Is Alain Vigneault The Right Coach For The Rangers?

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Rangers dismissed John Tortorella and hired the likes of Alain Vigneault, many analysts and pundits had the Blueshirts locked in to a top three spot in the newly-formed Metropolitan division.

However, as they are just past the 1/3 mark of the 2013-14 season, the Rangers find themselves missing consistency and playing some mediocre hockey at best. They are currently tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for third place in the division, and have a pivotal matchup awaiting them tonight when the Washington Capitals visit Madison Square Garden.

What many people forgot is that with Tortorella the Rangers molded their defense into a powerhouse. They blocked shots and just did everything right and we did not see them give up much on their side of the rink. They were considered one of the best defensive teams in hockey under the Tortorella regime. The only thing missing was their offense. Their powerplay under Torts was awful, and they won many tight games and also played a ton of overtime games, which we haven’t seen so far this year. Last night against the Devils was only their second OT game of the season.

Now, under Vigneault, we have seen some flashes of brilliance on the offensive side in games where they have scored four or five goals but for the most part the offensive attack has been non-existent besides players like Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Chris Kreider who have been producing on a daily basis.

The thing is though is that the Rangers have the pieces here to be a perennial playoff contender in the likes of Derick Brassard, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan. They have the depth, but those players that were mentioned have not been producing at the level that they need to be.

On the defensive side of things, I have never seen a team give up so many odd-man rushes. Under Tortorella, odd-man breakouts were a rare occurrence but now they seem to be a game-after-game event.

The main excuse early in the season was that the team was still getting used to the system. Well, now it is December and the team has had plenty of time to adjust to AV’s style of play. However we are still seeing them play average hockey and aren’t winning on a daily basis as teams below them continue to pick up points and catch up to them in the standings.

In other words, the Rangers are extremely lucky to be where they are at the moment, and I am seriously starting to question whether Vigneault is the right man for the job or not.

Did the Rangers make a mistake when they hired AV?

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-Andrew (@a_graz24)

Tags: New York Rangers Nhl Puck Drop

  • Pivot

    The odd man rushes were something we all knew would happen. The only thing we were wrong about was that the Rangers would score more at the expense of some more of these
    2 on 1′s and 3 on 2 rushes against. The PP has certainly been a help early on but the team is scoring less per game than they did last season under Torts who was a very aggressive coach. People said he hampered the teams scoring the last few years but as we see now he was more aggressive than AV is. The Rangers never once gave up a lead after 2 periods in Torts time as coach. They’ve done it twice now in 30 games. It’s ridiculous to call AV the wrong coach when Sather built this team for Torts the last 5 years. AV just needs to allow some tough guys into the lineup. It would have preserved the lead last night and it would have gotten a win in Boston the last week. Lest we forget the Winnipeg game. AV’s Canucks could never beat the tougher teams. LA-Nashville-Pho-STL-SJ. Especially in the playoffs.
    He likes to roll 4 lines most of the time. He needs to have at least 1 big, imposing player on the 4th line. If it’s a big guy that has some offensive upside then maybe the 3rd Line works. Especially without Dorsett in the lineup, this team has no body to stick up for teammates. It’s not that they don’t want to. It’s they can’t fight. Boyle-Moore-Pyatt are not fighters. I love Boyle but if there’s teams that want him. Maybe Sather should trade him for a young bruiser. Dorsett can’t do it all himself. 2 fighting majors and your nights over. What then?

    • Dani

      Team wasn’t built for AV- I guess firing Torts wasn’t such a hot idea afterall… We do have grit actually, bring Powe and Asham back up from Hartford and see what happens.They would make a considerable difference in the lineup.

      • Dani

        Hey look who came back to the line-up!guess I wasn’t too far off… :)

  • Pivot

    I don’t think anything we’ve seen means AV is the wrong coach but maybe for the way some of the team is currently constructed. Particularly the bulk of the defense. Many are stay at home defensive defenseman not used to pinching the way they’ve been instructed.

  • Andrew Graziano

    All good points. I think the toughness is key. Like you said without Dorsett the team doesn’t really have anybody else that stands up for teammates. Like I said before I think the pieces for success are here, but it’s just a matter of execution.

  • Glenn

    No. Time to go!