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04-04-2004, 04:31 PM
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I actually love McGill. He's done an absolutc job this season, and last year's WolfPack team was almost completely uncoachable, so I give him a bit of a pass for his rookie AHL effort. A team that built it's offense around highly dubious effort players like Tibbetts and Tripp, along with bitter NHL veterans like Ekman, Ward, (and even if he wasn't bitter) Donato, just isn't going to be very successful. Throw in the loses on the blue-line (Mottau, Kloucek, Lintner, and Bouchard all promoted and/or traded away, essentially his top four defensemen) and an ugly season was basically a foregone conclusion.

This year, running a new system, with a significantly younger and less experience roster, along with massive call-ups and injury problems, McGill has coached the Pack flawlessly to near the top of the AHL. And it's not like he's got a team loaded with 1st round picks and blue-chip prospects to work with. Most of the guys he's had are fairly limited in talent (except for Tjutin) and he just kept right one winning. Gotta love it.

All that being said, I'm really not sure if McGill is the guy for New York. It's not because of anything that's wrong with him . . . it's more of what's in New York; namely, Jagr. Jagr's said and done all the right things since coming to New York. But his reputation as a coach killer and questionable lockeroom presence follows him around like a black cloud. A rookie NHL coach, even a good one, with delusions of team-wide discipline is going to butt heads with #68 early and often. And I just don't see how McGill can win. You cannot handle a slumping Jagr the same way you handle a slumping Cory LaRose. It just doesn't work that way.

As long as Jagr's in town, I think the Rangers will need a 'name' coach to at least have a fighting chance to keep him pointed in the right direction. That probably means Robinson would be my first choice (especially since that would probably turn the Holik around too.) But if Jagr signs off on McGill, or Jagr can be moved for decent value (perhaps if the Rangers eat another chunk of his contract) I'd definitely be interested in promoting him after the lockout.

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