Ok, Ranger fans, on this off-day, let’s do a little history.
Name Glen Sather’s best move?
Yes, that would be Ryan McDonagh for Scott Gomez.
But after that no-brainer?
Well that would have to be the signing of Alain Vigneault.
Think about this and shutter: If Sather didn’t show John Tortorella the door, Brad Richards would have been bought out. Ryan Callahan would have been re-signed for his asking price, which would mean no Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash would be riding the bench or scratched.
More importantly, there would be a good chance Henrik Lundqvist goes into free agency in about a month.
Needless to say, the Rangers probably would be on the golf course right now if Torts was still in New York.
It wasn’t just firing Tortorella, it was hiring the former coach of the Canucks. When Mark Messier went on record saying he wants to coach the Rangers, you would figure Sather would have anointed No. 11, because that’s how he worked in the past. Edmonton friends and cronies always had a higher standing.
Heck, even Tortorella was Assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld’s guy.
But not this time. Instead he went with the candidate he didn’t know, but had a track record. And he was rewarded.
Vigneault is the perfect coach for this team. After years of Tortorella torment, the Rangers needed a breather, the same way they needed The Torch after walking over Tom Renney. A.V. gives the team a manager behind the bench, who is not afraid to delegate power to his assistants and the veterans on the team.
Plus his management style is perfect for the playoffs. Unlike Tortorella, Vigneault plays his full team in the playoffs. Gone are the days of three or even two lines rotating. With A. V., if you are suited up, you will play significant minutes in the game.
“We’re all four lines, a lot like the Habs, and our scoring is balanced similar on the three lines or top three lines,” the coach said today. “Our fourth line brings us a lot of energy and a lot of physicality and can spend some quality time on the ice. It has found ways to contribute offensively.
“So that’s the only way I think you can move on with such a commanding lead. That’s how you get into the playoffs and how you get through somewhere else.”
It’s why the Rangers ran out of gas two years ago, but now look as healthy as any of the four teams left playing.
And let’s not start with the differences with the media. Let’s just say, it’s night and day.
Vancouver made a huge mistake last year by letting Vigneault go. Then GM Mike Gillis thought the players were stating not to listen to the laid back coach and they needed Tortorella to change that atmosphere. That clearly backfired.
But the Canucks’ loss is the Rangers’ gain and now Vigneault has his team six wins away from the Stanley Cup.
Smooth move, Mr. Sather. Smooth move, indeed.