In case you missed it last night, the New York Rangers officially announced that head coach Alain Vigneault has been relieved of his coaching duties.
In other words: the veteran head coach has been fired. The Rangers will begin searching his replacement immediately.
While you never like to see someone get the axe, especially when they’re such an accomplished and respected individual like Vigneault, you could just feel this news coming. The Rangers limped through the 2017-18 campaign with a dreadful 34-39-9 record, finishing dead last in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division.
The 56 year old native of Quebec City, Quebec leaves the Rangers franchise as the team’s third all-time most winningest coach with a 226-147-47 record. Only legends Lester Patrick and Emile Francis have more wins behind the Rangers bench. Overall, Vigneault has a stellar 648-435-98 record split between the Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks.
During his five years in The Big Apple, Vigneault guided the Rangers to a Stanley Cup Final in 2014 and a President’s Trophy in 2015, but just as was the case in Vancouver, Vigneault was never able to deliver a Stanley Cup championship in New York.
With the Rangers transitioning away from veteran players and turning the team over to its youth and prospects, they’ll bring in a new voice behind the bench to help right the ship. Let's be honest here... the writing has been on the wall regarding Vigneault's fate for awhile now. You may recall that earlier this season Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton and President Glen Sather surprised the entire NHL when they announced to their fans, and by extension the entire hockey world, that the they would be trading veteran players in advance of the NHL's trade deadline. Then... they walked the talk by trading key players like captain Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Nick Holden. The exodus had begun.Vigneault is not the only casualty and it's not likely that he's the last one either. Expect the Rangers to make tough decisions on legendary netminder Henrik Lundqvist and fan favorite Mats Zuccarello.
For better or worse, these are changing times in New York.