As late as Monday night, I was still questioning whether the hiring of Alain Vigneault was the right move. The new Ranger head coach's hands-off approach wasn't motivating his team, while his lack of energy and emotion seemed to be having a negative impact on the players.
But amidst all the questioning and second guessing by fans, the Rangers have begun turning this around. Defensive breakdowns? No more. Lack of clutch saves? Don't think so. An embarrassing power play? Not even close.
It's actually gotten to the point where these guys are finally standing up for one another.
Now, is it perfect? Not even close. And if they lose tonight to the lowly Sabres, all the progress they have made will have been all for naught. But after a bit of a transition period, the players look to be coming around to Vigneault's systems on the ice as well as his self policing mantra off it.
Brian Boyle (via New York Post)…
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a little bit of an adjustment for me with the difference in approach, but I still have to do a job and hold myself accountable. We all have to do our jobs and hold each other accountable.
“To suggest that we aren’t being held to the same standard now as we were by Torts wouldn’t be respectful to this staff. We are. It’s just a different style.”
“I’m not going to criticize the way Torts went about his business. We got used to it and we did have a certain amount of success. But with Vigneault, it’s more on us to hold each other accountable.
“Everyone wants to be coached and needs coaching, but there comes a time when it’s better for a guy to hear it from a teammate than the coach.”
“I respect Torts as a coach, but there are different methods of coaching and different ways to win a championship. Torts only won once, you know.”
…man, you can really tell that the Rangers players absolutely wanted a change behind the bench. Anyone who's still under the impression that the Rangers would be better off this season with Tortorella just isn't paying attention to what these guys are saying. If you can believe it, the season might have actually begun even worse for the Rangers under Torts.
…now that doesn't mean AV is the right man for the job, as the jury is still out. However, as the Rangers players slowly, but surely get more comfortable with their new head coach, we're finally getting a glimpse of how good this team can be.
…ummm, Brad? Last time I checked, you only won one Cup as well. And that one was with Torts behind the bench. Can't believe how volitile the situation has gotten between the two former friends.