Not completely official, but Vigneault is the new Rangers coach (updated)


The Captain and franchise icon will not be the next coach of the Rangers. No, it won’t be Mark Messier.

The Rangers have decided to go with the proven over the unknown and to hire former Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault to succeed the fired John Tortorella.

Vigneault, who hammered out the details in principle on a contract with Rangers owner James Dolan Friday and Saturday, could be announced as the new coach Sunday, though it remains possible the team will hold off until after the Stanley Cup final series is completed.

The league frowns on major news being announced during its championship series, though the Rangers could break the news on an off-day Sunday. The Rangers have not made an official comment about the hiring.

Vigneault on Friday removed himself from consideration for the Dallas Stars’ coaching vacancy, for which he had interviewed.

Vigneault, 52, beat out Messier and a few others, including former Philadelphia coach and current Los Angeles assistant John Stevens, and perhaps Lindy Ruff, for the job. Both Vigneault and Messier were interviewed by GM Glen Sather and his staff during the week at the team’s organizational meetings in La Quinta, Calif.

Vigneault’s teams won their division title in six of his seven seasons, and two Presidents’ Trophies, including the one where the Canucks edged the Rangers on the final day of the 2011-12 season. But Vancouver was 1-10 in its last 11 playoff games under Vigneault, since Game 5 of the 2011 Cup final against the Bruins.

The possibility exists that the Canucks will, ironically, hire Tortorella – the all-time leader in NHL coaching victories among U.S.-born coaches —  to replace Vigneault, who was fired after the third-seeded Canucks’ first-round sweep by San Jose.

The No. 1-seeded Canucks were beaten by eventual Stanley Cup champ Los Angeles, the eighth seed, in five games last spring, and lost Games 6 and 7 of the Cup final to the Bruins in 2010-11 after leading the series 2-0 and 3-2.

Vigneault also coached the Montreal Canadiens for three-plus seasons, from 1997-2001. He has a career coaching record of 422-288-96.

Vigneault is seen as a very different, if not complete opposite, coach than Tortorella, who was gruff and rude publicly, and whose Rangers teams played a strict, defensive, grinding style. He was fired May 29, two days after conducting break-up exit meetings with players, and reportedly after some sort of mutiny by some – certainly not all – of his players.

Vigneault’s teams played a more up-tempo offensive style, though the Canucks surely had far more offensive skill than the Rangers currently have. He allowed his players creativity and a system that was more attack-oriented.

Vigneault is also seen as a more pleasant and respectful persona, obviously, than Tortorella was.

Messier, who had been asked by Sather on at least one and maybe two occasions if he would be interested in coaching the Rangers, and who had discussed taking over the Edmonton Oilers as coach last year, had no experience whatsoever even as an assistant coach at a pro level. His hiring would have certainly been a gamble.

But he and Sather go back some 34 or 35 years, since Messier was a teen joining Edmonton in the late 1970s under the Oilers’ then GM/coach, Sather. He currently is a special assistant to Sather with the Rangers.

Photo by Getty Images.


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  1. Viggy’s first order of business as new coach will be to outlaw showers & toothbrushes and require thin black moustaches…game day meals to be bread, cheese and wine, to be followed by smoking two packs of cigarettes

  2. Torts must feel like a guy whose abused wife slapped him in the face with surprise divorce papers, then finds out two weeks later that she’s dating the pretty boy form the gym “You’re with WHO now?”

  3. Source: Win-Yo to show his appreciation for being hired gave Sather and Dolan a gift basket each that included: Beret, a white and navy blue striped jersey, baguette, cheese and a bottle of wine. To which both Sather and Dolan replied: “Hmmm, he smells fine for a Frenchman”

  4. une tasse à 74 ans et ça continue aka Onecupin74yearsandcounting on

    2 weeks for this ? au contraire..mon ami this french stuff will be worn out by the time he is le coach.. do you think we’ll be getting some french canadian players

  5. une tasse à 74 ans et ça continue aka Onecupin74yearsandcounting on

    The return of the Pearn ?

  6. does this mean that any time a Ranger is about to catch a beatdown, they’ll waive a white flag instead of throwing their gloves off?

  7. Fat Guy, you mean comedy gold…and soup is a meal at Mendy’s….Prust saying…..

  8. I guess Twitter really ruined that whole, “no major announcements during the Stanley Cup Final” thing. Also, the NHL destroyed that by announcing the award winners in the stupidest way possible and during the Stanley Cup Final.

  9. “in order to manage risk we must? first understand risk, but how do you spot risk, how do you avoid risk”

  10. Who will be first to say,”Viggy interviewed by Wiggy”?

    And when the Rangers play poorly…..”Vigneault must go”!

    And finally, Is Sappy happy”?

    And as Mess seeks redress he asks his supreme Sappiness to have lunch while cruising on the Hudson!

    The End!

  11. “I ain’t lookin’ to compete with you
    Beat or cheat or mistreat you
    Simplify you, classify you
    Deny, defy, or crucify you
    All I really wanna doooooooo
    Is baby be friends with you.”

  12. Mess to Glennie: ‘I suppose you know that you embarrassed the chit out of me, right?’

  13. Leetchhalloffame on

    Couldn’t win with a lot more talent than Rangers have. Don’t like it. This is NY not Canada.

  14. Manny do we have an official entertainment angle post musky?

    “Vigneault the Carpathian” perhaps?

  15. That’s pretty damn solid, James. Great work.

    On a mountain of skulls, in the castle of pain, I sat on a throne of blood! What was will be! What is will be no more! Now is the season of evil!

  16. Matty "HopeNashIsMonsterInYear2"Boy on

    Sather: Alain, I am hiring you for one and one reason only. Help our PP to score 1 goal in 10 chances. Our team will win the Cup, we do that.


    AV: Sure, Glen. No problem.

  17. Matty "HopeNashIsMonsterInYear2"Boy on

    Lucky we didn’t trade Torts for AV. We would owe them a first and second rounder, both of which we don’t have.

  18. “On a mountain of pp failure in a river of mediocrity I sat on a throne of scrubs”

  19. Matty "HopeNashIsMonsterInYear2"Boy on

    Wonder what Mess’s response to not getting the job will be. It would be great if he gave in and assistant coached or was around the team some. I like the idea of him coaching, just get some experience and put ego aside.

  20. Does Vigneault purchase Tort’s new home on LI from him or does he purchase his own place?

  21. poor mess. u know hes crying right now. he should be team physician and you know messier tears have special magic healing powers too. he should bottle them up and use them to heal staals eye. one drop of eau de messier toilet eye drops could heal an entire army of orcs and turn them into a bunch of jolly good fellows

  22. Carp, DN reporting a done deal,when will you interview Alain about his plans?

    Wasn’t Alain in the French Connection?

    News flash, the MSG marketing suits will install a restaurant The French Connection, featuring “Tortelloni a la Francaise!

  23. Good thing hank didn’t win the vezina… Not sure if he could have picked it up with all of john tortorella’s blood on his hands

  24. Rob in Beantown on

    Andrew Gross @AGrossRecord
    Lundqvist second to Bobrovsky in Vezina voting. Bobrovsky with 17 first-place votes, Lundqvist gets three first-place votes.

    Andrew Gross @AGrossRecord
    Bobrovsky with a total of 110 voting points (17-8-1), Lundqvist with 55 (3-12-4) and Niemi third with 46 (6-4-4).

  25. Czechthemout!!! on

    Tavares clearly is the MVP! But the Crosby chair sniffers are polishing the trophy as we speak.

    And they give it to Ovie? What a joke.

  26. I second Blogmama’s choice:

    Vigo, Scourge of Carpathia, Sorrow of Moldavia. “What was will be! What is will be no more! Now is the season of evil!”

    Wait….that sounds like the guy they just fired.

  27. Carp. I know you loved Torts but, give this guy a chance. You can be cruel. Stop with French crap

  28. Also, Bobrovsky getting the Vezina brings up a favorite saying of mine, “suck it Phlyers fans.”

  29. Vigneault to Dolan….”your band JD and the Straight Shot is awesome”

    Dolan to Vigneault….”ef Messier…You’re hired”

  30. leetchhalloffame on

    Buyer Beware! Frogman couldn’t win Cup with a lot more talent than he’ll have here. Should have given Mess a chance.

  31. Czechthemout!!! on

    The Hawks play this game the way it should be played. Lets hope Vinyooo can get us to play the same way.

  32. Sather to Mess: “Guitar Jimmy said Vino. But don’t worry, I’m gone next year. When you take over, fire that frogs arse”

  33. Slats should have waited. Claude Julien may be available in a few days.

    Claude Julien >> Vine Rot

  34. award ceremony sucked and this game the bruins look mentally beat from the other night. series is over in 5

  35. 1 person that filled out NYR coaching questionnaire? Ulf Samuelsson. Highly regarded w/in org, Could warrant consideration for asst job.

    god help us. hopefully he wont run the pp never played it

  36. Fatso Fogerty on

    Carp your not serious about Sullivan staying on, right? I really really really hope so! Besides don’t head coach’s bring in their own guys?

  37. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Is ulfie really up for an asst coach?

    That would be sooooo awesome with a québécois and ulfie, it might make my summer!!

    Any thoughts in who will be assistants?

  38. Sather’s questionnaire:

    1. When did you play for the Oilers?
    2. Are you (a) Gretz, (b) Mess, (c) one of the others?
    3. If (c), please provide a full -reminder- description of your career in the space below.

    If you require more paper, then I’m not hiring you again, Trots. I’m not that stupid.

  39. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    According to strang, buggy turned down a “lucrative” offer from Dallas.

    Nice to know he wants to be here…for now.

  40. 4. What is your ethnic origin? (Tick one)

    White North American
    White European
    African American

  41. We need some more boys from Minnesota, Michigan and Massachussets on this team.

  42. Vigneault: “The Rangers have such a great history. I can’t wait for opening night, when I will look up to the rafters of this famous building and think to myself ‘WTF are those bridges?'”

  43. LW, 9:42 LOL.

    That is definitely / probably an illegal employment questionnaire/application. I’m not an attorney, nor do I work in HR, but I’m pretty sure you can’t ask someone to declare whether or not if they are dead yet. Sounds Unconstitutional.

  44. Olga, Black Hawks migrate mostly North of the Border. Bruins thrive in Yellowstone. Go Bruins.

  45. Olga Folkyerself on

    Au contraire, Black Hawk was a native American. Bruins are found all over the world.
    Go Black Hawks!

  46. Rob in Beantown on

    I’m glad I don’t care one way or the other about this series because these OT games are too much to take otherwise.

  47. i cant sit through another 3 ot game. someone end this ot. rather bruins so we could see longer series

    hawks in 7 on overtime goal by rozival said it all year

  48. I have to tell you that the very thought of Roszival winning and wearing a Stanley Cup championship ring will keep me up at night all summer

  49. Czechthemout!!! on

    Brandon Bollig channeling his inner Brian Boyle. Dumb move putting him in over Stalberg.

  50. What a crazy game, Hawks controlled most of the game and most of possession through eight periods and here they are tied up at one apiece.

  51. I’m giving Sather credit tonight. He made a good choice with Veen-Yo. I was convinced that Slats was going to just hand the job to Messier and Leetch.

    Now…as a fan, anything less than a division title and President’s Trophy next season is unacceptable, right? :)
    Oh…can we hire Kessler and Bieksa too? please and thank you.

    Does Messier take this as a slight against him? Does he look to coach elsewhere or is only interested in the Rangers? If he is really serious about coaching someday, he will need experience somewhere.

    LMAO @ “Al Viño”

  52. Slatsko Folkyerself on

    So Slats picks “Vino” to coach the Rangers. He must have been drunk again.
    Not Messier? Messy-er describes all his other coaching selections.
    I guess we’re lucky he didn’t pick “Stogy”. He has to be smoked up most of the time, based on his years of UFA signings.
    Wasn’t “Goofy” available? That would explain a lot of his draft picks.

  53. Hamrlik collaborating with ghost writer on autobiography – ‘The Rise and Fall of Ancient Roman.’

  54. ZzZz NYR ZzZz©" Don't Stepan the logo ,Vigneault !!!"...says Greg L. on

    Comment of the night

    Thanks to MIKEY ,grabby.

    poor mess. u know hes crying right now. he should be team physician and you know messier tears have special magic healing powers too. he should bottle them up and use them to heal staals eye. one drop of eau de messier toilet eye drops could heal an entire army of orcs and turn them into a bunch of jolly good fellows

    How do ya not laugh at that? Should make this blog a paid blog like BB , (The one ORR got banned from but came back!)
    Funny stuff is priceless!!

  55. How much of the decision to go with Vignault was Sather’s? And how much of it was Dolan’s?

  56. Good article by Brooksie. 100% agree with him.

    Give Mess the Wolfs. He can mentor the younglings that come up through the system and at the same time gain valuable experience that will eventually get Mess behind NHL bench.

    Win-win for everyone.

  57. Vancouver was strong defensively while implementing a four-line structure during Vigneault’s seven-year tenure

  58. une tasse à 74 ans et ça continue aka Onecupin74yearsandcounting on

    Gee I hope the new coach doesn’t think he can revive Brad Richards’ career..
    another year older and slower

  59. Changed my user name. Went from awful US macrobrew to elite canadien micro brew.

  60. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Happy Father’s Day to the blogfather!!!

    And happy Father’s Day to all of the blog fathers!

  61. Rob in Beantown on

    Brad Richards must be bought out now, even if he has a serviceable year does anybody think he will be worth the cap hit in 8 years?


  62. I heard through the grapevine that the announcement is being delayed because Pär Mårts took the red eye over to New York and is currently being interviewed..

  63. Cross Check Charlie on

    I was disappointed that they picked Vignalt because I know I’m going to have a problem spelling Vingnelt. If I don’t learn to spell Vinealt then all the other fans will make fun of me. So please, back out now and don’t hire Vinalt. Hire Messyay instead.

  64. Za'rat "The OTHER GUYS Greed" Jones on

    Well, maybe we can move up to the 22nd slot in PP. I hope Alain brings his diving coach from Vancouver over here.

    As much as I wanted Torts out, I’m beginning to miss him.

  65. Carp, nice to see you interject with a subliminal Pär Mårts message. “Pater” is father in Latin. Take out the “te” and you get Par, which is enough like Pär to infer that you are suggesting that Pär Mårts is to be the next NYR coach.

  66. Sounds like they are finalizing the business part of the deal. AV had a couple of years left on his contract in Vancouver.

  67. torts going for a 2nd interview in vancouver. torts win the cup next year i will throw up lol.

    hope the canucks suck. will root against them all year

  68. i may be in the minority here but if vigneault and messier were the choices i would arther have stayed with torts

  69. Yankees-Cardinals 1964, ilb?

    Nice excuse, Sally! Hope the job and the move go/went well, but get your butt back here more often, dammit :)

  70. What’s up with this $15 smoked meat sandwich the new coach wants at the consession stands?

  71. “Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so wonderful
    Deep in my heart I miss him so today.”

  72. Why all the French jokes? This guy is French-Canadian. Shouldn’t we be focusing on poutine, Molsen beer, and ugly strippers?

  73. 1964? Lou Brock? Tim McCarver? Bob Gibson pitched Game 6 and 7. Had a 3 run lead in the 9th and they told him, “don’t give up 3 solo shots.” He gave up two.

    Bob Gibson was a man. Basebally players today whine about pitching on 3 days rest. Ha!

  74. First we do French jokes…then Canadian jokes…then French-Canadian! We have all summer!

  75. I think I was wrong about Johnny Keane … he wasn’t traded. He left the Cards after beating the Yankees in the World Series, and was hired by the Yankees, IIRC.

  76. Good evening all……I’m still not going to let the Rangers ruin my summer…

    carp….fore right..go Lefty!

  77. ZzZz NYR ZzZz©" on

    Good evening Mama!!

    Ok now the Coach from vancouver gets fired and …why did he get fired? They fired this guy after he won top team twice in the regular season. He was fired ..Sedins didn’t like him? He couldn’t win a round …He sucks at playoffs? Was it him or his team? Is this coach still good or is he damaged goods? All im saying is something seems fishy about hiring a guy who just got fired ..Whats was his reason to get canned ..playoffs!!?? Playoffs??

  78. Rangers’ only permitted in-flight movie will be a non-stop loop of Strange Brew

    Goo loo coo coo goo loo coo coo!!!!

  79. Wicky©Love the Clowe!! on

    do you think they wait to announce the viggy signing until the assistants are on board? Does viggy pick them I guess?

  80. Wicky©Love the Clowe!! on

    What if clowe is musky?

    speaking of, did they do any player contract discussion at the la quinta inn?

  81. Yes, the head coach names his assistants, though the GM could strongly suggest he keeps a guy (I think Benoit Allaire stays, he’s Lundqvist’s guru). I doubt they’d hold up the announcement for that. Yes, I’m sure they discussed player contracts and an off-season, pre-draft, and free agency strategy. I think Iggy is done, based on what I saw in the playoffs, or at least too close to done to give up something of value … not that they would at this point.

  82. Deal is being held up at this point based on AV’s insistence to acquire partial pugilist Dale Weise.

  83. Wicky©Love the Clowe!! on

    thanks. Do you think ulfie is an actual possibility for an assistant?

    Does Clowe get re-signed?

    I was joking about iggy, just because it rhymed with viggy lol

  84. ThisYearsModel on

    Any chance that Gernander moves up to assistant in NY and Messier goes to Hartford? Wouldn’t mind Ulf as D assistant. Henrik would take a lot less abuse.

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