2. Emile Francis, 1966-1975
Emile Francis coached the Rangers for 10 years while also serving as the general manager. In the 654 regular season games, he coached he had a record of 342-209-103. His playoff record with the Blueshirts was not as strong as the team played 75 games under his watch with a 34-41 record.
Prior to becoming the New York Rangers head coach, Francis coached the Rangers sponsored a team in Guelph, Ontario. There he saw for the first time two great future players in Rod Gilbert and Jean Ratelle. They would all eventually come up to coach and play for the Rangers.
Francis coached the Rangers for 10 years, but he had a few coaches come in here and there at times, but it never really worked out and Francis would find himself back behind the bench. He coached some pretty well known Rangers, along with Ratelle and Gilbert he was lucky enough to coach the likes of Vic Hadfield and Eddie Giacomin.
Francis and the Rangers had their best year together in 1972.
Gilbert, Ratelle, and Hadfield had great seasons offensively, but with Ratelle breaking his ankle in the last few games of the season the team’s luck began to run out. They meet the Boston Bruins, with star Bobby Orr, and they were unable to pull out a championship as they lost to the Bruins in six games. It was the closest Francis would ever get to winning a Stanley Cup.
The Rangers and Francis partied ways following the 1975 season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall Of fame, Builders category, in 1982.
1. Mike Keenan, 1994
Mike Keenan coached the Rangers for one season, with a record of 52-24-8, but he had one thing no other head coach of the Rangers has had since Frank Boucher in 1940. He is the last coach to lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup.
Mike Keenan was hired to replace Roger Neilson following the 1993 season. Keenan took on a team that was lead on the ice by captain Mark Messier and immediately had a way about him that would put the players against the coach mentality. Keenan didn’t care if a player was made or didn’t like the way he was used by the coach. He wanted to win a Stanley Cup and would spare no one to get that job done.
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Keenan was not a fan of Brian Leetch, and he let him know every time he was unhappy with his play through the season. The same went for fan favorite Mike Gartner as the gifted winger could never find the right side of his head coach.
Things were so bad for the coach and player that Keenan had general manager Neil Smith trade Gartner at the deadline, despite his Hall of Fame goal-scoring prowess. Keenan knew what he wanted and how to get to the team to reach their goal.
In June 1994, the Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 54 years.
The Rangers and their hard nose coach had achieved what so many fans thought they would never see, a parade down the canyon of heroes led by Lords Stanley Cup.
Keenan would leave the team a month later, but fans will always have a special place in their hearts for what he accomplished.
Seven coaches who over the last 92 years have carried the tradition of the New York Rangers. Regardless of winning Stanley Cup championships or not, these coaches all touched the fan base in some way. Now, the 35th coach in history is set to begin his journey.
David Quinn has a tall task in front of him—a rebuilding process that is his responsibility to get right with a team who hasn’t won a Stanley Cup in 23 years. The fans demand wins now, the playoffs now and another opportunity to win the cup … now.