Posts Tagged ‘Alain Vigneault’

Players, not Alain Vigneault, the problem for New York Rangers

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Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers are off to a rocky start to the 2013-14 season

Hard road: The Rangers’ defense has been making life tough for goalie Henrik Lundqvist. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

By Allan Muir

So much for the one-bad-game theory.

If there was some faint hope among New York Rangers fans that the 9-2 thrashing administered to their team by Tomas Hertl and the San Jose Sharks was a one-off, it took all of 20 minutes and 17 shots for the Anaheim Ducks to disabuse them of that notion on Thursday night.

The Blueshirts bombed again, this time by a score of 6-0, leaving them with three brutal losses to show for their first four games. They’ve been outscored 20-6, have just three even-strength goals to their credit, and are being outshot by an average of 10 chances per game. They face the prospect of another lopsided match on Saturday against the very dangerous St. Louis Blues, followed by five more games on the road.

It’s early, sure, but not too early to say the Rangers are in trouble. And it’s a good bet the team that started the season with a 4-1 loss in Phoenix won’t be the same one that finally plays its home opener on Oct. 28 against the Canadiens.

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  • Published On Oct 11, 2013
  • New York Rangers hire Alain Vigneault as coach; fun times are coming

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    The New York Rangers announced Alain VIgneault's hiring as coach at a press conference in Radio City Music Hall.

    Alain Vigneault was introduced as the Rangers’ new coach in the splendor of Radio City Music Hall. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    The press conference that introduced new coach Alain Vigneault to the New York Rangers’ press corps included all the warm, glowing boilerplate-style quotes you’d expect.

    “A.V. is one of the top coaches in the NHL, and we are fortunate to have him in New York,” Rangers GM Glen Sather said.

    “When I was thinking about the opportunity to coach the New York Rangers, one of the Original 6 teams, in this great city, there’s not a chance I could pass that up,” Vigneault replied.

    Can’t you feel the love?

    And if that’s all it had been, hey, everyone walks away happy. A new face, a new beginning. A chance to get past the maddeningly defensive John Tortorella era and start fresh. Good times.

    But that’s not all it was. No, instead of trading in generic, easily digested “we’ll be better” babble, Vigneault and Sather dazzled the crowd with some very specific, and very promising, thoughts.

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  • Published On Jun 21, 2013
  • Top Line: Cup final Game 5 challenges, free agent rumors, more links

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    Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask

    After being strafed for six goals in Game 4, Tuukka Rask’s performance looms large for Game 5. (Harry How/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Tuukka Rask has allowed at least four goals in a game four times during these playoffs. Each time, he’s rebounded with a superior effort. Can he make it five-for-five on Saturday night?

    • That gaping hole on the glove side hasn’t swayed Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. He’s sticking with Corey Crawford for Game 5. But if he gets lit up again on Saturday…

    • Line changes, especially the improperly executed ones, could be a critical factor as the Stanley Cup Final enters crunch time.

    • It would be nice if the Bruins got off to a decent start in Game 5. You know, just for grins.

    • The real beauty of Game 4 was that the coaches were removed from the equation, leaving only hockey as it was intended to be played.

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  • Published On Jun 21, 2013
  • Top Line: Pens look unstoppable; Toews, Kopitar must step up; more links

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    Sidney Crosby and the Penguins look unstoppable in the 2013 NHL playoffs.

    Sidney Crosby and his merry Penguins are rolling home in the proverbial driver’s seat. (NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • After an atrocious first period, the Pittsburgh Penguins finally decided to unsheathe their claws. About time, too, according to Dejan Kovacevic.

    • James Neal and Jarome Iginla found their inner beasts, scoring a pair of goals each in Pittsburgh’s win.

    • Daniel Alfredsson and the Ottawa Senators were hit hard by the reality of their situation after that 7-3 blowout. Reality or not, it’s stunning to hear these words coming from the captain.

    • After watching everything fall apart so abruptly after a promising start, Eric Duhatschek wonders if the Senators have checked out of the series.

    • The Senators now face the ultimate challenge. The view from Ottawa suggests they’re not quite up to it.

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  • Published On May 23, 2013
  • Vancouver Canucks finally fire coach Alain Vigneault — now what?

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    Alain Vigneault has been fired as coach of the Vancouver Canucks

    Despite his rocky end in Vancouver, Alain Vigneault could end up with a gig in Dallas. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    The Canucks have finally bid farewell to head coach Alain Vigneault, associate coach Rick Bowness, and assistant coach Newell Brown.

    Vancouver’s season ended on May 7 with a four-game sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, so it’s nice to see Mr. Dithers, er, GM Mike Gillis, finally get around to putting the staff out of its misery.

    After consecutive first-round ousters, the news of the dismissals could surprise only those who assumed that Gillis would continue to delay the inevitable until the pool of high quality replacements had been skimmed by the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars, leaving the Canucks to settle for someone else’s leftovers. Sort of like how Gillis has gone about adding spare parts to his roster in an effort to spackle over some significant structural flaws during the past two seasons.

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  • Published On May 22, 2013
  • Top Line: Backups get mixed results; Crosby talks The Goal; more links

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    Tomas Vokoun shut out the Islanders in Game 5 of their playoff series.

    Tomas Vokoun made 31 saves in a 4-0 shutout that restored the Penguins’ control of their series vs. the Islanders. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • The theme of Thursday night’s action? A trio of backup goalies were forced into action at the most critical point of the year (so far). The results varied.

    • Aw shucks, Sidney Crosby said. My goal wasn’t as good as the one that earned Mario Lemieux a statue. If you think about it, that’s a pretty high standard against which to compare any goal. But geez, what a beauty!

    • After a 4-0 shutout of the Isles, it looks like the Penguins are Tomas Vokoun’s team now.

    • The Isles say they missed defenseman Andrew MacDonald in last night’s loss, which kind of surprises me since I thought he’d looked brutal earlier in the series.

    • Rick Nash has become a figure of diminishing importance for the Rangers as their series against the Caps progresses. It’s time for him to step up and prove he can contribute.

    • He’s not the only superstar under the microscope. Alex Ovechkin disappeared in Games 3 and 4. Here’s the key to his return to impact form in Game 5.

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  • Published On May 10, 2013
  • Top Line: Window closes on Canucks; Carey Price hurt; more links

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    The Vancouver Canucks were the first team eliminated from the 2013 NHL playoffs.

    The Canucks can only look back and wonder what might have been had their GM been more astute. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • A win away from hoisting the Cup two years ago, the Canucks were the first team to be eliminated this season. As the blame is being doled out, be sure to include a healthy dose for GM Mike Gillis, who dithered instead of trading Roberto Luongo time and time again.

    • In the wake of their Game 4 loss to the Sharks, the Canucks grasped that the window has closed for this group of players.

    • It would be a tough sell to bring back coach Alain Vigneault after the failures of the past two seasons.

    • There are 100 ways to analyze Vancouver’s shocking first round ouster, but the simplest truth is that the team simply got too old to keep up in today’s game.

    • The Canucks showed they still have it in the overtime loss…just not enough of it.

    • This was the first sweep in franchise history for the Sharks. Now it’s time to rest up for what they hope will be a deep playoff run.

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  • Published On May 08, 2013
  • Top Line: Canucks’ window closing, tooth fairy busy in Ottawa, more links

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    The Sharks have the Canucks down 0-3 and are looking to finish them off.

    Antti Niemi and the Sharks have the Canucks down 0-3, but will they let them back up? (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Alain Vigneault is likely to take the fall when the Canucks are eliminated, but this defeat was induced by the failures of GM Mike Gillis.

    • Tony Gallagher says it’s time for the Sedins to stop taking the blame in Vancouver. Apparently two assists apiece through three games gets you a pass in some parts.

    • The Sharks have to be feeling good about themselves with a 3-0 series lead, but coach Todd McLellan will remind them today that the last time they were in this spot they ended up playing in a Game 7.

    • The Senators battled back from a disappointing loss and mugged the Canadiens in a fight-filled Game 3.

    • The Canadiens embarrassed themselves in every way while losing this one. That whirring sound you hear is Toe Blake spinning in his grave.

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  • Published On May 06, 2013


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