Nov 1, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault and right wing Kevin Hayes (13) shout against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Head coach Mike Keenan won exactly one Stanley Cup during his 20-year NHL career.
However, he was a man who was used to getting close to the promised land.
Keenan reached the Stanley Cup Finals an incredible three-times prior to 1994. Twice with the Philadelphia Flyers (1985 and 1987), and once with the Chicago Blackhawks (1993).
May 4, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault (top) reacts on the bench against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game two of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pens won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Despite many who believe the ’94 Rangers won despite Keenan instead of with him, there’s no arguing some of the buttons he pushed during that run worked like a charm.
Okay, so maybe pulling Mike Richter in Game 4 against New Jersey was a terrible idea. However, what about his timeout in Game 6 against New Jersey where he didn’t utter one word to the team. Instead, he just stared at them.
Mark Messier responded with his natural Hat Trick during his famous “called game” and the rest is history.
Present Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has also been to the promised land already.
During the 2010-11 season with the Vancouver Canucks, Vigneault lost a tough-fought 7-game series to the Boston Bruins during the Stanley Cup Finals. Twice with that Vancouver team Vigneault won the Presidents’ Trophy.
There’s no question that there couldn’t be more of a stark contrast between the coaching styles of Keenan and Vigneault. Yet each guy was gotten so close to kissing the cup prior to taking over the Rangers job.
Next: Reason No. 1