Lindy Ruff and Dave Tippett are looking less and less like legit options, Wayne Gretzky says it's "very unlikely" he ends up being the guy and I'm still not convinced that Mark Messier is anything more than a Fanatasy Land candidate for the Rangers head coaching position.
So let's take a look at the two guys who seem to have the most legitimate chance of being behind the Rangers bench this fall: Dallas Eakins and Alain Vigneault.
Here's Chris Johnson at Sportsnet on Maple Leafs AHL affiliate head coach Eakins...
The steady stream of players who have arrived at the Leafs doorstep ready to contribute has spoken volumes about the work being done at the AHL level. (Maple Leafs vice-president of hockey operations Dave Poulin) and other members of Leafs management have also had some veterans make a point of pulling them aside to give Eakins a vote of confidence.
“He communicates well with the players, he communicates well with us,” said Poulin. “He’s won and I think that helps. He hasn’t won the ultimate prize, but he’s won (a lot of games). The teams have gotten better and the players have gotten better.”
...while there's a ton of scrutiny coaching within the Maple Leafs organization, it's not even in the same universe as being the head man in New York. So I do have some trepidation about Eakins taking over a team, despite the disappointing year, that will have high expectations for the 2013-14 season.
...conversely, I do like the idea of having a fresh young face leading this team. You know he'll be motivated to prove that he belongs in the NHL and his youthful enthusiasm could be infectious.
Meanwhile, Jesse Spector at the Sporting News feels that the former Canucks coach Vigneault would be a nice fit for the Rangers...
"The better move for New York would be to bring in Alain Vigneault, especially if the former Vancouver Canucks coach applies some of the Northwest Division giants' zone-matching principles. By maximizing the offensive opportunities for Nash and Stepan, and by using Boyle in the mold of Manny Malhotra (which is something Tortorella occasionally did, and it was where Boyle was at his best), the Rangers would be able to get the most out of a hybrid roster by accentuating their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses.
How good of a fit is Vigneault? He already has gotten to the Stanley Cup Finals with a star American two-way forward named Ryan (Kesler; he'd have Callahan in New York) and an Olympic gold medal-winning goaltender whose last name starts "Lu" (Luongo/Lundqvist)."
...i know Vigneault seems to be the favorite among Rangers fans, but let me throw some cold water on him. In his 11 years as a head coach in the NHL, Vigneault has guided a team past the second round ONCE. That's right, the Canucks run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 is the only time a Vigneault led team has advanced beyond the Conference Semi-Finals round. The Canucks finished first in the Pacific Division in six of the seven years Vigneault was behind the bench and was bounced in the first or second round in five of those years. Once as the #1 seed.
...while regular season success is nice, Vigneault has yet to prove he has what it takes to translate that into postseason glory and right now, the Rangers are in Cup or bust mode with anything less unacceptable. Just ask John Tortorella.
For more on Vigneault, check out this great piece at Canucks Army on his pros and cons.
I like the statistics focus and zone matching focus of Vigneault, its new and interesting and has had great success for him.I don't like the stubbornness of his sticking with a player or not adapting and I don't like the toughness on prospects alleged to Vigneault. Overall though he is an excellent candidate, and won't be a disaster.
Eakins is a defence oriented and players coach.He is good with young players and highly motivating.He would be a good NHL coach, a lot of people say.
Overall, if the strategic statistic use is all Vigneault's and not the Canuck's, and he brings it with him, then I think we would be adding a new positive dimension to the Rangers and Vigneault would be a great choice for Sather.
Just one more thing from me: don't expect this team to have the regular season the 'Nucks had under Vigneault. We play in a much tougher division.
"Vigneault has yet to prove he has what it takes to translate that into postseason glory"
I disagree. Coming within one game of the Cup is more than Tortsy brought us, at least.
We agree again - I've said the same thing about Vigneault since his name popped up. He's good at winning the President's Trophy but last I checked that wasn't the trophy we were looking for in NY. That said, I would take him over some of the other names out there. But if it came down to the two you focused on here, I'm willing to take a chance on Eakins. Any word if Eaves is an option or was that a pipe dream created by fans?
We need to stop looking at how many cups a coach has won as standard for hiring a person. # of cups Dan Bylsma had before he took the Pens job. Zero. # of cups Claude Julien had before he took the Bruins job. Zero. # of cups Darryl Suter had before he took the Kings job. Zero. # of cups Joel Quenville had before Blackhawks job. ZERO. You take the best coach possible and he'll win the Stanley Cup for your team. Did Keenan have a cup. NO. In fact his Blackhawks team choked in 92 but he still won a cup with the Rangers.
Have you guys looked at the list of Stanley Cup winners and their runners up? It looks like they trade coaches around like they're hockey cards. Teams winning in consecutive years with different coaches; teams losing consecutive years with the same coach ( that coach goes on to win in later years). Look at Keenan, three times to the dance and no crown, no cup, how would a rangers blog look like in summer of '93? would you say "why Keenan, he can't win"? So why say "why Vigneault"? maybe he learned how to navigate this thing and learned how to win, whatever the case, he can get to the dance, doesn't mean he'll never win it.
while there's a ton of scrutiny
coaching within the Maple Leafs organization, it's not even in the same
universe as being the head man in New York
I've actually read that coaching in Toronto is the pinnacle of critique and ridicule especially in hockey. Sports writer's often compare the leafs to the Yankees in terms of the following (media and fan-wise). In fact, I remember several reporters saying the Yankees aren't even in the same ball park as the leafs. In short, I think Eaves will be seasoned enough in this regard.
On another note, are there any reports out there that actually break down the candidates in terms of the system they run???? I was a big Torts fan particularly because he created a blue-collar, hard-working identity for this team. As he put it in the post-season interviews, this year's team wasn't "stiff" enough. They need to get bigger, stronger and meaner. I want a coach who is going to value those same traits and not turn this into a skill team that dances around the ice and shys away from contact like the early 2000s.
I want Vigneault. Let's keep this in perspective here.
If torts and tampa lose that cup final, how much does Torts have to hang his hat on? If the Canucks won that game 7, Vigneault would have a cup to his name and everyone would be nutting over him and dismissing his other playoffs issues. ONE GAME 7! Its one hockey game! Granted its not just any hockey game, but its not like the guy has been a loser -- his team has won the president's trophy each of the past 2 seasons. Put Hank on any of those Canucks teams and they do some damage in May and June.
I know the playoffs is what counts, but given his teams goaltending woes in the playoffs and the wildly small sample size the playoffs provide vs regular season record, I think this is the guy for the Rangers. And as a rule, I HATE French Canadians. The way his teams have looked is the way we need to look to succeed.
Just wondering... we are still keeping our goalie coach right? the guy that works perfectly with Hank?
Messier...Leetch PP and def Graves ..richter goalie coach 2014 ...20 yr anniversary they win the cup again!!! Haha
just saw that the hawks bickle will be a UFA this offseason. could be a good fit for us. all depends on how much he wants coming off a great playoffs so far.
I don't want Vigneault. If he couldn't do better with all of the talent he had in Vancouver, he'll suck with the Rangers.
Vigneault may have only been past the second round once, but don't forget to factor in who his goalie was. Luongo is typically pretty good during the regular season and then totally sucks ass once the playoffs come around. Even when they won the Cup in 2010-11, he had a 2.56 gaa and .914 save % during the playoffs (both stats are almost identical to his career playoff numbers). Not exactly stellar numbers and not someone a coach can lean on. That wouldn't be an issue with Hank, who puts up great numbers even with an overall losing playoff record.
They should take a look at a former RANGER who was a little like Callahan , Tony Granato could be a nice fit !!!!
I don't want Vigneault.... I'd be happy with Eakins... I thinhk he could develop into one of the leagues best coaches....
I still think that bringing in both would be a great idea. tell eakins that he will be the assistant with the promise that if things go even remotely well he will be the head coach of one of the more stories franchises in a few years time.
Agree with everything you say. But the 92 hawks were CRUSHED by Mario, jags and pens. They didn't choke. They had no chance.
@Scott_from_Jersey Not to mention that the Canucks were severely undermanned and worn out by the time they hit the finals that year and their 2 leading scorers were the eminently unready for the playoffs Sedin twins.
You could put together an argument that Vigneault's teams overachieved in the regular season every year, that they were built for the regular season, etc.
I'm not sold on that argument but no one really knows. What is the secret?
@Josh6 Would be very surprised if Benoit Allaire leaves. He was there before Torts wasn't he?
@ChrisP Could still be the perfect fit. Never know until he gets behind the bench. Until then nothing but speculation.
@JSob25 uh Derick Brassard was one of our best players in the PO's. He's French Canadian. I know some are doooshes but what do you have against them?
@pkh33 Believe Boston won that year
@pkh33 They didn't win the Cup in 2011 and the Canucks scored just eight goals in the seven game series loss to the Bruins. And that's Luongo's fault?
What about the 2006-07 playoffs when Luongo had 1.77 gaa and .941 sv % and Vigeault still couldn't get Canucks past 2nd round?
@GLENsatherVSglennDANZIG Not sure if that would be fair to Vigneault. He'd be looking over his shoulders big time.
insurance! I care about the rangers not vigneault. you can't test drive a ferrari without showing you have the funds for a down payment. I think the rangers have to stop being nice guys and start putting some people in positions where they are forced to sink or swim.
@PenaltySh0t While I don't really disagree here there's gotta be something said about Messier. From what I read, he changed the way that the team went about representing themselves and the organization. Spending all that time playing and being a captain he's had to have learned what it takes to coach. Believing in your leadership makes players better just like in business. Work for an crappy boss and the work suffers. That being said, if he does get the job and they don't win immediately then there's a risk that The King leaves but that's a risk with not winning anyway.