As expected, Glen Sather has wasted little time preparing to bring in the next head coach of the New York Rangers after firing John Tortorella two days ago. Recently fired Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault as well as Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins are the first two the Rangers have been formally linked to.
Rangers granted permission to speak with Dallas Eakins and Alain Vigneault.Eakins in contention in Van, NYR and Edmtn (assoc coach).
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 31, 2013
We already did a brief summary of Vigneault and Eakins and what both could bring to the table here. In Vigneault, you're getting a guy who has been through the wringer in Vancouver. He knows what it's like coaching in a large market with pressure. He knows what it's like coaching a team facing adversity and a team making a strong push for the Stanley Cup. As miserable as the Rangers were offensively, the Canucks have been among the best in the NHL in that department. While of course a lot of that can be attributed to having the likes of the Sedin brothers, Kesler, Edler, and a generally great offensive team, Vingeault has to receive some of the credit. His biggest downfall, arguably, was his handling of the Luongo/Schneider situation. Unlike in Vancouver, there is absolutely no doubt as to who is not only our starting goaltender but who is the backbone of this team, so perhaps freeing him from that chronic problem could be the difference for him.
In Eakins, you're getting a guy who is viewed in the hockey world as the highest rising head coaching prospect not already in the NHL. He has helped turn around Toronto by developing their young talent with the Marlies and is well liked by players. The concern is the experience. Coaching young prospects and the Kris Newbury's of the world in an environment where development is prioritized over actual wins is a very different thing from handling a group of NHL regulars and stars, most of whom have egos to varying degrees, and making that group a Stanley Cup winner. Of course, coaches with similar (lack of) experience have taken the reigns and gotten the job done before; Dan Bylsma, for instance. Still, while taking charge of an Original Six team that is a realistic Stanley Cup threat immediately is a very tempting possibility, one has to wonder if joining a rebuilding team or a team as an assistant coach is more intermediate step and would benefit him long-term.
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