Lindy Ruff was officially hired by the New York Rangers on July 10, 2017. Can he help manage the bench without being a distraction to the team?
As the New York Rangers season concluded, GM Jeff Gorton made it clear things needed to change. Players needed to be moved out so fresh new players could come in to help the Rangers move forward.
Jeff Gorton also had a plan in mind to change some of the coaching staff and he was decisive with his actions.
Ruff coached the Buffalo Sabres for almost 15 years, leading them to one Stanley Cup Finals. The past four season, he was the head coach of the Dallas Stars, but Ruff and Dallas’s management decided to mutually part way after the conclusion of the 2016-17 season. Ruff will bring his coaching talent to the Rangers bench in what appears to be one of the best coaching tandems currently in the National Hockey League.
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With the coaching change official now, the real question is how will this truly work out?
It has been reported by Rick Carpiniello of MSG Network that Alain Vigneault was 100-percent behind the hiring of Ruff, who, incidentally, was interested in the Rangers’ head-coaching job in the summer of 2013 when they hired Vigneault. Now hearing this would leave many to believe that there would be no added pressure on Vigneault should the Rangers struggle at some point through the up coming season.
Yet, while having a veteran coach as Ruff helping with the bench and run practices, it’s hard to think that as soon as a slump begins the great media of New York City would not start the reports of “Rangers lose again, will Ruff Replace Vigneault” and such rumors. I am sure this had to be in the mind of Vigneault when he decided to call Ruff and offer him the position.
So, of course, the question now needs to be asked: can these two great coaches co exist on the bench?
A tough question, indeed.
Both of these coaches are still looking for their first Stanley Cup. Vigneault has been to the finals twice and Ruff once. Both are quality coaches who know how to bring the best out of their players without hurting the team as a whole. Ruff will instantly improve the team’s defense and their many mistakes that were made last season.
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The addition of Kevin Shattenkirk, the buyout of Dan Girardi and retirement of Kevin Klein will also help with the teams defensive improvement. Ruff will probably lend a hand in working on the struggles of the team’s power play and poor faceoff winning percentage.
Let’s not put the faith of the entire squad in Ruff’s hands.
Vigneault is the head coach and of course has final say on all rosters and lineups, but it has to be reassuring to have another coach who has been in these situations throughout his coaching career to turn to during a game or practice. Vigneault has been guiding the Rangers since 2013 and few other know better on how this team ticks. The players on this team still follow him and his hockey theories, but there are still plenty of issues that need to
The players on this team still follow him and his hockey theories, but there are still plenty of issues that need to be worked out. The team’s lack of a big time scorer, poor power play and a suspect back up goalie signing are all topics Vigneault and Ruff will have to address as the season gets ready to kick off in October.
The Vigneault and Ruff show can be very beneficial to the success of the New York Rangers. Let’s hope these two can take their show all the way to the playoffs in April.