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Old
04-03-2014, 01:23 PM
  #1
Jersey Girl
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Alain Vigneault

Not sure when is the last time we had a thread to discuss the coach, so as the season winds down I think it's a good time to give a (almost) one year impression.

I like Vigneault's style - a lot. When I first heard at the time of hiring he was more of a CEO type, that he relies on his assistants and players to 'police the room', I was very skeptical. Despite AV's record in riot-town, I couldn't picture how that approach would work. Well, apparently it does.

During our disastrous start people were grinding their gears on AV smiling on the bench, chewing gum, looking detached, wanting him out after five games, etc., and at first I thought posters here were right. Now, I disagree.

As Mike Babcock said on 24/7 when the Red Wings were being filmed while going through a really bad streak, if the players see the coach getting rattled during the worst of times, there is no hope. Like most teams we are never as good as it looks when we're winning and never as bad as we look when we're losing, and AV seems to take that approach.

Ironically this is pretty much diametrically the opposite of this (and most) sports message boards. Win a few, we can beat anyone in the playoffs - lose a few, everyone has to go!

Under AV the power play has improved, the PK has improved (not sure what the stats say, but it seems that way to me), some players have really stepped up, and the overall attitude of the team just seems better - players don't look like they're scared to death to make a mistake anymore.

To be fair it has to be mentioned AV obviously did not get the best out of Callahan, and Nash has been Nash - long periods of good (now, before the Olympics) and long periods of invisible (after the Olympics, before the Canadian Olympic team was announced).

And if nothing else, and I get why this doesn't matter to some people, the team is MUCH easier on the eyes, win or lose. Some of those games under Torts, where we got a lead and spent the rest of the game throwing ourselves in front of pucks, were difficult to watch.

Obviously the playoffs are the real proof, for not only AV but also Nash, St Louis, etc., but I really think AV has gotten a lot out of what Sather has given him.


Last edited by Jersey Girl: 04-03-2014 at 01:41 PM.
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04-03-2014, 01:36 PM
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Hes done a good job despite the roster's shortcomings, as has every coach thats come in here since Glen Sather himself was behind the bench.

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04-03-2014, 01:40 PM
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I'm not sure if he didn't get the most out of Callahan or it was mainly Callahan's injuries and usual inconsistency that were an issue. He's playing well now for Tampa but we've seen him do that before plenty of times in NY...play awesome for a stretch and then disappear for an equally long stretch

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04-03-2014, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersey Girl View Post
Not sure when is the last time we had a thread to discuss the coach, so as the season winds down I think it's a good time to give a (almost) one year impression.

I like Vigneault's style - a lot. When I first heard at the time of hiring he was more of a CEO type, that he relies on his assistants and players to 'police the room', I was very skeptical. Despite AV's record in riot-town, I couldn't picture how that approach would work. Well, apparently it does.

During our disastrous start people were grinding their gears on AV smiling on the bench, chewing gum, looking detached, wantiing him out after five games, etc., and at first I thought posters here were right. Now, I disagree.

As Mike Babcock said on 24/7 when the Red Wings were being filmed while going through a really bad streak, if the players see the coach getting rattled during the worst of times, there is no hope. Like most teams we are never as good as it looks when we're winning and never as bad as we look when we're losing, and AV seems to take that approach.

Ironically this is pretty much diametrically the opposite of this (and most) sports message boards. Win a few, we can beat anyone in the playoffs - lose a few, everyone has to go!

Under AV the power play has improved, the PK has improved (not sure what the stats say, but it seems that way to me), some players have really stepped up, and the overall attitude of the team just seems better - players don't look like they're scared to death to make a mistake anymore.

To be fair it has to be mentioned AV obviously did not get the best out of Callahan, and Nash has been Nash - long periods of good (now, before the Olympics) and long periods of invisible (after the Olympics, before the Canadian Olympic team was announced).

And if nothing else, and I get why this doesn't matter to some people, the team is MUCH easier on the eyes, win or lose. Some of those games under Torts, where we got a lead and spent the rest of the game throwing ourselves in front of pucks, were difficult to watch.

Obviously the playoffs are the real proof, for not only AV but also Nash, St Louis, etc., but I really think AV has gotten a lot out of what Sather has given him.
Excellent summary. Agreed.

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04-03-2014, 01:42 PM
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I agree with some points.

AV has made adjustments to his style to maximize the roaster he has in front of him.

Our star players are under producing.

Our depth players are producing in groves.

I still think his defensive system needs to be adjusted. When teams cross our blue line we clear the puck really fast. AWESOME. However when we fail to clear, the puck gets tipped or a turn over or missed hit, and we get trapped in our own zone. It litterally becomes Hank vs the other team. Its scary to watch. Then our PK is amazing this year. PK isn't just a numbers things. Our PK makes teams look desperate and that swings a lot of momentum in our favor. I would love it if we could use some of what makes our PK so effective on our 5 on 5 D when we are trapped in the zone.

We generate the 3rd most shots on net in the NHL yet our goals are still low. I think a lot of that has to do with our stars (Richards Nash MSL) under producing.

I agree the play offs are the ultimate test.


My biggest frustration with this current team is how often we lose to teams who arent very good. We will make top teams struggle and then look lost against the flames or oilers. Its hard.

A lot of my other complaints have been fixed or greatly improved.

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04-03-2014, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Levitate View Post
I'm not sure if he didn't get the most out of Callahan or it was mainly Callahan's injuries and usual inconsistency that were an issue. He's playing well now for Tampa but we've seen him do that before plenty of times in NY...play awesome for a stretch and then disappear for an equally long stretch
Also this is spot on. I love Cally and I hope him the best but he looks no better or worse in Tampa than he did NY. He is still classic cally, working hard and playing to win.

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04-03-2014, 01:46 PM
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Not a big fan of AV

I didn't really like Torts either if that matters

The power play was pretty good at the beginning of the season is now back to sucking for the most part. People were praising the Asst Coach as responsible for that. Now we don't hear a whole lot about him

I really hate his Defensive system. The man on man coverage needs to die. It seems to cause these players way to many problems with decision making and who to pick up in the defensive zone. there are huge coverage mistakes every game and the difference is to winning is whether or not our opposition makes us pay for those.

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04-03-2014, 01:46 PM
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Hard to say if the coach has anything to do with Nash and St Louis "underproducing" or what the issue is. I don't see how his system really handcuffs them in some way.

Also dont' totally agree about running around in their own end and leaving it all up to Hank. Again, kind of depends on the game, but I've seen plenty where they get "stuck" in their own zone but keep everything to the outside and the other team doesn't get any good chances. Then again sometimes it breaks down and they give a team a great chance.

At any rate, we'll see how it goes in the playoffs, and I'm not really sure what the potential of this team is, but I think they have a much better chance of actually competing in the playoffs than Torts' teams did

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04-03-2014, 01:52 PM
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Lev- I am not sure if we are still there to compete in the POs. The marginals can be very small once you get there, a few things is still a bit off with this team.

However, it definitely seem like we have potential to compete in the POs and become a team that is a top 4-6 team in this league over the course of a few seasons.

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04-03-2014, 01:54 PM
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He's been fine, I think we're a better special teams and possession team now.

My only gripes are his timeout usage and I'm still not sure if the man-to-man defense is suited for this team, they are giving up an awful lot of slot opportunities this year.

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04-03-2014, 02:03 PM
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What stands out the most to me is the team is a threat to score short-handed. Was one of the biggest knocks I had on Torts' PK system. I believe the threat to scoring is essential to a PK.

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04-03-2014, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola View Post
Lev- I am not sure if we are still there to compete in the POs. The marginals can be very small once you get there, a few things is still a bit off with this team.

However, it definitely seem like we have potential to compete in the POs and become a team that is a top 4-6 team in this league over the course of a few seasons.
I was thinking more compared to recent playoffs where the team just struggled so hard to beat teams and everything came with such difficulty.

I'd have more confidence that this team could take out Ottawa and Washington more comfortably than those previous teams, not necessarily that this is a cup team.

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04-03-2014, 02:13 PM
  #13
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Originally Posted by Levitate View Post
I was thinking more compared to recent playoffs where the team just struggled so hard to beat teams and everything came with such difficulty.

I'd have more confidence that this team could take out Ottawa and Washington more comfortably than those previous teams, not necessarily that this is a cup team.
I could just as easily see this team dropping a series to a team below them in the standings. **** happens in the playoffs.

A series win is all that matter, which is why I find the critiquing of the first 2 series in '11-12 to be pretty comical, especially given the futility we've seen as Ranger fans over the years.

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04-03-2014, 02:20 PM
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under torts we went into a shell in the playoffs. i hope this doesnt happen under AV but the way we played under torts in the playoffs made it very difficult to win games.

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04-03-2014, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Levitate View Post
I was thinking more compared to recent playoffs where the team just struggled so hard to beat teams and everything came with such difficulty.

I'd have more confidence that this team could take out Ottawa and Washington more comfortably than those previous teams, not necessarily that this is a cup team.
If we don't get hammered in back to back 7 game series that year, I like our chances vs the Devils. Under AV, I like our chances vs the Devils regardless. I really liked Torts however AV has most definitely won me over.

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04-03-2014, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Bleed Ranger Blue View Post
I could just as easily see this team dropping a series to a team below them in the standings. **** happens in the playoffs.

A series win is all that matter, which is why I find the critiquing of the first 2 series in '11-12 to be pretty comical, especially given the futility we've seen as Ranger fans over the years.
Yes but it's become more clear that Torts' style of hockey isn't an ultimately successful style. You can't play the entire game trying to defend, you can't play the entire game without the puck.

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04-03-2014, 02:44 PM
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AV's biggest contribution to this team has been completely retooling our transition game. Its a night/day difference compared to previous teams.

There are some shortcomings to his coaching style but overall he is improved in areas that needed improving. Even when the Rangers were struggling earlier in the season; I could see what AV wants this team to be. He wants the Rangers to be like a puck possession team like the Red Wings. I believe that if the Rangers want to compete for a cup; that is the style they have to play.

However, the roster is still incomplete for that vision to come to full fruition.

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04-03-2014, 02:57 PM
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Nice OP. Bascially agree with it.

I have to say though, the year the Rangers made the conf. finals, i felt like they had something special going on and just ran out of gas. Torts had that team playing really hard and despite the style they played they were winning tons of games and it was exciting to me. He had them overachieving and thats good coaching.

That said, Torts made some fatal mistakes that year and afterwards. He pushed some players too hard and wore them down because of trust issues. He failed to adapt in certain situations and paid for it with losses. I feel AV is better at both, possibly because he has a deeper squad - but more because of his coaching philosophy.

I think the most glaring change is special teams and I attribute that directly to AV's coaching hierarchy. He allows coaches to coach and feels the more specializing the better. Torts was so stubborn when it came to assistants, it drove me nuts. It was to the point where i felt Sather should have stepped in and hired another assistant/special teams coach, even if Torts didnt want it. I didnt get the feeling it was a priority - just something that the players would figure out on their own. I hated that approach.

One other thing to mention about AV, there havent been too many let down games. One game in particular sticks out and thats the recent one against Phoenix, the one with the Lundqvist ceremony. Thats a game they always lose at home after an awesome road trip playing very intense, emotional games. They get down 2-0 and I was very impressed how they finished that game. Theres a consistent battle level to this team thats been worked on all year. Thats coaching. Its not that Torts didnt have it, but there would be lapses - partly due to burning out players.

AV understands how important rest is and i dont think its a surprise how well the Rangers are playing now that they are in a groove with one day off one day on over the past few weeks. I like that calculated, almost scientific approach - especially for one of least traveled teams in the league. The dividends might not be immediate, but over the course of a long season it pays off. All i saw with Torts was emotion and X's and O's, but none of the more modern tactics that AV practices.

I also agree with his line combinations and his approach of keeping two linemates together. Torts drove me nuts with his lineup decisions.

So i like what AV has done, but I have to see how he approaches the playoffs with this team.


Last edited by HockeyBasedNYC: 04-03-2014 at 03:03 PM.
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04-03-2014, 02:57 PM
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I think AV has done an excellent job with this roster that's been all over the place largely all season.

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04-03-2014, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SingnBluesOnBroadway View Post
What stands out the most to me is the team is a threat to score short-handed. Was one of the biggest knocks I had on Torts' PK system. I believe the threat to scoring is essential to a PK.
Having a team of very fast and offensively potent PK'ers definitely helps that.

I loved the decision to put Nash, Zucc, and MSL on the PK. There's only 4 forwards on the team I wouldn't want penalty killing. I like the option of putting MSL + Nash on the PK late in the game when we need a goal, because it's low risk high reward.

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04-03-2014, 03:05 PM
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Also have to give AV credit for developing a fourth line - something that always eluded Torts. I think that will help if we have to go from one grueling playoff series right into another.

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04-03-2014, 03:06 PM
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I'm also going to give a hat-tip to Sather... He hasn't blown the roster up completely (can't say the same for the draft picks we don't have anymore) even during the times where we looked like we were stagnant, or worse, trending down.. we made several minor trades, and it paid off really well...

I'm crossing my fingers that Sather takes AV's input to a greater level than Torts' input, because many of the players we have need to be here next year. Whether or not the roster does get blown up? well, time will tell

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04-03-2014, 03:07 PM
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You can't deny that he's a good coach, at least in terms of tactics. The Rangers are 7th in corsi this season, which is a proxy for possession. That pretty much matches what I'm seeing when I watch the game. We've even had some pretty dominating efforts in our losses. It's nice seeing our team actually play with some confidence in the offensive zone instead of haphazardly tossing pucks at the net and hoping you get a lucky bounce.

I think the success under Vignault's system is more sustainable. Torts was a lunatic when it came to distributing ice time and guys were clearly gassed in the playoffs. Vignault's ice time distribution makes sense. Plus, I'll never forgive Torts for repeatedly putting Del Zotto out on the PP and never giving McDonagh a real shot there. Vignault immediately saw the talent in McDonagh and is employing him appropriately and we're seeing the results now.

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04-03-2014, 03:08 PM
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I have liked AV. I was skeptical of him at first because he was the "easy hire".

But I want to see how this team does in the playoffs.

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04-03-2014, 03:13 PM
  #25
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While AV hasn't got this team to the playoffs yet, I'm very confident in how this team will perform. They aren't going to be as gassed as Torts made his teams, there's no forward on this team with more than 20 mins per game, last year there was 3 IIRC. I'd love to see how this team, live and confident, play in the playoffs.

Of course our possession game can completely tank, and we get swept, but I don't think that'll be the case.

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