New York Rangers: Alain Vigneault may have learned his lesson 1
Dec 15, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers shut out the Stars 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Bad news for the “FIRE AV!” crabs: Not only did the Rangers extend Vigneault’s contract through the 2019-20 season…they gave him a raise.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post first reported the story late Monday night.  The NHL then picked it up, followed by NBC’s Rotoworld and just like that, Rangerstown was apprised of the situation. No “bogus headlines” here. That just happened.

More gum chewing – at times furious gum chewing, more enigmatic player benchings, more repetitive Québécois-accented pressers and more mole all add up to…more winning?

Obviously. His accomplishments behind an NHL bench are already impressive and they are mounting. Vigneault’s career to-date is a study in endurance, success and consistency.

In 15 combined NHL seasons (1101 games and counting), Vigneault’s 597 career wins place him 15th all-time on the NHL’s win list. He took time off because he thought his career was over, but he came back, kept winning and took home a Jack Adams Award in 2007. That is endurance.

Since 2013, he has coached the Blueshirts to a 175-97-23 record over 295 consecutive regular season games. Before the end of this season – barring a collapse of orange and blue proportions – Vigneault will surpass Frank Boucher for 3rd all-time in Rangers franchise history for wins. That is success.

He will also overtake his predecessor (and tonight’s opposing coach), John Tortorella, whose Rangers career spanned 319 regular season games, for 5th all-time in total games with the franchise. None of Vigneault’s Rangers teams have missed the playoffs. That is consistency.

There is, of course, the other consistency – the one to which his critics immediately turn anytime someone tries to explain why they like Alain Vigneault: He has consistently failed to close out a season with a Stanley Cup win.

It’s foolish to try and argue with results, whether they work for or against one’s argument. Vigneault could set regular season records for wins, total games coached, kittens saved, diseases cured, bridges built…whatever: without a Cup, Ranger fans (and their counterparts) are always going to harp on the gaping void where a career capstone Cup victory should be.

(Cue: Collective mumbling about Lundqvist…)

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