New York Rangers fans got their wish with #FireAV, as the team parted ways with head coach Alain Vigneault. The news was first reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
After the Philadelphia Flyers clinched a playoff spot against the Rangers in a 5-0 drubbing, Vigneault told reporters that he expected to be back with the team.
“Yes, yes, without a doubt. I think my staff is the right staff for this job,” Vigneault said, according to the New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis. “I think one of the strongest assets of this organization is its coaching staff and their experience.”
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The Rangers concluded their fifth season under Vigneault with a 34-39-9 record. This was the first time the Rangers failed to make the playoffs with AV behind the bench. His first season (2013-14) ended up being his best in New York, as the Rangers fell to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers also made it to the 2015 Eastern Conference Final under Vigneault.
Despite some significant regular-season successes and some playoff triumphs, fans quibbled with many of his lineup decisions. Many were irritated that Vigneault often turned to Tanner Glass, and beyond that, he drew plenty of critiques for his reluctance to trust young players.
Vigneault appeared to be on the hot seat after a terrible start to 2017-18, yet the Rangers rallied for a portion of the season, delaying the seemingly inevitable.
The team also sent out a letter essentially acknowledging a coming rebuild, which cemented the notion that AV’s time might have been limited. It turns out that Vigneault will not be around to help the Rangers rebuild, whether that means a quick fix-up or something that takes a little longer.
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This brings about plenty of questions. What happens with assistant Lindy Ruff? Will another NHL team be interested in bringing in Vigneault or would AV decide to take some paid time off?
There are plenty of interesting factors here, but we won’t need to wonder another moment about Vigneault’s future in New York.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.