As the 2017 Stanley Cup comes to an end New York Rangers fans are dreaming of returning to the big show. Which NHL coaches can take them there?
Supporters and haters of Alain Vigneault can agree on one thing: They will do anything to see the New York Rangers hoist the Stanley Cup.
Can the New York Rangers coaching staff make the proper moves to get them there? Can the coaching staff make the right on ice decisions to strategically beat the opposing team? Those questions were put into question during the recent Blueshirts playoff run.
First let’s discuss the current NYR coaching staff.
Alain is an excellent NHL coach. Plain and simple. Anyone who says otherwise does not understand hockey. AV has proven he can construct and lead a team to success … in the regular season. Vigneault, during his time with the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks, was able to endure the journey to the Stanley Cup Final but never able to capture the elusive Stanley Cup.
Was he simply beat by the opposition? Strategically out coached? Was his cool and calm demeanor a problem? These questions remain to be answered.
From his most recent sample in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs Alain was often caught utilizing the wrong players in critical situations. More specifically, Marc Staal and Nick Holden were caught bright eyed and bushy tailed against the Montreal Canadiens. That issue could be debated for days but let’s go somewhere else.
AV is great with the media and rumored to be very accommodating to his players. This style of coaching has proven to work for 3-4 years based on his previous track record. What happens when you have player “core” that is comfortable with each other and a head coach who chooses the timid, laid back approach? The New York Rangers is what you have. A team unable to find accountability within the locker room for their actions on the ice.
The lack of accountability stems from the commander in chief, Alain Vigneault. Many are probably thinking we need John Tortorella back to yell at Marc Staal for making a boneheaded play. Let’s not go that far. However, a stronger backboned coach needs to insert himself next to AV on the bench next season.
Is the New York Rangers power play cursed? Or do we just never have the right guy for the job? Just ask the man in charge of it, Scott Arniel, who knows the power play is cursed. The New York Rangers ranked 11th in the NHL this season with a 20 percent conversion rate. Stronger than expected but never capitalizing at the right moments.
Too often the New York Rangers were unable to enter the offensive zone, let alone get a shot on goal during the power play. That is purely unacceptable from the boys in blue and Scotty Arniel. The blame is not solely on the coach. Ask the 2015-16 Stanley Cup winning head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Sullivan. He was also unable cure the NYR power play during his time in New York.
A successful power play is not all about strategy. The Players have to perform as well. The instinct to score goals and create opportunities on the power play can not be taught. The Rangers adding Mika Zibanejad was a move toward improving the power play and expect similar moves to come this offseason.
Scott Arniel has already interviewed for head coaching jobs with Buffalo and Florida and could be soon out of the picture in New York.
Beukeboom was given a rough hand to start his NHL coaching career. A New York Rangers defense that is old and wearing down is not an easy fix. Brady Skjei showed he can contend in the NHL. Ryan McDonagh continued his dominance and the other pieces of the defensive core fell into place.
Overall, Beuke had a successful season. The defense showed moments of glory just as often as moments of despair. Jeff Gorton and the New York Rangers front office will look to fix the defensive woes this offseason. Jeff Beukeboom will continue to man the defense from behind the bench.
Can the New York Rangers replace Scott Arniel?
As discussed above the only possible vacancy on the New York Rangers coaching staff would be Scott Arniel. If he decided to depart, who can step up and replace him?
According to Elliotte Friedman, rumors of the New York Rangers contacting Lindy Ruff for a coaching position have surfaced. Lindy played for the blueshirts during his career and was also in contention for the New York Rangers head coach job in 2013. His experience with both the Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars would be invaluable for the organization.
If the organization wants a coach that players can look up to, be inspired by, or can truly motivate his guys look no farther than the captain. Thats right. Mark Messier. Look if a player can’t learn from or get behind a guy like that then they don’t have a pulse.
Rumblings of Messier coaching have surfaced before and there is nothing pointing in that direction now. Its nice to dream isn’t it?
As of now, the New York Rangers coaching staff remains intact. Things can change quickly as Jul. 1 approaches. Time will tell.