One thing has become abundantly clear to most who closely follow the Rangers and don’t make a living needing access to the team and it’s head coach. Alain Vigneault has to go.
Luke Skywalker he is not, but just two games into his playoff career, rookie Pavel Buchnevich has already brought balance to the Rangers’ lineup and helped take down the Montreal empire. While the Tanner-Glass powered Rangers fell pray to the Habs’ embrace of the Dark Side, in games four and five, the Rangers were able to deploy a more balanced lineup. In turn, they were able to utilize their speed and skill advantage to earn back-to-back wins to take a 3-2 series lead.
Perhaps Buchnevich’s impact is best measured in the play of the fourth line. As Arthur Staple wrote, “Alain Vigneault called it a ‘subtle little move,’ putting rookie Pavel Buchnevich in the Game 4 lineup and shifting Michael Grabner to the wing on the presumptive fourth line in place of Tanner Glass. What it allowed the Rangers to do was roll four lines pretty evenly throughout the 2-1 win Tuesday night at the Garden, and that speedy Grabner-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast trio was effective once again.
Look, Alain Vigneault, I know coaching a professional hockey team is hard. On your best night, you’re still playing against another top professional team with a world class head coach in opposition. And this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs! So everything is amped up, or so we’re constantly reminded. The game goes by in a whirlwind. One moment you’re up by a goal with just over a minute left to play, on the cusp of taking the first two games on the road in a best of seven series, then the next you’ve put your worst defenseman on the ice, the puck is behind an angry Henrik Lundqvist and you are 17 seconds away from heading to an overtime loss to tie the series. So in the future, maybe…you know, don’t do that.
Last season at this time, most honest Rangers’ fans knew that a first-round matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins was going to be a bloodbath. And not the kind where your team has plenty of rest for their second-round appointment after a sweep of an inferior team, but rather one that ends with a quick trip to the golf course. That team’s defense was so awful that only a Herculean effort by Henrik Lundqvist kept even making the Stanley Cup Playoffs a possibility. The offense was good, but could in no way offset the blown coverages in the highest of scoring areas in front of the crease.
There are eight games remaining on the schedule for the New York Rangers before the NHL regular season ends. If you examine their record down the stretch, their laundry list of injuries and their players’ overall lack of production you might think they were a playoff bubble team trying but failing to gain ground. However, […]
3/6/2017 42-22-2 NYR 1, TBL 0 (OT) (Away) Game | Event | Play-by-Play | FO Sum. | FO Comp. | TOI – NYR | TOI – TBL | Shot Report | Shift Chart Call it grit. Call it sandpaper. Call it chutzpah. No matter the name, the Rangers (84 points), losers in three of four, haven’t had it. […]
There have been lots of names kicked around as potential trade targets to bolster the Rangers’ blueline, most notably Kevin Shattenkirk, but a name that hasn’t gotten much attention, though he should (East Coast bias?), is Chris Tanev. The lack of attention as a trade target is fitting considering the fact that he was undrafted, […]
The conventional wisdom around the NHL is that Alain Vigneault is a top-tier coach. Some of that sentiment is borne out in two trips to the Stanley Cup Final during his coaching tenure—once with the Vancouver Canucks in 2010/11, where they lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games, and once with his current franchise, […]
It should go without saying but I’ll say it anyway, as there’s no doubting it at this point—we’ve officially got a goalie controversy on our hands. I’ve taken the liberty of plucking the low-hanging fruit dangling before our eyes by dubbing it #GoalieGate—a title I’m sure I was beaten to the punch in claiming creative […]