his teammates and hungry for another kick at the can next season. I hope to see him back.

  • He won’t be fired but based on the last couple of years of preferring stubbornness over the success of his team and losing to the Sens in a series they should have won in 5, he should be. The comment that sealed it for me: “I lost track of certain players…” In a playoff game no less.

    He won’t be fired but I would bet that Gorton is going to have a long chat with his coach this offseason.

    • The suit is correct. AV not the right guy. He has no accountability and rewards failures cause he sticks with expierence.
      He does not developed the underclassmen.
      He has no emotion and defers his power to the group which has not won anything.
      That culture will never push a bunch of nice guys to get down and dirty in crunch time.

      • We love our brother E3 here, but when he gives AV “credit” for developing the young players I take issue with it.

        Miller, Kreider, Hayes, etc. They all would have been successful ANYWAY. They have the talent. My issue is that they would have realized their success EARLIER if they had the opportunity to PLAY and work out their issues on the ice. Instead of getting benched every time they made a mistake.

        True favoritism of the vets: AV will bench a young player for making a mistake but will sit there and watch the continuous clusterf–k that is his vet D corps that turns it over more than an early morning baker.

        • McAdoo is the anti AV, throwing talented young guys right out there because he knows they will develop faster and that means a better chance of winning the big prize.

      • It’s ironic for a guy who loves experience, but refuses to give a younger play the chance to get that experience. FOF, or for those that don’t understand, Flip Out Freddy!!!

    • LOL, but let’s be honest, I loved Torts in 2011-12 but then he tried to use the same suffocating D strategy on the 2012-13 team that had more talent and was not fit for that D style.

      I do agree though that this current Rangers’ team could have used a real kick in the ass.

      • My take on AV is that defense is an after thought. His offense first style of play works during the season but not during the playoff.

        He moves his defensemen up ice almost before the puck is moving up ice. How many times has a Ranger forward started up ice, turned the puck over in the defensive zone and one short pass later there is one or two opponent forwards all alone in front of Lundqvist? Too often!

        How many times do you see two Ranger defensemen behind the net and an opponent forward all alone in front of the net? To often!

        How many odd man rushes are the result of a D-man making a bad decision to pinch or getting trapped deep in the offensive zone? Too many!

        How many times has a D-man (all of them) been shoulder to shoulder on a forward but not tying him up or lifting his stick allowing that forward to take a rebound shot or deflect the puck? Too many!

        Are Staal and Girardi to blame or is AV’s system not using them properly?

        AV almost distroyed Luango and Vancouver​ with his system of offense first. Defense is an after thought.

        For his 12 years Lundqvist has been the best player on the Rangers and the player with the greatest desire to win! AV’s system doesn’t support the strength of the team, Lundqvist.

        AV’s system does not support the goalie. So whether you think Lundqvist is still capable of leading the Rangers to a Cup or not, whoever plays goal for the Rangers will lack support under AV! For the record I think Lundqvist is still a top goalie and can lead the Rangers to a Cup win!

        AV’s system does provide offense and even this Ranger team did score goals. Look at this Ranger team, not a big gun on it. AV’s done it with two second lines and two third line. I’m not sure there is a real first line player on this team. Nash, who was brought here and is paid to be that big gun, has been a dud in every playoff season and the last two regular seasons. He has been a great third line player but not a first line scorer. I love Zucc but it’s a shame that the leading scorer on the Rangers had only 59 points and 27 goals for Kreider their leading goal scorer is weak.

        So AV’s offense first system results in goals. That said, AV’ made three trips to the finals and lost all three series. Maybe his system doesn’t work that well.

        Except for Lundqvist, the Rangers lack fire on the ice. Tanner Glass brought some fire, when he played, that was missing all year. Is this lack of fire AV’s fault or does this team lacks a strong on ice leader with the fire?

        I guess it is a combination of both. This team needs a veteran leader with fire. Stephan shouldn’t be on the ice trying to calm Lundqvist, he should have been trying to fire-up the rest of the team!

        One last point. Kreider and Miller took a big step up in the 2015-16 season. I expected them to improve more this season. Kreider started the 2016-17 season on fire! It looked like he had taken the next step up but soon lost that edge. He coasted too often for a guy who can change a game with his speed and size! Look at how he played in the third period of game 6. He had good season not a great season. Miller also had a good season but very similar to his 2015-16 season. Is AV not developing his young players or do we Ranger fans over rate our players.

        This Ranger team needs change to be a Cup contender. It’s players need to play better defense and play with fire.

        If the Garden’s management is satisfied with a team system that competes, gets into the playoffs but doesn’t have a system and the fire needed to win the Cup. They stay with AV.

        I don’t know who I’d hire to replace AV but I do believe it’s time for a change.

        My guess is AV will be the Rangers coach through 2020!

        Sorry this is so long but I got all the 2016-17 baggage off my shoulders! Bring on October 2017!

        Let’s go Rangers!

        • Kis

          I never read any of your post before, but you nailed it my man. Great, and please post again, real soon !!!!!

        • Thanks Kris, I want to read this when I have time because at first glance it looks very perceptive. I will read it in detail and comment accordingly. Thank you for posting it.

        • Ok, let me take a stab at it, great post Kris.

          The D and the system. 100% agreed that AV wants an up tempo style that kind of leaves the goalie out to dry. He also “insists” on a man to man type of defense that he modified slightly this year to somewhat of a zone D. But the players he’s leaned on are one million percent the wrong players for the system he wants to play.

          If he wants up tempo then guys like Clendening are the players to play. Is he great? Of course not, but you play the players you have for the system that you want to play. You watch Clendening and there are, and wait for it, tape to tape passes coming out of the D zone. Not aimless flings of the puck just to get the puck out of the D zone and harms way.

          You want speed? It starts from the back end with the ability to pass the puck to a TEAMMATE, not the opponents. G, Staal, KK, and even Holden are so overmatched that they “panic” with the puck and usually turn it over. They are also overmatched in their coverage, not knowing where to go, which speaks to your statement on having 2 D men behind the net and no one in front.

          It’s too easy sometimes isn’t it? For opponents to get wide open quality shots against our D. They’re overmatched, plain and simple. AV didn’t get the players but he’s implementing a system that his D of current players cannot handle. Right system, wrong players or change system to fit current players.

          And then there’s the Skjei nonsense. How is this guy benched at the end of any game for at least 5 minutes? I mean really. Doesn’t AV get tired of seeing no moving pylons like G and Staal on the ice? Guys that have seen the NHL pass them by? Well, a loss in a series that they should have won will humble you pretty quickly because now his job is on the line.

          The forwards. Again, 100% true, no superstar, not even close. The Rangers’ superstar is in nets, not out skating on the ice. Bad formula? No, because the goalie is the only player on the ice that can steal series by himself. I posted last week a chart that shows that Lundqvist, by a far margin, has stolen more playoffs games vs. his team’s offensive output from 2007 to 2017.

          Do you need the superstar? No. If you have 4 lines that you can roll. Fans don’t get it. The wide open play in Oct/Nov that resulted in 4 to 5 goals per game was not happening in the playoffs. The game is much different starting in March. It’s a grind it out, crash the net type of game. USUALLY, first shots do not see the back of the net, rebounds, deflections, and garbage goals do. The Rangers re CONSISTENTLY at the bottom of the league in 2nd chance scoring chances so is it a wonder why they have trouble scoring in most playoff games? Though they did seem to score enough goals in the Sens series but against the Habs they got 12, not enough. And the last 2 years they were in playoff scoring droughts as well. They need to go to the net because they do not have that game changer.

          The PP. My God how bad. And yet, the coach really did nothing to change the players. I would have tried Lindberg, Fast, and Grabner. Lindberg shoots when he can and the other 2 go to the net. 3 for 39 is a formula for playoff failure, given how important the PP is during the playoffs. The bottom 2 teams, the Blues and Rangers are out.

          So I pin a lot of this on the coach. He has to play the cards he’s dealt in the best system for those players possible. He does neither and makes it worse by taking the players he wants to play and force feeding them into a system that they can’t handle. Square peg, round hole.

      • Yup, some fire and passion might’ve gotten us over, Anthony.

        But had we retained Sully…

        He knows when to bring the heat, and, conversely, when to heap praise or throw an arm around one of his charges.

        Pittsburgh made a superior decision.

  • It is time for AV to go. Time and Time again, he makes the same mistakes. Strategies that have become so easy for the opponent to read. Totally agree, he relies too heavily on his veterans, like Giradi, who should have been gone last year. He cannot coach young talent, just look at Kevin Hayes. This year…Skjei, Lindberg and Vessey. Good coaches can think on the fly, and change their plans accordingly….calling on players that will make it happen. AV sticks to one script…which mind you, is not well written, and that’s the game.

  • There is no doubt that AV should go. Time and Time again, he makes the same mistakes. His ‘strategies’ are easy to read for the other team. He does not know how to coach young talent…or utilize them. Just look at Kevin Hayes. Look at this year Brady Skjei, Lindberg, Vessey. I cannot agree more, he relies too heavily on his veterans , like Giardi who should have gone last year. A good coach can think on the fly and make the necessary changes, calling on the players that will make it happen…AV sticks to one script ( that mind you, is not very well written) and that is the game.

    • I would love for Lindberg to stay but I think he’s the guy that Vegas takes from the Rangers.

      A lot of people think it’s Raanta, but there’s a lot of goalies that will be available with more name value to draw fans.

      And Fast, while a good role player does not possess the offensive skills that Lindberg does.

      • Agreed, Vegas takes Lindberg, much to my chagrin. I would protect him over Stepan(terrible contract), but a better strategy would be to trade Stepan, even for a couple of draft choices if need be.

  • Well said. I’m a rangers fan since the early sixties. I would be more inclined to search for an impact center. Vescey looks like he could become a first line center. Not quite Bobby Clarke, but plays with the same desire and skill. Yes ? A/V for all the reasons you outlined.

  • Joe S.
    You asked what makes some us think Mess is coaching material.
    I’ll answer.
    Some of the most necessary attributes required by a HC are:

    Knowledge of the game- Can anyone doubt Mess has the knowledge?

    Assessing Opponents Systems- During his time in the league he’s played against every system imaginable. He has been successful playing on two distinctively different systems (Oilers and Rangers).

    Bench Management- Well, we can’t know unless we see first hand. Something tells me he wouldn’t “lose a guy or two on the bench”.

    Winning Pedigree- No need to say anything concerning this quality

    LEADERSHIP- Need I say more?

    Granted I am quite sure he wouldn’t dress as well as AV, nor is his hair (lack thereof) as nicely groomed as AV’s, but having experienced only ONE Cup since I, as a young child discovered ulimate sport that Hockey is, way back in 1955 want to see another Ranger Cup……

    • 2 Cps in 78 years and Ranger fans are constantly told to “be patient.” LOL. How much more patient can we be?

      It’s funny how the Sens won game 1 against the Pens. And they may even win the series, and I don’t care because they stink. They can win the Cup and I will still say they stink. The Rangers should have beaten them.

      Don’t tell me that the Rangers were not expected to win even a round in the playoffs so it’s ok that they lost in the 2nd round. It’s not ok. They should be in the ECF now and then roll the dice against the Pens.

      They blew a big opportunity as they got some “luck” getting the playoff draws they did in the first 2 rounds. So it’s no ok.

      The only way they get the franchise player is to bomb for a few years. Bt they won’t do that, but they can be contenders next year if they revamp the D corps dramatically. And it can be done. Stay tuned.

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