Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers, NHL
(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

So much has gone wrong throughout the regular season for the New York Rangers that can be attributed to the poor coaching of Alain Vigneault. A change must be made. Vigneault must be fired.

New York Rangers

Sunday night, the New York Rangers faced off against the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The result was less than satisfactory for the Rangers, as they lost at T-Mobile Arena, 2-1.

Now, the Rangers have gone eight games without a regulation win. Over this stretch, they are 3-3-2 with 14 goals scored (discounting the additional goal provided by the shootout if one is won).

Henrik Lundqvist, despite doing all that he could throughout the stretch, can only carry an inept offense so far at 35 years old. He will be 36 in March.

Along with the team’s aforementioned struggles to score over this abhorrent stretch, the power play has gone 2-for-25 (a less than stellar eight percent) during this eight-game streak.

In these eight games, the Rangers have been outshot in five of the eight games. While this is not a mind-boggling statistic, they have been outshot in their last three games, including being painfully outshot against the Chicago Blackhawks and the lowly Phoenix Coyotes. Lundqvist has faced over 35 shots in four of these eight games…four! The offense has only generated over 30 shots on goal in four of the last eight games, none in the last three games.

The narrative I am trying to advance is that the Rangers offense is now struggling, and this is a problem. With an already incompetent defense, the offense cannot falter, otherwise, a playoff spot will be in jeopardy.

Now, it’s natural for a team to have bad streaks throughout a season. Even the best may falter at some point. A single bad stretch should not warrant the typical cries of “fire the coach,” right?

Right.

But Alain Vigneault has made poor decisions all season. During winning streaks and losing streaks. His treatment of players, such as Pavel Buchnevich and Brendan Smith, has been deplorable, to say the least, and have hindered the success of the team. More on them in a moment.

Now, I am not looking to praise the Rangers lineup. I’m not looking to assert that the Rangers would be first in the Metropolitan Division if Vigneault had made the right decisions. I did earlier in the year. But, the more and more I watch this team, they are looking to be less and less of a contender, even when deployed properly.

I was wrong about the Rangers contending this season. Very, very wrong.

But, when it is evident that a coach is hindering the potential of his team, it is obvious that he should be relieved of his duties…immediately.

What is Vigneault’s answer to fix the struggling offense? Scratch Buchnevich, the team’s third-leading scorer (with limited ice time might I add), and to put defensive forward Jesper Fast and AHL journeyman Paul Carey in the top-six. He also remains to be stagnant in all other facets of the already struggling offensive game.

The Rangers defense has been struggling all season. What is Vigneault’s answer? Scratch Smith, a smooth-skating, offensively skilled, gritty and solid defensive defenseman. He replaced him with Steven Kampfer, a player that should already be an AHL journeyman. To add insult to injury, Vigneault gave Kampfer more ice time than both Brady Skjei and Marc Staal in their Sunday loss to Vegas.

Thank heavens for Lundqvist. Even though the poor decisions of overplaying the aging goaltender will inevitably result in the deterioration of his play sometime towards the end of the season, he’s one of the only reasons the team remains in contention.

So yes, regarding all three basic positions on the ice, Vigneault is consistently making poor decisions.

There is no sense of urgency in the smug and apathetic head coach of the Rangers. He has no fire, which is unnerving considering the play of his team. If he was making proper changes to ignite the Rangers, the story being told would be a different one. But here we are.

On more side note, for those who preach ideas that “you do not know more than the coach” and “you are not qualified like Vigneault and other coaches are,” the numbers don’t lie. Statistics don’t lie. Advanced statistics don’t lie. And finally, the “eye-test” doesn’t lie.

Stop defending Vigneault’s poor decisions on the basis that he is an NHL coach and the critics are not. He needs to be criticized and he needs to be fired. He is hurting our beloved Rangers.



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