New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
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When a win-now team fails like the New York Rangers did this season, everyone is to blame. But is Alain Vigneault capable of change?

By Chris Wengert

When it comes to New York Rangers fans and the court of public opinion, no one is innocent these days, not even head coach Alain Vigneault.

People are calling for a complete dismantling of the organization and while I agree with that notion to some extent, AV will no doubt be the New York Rangers head coach next season.

His trips to the Stanley Cup Final and Eastern Conference Final have at least earned him one more year.

In fact, his situation is very similar to that of former New York Giants‘ head coach, Tom Coughlin.

Disappointing performances on the football field would lead to Giants fans calling for Coughlin’s job on a yearly basis.


Coughlin’s coaching style was often described as tyrannical and his personality created a divide between himself and the players. This resulted in players who, whether consciously or unconsciously, were unable to go that extra mile for their team.

Rangers 2015-16 Report Cards: Goaltenders

Coughlin however, was able to achieve the ultimate success twice because he was willing to change his stubborn ways.

The upstate New York native made some serious changes in 2007, something that couldn’t have been easy for a person in their sixty’s.

He softened his approached, began to listen to his players, and the results spoke for themselves: The Giants won the Super Bowl.
1abc1TCRangersSmallDarkWhile Alain Vigneault is certainly no tyrant, he will need to make some similar changes if he expects the Rangers to be successful next season.

First of all, AV consistently demonstrated his stubbornness when it comes to roster decisions.

Players like Tanner Glass, Dan Girardi, and Marc Staal were given long leashes that ultimately impacted the team’s performance.

Tanner Glass would suddenly be thrown onto the ice in must-win situations with less than two minutes left. I wrote in a previous article that Glass’ effort was deserving of the Steven McDonald award, but extra effort and strong play are two different things.

There is no way that Tanner Glass should ever see the final two minutes of close, big game.

There’s also the issue of player development.

AV’s handling of Dylan McIlrath which turned out to be a pointless yo-yo game that could hamper his development.

 

McIlrath will most likely never see the minutes of a top four defenseman, but there were certainly times when he should have been playing in favor over Dan Girardi or Marc Staal.

Even sending McIlrath to Hartford would at least given the young player consistent ice time and a confidence boost.

Then there is Kevin Hayes, who rode some well deserved pine this season.

While I agreed with AV on that one, Hayes is another young player who could have possibly used a few games in Hartford to find his game, but to no avail.

It seemed at times, as though AV just refused to send his strongest lineup onto the ice.

While Dan Boyle is an experienced veteran with an offensive upside, there were physical match-ups that he had no business playing in.

AV the stubborn one just wouldn’t budge.

Next year will be a critical one for the organization. If Vigneault is unwilling to change his ways, he could end up in the graveyard of former Rangers coaches.

Or maybe, just maybe he could finally make some much needed changes that could brighten an uncertain future for the New York Rangers.

Give Coach Coughlin a call AV, you’ll probably find him working out at the Giants facility…still.

Rangers 2015-16 Report Cards: Defense

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