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.
No surprise here really as the Rangers limped through the 2017-18 campaign with a dreadful 34-39-9 record, finishing dead last in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division. When you have a season like that, someone’s got to pay the price. In the Rangers’ case, it’s been evident for awhile now that Vigneault would not return for 2018-19.
But today, not even 24 hours following the team’s announcement that Vigneault had been fired, Rangers insider Larry Brooks has compiled his list of possible replacements with one especially intriguing name at the top: Patrick Roy.
That’s right. THE Patrick Roy. As in, four time Stanley Cup champion, three time Vezina Trophy winner, three time Conn Smythe Trophy winner and former Jack Adams Award winner. The NHL’s all-time second most winningest goaltender last coached in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche in 2015-16 season before resigning from his position, citing a lack of input on team personnel decisions.
Roy has compiled a respectable 130-92-24 record behind an NHL bench and remarkable 349-159-37 record in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) as head coach of the powerhouse Quebec Remparts from 2005 until 2013. Should he earn himself the head coaching gig in New York, there’s no doubt that he’ll rely on his junior hockey coaching experience to help him shepherd along the team’s young players.
But… let’s not get carried away just yet. Besides Roy, Brooks details nine other candidates who could be in line for the job in New York, including: University of Denver’s Jim Montgomery, Boston University’s David Quinn, Union College’s Rick Bennett, the AHL’s Toronto Marlies’ Sheldon Keefe and former NHL coaches Dan Bylsma, Darryl Sutter and Dave Tippett. Brooks also speculates that the Rangers may have interest in Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters and Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella, should they become available. But, let’s get real… there’s not way Torts goes back to New York, right?
Some intriguing names, to be sure. But none of them carry the weight and significance of the name Roy. Should the Rangers decide to hire Roy as their next bench boss, he’d immediately steal the spotlight and enable the team’s young players to develop without the burning bright lights of Madison Square Garden interfering with their confidence. For better or worse, Roy is a one-man show. After five years of the affable Vigneault, could he be just what the doctor ordered? Time will tell.