Top 5 New York Rangers Head Coaches of All Time
Top 5 New York Rangers Head Coaches of All Time
The New York Rangers are currently searching for a new head coach, so while the front office of the team figures out who is to become the new head coach for the Rangers, let’s dive in and revisit Rangers history and figure out who were the best Rangers head coaches.
Throughout the history of the New York Rangers, starting in 1926, the franchise has had 33 different head coaches. Five of these 33, however, stand out above the rest, all accomplishing different things while behind the bench for The Blueshirts.
The top five Rangers head coaches of all time are pretty obvious, but the hardest part has to be the order in which these top five should be ranked. Every Rangers fan will have different opinions on who is the best head coach in franchise history and I believe it really has to do with which era of Rangers hockey that individual grew up watching.
What I took into consideration in ranking the top five Rangers head coaches of all time was not just their regular season record but also the amount of the cups that coach won with the team. Regular season stats are always nice and have to be taken into consideration but every New York sports fan knows that you are only judged by what you do in the postseason and if you win championships.
Besides wins and losses, longevity is also taken into consideration as some head coaches greatly outlasted others in years coached for the Rangers.
Whether Rangers fans agree or disagree with the decisions made in this list, I bet we can all agree on the fact that we love the Rangers and hope and pray their next coach can lead The Blueshirts to the Cup, as next season marks the 20 year anniversary of the Rangers last Stanley Cup victory.
5. Tom Renney
Tom Renney was not the most popular coach among Rangers fans but should definitely be on this list since he is ranked fifth in Rangers history in wins by a head coach with 164. Under Renney's first full season as head coach for the Rangers, the franchise got back on track and made the postseason, after seven straight seasons of not making the playoffs from 98-04 plus the infamous full season lockout of 2005. Under Renney's three full seasons with the Rangers, the team made the playoffs every year but failed to get by the second round. Nonetheless Tom Renney deserves to be on this list for turning this franchise around and finally getting them back to the playoffs.
4. John Tortorella
John Tortorella took over as head coach of the Rangers after Tom Renney was let go in 08-09 season, and remained the head coach of the team until very recently. May 29th of this year to be exact. Under Tortorella, the Rangers won 171 games and helped lead the Rangers to their best regular season since 1994 and their best postseason since 1997 in the 2011-2012 season in which the Rangers lost in the Eastern Conference Finals in six game to the New Jersey Devils. The next year the Rangers disappointed many, as instead of taking the next step forward to the Stanley Cup Finals they took a step backward and lost in the second round in five games to the Boston Bruins. As a result Tortorella was relieved of his head coaching duties with the Rangers but whether you love him or hate him he deserves to be on this list.
3. Mike Keenan
Mike Keenan only coaches one season with the Rangers but man what a season that was. His only year behind the bench for The Blueshirts in 1994, Keenan helped lead the team to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, ending the franchises's longest cup-less drought. Unfortunately Keenan was fired because of disputes with GM Neil Smith but no Rangers fan who lived through that magical season will ever forget this man.
2. Emile Francis
Emile Francis is arguably the most popular head coach in Rangers history but was just not good enough to be number one on this list. Francis is the all time Rangers leader in wins by a head coach with 342 but unfortunately never won a Stanley Cup with the franchise. Coached the Rangers for the greater part of 13 seasons and came close on a few occasions, especially in 1972 where the Rangers lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins in six games. But Francis's inability to lead the team to a Stanley Cup championship is his only fault and the only reason why "The Cat" did not get the top spot on this list.
1. Lester Patrick
Lester Patrick, the Rangers first ever head coach, was the best head coach in Rangers history. Like Francis, Patrick also coached the Rangers for 13 seasons and is second all time in wins by a Rangers head coach. So why is he the best? Because Patrick was able to do what Francis could not and that is win a Stanley Cup and then added another one for good measure. Lester Patrick won two Stanley Cups with the Rangers in 1928 and 1933 and also is said to have suited up and played goalie with the Rangers for a game, while he was the head coach of the team, because their starting goalie was hit in the face with the puck, remember no masks back then, and they did not have a backup goalie dressed for that game. What more can you possibly ask for out of a coach? There is even an award named after the man that is given out every season to a person who has provided outstanding service to hockey in the United States and can be awarded to any player, coach, official and other personnel outside of the NHL. Ladies and gentleman, all of this is why Lester Patrick is the greatest head coach in Rangers history.