The New York Rangers might not have made a big splash player wise during the 2013 NHL Draft yesterday, but they did make a big decision for their coaching staff. Joining new head coach, Alain Vigneault, behind the bench for the Blueshirts this season is former Ranger, Ulf Samuelsson.
More known for his stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he won two Stanley Cups in back to back seasons in 1991 and 1992, Ulf Samuelsson was an agitator to say the least.
As a matter of fact many would say he was one of the dirtiest players ever to play hockey. However, teammates of his would disagree with that last sentence, as ex-teammate of his, Ray Ferraro, said about Samuelsson, “What Ulfie was (as a player) was a hardnosed, competitive, son-of-a-‘B’. When he’s on your side, you just loved ’em.” The same has been said about the way he coaches, and with Vigneault being a more laid-back type of coach, Samuelsson’s intensity behind the bench can serve as a great complement to Vigneault.
Samuelsson actually started his hockey coaching career in the Rangers minor league system in the 2005-2006 season as the assistant coach for the Hartford Wolfpack which was the Rangers AHL affiliate during that time. Then from 2006 to 2011, Samuelsson was the assistant coach for the Phoenix Coyotes under both Wayne Gretzky and Dave Tippett.
Overall I really do like this hiring. With Samuelsson’s hard-nosed, grinding attitude and intensity behind the bench, he can serve as a great complement to Vigneault and also he has assistant coaching experience at both the AHL and NHL levels. A very good signing if you ask me. Agree or disagree?