Is tomorrow the date?
Is tomorrow not only the first meeting between the Rangers and Vegas Golden Knights, but also Alain Vigneault’s last game behind the Rangers’ bench?
Larry Brooks thinks so in the New York Post and NHL online sports betting odds for Rangers games may say so as well.
The 3-7-2 start coupled with some very poor performances, including one over the weekend in Montreal has the sharks circling the Rangers coach.
But unlike the last two times the Rangers changed the bench, there is no clear event to say Vigneault lost the room. Tom Renney never recovered after he put his team through a bag skate and was gone a month later and John Tortorella was ripped by his players during exit interview with then GM Glen Sather, prompting the chance.
With Vigneault, it doesn’t seem to be case and Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh came to his coach’s defense.
“There’s good energy in here when we go through our meetings, and there’s good talk,” McDonagh said to reporters. “We’ve had the same lines and same ‘D’ pairs here for a few games, so that’s not an excuse. There is no excuse.”
No there isn’t, but frankly unlike every Ranger team for the last 10 years, this one has some glaring holes down the middle and on the blue line, which is probably the cause of this show start.
But unfortunately, there aren’t many options out there in the trade market, so dismissing Vigneault may be the case.
And that’s because there’s a clear-cut successor on staff if they do make a change. Sather, now team president, brought in former Sabres and Stars coach Lindy Ruff to be assistant head coach. With his experience and record, they can easily make the change and see if Ruff can give this team a defensive edge.
But you still must wonder if Ruff is the answer. Remember he’s on the staff right now and the Rangers front office has to decide is he is part of the cause or if he is the cure.
Yet, that’s the logical choice if Vigneault is dismissed.
If it’s going to happen, it needs to be done soon. The Islanders torpedoed their season last year by waiting to dismiss coach Jack Capuano and they probably are kicking themselves for it, since the team played so much better under Doug Weight.
So if the Rangers wait, they run the risk of digging themselves a bigger hole, which is unclimbable.
Remember with the Knicks in the toilet again, the Rangers are the Garden’s saving grace. It needs the team to succeed.
That’s why the Vigneault decision will happen soon.
And it just makes tomorrow’s game more and more interesting.