New York Rangers: Has Alain Vigneault Been A Good Coach?
Kevin Hoffman, USATSI

The New York Rangers have performed a turnaround from what they previously had, but is Alain Vigneault still a good coach?

The New York Rangers have experienced quite a turnaround over the past couple of seasons thanks to a coaching reconstruction.

Over the past six years they have had two coaches, one of them bringing the squad to the Conference Finals.

The other also brought the Blueshirts to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, this guy also took his team just three wins from a Stanley Cup.

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The former of the two was not well-liked by fans, much to the same degree as the players. The locker room was tense and provided for an unfit working environment.

Once rumors started stirring about the Rangers being in the hunt for a new coach, it was not a shock.


The Blueshirts, and fans, were fed up with the hard-nosed bench boss that was John Tortorella. They wanted a change.

The team itself was different, and they were more geared towards offense than defense yet still played a defensive minded game. They ultimately suffered.

Then came Alain Vigneault to answer the prayers of Rangers fans.

Right from the beginning, you could tell there was something different about the Blueshirts. The Rangers were a better team, no doubt.


The speed and ability these players had and the freedom to breathe offensively, rather than focus solely on defense, was a great sight to see.

There was a rough patch, though, at the beginning of the 2013-14 season. The club was beyond sloppy.

This was more than likely due to the coaching change and going through the motions, especially not blocking nearly as many shots as they did with Tortorella.

But they battled through and marched to a Stanley Cup Final appearance, their first in 20 years.

New York Rangers

AV’s second and third seasons on Broadway were not as successful as his first, but back-to-back seasons finishing with more than 100 points is a good stat to keep in mind.

The above poses a good question: Is Alain Vigneault a good coach?

That question could easily be answered by fans. Some think, especially after last season, Vigneault should be gone.

A first round elimination raises some concern. There’s no question about that. However, I urge you to be smart. Be above this short-sided thinking your fellow fan might have towards AV.

Since AV has been in NYR, he has piled up a 144-80-22 record, good enough for 310 combined points.

In his entire career, he has never coached a team to lower than a fifth place finish. In New York, the lowest the Rangers have finished with him at the helm was third.

The team, as a whole, is offensive minded. This change began in the 2012-13 lockout season, ushering in players like Derick Brassard.

NHL

Prior to AV, offensive players wanted to play their game but were held back by Tortorella’s style of coaching. For example, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello had an offensive touch more than a defensive one.

Then again, Vigneault has not gotten Rick Nash out of the horrible slump he has been in over the years in New York. He has not been consistent year to year. If that can change, the offensive payload will be greatly appreciated.

Perhaps a true test of Vigneault’s ability is how he coaches these up and coming stars such as Pavel Buchnevich and Brady Skjei.

Alain Vigneault is penciled in for this season as the Rangers’ bench boss, so get used to it. Without him, I am not sure the Blueshirts have much success at all.

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