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Rangers seem to have turned corner with Vigneault

Nov 12, 2013, 9:36 AM EDT

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Alain Vigneault head coach of the New York Rangers following a 2-1 defeat by the Anaheim Ducks at Madison Square Garden on November 4, 2013 in New York City. Getty Images

The New York Rangers had a couple major factors working against them early this season. They started with a brutal nine-game road trip and simultaneously had to adjust to a new system and coaching staff led by Alain Vigneault.

The latter shouldn’t be dismissed as the move from former bench boss John Tortorella to Vigneault involved changing “a little bit of everything,” according to goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

“It’s important to stay patient, and throughout this process, [the new staff] has been patient, and still confident we can do this and find our game,” Lundqvist told Newsday.

It seems to have paid off as the Rangers have shaken off their bad start and climbed to a 9-8-0 record. That puts them just four points out of first place in the Metropolitan Division going into tonight’s contest against the New Jersey Devils.

Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh thinks Vigneault’s personality is part of the reason they’ve rebounded. The Rangers head coach stayed passionate during the their 3-7-0 start. He has also shown a willingness to stick with slumping players while constantly pushing guys that are doing well.

Of course, the Rangers likely have a lot of ups and downs ahead of them and as long as Rick Nash is sidelined with a concussion, there will be a big hole in their lineup. Still, the fact that the Rangers could quickly dig themselves out of their early hole is a very encouraging sign.

  1. nyeagles10 - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    like Hitchcock said it takes a month for players to learn new system

  2. xdj511 - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    This article makes me feel all warm inside. The Rangers go 3-7-0, then go on a 6-1-0 run, and they’ve turned the corner! I would deride this article for being obvious, but there is a certain necessity for it in this day and age, isn’t there?

  3. stakex - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    The biggest difference in the last 10 games is that the Rangers defense doesn’t look lost. When they were being blown out early this year, the defense was getting beat or out of position on almost every play. Even Ryan McDonagh looked awful. Now though, the Rangers defense is playing every bit as good as they had under Torts and its giving them a chance to win every game. Lundqvist has also shaken off his terrible start, recovered from an injury, and is now back in top form.

    The only real question is can the Rangers keep their offense producing at an acceptable level. That’s been the problem for years now, and until AV shows otherwise it will continue to be the question going forward.

    • stepanup - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      A functional PP, and a coach that lets Kreider be offensive certainly help. Hagelin doesn’t “suck” anymore, and we’re scoring enough to win without Nash right now. I’ll take that any day.

    • xdj511 - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      stakex, I got the impression that there was a compromise that the defense could continue to play the way they were used to. There isn’t quite as much shot-blocking as there used to be, but they’re no longer running around or out of position nearly as much as they were. The defense didn’t need fixing under a new coach, the offense did, so why mess with it? The biggest plus would be to let Kreider and Hagelin do their thing and not go lay down in the defensive zone.

  4. twinwildflyer - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    It also helps playing at your home arena too. Their first 9 games were on the road.

  5. dolphanphan - Nov 12, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Imagine letting slumping all-stars play and work it all out. Instead of benching them in vital playoff games. Wish we had Alain last year.

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