Coaching ain’t easy. Fans need to back off of New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault and let him do his job.
No one said it would be easy being the head coach of the New York Rangers. Just four games into the season, Vigneault has not been happy with the team, and apparently, fans aren’t happy with him.
Why is Nick Holden in for Brendan Smith? Steve Kampfer shouldn’t be in for Anthony DeAngelo! Why is Jimmy Vesey on the fourth line? These are examples of what head coach Alain Vigneault has been reading, hearing and dealing with for the last four games. Four lousy games are all it took for the fans to start acting Monday morning quarterbacks.
Aside from the Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich line, the forwards have been hidden from the scoresheet. The defense, which put all this speculation into high gear, has been switched around more times than Katy Perry changes outfits at one of her concerts. What is the coach to do, leave everything the same as it was on opening night or make the changes he deems necessary in order to get the team winning again? I say let’s try to win some games!
— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) October 13, 2017
Vigneault has not been happy with any line combinations (aside from the Zibanejad line) since the season began. Most of the forwards are having tons of trouble finding the back of the net. Michael Grabner on breakaways, Buchnevich alone in the front of the net, shots wide, great goaltending by the opposing team. Plenty of negative things have been seen. Vigneault says the chemistry isn’t there yet, but he continues to shuffle line combinations as he searches for players who work well together on the ice.
The defense has also been suspect. Newsday‘s Steve Zipay reported that Vigneault has been happy with Kevin Shattenkirk on the power play but not with his even-strength play. “Like Kevin, we’re a work in progress,” Vigneault remarked when asked about Shatty, who has added a spark to the power play but is still adjusting to the Rangers’ five-on-five play.
Plenty of problems early in this season. So what is the coach to do? He decided to rock the boat early this year. He sat Smith and DeAngelo, sent down Filip Chytil, moved forwards around and tried to find out who can handle the center position. Yet fans everywhere have had a problem with how Vigneault has handled things. I wrote a piece about how there is no panic with the Rangers yet, but apparently, everyone is panicking after all.
This is ridiculous. Seriously, how can the whole team be this bad in just four games? Is it possible? I mean really, is the season over already? Should they just chuck the whole thing and hit the golf course in mid-October? It’s very easy to blame the head coach for all the woes of the 2017-18 New York Rangers. He doesn’t trust his kids, doesn’t let lines stay together long enough to form chemistry and has no idea how to use his defenseman. Let me catch my breath a minute.
Fans are interesting people. I know, I am one. But we need to give things time. Honestly,
The Rangers look better on the blue line than they did last year, but it takes time for guys like Shattenkirk to really understand his teammates. The Rangers knew they were in trouble up front, failing to replace Derek Stepan or Oscar Lindberg. Think about it for a second: Vigneault loss two starting centers in less than 48 hours. The organization replaced one center with David Desharnais, but he’s not a drop-in replacement offensively.
Has Vigneault made some questionable decisions? Yes, he has. But, I believe he has made these moves at the right time. Why wait for 10 games to pass before deciding to make moves? This would give fans more things to complain about. I like that he wanted Brandon Smith to know he wasn’t happy with his play, the same with Anthony DeAngelo. Why should Vigneault wait to let a player or players know they need to step it up.
Vigneault is a good coach, he has taken the Rangers to a Stanley Cup Final and two Eastern Conference Finals. Does he have a bad reputation when it comes to playing kids? That’s debatable. He has had several young players excel on his watch. Kreider, Hayes and Miller, to name a few, all have grown into important pieces of this team.
Bottom line: Vigneault has earned the right to coach the Rangers how he sees fit. Fans need to calm down a little bit and let him do his job. Of course, we get to question all of the decision he makes because that’s our job as fans.