When Alain Vigneault came to the Rangers he made the surprising admission that he wasn't going to watch game tape on his new players. He wanted to give everyone a clean slate and felt looking back would stop the Rangers from moving forward.
Because of this decision, Vigneault found himself behind the eight ball when training camp began, forcing him to dedicate virtually all of preseason to evaluation instead of properly educating the players on his systems. This ultimately left the team woefully unprepared to start the season and was the likely reason for the abysmal opening west coast road trip.
Now 33 games into the season and his team grossly underachieving, Vigneault says he had no misconceptions coming into the team about the kind of personnel he was inheriting (via Daily News)...
“Not really. I mean I knew even though I didn’t know the East real well, I knew our skill set. I knew that this team was based around real strong goaltending night in and night out. As far as the overall picture of the team, I knew what I was getting into, the areas we had to work on, and I didn’t think it was gonna come overnight and it’s not. As much as we’re struggling in certain areas, and I think that’s clear for everybody, we’re still right in the picture. The effort I’m seeing right now on and off the ice, we’re working our way to find the wins we need to get back on track.”
...listen, we all agree that the mismatch between personnel and coach falls 100% on Sather, but AV deserves his fair share of criticism for not doing his homework on the Rangers players either before he accepted the position or the start of training camp.
...admissions that he doesn't know the team's leadership or that he's been TOLD Del Zotto offers more than he's showing only highlight the fact that, despite what he's saying, Vigneault had a real lack of understanding of the team. Shouldn't he have met with the core before the season to get a better feel of personalities? Wouldn't it have been smart to educate himself on the positives and negatives of each players by watching game film? That's not gaining preconceived notions of a player, that's called properly evaluating your talent. Training camp and a few preseason games isn't enough to give a new coach a proper understanding of his individual player's strength and weaknesses.
...maybe, just maybe, if Vigneault had the proper knowledge of his roster he could have made adjustments to his systems before the season, so it would have fit the Rangers personnel. Instead, it was installed as if he was still coaching a talent laden Canucks lineup skilled enough to implement his schemes. And because of that, the Rangers have looked confused and completely lost on both ends of the ice for almost the entire season.
...and now, it's only getting worse as AV again plays catchup while he attempts to develop a new defense-oriented game plan that his players will feel comfortable in. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
AV has fault in this. Sather has fault in this. The players have fault in this. It's the combination that's caused the floundering we're witnessing.
AV: He's said a few things in the past that has made me scratch my head (ie He's heard MDZ is better than this, he didn't watch tape before training camp). I've been told that this was just him posturing in the media etc , but when he says enough of that type of comments, it gets annoying. It makes him sound unprepared, and as if he's shifting blame to whoever was supposed to watch the tape and tell him these things. Based on what he's saying, it sounds like he's beginning to change his system - willingly or not. It's frustrating though, to think he might have spotted the signs earlier if he did know the team better instead of fully believing whoever told him that they were all likely capable of adapting.
Sather: Not enough moves in off season to get a roster that fits AV's mould more. When he signed Pouliot, I thought that was "the start", as in we were going to see more "skill" guys being brought in and some "grit" being moved out. Either Sather bought into the players telling him that Torts was holding them back, or he himself thought they had enough skill to play AV's system. It's obvious now that some of these guys don't, so he has to work with the coach to begin getting him some pieces.
Players: In the end, it's up to these guys to execute on the ice. Some guys (and not just Pouliot) look like they have their heads in the cloud at times. Leadership group needs to stand up for the rest of the guys and go to AV to discuss any problems they're noticing.
His decision making seems off kilter and his lack of passion concerns me. Quietly he seems like a smart guy though and though I agree with this blog I would be willing to give it more time. Unless there's a huge turn around this is going to be an adjustment and re-evaluation year for the team. A smart GM would be in his office right now assessing what moves need to be made to match coach and personnel but I think he was last sighted on 7th avenue making snow angels...
Before any trades are made Sather has to first and foremost decide what Vision.....what Identity ( the way the team plays on-ice...the way the team perceives itself......the way the rest of the league will perceive it......the way the team will win the Cup) the team will embrace.
The Identity is agreed upon FIRST. The Identity is agreed upon first. Once the identity is declared senior management then selects in personnel that fits with The Identity and selects out personnel that doen't fit with The Identity. Management than creates a farm system that fits with The Identity. They hire a coaching staff that fits with The Identity. The coaching staff then creates on-ice strategies and tactics that snugly fit with Team Identity. They then develop a smooth operating system to win the Cup.
Sather, a few years ago totally bought into Torts' Identity of toughness and defense first. The result was one win away from the Cup finals and a team that was built around super goaltending and superior defense......once Sather realized that he could bring some marque one-way offensive "super stars" to NYC the rift between Sather and Torts began to show. Nash is not a Torts guy.
Gaborik is not a Torts guy. Sather always had and always will have a weakness for those kind of players
In bringing in those guys Sather weakened The Identity that Torts created for The Rangers and led to a mutual agreement to leave. All this nonsense about losing the lockerroom and not adjusting and being nasty to the press and putting down players is rationale created after the fact. By fact I am referring to the strategic/identity rift that ended the Sather - Torts relationship
@TheNYRBlog he's a sandal wearing, orange slicing, Capri Sun drinking dolt
@TheNYRBlog gave em a clean slate...
I agree with previous comments that say it's mostly the players fault, and mostly the fault of who selected the players (Sather)
I do fault AV a little for not doing enough research, and for a failed training camp, but the sales pitch was that it's a talented group, and Torts held them back. Given Torts reputation, it wasn't inconceivable. His style of play and this roster was oil and water. The sandpaper all vanished overnight (dubi, fedotenko, prust and rupp all gone within what seemed like minutes of each other) so what was left was offensive and defensive inconsistency. It's no surpise that this continued under a different coach, because its the players that battle on the ice, nobody else.
You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish to have. Under that principle, AV is doing the best he can with his roster, and will improve it next year through free agency, and developing the younger players. In a couple of years, let's hope this fixes itself.
I think the problem is AV managing the team.These guys apparently need someone to stand in the locker room between periods and call them out or provide them with quick instructions as to what to do next.I don't know if anyone is doing that-maybe they are just sitting there with no clue trying to get themselves going.AV seems like a hands off type of coach-let them follow the game plan.All speculation but they seem really disjointed and disorganized on the ice when they are down a goal.Maybe they need speeches and call outs between periods.They don't have a strong enough leader to do that themselves-no Mark Messier in the room -so the coach has to fill that role.Does AV do that?If he doesn't maybe he should try.
This makes more sense than anything else, Kevin. If factual, this isn't going to end anytime soon. What a disappointment!!!
Ifd you or team wanted defense first then torts would still be behind the bench. And then don't complain that we can't score.
And preseason is certainly not enough time to completely overturn a roster when Sather is running the team and with cap.
Its not that difficult to comprehend. How about this team and personnel stink? We as Ranger fans pumped up our players and farm like every other teams fans. Just flat out stink. Offensive system with non offensive skill. Not that difficult.
Finally somebody else realizes what I've been saying since day 1 . He botched up preseason by not getting system in place and seeing what he had then . And realize the "system " IS NOT PLUG AND PLAY ! it needs to enhance player strengths and not expose weaknesses of this team . A coach need to motivate discipline and reward hard work . He disrupted the locker om atmosphere . And it shows on the ice . The leadership group is in place to teach the kids how to be a pro . Not coach the team from the locker room . Do your job man ! Motivate and discipline the players . And scrap the system and keep it simple . Check hard . Up the boards and out . If a d man pinches a forward better Cover his spot . Defense first . If they can't score it's hard to loose .
If his system was that good with all that talent in Vancouver..... He would still be there and probably have 1 or 2 cups..... but how did that work out?
So you expected a complete roster turnover with the cap space we had going in? That's ridiculous. We were stuck with this awful group from the beginning and unfortunately it's that way for the season. AV s fault not in the least.
Bottom line is yes AV gets some of the blame but the players get the majority of it imo. How can these guys not motivate themselves to actually exhibit a respectable performance on a nightly basis? Ultimately its the coach who takes the fall for the sub par performance of his team.
One thing to keep in mind is despite our abysmal effort up until this point in the season there are still 48 games left to play. The leaders in the locker room need to stand up and actually convey a message that what they're doing right now is unacceptable, Until the players start holding eachother accountable and to a higher standard, nothing is going to change and the ship will just keep taking on water.
I don't think AV went into this year unprepared. I think it was a cloy PR move on his behalf to say he didn't know his players and that he was giving everyone a "clean slate" because that's what we as fans wanted, and we all ate it up (i.e. giving guys a fresh start that we felt were wronged/unfairly treated by Torts) If the NYR were tearing up the league right now, we'd all be praising AV for how he is letting his players play, how he's treating them like adults and not children, how he's such a hands off coach. If I'm calling BS, I'm calling BS on the whole notion of "clean slate". not AV's preparation. I mean, if "clean slate" wasn't a PR move, then why did they make t-shirts and merchandise that used that expression?
I think AV knew what he was getting in terms of personnel and talent. I think what is surprising to him (and to everyone) is how this team just doesn't seem to be playing hard for each other.
Oh stop frank, guy needed a job and he took it. Messier needs to be an assistant, you can run a ship without learning how to drive it
@TheNYRBlog its a great read and spot on. Its up to Sather to correct personnel which may not happen til off season.
I watched the YES networks interview with Messier. I thought he was in Edmonton? he's back in NY for a reason.....I say fire AV and give the man his shot at the HC job. He could do no worse and will command respect from the players.
The Canucks have won 6 in a row and Chris Higgins would be our leading goal scorer... We are 33 games in and our leading goal scorer (Richards btw) only has 8 goals. That has to be a record
I still think AV is a good coach, but not knowing what his players needed to work on in preseason compounded the fact that the team isn't built for AVs style of coaching - yet. He missed out on the opportunity to help his players individually, but from what was said the assistant coaches did watch film etc.
Arneil has gotten the pp to move better and when they actually execute and have net front presence they have been fairly successful compared to Sullivan when we were all screaming decline the pp! Although it absolutely boggles my mind that if delzaster isn't trusted he's allowed to attempt to qb the pp?!? Ulf has the PK still working pretty well especially since the goaltending has been questionable at times, but the bigger surprise is the regression of the D. Going into camp our D actually looked pretty solid, but has struggled mightily! There is NO snarl let alone solid D - not sure what ulf is doing or not doing but as the team says good O starts with good D and we haven't had good D!
Slats made the call to keep brad and try to tweak things by bringing in some low cost veterans instead of bolstering the skill level of the O. He was hampered by the cap and just like when Ritchie was brought in he hoped for not only a rebound year, but chemistry between the two high priced superstars... But just as with gabby Ritchie has yet to gel with Nash. Common thread? Ritchie has bounced back, but clearly appears to be on the decline and for whatever reason lacks the ability to gel with other star players. Between the cap and the lack of solid trade material - who wants pylon, poopsalot, ash, Powe, Bics, or even dom for that matter. They are taking up both roster spots and cap space and this handcuffing slats when we need his trades most. We desperately need a Lucic type of grinding power forward that can boost scoring as well as grit! Hopefully slats can work some magic as teams like buffalo and fl continue to struggle. With limited trade pieces it looks more likely that there will be one or two regulars to get their plane tickets and honestly that might be the best thing.
Nobody will take Ritchie unless we keep part of his salary and the rangers would be taking a big risk with the retirement clause... Nash has some value but is injury prone and is being shown to not be the leader / mega star that can carry a team. Hank is here to stay - let's hope he can gain his confidence, work on his glove, and his stick handling! Capt America although injury prone is a hard piece to let go. Staal also injury prone is a possibility? G has looked shaky most of the season, but should hold decent trade value still. The interest is there for delzaster but the asking price appears too high. Strahlman and Moore are low cost and good potential, but could be packaged. Mac, Kreider, and step are the new core and Zucc has certainly earned the right to be in that picture as well! (MZA - FTW). Hags has shown glimmers, but has yet to blossom and could be part of a package. Brass has regressed (Arneil?) and although a bit pricier could have some value, but I am betting they hope he will regain his playoff form under AV. Boyle and Dorset are solid soldiers with key abilities and as long as they don't get unrealistic with salary demands and will probably be kept unless needed to sweeten a big trade. Cam is probably on solid ground do to his play, his cap hit, and nobody else even close in the pipeline.
I see more line juggling and random call ups in the near term, but a big trade or three are coming! Let's just hope it's not for another over the hill injury prone star with a huge cap hit!
Stay positive the team will come around and they players will start to gel and compete!
I been saying this since day one. It only took over 2 months for this to finally be printed...... bottom line is. Yeah sat her has blame. But for hiring this coach..... This guy is inept and throws everyone under the bus except himself and PYATT.....
We can all agree a guy dressing PYATT every game and playing him but holding others accountable hasn't a clue about coaching...There is no defense for that type of behavior....Miller offers energy... can skate and can score. We all could live with his mistakes. But he is treated like the bastid child by AV
Only way to fix this is. Fire AV makes some trades....get rid of the inconsistent under performing talent. and clean out this system and culture this jackass brought with him from Vancouver...
do not sign guys cause fans like em... sign them cause they perform night in and night out. With effort passion not playing to cash a check. Yeah Stepan I am calling u out...u suck...and it softer than baby shit u pansy
Messier doesn't look like a bad hire now doesn't he......at least he has balls. Has won cups. And had played in NYC..... but his best feature is LEADERSHIP.... what we needed most here. Cause as u see u can wear letters on ur jersey they don't mean shit. If u don't live up to it
Well put. Why would he admit to doin no research haha. crazy. "Yeah that Mel Zottos real good, I love mike Richards, and we still got, uh, beezer in the nets right?" AV jabs aside, tho warranted at this point, bottom line is we just don't have enough talent. Teams can win without massive talent, but only if you have just the right pieces and balance and play the right way, and your goalie steals 2 out of every 3 games.... Ain't got that either...
@TheNYRBlog the team AV took to the playoffs and essentially left was consistently full of talent.
@TheNYRBlog spot on ...
@TheNYRBlog The 3rd and 4th lines lack grit.
@TheNYRBlog I still believe that the Rangers third and fourth need to be beefed up. In addition, they still need a stay at home D man.
@EHBIGAPPLENot to be a knit-picker but I think we lost the NJ series in 6 and were 2 wins away, and IMHO were farther away from a championship team than it appeared. I agree with your basic premise though. though Gabby's not a Torts player it's still good to have a sniper in the mix of the blue-collar grinders and it worked out well for both Torts and Gabby for the better part of 3 seasons before shoulder surgery took the edge off his lethal wrister. If he was a great player he would adjust his game and re-emerge as a 40 goal scorer but so far he is proving to just be a very good player who's not complete. Anyway very interesting assessment. Thanks BIGAPPLE
@IhaveawaiteratMSGNot putting this all at AV's feet, but he deserves some of the blame. All I see the guy doing is blaming everyone else. Time to look in the mirror.
It's clear they don't wanna play for him.......and when they game gets physical. They sure as he'll don't wanna play for each other.....that much is true
@JMK8363 Now that's what I call a loooong winded blog. Couldn't finish reading it. It's just too long!
@mando24179 i think you're right about AV maybe not being right guy- he didn't adapt, just as torts didn't adapt. but let's face it, our record would not be much different if messier had gotten the nod, and people would be saying "see!? how could you hire a guy with no coaching experience while a proven winner was on the market..its nepotism and sather playing his favorites again"... it would have been humiliating to Captain ego. can we not forget the chapter where he bolted in a huff to vancouver? thanks for helping us buy the one cup- the game is completely different now. bottom line is, this is not a great team. we had a really good balance for a moment or two that led to one good run a couple years ago. this team is not even close to that team anymore.
And it may be easy to say make trades, but that's what Sather always does and where are we?? Also, who'd trading anyone good for anyone crappy? there are maybe 2 or 3 rangers anyone in the league would even want right now. Are we trading Kreider? No. McDonaugh? No. Nash? Who's paying that? Thats it- people want DZ for nothing. Doesn't make sense. We seem to be screwed unless Hank can start stealing games again.
@SmellyKisio You're correct bro.
I think AV is just telling the truth and at least he's been pretty consistent about how he handles his criticism of his players. I had no problem with Torts calling out his players, but Torts was a hypocrite about it, saying that stuff needed to stay in the room, and then he would air out the dirty laundry himself (i.e. Hagelin stinks on the PP - which it turns out he does) With that said, I still would rather have Ruff or Laviolette (though the latter wasn't available at the time)
The bottom line is u get rid of the under performing players
even Stralman if for the right player
U have some trade value with some in this group. U need more effort players and less potential players who never achieved anything. ....show me some grit. Soft hands around the net. They don't have to score 50 goals..... collectively play hard and have teams regret and hate to play us...
then we can win game
Why can't we trade Hagelin. .. Cause of his speed? Really news flash dude. Even GRETZKY was traded.... Hagelin offers speed and nothing else on a consistent basis... He doesn't check or finish them. Doesn't score enough and disappears for weeks at a time.......
Trade him and another piece for Kane. Who would u rather have Hagelin and his speed or kane?
Stepan held out like he was a super star and he is not... He had point last ur and has done nothing other than that. Another player who disappears. For weeks at a time.... and is soft as baby shit. Do sent stick up for him self at all.... sorry dude I don't sweat players........I'm a about winning rings. U act like we can't win without them
News flash. We sure as shit ain't winning with them
ya can't get rid of hagelin, that's a big time knee-jerk. he is one of the fastest skaters in the league and that has to be worth something. Stepan is worth keeping, led team last year in points. Boyle is a 4th liner, but inexcusabel that he has not learned to use his body AT ALL at this point as one of the 10 biggest people in the NHL.. Girardi should be moved, considering we could maybe get a good return and we shouldn't give a big contract considering all others... Same exact goes for stall, just get him to Carolina already... Pyatt is a cut, poulion is a cut, Asham too. We're not getting anything for DZ until he plays well, at which point we'll want to keep him... Brassard .... not sure- at times he looks like the most skilled on the ice, but not sure he's what we need in a 3rd line center, i say package brassard and girardi / staal and a prospect and see what we can get... problem is if we cut all those guys, who plays?? we have no better options and even if we land bufflin (too lazy to spell-chek) and kane, we still have enough BAD players too cause enough mistakes to lose every game. You just can't win with this many borderline-to-bad players. Even if you have some great ones