New York Rangers: Alain Vigneault Needs to be on the Hot Seat

After another embarrassing loss, it is fair to assume the New York Rangers coach’s seat is getting warmer and warmer each day (or at least it should…)

Another day, another glaring example of how god awful the New York Rangers defense is. And if last night’s second matchup this season with the Dallas Stars wasn’t the worst defensive performance of the season, it has to at least be in the conversation.

These half-assed, 20-minute efforts are getting way to common for this team and at some point, it becomes a reflection of the coach.

And yet, Alain Vigneault won’t get touched by management, even after the Rangers most recent stretch of piss-poor pathetic play.

Don’t let the 7-6 score fool you, the game was not close. After jumping out to a quick 1-0 lead, the Rangers yielded 4 straight. Those four included two goals separated by 12 seconds. After they climbed back into the game, the Stars came back with another three straight.

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At 7-3, it was a game where maybe if it kept getting worse, it would give the team nothing positive to take out of it, giving management more of a reason to give him the old kick in the pants. But of course, the Rangers pulled the score within one, it changed the game’s narrative. Instead of talking about how bad the defense was, the talk will be about the resilience the team showed. Please…

Yes, Henrik Lundqvist was and has been bad over the past week or two. And Yes, the defense has been even worse–a problem that has lasted a season and a half now–and at some point, the coach and his staff need to be held accountable.

No Adjustments

Vigneault has done absolutely nothing to help his defense out. No adjustments other than the constant line tinkering ever happens. And even when he does tinker with the lines, he tinkers with the wrong guys.

Dan Girardi can’t be trusted against 4th liners, let alone 1st and 2nd liners. Vigneault continuing to plug him in on a pair with Ryan McDonagh is assinine. Nick Holden had his worst game as a Ranger last night, directly leading to multiple goals allowed but yet, he played more time than any other Rangers skater.

Vigneault’s a horrible talent evaluator. He constantly tries to stick the square pegs in the round holes with this team. This is something he has done since the days of Keith Yandle, Eric Staal–who the team should never have traded for in the first place–among others. This, coupled with his arrogance were the reasons for his undoing in Vancouver and will soon (hopefully) be the reason for his undoing in New York as well.

When Glen Sather fired John Tortorella back in 2013, he talked about how every coach has a shelf life in the NHL. He acknowledged that Tortorella was a good coach, but every now and again there has to be a new voice in the room. I think that’s what the Rangers need.

It’s been two straight years now where coming out of the locker room unprepared and getting off to a slow start has become routine. It’s been two straight years of players receiving playing time because of their name and not their production.

If the Rangers want to move forward in the right direction–and salvage their season, which will probably end in a five-game first round dismantling again like it did last year– they need to make a change at head coach. And who knows, last year the Penguins changed coaches mid-season and won the Stanley Cup. Maybe it would be a spark for an otherwise dull team.

Hopefully, Rangers management informs Vigneault that he is on the hot seat because maybe a fire under his rear will extend his expiring shelf life for a little while longer.

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