John Tortorella was fired because he lost the support of the Rangers players, the team’s offense sputtered, and as GM Glen Sather said on May 29, “our goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and we didn’t achieve that goal.” So if Sather’s coaching search matches his standards, the most logical fit is ex-Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who brought Vancouver within one win of the 2011 Stanley Cup, built a defensive foundation and allowed his offensive talent to flourish, and largely let the Canucks’ locker room police itself. There was criticism Vigneault, 52, became detached from his players, but that was after seven seasons, including six division titles, the 2007 Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach, Presidents’ Trophy in 2011 and 2012, and a 313-170-57 record in 540 regular-season games that makes him the winningest coach in Canucks history. “Alain gave the players a lot of ownership for what was going on, and the players absolutely had to respect that,” said Rick Bowness, a former Islanders coach and Vigneault’s assistant for seven years in Vancouver. “Whether you like him or any of us — (coaches are) never the most popular guys around — but he always gave players ownership of what was happening, on the ice, in the locker room, the whole thing, so they always respected that.” Vancouver GM Mike Gillis fired Vigneault on May 22 primarily because of his 1-10 record in playoff games beginning in Game 5 of those 2011 Finals, including first-round exits the past two seasons. But with the Rangers’ level of interest in ex-Sabres coach Lindy Ruff unknown and Coyotes coach Dave Tippett leaning toward re-signing in Phoenix, Vigneault is the only coach lined up for an interview with the Blueshirts whose resume shows he is Cup ready.
Alain Vigneault could be right fit as next Rangers head coach
New York Daily News | Jun 6