New York professional sports fans tend to think short-term. After one bad season or decision, the fans (and the media) will call for your head. Playing in the Big Apple is no joke, and you better be ready for the challenge. Former New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella, a known hothead, didn’t pan out well with the Rangers not only because the players rejected him as a leader, but because the media ate him alive.
But there’s something different about their current head coach Alain Vigneault. You get a vibe of calm and collected when he speaks to the media. You see he actually enjoys his job, mostly seen with a smile on his face. The players feed off his positive energy, and it’s resulted in success for most of his career. And one thing’s for sure; the man can flat out coach.
So why do fans and media still doubt him? When he first came into the Rangers organization, one of the bigger questions was how Vigneault would fix the team. They had no identity under Tortorella minus blocking shots and playing a surplus of defense with no offensive weapons. Vigneault gave the team a 180-degree look and turned the Rangers into a fast-paced team with flashy playmakers. Minus their weakness physically, this team is fun to watch and root for.
The impatience some of the fans and media hold on the Rangers is ridiculous. When New York came out the gates struggling, they were already calling for this man’s head. This wasn’t even a team he assembled, and 20 games in you want him fired? With every transaction and line change Vigneault made there was doubt, but in the end it yielded a positive result.
I understand it’s natural to have a pro and con fan for each decision, but the amount of cons compared to the pros is concerning. Even this offseason, I hear fans questioning some signings, mainly because Vigneault is working with GM Glen Sather on bringing in players. Don’t you want these two working together instead of having Tortorella flip off Sather? A quiet offseason filling your needs is all the Rangers need honestly. Look at how signing and trading for big names worked out for former New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum.
If Vigneault wasn’t loved by his players and didn’t bring success to the team in only a year, then maybe I’d understand the over critique. Everyone needs to calm down and let him and Sather work on making this team a championship contender. The Rangers have a great coach on their hands, but being blind and questioning his every move won’t let you see that.