Brett Cyrgalis at the New York Post spoke with former Ranger Mike Mottau about his ex-coach and Blueshirts head coach candidate Dallas Eakins…
“He was able to look at certain guys and let them play to their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Other coaches promote themselves and their system, but he was looking at the betterment of the group. He was just a breath of fresh air for me.”
Eakins is expected to have his second interview with the Canucks this week.
…hmmm, don't know of any coaches that only promote their systems. (cough) Torts (cough).
…well if Sather is looking for an anti-Torts, Eakins definitely fits the bill. One constant I've heard about Eakins is his impressive communication skills with his players. Obviously, that seemed to be a big problem with Torts (see Hagelin stinking on the power play).
…while Eakins is a guy who can adapt to his team and players, his inexperience in the NHL is still an anchor around his neck. Throwing a rookie coach into the New York media market can be overwhelming to say the least, so I think it's fair to have concerns that the Rangers might be better off going with someone who has more experience dealing with big city media.
Which brings us to another candidate at the top of the Rangers list, Alain Vigneault, who has plenty of experience dealing with the scrutiny of a rabid media market in Vancouver, which is at the very least on par with New York (via Daily News)…
“He was a pleasure to deal with for the most part,” one Vancouver beat writer told the Daily News of Vigneault. “He can be charming. He’s used to working in major media centers, first Montreal and then Vancouver. The Canucks get New York Yankees type coverage up here, and his success speaks for itself.”
As far as Vigneault's coaching style, his assistant for seven years in Vancouver, Rick Bowness, said this….
“Alain gave the players a lot of ownership for what was going on, and the players absolutely had to respect that. 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.”
…Vigneault, to me, is the safe pick. He's has a proven track record in a tough media market. Based on the above comment, he seems like a hands-off coach, which not every player thrives under. Team could feel that he is detached from goings-on in the locker room, which apparently became a negative in Vancouver.
…while I obviously have concerns about Eakins lack of NHL experience, I am beginning to warm to him more than any other candidate. I think I'm just a fan of bringing in a young, energetic coach to jump start this team.