At the start of last night’s second straight debacle, analyst Joe Micheletti reasserted the notion that the coach, Alain Vigneault, is still getting to know the players. (No, I didn’t make it to the West Coast to see the games live, probably not a good use of minimal travel funds!) I found it curious that when “AV” was hired in June he talked about contacting the players and getting to know them. Then with the start of camp we heard that he didn’t want to watch any video so that he would not be influenced by it, to provide the now famous phrase, a “clean slate.” It is too early to look to the coach and his new “system” as the sole source of the total failure of this team, as Lindquist describes it, the worst they’ve played since he’s worn the sweater. Yet, not that I will be offered a coaching position even at the high school level anytime soon, if I’m the new coach, I do nothing but look at all the AV (audio-visual) available of this group, their triumphs, where they fell short, how players have developed, and most importantly what their strengths and mutual compliments are. The new line changes for last night’s game against the Ducks, though forced by the loss of Nash, indeed seemed to reflect little knowledge of the players and the combinations that would then make sense. Even more inspiring of a scratch to the temple, is the reconfigured defensive pairings. Standard practice dictates pairing one stay at home with one rusher. Del Zotto and Moore do not a logical pair make. Additionally, I have never seen Ryan McDonagh look so out of position after he was in position to begin with on Corey Perry’s first goal. Perhaps the impulse to pry the puck away to start a rush as quickly as possible has overridden another standard defensive axiom: play the man! Brad Park knew this, Jeff Beukeboom knew this, Ulf Samuelsson knew this (wait he’s coaching them!) and Ryan McDonagh knows this. I wish I could provide answers we are all looking for including the coaches and the players. For me, it must begin with the coach knowing who they are as completely as possible. How long will this take?
Tags: New York Rangers