The New York Rangers organization and a lot of their fans have demonized former head coach John Tortorella and made his conservative system, rather than the actual players on the team, the scapegoat for another disappointing season last year.
After watching the Rangers first four preseason games, I am now believing that last year was not all Tortorella’s fault.
What do I mean by this?
Well, I know it is only preseason, but the Rangers, even under new head coach Alain Vigneault‘s uptempo offensive system, still cannot score goals with any consistency. Something that many put the blame on Tortorella and thought by firing him would automatically cure the Rangers’ offensive woes.
Overall team toughness was also a question under Tortorella, and adding Vigneault has done absolutely nothing to change that, and rightfully so because that is the players’ fault, not the coach’s.
Another thing I am noticing in the preseason that is very alarming to me is the number of odd-man rushes and scoring chances the Rangers are surrendering.
In Vigneault’s offense, defenseman are asked to pinch and join in the rush consistently in order to score goals. The downside to this strategy, however, is allowing odd-man rushes the other way when you fail to score, and with the Rangers players’ inability to put the puck past the goaltender and into the net, this new strategy could prove to backfire.
Besides his great coaching career and availability, Vigneault was also brought in because of the Rangers insufferable track record with Tortorella on the powerplay, and their inability to cash in on prime scoring opportunities. Vigneault has said numerous times that the Rangers powerplay will be fixed this year, but so far this preseason, while they did move the puck well and shoot more often then not, the end result was still the same as years past… No goals.
I mean, we will see what the Blueshirts do tonight against, coincidentally, Tortorella and his new team and ex-team of Vigneault’s, the Vancouver Canucks, but I just do not think the Rangers have the players and skill it takes to consistently score goals, which in Vigneault’s system will lead to immense struggles, and result in the Rangers fighting for their playoff lives yet again this season.