A unique counter argument for the fire AV crowd

Vigneault (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Alain Vigneault’s coaching competancy is coming into question often lately. He has always been known for decision making that leaves some fans scratching their heads. His most recent decisions as Rangers head coach have left even more fans baffled than usual.

After unreasonably sitting his third leading scorer Pavel Buchnevich, playing Steven Kampfer, more than Brady Skjei and Marc Staal, and sittting Henrik Lundqvist during Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Vegas, fans are astonished as to how he still holds his current position.

I would love to see AV get fired as does a majority of the Rangers fan base. It should have happened last season after the embarrassing game 6 playoff loss to the Senators. But the thing is, I’m not too sure if I would want to see him get fired mid-season considering the current situation that the Rangers are in. With the Rangers trying to make a playoff run and redeem themselves for last season, it could be a risky move to having a coach change in the midst of it all.

At this point, who knows how much more it is going to take for Gorton to fire AV. It seems inevitable for AV to get the ax. However, if it were to happen and either Lindy Ruff or Scott Arniel were to take over as interim head coach, who would bring about the most change?


Ruff, currently an assistant coach for the Rangers, has had plenty of experience with the NHL not only as a coach but also as a player. Playing in the NHL for over 10 years and coaching for over 20, there is no doubt Ruff has the experience necessary to be an effective coach. However, he was fired from Dallas after a very disappointing season last year. One of the biggest reasons was how awful the Stars were defensively. Especially on the PK, which was a paltry 79% effective.

Arniel, on the other hand, does not have as much NHL coaching experience as Ruff. Arniel, who is currently the associate coach of the Rangers, has only about 2 years as an NHL head coach under his belt. The rest of his coaching experiences have been spent in leagues like the IHL and AHL. He may not have the needed clout to take over the reins of a team like the Rangers.

Determining who would be the best fit for a new head coach based off of experience would ultimately land the Rangers with Ruff due to the fact that he has more experience than Arniel. Arniel lacks experience and overall, would just not be a good fit. Just take a look at the Rangers power play lately. It hasn’t looked this bad in a while and has become one of the worst out of contending teams.

If Gorton does give AV the boot and Ruff were to become interim head coach to finish the remainder of the season, the Rangers could possibly be in better hands. Although with the Rangers defense struggling is he the best option. The question does beg to be asked, “does Ruff really make the Rangers better this year?” That answer is not clear and it makes AV the best option for now.

Next year is a whole different argument.



  • Defense struggling? How about putting the puck in the back of the net. There is much more offensive dead weight on this team. Regulars on this site know exactly the bunch I’m talking about. AV isn’t the problem, sure he keeps shuffling the deck. I just think he has change just a few of offensive cards. Then somehow deal with KS and MS on defense.

    • KS should have never been signed by the Rangers. Every writer on this site tried to convince people how good he was. He’s been nothing short of a disaster and those same writers will tell you he should be on the 1st pairing. Every game he proves how clueless he is from below the blue line. But you won’t read about it on this site from any of the writers.

  • I love the fire AV crowd, they remind me of the Isles fans for the last couple of season who cried for Capuano to be canned. Yet Weight sent down the same kids that werent ready this season that Capuano sent down. Nothing has changed for them just like with these guys.

    Its fun to be a couch coach, but without the behind the scenes info, we make our own basis. Imagine Buch has something tweaked which is why he hasnt put up points in the last 5 and thats why they sat him in the last game to get an extra day of rest. Nope AV hates Buch.

    Remember Monday night when Twitter ripped Saban for switching QBs at the half, yeah howd that turn out. They know more than us.

    • Kris you are spot on. AV hates rookies! But how does it explain Kevin Hayes getting in 79 games in each of his 1st 2 seasons? How does that explain Jimmy Vesey playing 80 games as a rookie? How does it explain Brady Skjei playing 80 games as a rookie? But he sits a struggling Buch 1 game and the Ranger universe implodes. He that saw Dylan Mcilrath wasn’t a NHL dman, how many NHL games has he played since leaving the Rangers? Nope, AV is a fool and hates rookies. When Clendenning wasn’t in the lineup yiu would have thought AV was scratching Bobby Orr. But the 23 yr old dman had proven why 4 other teams didn’t invite him back after donning their uniforms. He was let go by the Edmonton Oilers who were desperate for NHL dmen!! AV played him in 31 games, the highest amount of games he ever played in a NHL season. Nope he wasn’t given a chance. Clendenning has played 5 games with the Phoenix Coyotes, another team that has Grand Canyon sized holes defensively.

      This he plays veterans only instead of rookies crowd were the same people who loved the veteran presence of Tort’s teams as a Rangers coach. Imagine the vitriol AV would recieve if he had Ruslan Federtenko in the lineup on a regular basis or giving Taylor Pyatt playing time over a younger player or inserting Stu Bickel and Mike Rupp in playoff games. Yet no one in that crowd could tell you a professional team in any professional league that has won a championship by playing rookies and youth over veterans. They can’t explain to you why contending teams going for the Cup traded youth away for veterans. AND will be the same people who love the next Rangers coach who has a veteran lineup.

      • Mike,

        They cant look at the players they and say why isnt this player performing, without passing the blame. They put their expectations up on players but when they dont succeed its the coaches fault.

        Looking at Buch, which is why everyone is up in arms now (besides todays 7-2 stomping), without seeing him skate other then highlight reels or WJC, hes the next Tarasenko. Cause everyone sees the stat comparision. They expect the Tarasenko we see today, not the one that got sat his rookie and sophmore seasons. Seasons where he still put up points. They act like its Melrose sitting Stamkos.

        They all went in with the expectains of a better seasons rather then looking at what we actually are, so now its someone fault, so AV.

        • C’mon Kris…”imagine Buch has something tweaked which is why he hasnt put up points in the last 5 and thats why they sat him in the last game to get an extra day of rest”…..you can do better than that! Extra day of rest for 22 year old going into a 7 day break? Scratching him in favour of a career minor league forward when the team is desperate for offense and a dynamic PP? Is this coach beyond reproach? I may be part of the “sack AV bunch” but you and Mike are over the top apologists, when the record of his poor assessment and deployment of talent is patently obvious and has been for years. Has he ever said…”My Bad. I can do better”?

          • scratching him in favor of a career minor leaguer. That minor league has out played him by miles over the last 20 games. Yeah let’s reward Buch for his lackluster play.

          • I don’t think there’s anything crazy about what Kris said. It don’t matter if he’s 22. You never seen kids have injuries? The guy just missed half the season almost with back problems so it’s not out of the question that he’s having problems again. I was only 27 when I messed my back up and after surgery and a million other treatments I still have pain and limited movement almost 30 years later. But forget he tweaked something. How about he’s just been bad and was scratched for a game. He’s not Wayne Gretzky

          • BlueshirtinTO,

            The thing is Im not a huge fan of AV. My biggest complaint of his refusal to use a timeout and rip the team during a period like the second yesterday.

            Torts ran his time here as any in your face coach here and they went to the opposite extreme with AV.

            However, I feel that the fire AV crowd fails to realize that any coach is going to sit youth unless they in the Mcdavid group which we do not have. I also think regardless of what side people sit on they expected a better team this season.

            They expected Shatty to jump into Girardis spot and because of skating ability and Corsi theyd be better. They expected Hayes to fill the second spot and hasnt.

            They arent as bad as the first 10 and yesterday but they also arent as good the run they went on with beating Vegas to stop the losing streak and start a winning streak.

  • What makes you think Gorton doesn’t get thrown out with the bath water? He has little standing here, in fact it’s questionable how much freedom to make moves he has. Sather picked a guy he could easily control which is part of the problem. A more secure President (for life) might have brought in a Jim Rutherford when he was available.

  • AV shouldve been gone after last post seasons debacle vs Ottawa!! Why couldnt we bring in someone from the outside to coach the team who has some recognition of the teams chemistry without screwing with it as much as AV has done in the past!?! The team needs a FIRE under their asses like Torts did with Dubi and Callahan!! AV is too laid back and doesnt fire up his team!! He im sure insults them and breaks their confidence instead of building it up and firing up the bench! AV NEEDS TO GO!! Yes sometimes it needs a shuffling or two but to do it all season is ridiculous.You have to sit them all down and either break them by working them after the games or have player meetings with them or completely change the captaincy because McD isnt Captain material!! Just like Leetch who didnt have it in him to be captain and McD definitely doesnt do it!!

  • Clearly this writer hasnt watched too much hockey. Nobody went has watched hockey would ever think the Rangers would be under in better hands with Lindy Ruff as coach. Lindy Ruff was ran out of Dallas because their defense was actually worse than the Rangers are under his guidance. They gave up the 3rd most goals in the league under his tenure as coach. I can understand some fans wanting a change in the staff but yiu cannot make a more idiotic statement than saying the Rangers are in better hands with Ruff. You say Arniel shouldn’t be considered because the power play is one of the worst, well guys what…… this defense is utterly GUTLESS under Ruff. Lindy Ruff has brought nothing, NOTHING to the table this year regarding the defense. Lindy Ruff as coach of the Rangers is a complete JOKE!

    • Mike
      There must be something fundamentally wrong with the makeup of the defense. Something that I, for one, just can’t put a finger on.
      The dance of the “change ass’t coach” just ISN’T the answer! I was one that thought Sullivan was a total stiff, but look at his success at Pitt! He made me, and all the other Ranger people that thought he was a bum look like fools!!!
      I admit that I have ZERO ideas of what to do on special teams and defense with this group of players!
      Synergy is when the end result is more than the sum of the parts, but this team is the EXACT opposite. They actually look better on paper than the way they play ALL THE TIME!
      I am at a complete loss! Haven’t the slightest idea!

      • Yeah, I turned off the game after the 3-1 goal! They came out like there were a whole new bunch of guys in the Ranger uniform!
        How ( AND WHY) can they turn off and on so often?
        Looked like a bunch of clowns out there!

        • Clowns, you are being too kind! That was an embarrassing level of effort out there. You had Hank getting in Ruff’s face after the 2nd period, I’m sure Hank is sick of this Lindy Ruff led defense.

          There is plenty of blame to go around. Nieves shows lots of effort out there but if he is going to continually pass up prime shooting chances for needless passes, find someone else who will shoot. If Hayes is going to circle the offensive zone from behind the net to the blue point and back again, find someone else. If Shattenkirk is going to show less effort than a traffic cone in his own zone, GET RID OF HIM! And for those people who still believe he’s a top pairing dman, they aren’t watching. Rick Nash has shown effort but he’s being paid to score goals. If Jeff Gorton is going to continue to sit idly GET HIM OUT OF HERE.

          Hank getting in the faces of the players on the bench before going into the game, getting into Ruff’s face after the 2nd period and Ryan McDonagh telling the media that there are people in this room that need to watch their shifts and ask themselves are they doing whatever they can to help this team win is a sign that there are some that are fed up and it’s coming to a head. There are way to many showing nothing short of GUTLESS efforts.

          The time is now to hold Shattenkirk accountable for his gutless effort. It’s time to hold Nash accountable for failing to produce. It’s time to hold Hayes accountable for his lackluster effort on the ice. It’s time to hold Miller accountable for his lack of physical play and mental mistakes. It’s time to hold accountable the entire coaching staff for failing to get this team to play with any desire. It’s time to hold Scott Arniel accountable for the failure of the power play. It’s time to hold Lindy Ruff accountable for his defensive scheme that is utterly worthless. It’s time to hold AV accountable for not holding Shattenkirk accountable for his GUTLESS defense, for not addressing a lack of physical presence. It’s time to hold Jeff Gorton accountable for failing to do a damn thing! It’s time to hold the leaders of this team accountable for not doing what leaders do, LEAD!!!!

          Tomorrow’s lineup is going to be very interesting for me. In my opinion there should be some players who should be benched (Shattenkirk), have their playing time cut (Nash, Buch, Miller) and others given an opportunity to play big minutes to see if they can provide a spark (Lettieri, Vesey, Skjei). I would absolutely sit Shattenkirk and play Skjei as many minutes he can handle. He and McD should be well over 20 mins tmrow. Skjei’s numbers are down and it’s painfully clear he’s being anchored because of Shattenkirk. If it’s the exact same lineup with only Smith being inserted over Kampfer then I cannot stand behind AV anymore. This is a right time to show the players who have continually failed all season the press box or bench. Have players sit like Stu Bickel for 50+ minutes and embarrass them because their play had been downright EMBARRASSING!!

          Even with all this, LET’s GO RANGERS!!

          • Now this is a balanced and fair response. I share your frustration. Shattenkirk was brutal today but there are too many on this squad that have not shown up. I actually thought Kevin Hayes played one of his better games. Boo, Buch and Vesey was the best we had. I hope they are given their due and are given an opportunity to build chemistry. Time to bring up at least one or two of our D prospects from Hartford and give them a shot. Can’t be any worse than four of the 7 D we are icing at the moment.

      • Let’s be careful about Mike Sullivan. Yeah he was a stiff as a Ranger, didnt have a clue about the power play. He was just as bad with the Bruins and was ran out of town there too. But now he has Sidney Crosby, Geno Malkin, Phil Kessel, Kris LeTang and poof wins a Stanley Cup. It’s a bit easier to look like a great coach you have 2 of the top players in the Hockey World going out for 40 minutes a game.

      • Jay,

        Take the NYR colored glasses off and youll see this team is not better on paper. This league wins down the middle and look at our middle. Look at what the Pens did to the best 1-6 defense in the league in the cup final. Our defense isnt close to that defense.

        Mac is a 2, not a 1, paired with a 6/7 dman nightly. Skjei and Shatty are 2nd pair guys if they had a partner that plays defense. 4 million in the press box. 5 million on the third line.

        Hank has masked this team for as long as he could. Poor drafting and asset management, has given you what you see.

        • Shattenkirk is not a 2nd pairing at all. His defense play is atrocious and NEEDS TO SIT IN THE PRESS BOX!!!! His -4 showing today was an embarrassment and makes you miss Stu Bickel on defense.

          • Hey, Mike ,
            Stu Bickel? How about us missing MDZ, or even (OMG) McIlrath?
            They sure look good right about now!!!!

          • Mike O,

            I think Shatty is a second pair, guy that needs a defensive dman partner. Someone who can cover his shortcomings. This is not a shot at Skjei, I just dont think hes ready to handle more than his own responsibilities. I also think Shatty requires more of a dzone minded partner.

  • MIKE O……Your entitled to your opinion but he still ranks 3’rd on the team in scoring and one the few forwards on this team that will pull the trigger and get a shot on net. His play today in both ends of the ice demonstrated he should never have been scratched in Vegas. Reward? You got to be kidding. This is not about rewarding a player with ice time. These are professional players. Work with the dude to help him improve. Place him with linemates with whom he has proven chemistry. Banishing him to the press box or the fourth unit achieves nothing. Buch, Vesey and Boo were the best thing AV had going today.


    Coaching candidates that are worthy an opportunity in the NHL:

    With NHL experience….. Kirk Muller. Wouldn’t discard him based on a single season with the dysfunctional Canes. Plenty of experience as an associate coach in the NHL.

    Up and Comer outside the NHL….Sheldon Keefe. Young with plenty of success in turning around struggling franchises. Has a creative offensive mentality. Relates well to young prospects. Has groomed most of the young guns and D on the Toronto roster.

    Any coach who treats his players like children and thinks that sending them to the “corner” in order to get more out of them is not a coach for today’s NHL. This is not kindergarten and there are far superior ways to extract more from talented players. Buchnevich is still third on this team in scoring after spending half of his time on the fourth line and some in the press box. His offensive metrics are better than his peers. No one else is lighting the lamp. There was absolutely nothing to be gained making him a healthy scratch, either for the player or the team.

    We haven’t won in regulation since the 19’th of last month and even in victory against the dregs of the league, we looked bad. Heap that on the shoulders of a 22 year old if you must. I chose to look to a coach who keeps making the same errors year after year. How in the world does he expect to generate much needed offense when one of his gifted O specialists is confined to the press box.

    All this is not to say that we have a “great team” worthy of cup contention, it is merely to point out that our esteemed coach is doing nothing to move this club to the next level. His limited success with the Rangers is tethered to superb goal tending and that, in and of itself, requires no coaching; other than that credited to Benoit Alaire.

    Gorton is quickly becoming the issue for not dealing with the problem that is AV.

    • Despite us bickering most of the time I agree that Buch is a highly talented player. But he hasn’t come close to putting it together. Any player who is scratched, you want to see how he responds after a benching. We would all loved it if came out with a hat trick today. But once again he was invisible. Nieves was generating offensive chances, wish he didn’t have the Hayes Flu and would shoot the pick more. I would give anything to not have Carey anywhere near this organization, but he has played demonstrably better in all zones, situations than Buch over the last 5-10 games.

      We aren’t going to convince each other about our views of AV, you think he’s highly overrated and I think he’s a very good NHL coach. I do agree with you 100% about your assessment of Jeff Gorton. He CANNOT get a pass for this roster makeup. The defense is worse this year than last, the Lindy Ruff hiring to be a “defensive” coach made zero sense. He HAS to be held accountable too.

      We probably will disagree about who deserves the lion share of the blame. However there are players, I do not include Buch in this, that have been gutless this season. AV does deserve his share this season but some of the players I’ve named before need to be called the carpet from I don’t care who within the organization. You would love for the captain or team leaders but at this very point I’ll take the janitor right to light some of these players up.

      I’m also do agree that the next coach cannot be a retread NHL coach hired from the scrap heap. I would take a chance on a young up and comer or even a NCAA coach that has been highly successful like Brad Berry. He may not be the young upcomer but where he has coached his defense has been near the top in defensive scoring and preventing goals from going in.

  • I just love all these fans that know what AV does and doesn’t do in the locker room. I just don’t get it fans talk as if the team is filled with under achieving stars. Does anyone realize we don’t have any 30 goal scorers or 80 point players or any 60 point players. He wouldn’t be juggling around lines as much if they were playing good hockey and for a team with this kind of talent that’s only had guys like Stepan who was at least a consistent 50 plus point guy traded along with some other bad trades I’m surprised the team is where it is. I think you’re dreaming if you think all they need is a new coach. AV ain’t the guy turning pucks over all day or making bad decisions with the puck. I didn’t think we were gonna be in a playoff spot at this point coming into this season and unless trades like the Stepan trade turn out to be good ones you can’t get any coach ya want in here and you’ll see the same thing

  • After reading all these comments I just want to say to Blieshirts TO that I think Buch is very talented as well. I just don’t think it’s theres anything wrong with sitting him for a game. I would hope he responds in a positive way. I’ve also thought like you that maybe they should bring up a D prospect or two and see what they got. One thing you will see from these prospects is effort and life in their game. I’ve noticed Leterri playing hard. Of course they need to have more then just effort but it can bring life to the team sometimes. Oh and the other thing I do agree with is Buch does take his shots. I like that about him no doubt. I wish we would see that from some other guys too like Hayes and Boo is falling into that category too and I would like him to start shooting more too. I think my criticism with AV would be that he maybe isn’t getting on the right guys in the locker loom. Now I’m not there and don’t know but I think there’s a couple of vets he could have a chat with and sit them for a while.

    • Jpcar,

      I dont think anyone will argue that hes talented. I cant think of a forward they have drafted in a long time with as much talent as he as. I also agree that he can be sat for not performing.

      Where did Buch start his career, on the top line. Where did he start this season, on the top line. If hes in the lineup hes on the top pp. Like all kids if hes not doing what they need of him his role gets diminished. Vets dont get the same treatment cause they are vets and they are what they are. Youth has to be corrected and thats what they are doing. If you dont he becomes Nail Yakapov.

      • Well said Kris. I can’t belive all the controversy about sitting him for a game. I could see if the guy was red hot and he just decided to sit him for the game. I think there’s more things to be concerned about then Buch sitting for a game like why can’t anyone score right now. I think we had 13 goals in 8 games coming into yesterday’s game. There’s a lot of things that need to be fixed here. They better get some help at center if they’re gonna do anything and I’m not just talking about this year either.

  • Kris…for me, the criticism of AV does not centre around AV’s “hating” youth (a quote from Mike O). It is his selective discipline by focusing on the failings of some (vets and prospects alike) but not others that is problematic and divisive as far as the team goes. If a coach is consistent, taking away ice time can, in certain cases, be an effective tactic. One might ask why were the likes of Staal, Holden, McD, Girardi, Glass and even Stepan, not held accountable when they screwed up time and time again?

    • BlueshirtinTO,

      All coaches treat Vets and Youth different. You bring up Glass, who only came up last season due to injury and with his play deserved to play. Girardi, this team sure could use him right now. Kids get tough love, vets are what they are.

      You say selective discipline but if he doesnt discipline vets and only youth that is where the crowd of he hates youth biggest complaint.

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