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Vigneault blasts ‘stupid schedule’ after fifth game in seven nights

May 5, 2014, 10:54 PM EDT

After a rough stretch in which his team played two back-to-backs and one Game 7, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault finally let his frustrations loose.

This message was in stark contrast to Vigneault’s message prior to Game 3. He insisted his team wasn’t tired and that the schedule wasn’t wearing his side down — even though, on Monday night, the Rangers became the first team in 25 years to play five playoff games in a seven-day span.

“Did my goaltender look tired?” Vigneault asked following Sunday’s 3-0 loss in Game 2. “He’s played every minute in the playoffs. If he isn’t, no one should be.”

Tonight’s loss to Pittsburgh was hardly the byproduct of fatigue (or so it seemed.) The Rangers had enough jump and legs to out-shoot the Penguins 35-15 and played very well in stretches, but the fact still remains — the Rangers haven’t scored on Marc-Andre Fleury in 120 minutes of action and the club clearly lacks the finish and focus needed to put pucks in the back of the net.

Is that a fatigue issue? The Rangers won’t say so publicly, but it’s telling how they’re now acknowledging the schedule has been a factor.

“We’ve played a lot of hockey,” Martin St. Louis said, per the Star-Ledger. “We’re going to come up for air and regroup.”

  1. steelcity333 - May 5, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    Knew it was coming. Maybe if you would have done business and finished Philly off in game 6 like the Pens did to Columbus you wouldn’t have had to worry about this. It’s your own fault. Stop crying.

    • nyrpgh - May 6, 2014 at 12:04 AM

      Yeah the pens played so well to eliminate the “mighty blue jackets” in 6

      The schedule is a competitive disadvantage to the Rangers and even most yinzers are smart enough to realize this fact.. Apparently you aren’t one of them

      • urallstupid - May 6, 2014 at 12:30 AM

        teams are rewarded for playing as short of a series as they possibly can. (altho if the pens came out flat as f***, everyone would have been saying lol extra rest sucks!) dont like it? sweep your opponents. playoffs already last way too long as it is, it’d last even longer if you wanted equal rest for teams between series’

      • steelcity333 - May 6, 2014 at 12:47 AM

        You know what else is a “competitive disadvantage”? That horrible Ranger power play. And if the Penguins were the ones complaining about scheduling you’d be saying the same thing I am.

      • hockey412 - May 6, 2014 at 8:28 AM

        Didn’t the Rangers outshoot the Pens by some crazy margin like 35-15 or something, like 10-1 in the third? This comment is a poor excuse and not the reason they lost the game. They had their chances, it’s not like they were dominated. They made some bad defensive reads, that’s it.

        This disparity happens every playoffs….one team sweeps and rests, one team plays 7 and has to start up real quick afterward. It’s the playoffs….play too many game 7’s and you’ll be tired.

      • hockey412 - May 6, 2014 at 8:31 AM

        And why in the world do people keep knocking CBJ for being less than they are? NYR only split the series with them, and they pretty much owned Philly this year (who NYR took to 7). Why the disrespect, do you feel the Rangers are that much better than CBJ?

      • bgrillz - May 6, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        If Pittsburgh had to play 7, they would be in the same boat. And I would say that Columbus is a better tam than Philly was. They were faster, way more physical, and have a better goaltender than Philly. And Columbus finished with more wins than Philly. So your jab about the “mighty blue jackets” comment is stupid. You were lucky to win round one, and it’s showing in round 2. The Rangers carried the play all night. But Fleury wouldn’t allow one in. Better tam won. Cry about the schedule.Won’t help you.

      • kastout11 - May 6, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        hockey 412, I agree the Blue Jackets are underrated. I actuall thought they would beat Pittsburgh in the first round. They are the only team that I didn’t want the Flyers to play in the 1st round of the playoffs (when CBJ, Flyers and Rangers were all close in the standings). They will also be a scary team in the future. I think they would have beaten the Pens had Nathan Horton been healthy. I clearly do not like Pittsuburgh, but I have been impressed with their performance so far in the postseason.

      • phillyphannnn83 - May 6, 2014 at 11:40 PM

        Bgrillz, clearly you’re not a fan of stats or recent play.

        Mason: 1.97 GAA and .939 SV% – the highest of any goaltender in the playoffs who faced at least 6 shots
        Bob: 3.17 GAA and .908 SV% – good for 14th best…or 9th worst

        I think you might still think we have Bryz.

    • nyrpgh - May 6, 2014 at 12:57 AM

      Actually it’s a competitive advantage for the pens.. If the Rangers were scoring on the pp the series would be 2-1 or 3-0 on NYR’s favor.. I guess having Bylsma should be considered an equalizer to the schedule as only he could mis-manage the talent he has year in and year out. Is Scotty Bowman still alive?

      • steelcity333 - May 6, 2014 at 1:05 AM

        And if the Penguins scored on every shot they’d never lose a game. Talk about wouldas. If you think new York could be up 3-0 you clearly didn’t watch game 2. The Penguins dominated that game in every aspect. Your team had been shutout two straight days, just deal with it.

    • gimmethecreeps - May 6, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      It’s the first time in something like 25 years that a team has had to play 5 games in 7 days. So for the past quarter of a century, no team has been penalized for taking a series to 7 the way the Rangers are now. I’m not saying that the Rangers would have swept the Penguins up, or even that they’d have won those games (The Power Play is awful, Ryan McDonagh is DEFINATELY not 100% from his injury, and Rick Nash is turning out to be the new Glenn Sather trade bust of the decade) But if you honestly are going to say that it’s not a competitive advantage in favor of the Penguins, you’re just proving your lack of Hockey knowledge. Bylsma has said MULTIPLE times that the schedule puts them at a complete advantage, and he planned to take advantage of it (And I don’t blame him for that, its the playoffs, you need to take any advantage you can!) So is your coach wrong too? Guess you know more than 2 coaches now.

      As stated previously, It’s more than plausible that the penguins would still be up 2-1 if the Rangers were rested. It’s not like the only thing holding them back was exhaustion. The PP is awful, and we pretty much don’t have a top line because they should be in the AHL with their caliber of play. But saying this was their penalty for playing a 7 game series because in 25 years no team has ever had to deal with a schedule like this, 7 game series or not, it just proves you need a refresher on the sport of hockey.

      • steelcity333 - May 6, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        Again they blew game 6 against Philly. If they would have won that game this wouldn’t be a discuss. Not saying it’s a penalty for going 7 games but this is what happens when a series goes that far. Cry me a river. You should be happy. You already have a built in excuse when the Rangers are eliminated whether it’s this round or next.

      • gimmethecreeps - May 6, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        As I stated in my comment, it isn’t an excuse. I dont believe that exhaustion has any effect on our power-play woes, which could have evened up either of these games. All 3 of these games have been score-wise very close. If Pittsburgh had to play 5 games in 7 days and came out looking tired at the end of that stretch, you and I both know the Sidney Crosby fan-club would be in uproar. It’s an absolutely ridiculous schedule for any team. On Sunday you could see Pittsburgh took advantage of it by upping the physicality of their game (And I don’t blame them. It’s hockey 101, if you’re playing a team that’s come off a crazy road-trip or is playing back to back games or some insane week of playtime, You play physical and beat them into the boards in your own house. That’s a no-brainer)

        I’m not saying we lost because of the schedule, but I don’t think it did us any favors.

  2. flyeredup - May 5, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Well they sent the team that Holmgren built to the showers. Carter and Richards still play. So disgusted with our team in Philly

    • gimmethecreeps - May 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      Flyeredup , I wouldn’t be disgusted at all with the Flyers. after how the Flyers opened the season, they looked like they were gonna be the east-coast Edmonton Oilers. They built a strong identity under Berube (and you have to be excited with him, making the coaching change already into the season, he lit a fire under Giroux bigtime) They look to finally have some solidarity between the pipes (Mason was very good in the playoffs, and Emery was not bad at all backing him up) I honestly think you’re maybe a depth-forward and a shutdown defenseman away from an Eastern Conference finals. And that’s coming from an NYR fan. Flyers are going to be a dangerous team with the way they looked this season.

    • phillyphannnn83 - May 6, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      I’m not disgusted with our guys at all. If not for Mason missing the first three games, I firmly believe we’d be watching another epic Pens-Flyers series. Emery did his best in relief but a 3.49 GAA isn’t good enough. He gave up 10 goals in 3 games, no matter how you slice it, it’s just not good enough(and more likely terrible but I’m trying not to be disgruntled).

      Mason: 1.97 GAA
      Lundqvist: 2.08 GAA
      Emery: 3.49 GAA

      • phillyphannnn83 - May 6, 2014 at 11:49 PM

        Forgot the even-more-accurate save % :

        Mason: .939 Playoff ranking(min. 6 shots faced, lol): 1
        Lundqvist : .908 ranking: 9
        Emery: .888 ranking: 18

  3. bmscalise - May 5, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    If you don’t want to play all those games without rest, win the first round in six instead of seven. That’s just part of the playoffs. No one would feel bad if the shoe was on the other foot.

    • stakex - May 5, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      Having back to back back to backs is not usually part of the playoffs.

      • bmscalise - May 6, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        Seriously? Lots of playoff series have back-to-back games, given issues with arena availability. Not every series – but it’s hardly unusual.

      • henrik4dawin - May 6, 2014 at 7:12 AM

        To bmscalise– what part of no team in the last 25 years has had 5 games in 7 day’s don’t you understand? That means that NO teams have had that in the last 25 years

      • joey4id - May 6, 2014 at 8:51 AM

        bmscalise, how many teams had back to back games in the last 10 years? Then, let us know how many teams had back to back games in back to back series.

        Vigneault is correct. However, he and GM Sather need to take this up with MSG management. Profits generated from a planned concert are less at risk than those from a potential playoff appearance. Yesterday was the most boring game of the playoffs thus far. The Rangers had no jump in their legs safe for Diaz who was fresh as a daisy.

        Ducks’ and Kings’ players appeared to be moving at light speed compared to the Rangers.

  4. thesportsjudge - May 5, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    They need someone to pump air in their tires. Think AV knows anyone?

  5. stakex - May 5, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Anyone who honestly thinks the Rangers schedule hasn’t had a negative impact on their play is simply blind. There is a reason no team in 25 years has had such a schedule in the playoffs….

    With that said, the Rangers didn’t really look very tired tonight…. although Lundqvist wasn’t very sharp on the two goals he allowed, being a bit slow to react on both of them.

    • pitpenguinsrulez - May 5, 2014 at 11:29 PM

      WAH! It’s called arena availability and TV. Deal with it.

      • infieldhit - May 5, 2014 at 11:51 PM

        I’m not sure if mock crying is the best response…

      • nyrpgh - May 6, 2014 at 12:10 AM

        By the WAH it’s apparent sid does check this site out

  6. RoseTintedVisor - May 5, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    When do MSG Fans and the Rangers org themselves acknowledge Dolan’s culpability in overbooking the Garden so the NHL has no flexibility on dates?

    Newsflash: MSG places $$$ above competitive advantage.

    start with jimmy dolan, then you can call out the league.

    • kingadrock99 - May 6, 2014 at 12:59 AM

      Maybe someone can bait him into some racist comments on tape……..

    • johnstone17 - May 6, 2014 at 6:02 AM

      Dolan is a greedy jack ass

    • hockey412 - May 6, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      NOOOO it’s Bettman and Lemieux giving an advantage to Sid!! CONSPIRACY!

      These people are psychotic.

      • phillyphannnn83 - May 6, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        Funny thing is, no one made any suggestion of the sort except you. Seems to me you’re the only one whose psychotic here.

      • hockey412 - May 7, 2014 at 8:49 AM

        Well that’s just rude.

  7. jason9696 - May 5, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    Having to play 5 games in 7 nights in the playoffs is ridiculous.

    • steelcity333 - May 5, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      So is losing in game 6 to Philadelphia.

      • gimmethecreeps - May 6, 2014 at 11:04 AM

        So is losing game 4 to Columbus? Flower going around the back of the net during 6 on 5 with less than a minute in the game…priceless. If taking a series to 7 with a team that was within like a point or two of us at season’s end means we deserve 5 games in 7 days, Pittsburgh should deserve 20 games in 11 days for that epic failure!

    • Tyler - May 6, 2014 at 2:18 AM

      MSG overbooking MSG during the NHL playoffs is ridiculous…

  8. chanceoffleury - May 5, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    You can point fingers at the NHL or cry favoritism for the relentless schedule the Rangers are having to deal with, but there’s really only one person to blame when all is said and done: Lady Gaga.

    • infieldhit - May 5, 2014 at 11:54 PM

      Don’t the Rangers have some of the least mileage every regular season? I’m indifferent about the team, but I’m not sure if I should feel that bad about them in this case.

      • 2qswing - May 6, 2014 at 8:19 AM


        1000% correct. Though this schedule is tough, nobody has an easier schedule year after year than the Rangers, they can go on a 4-game road trip and sleep in their own beds every night. Jackets finished the season with 8 games in 12 days because of the postponed game in Dallas. And they were in a must-win situation. Not one peep of complaint. If I were AV I’d have them on ice this morning to work on that PP.
        quit whining.

  9. c9castine - May 5, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    figured this was coming at some point.

    i just dont want to see people blaming the league or whatever….this is because they play at MSG and its may.

    • 7mantel - May 6, 2014 at 8:39 AM

      Sorry c9 but your wrong ,with NYR’s / NYK’s both at MSG the date are open . Msg was dark most nights.

      • c9castine - May 6, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        doubt it.

      • 7mantel - May 6, 2014 at 1:58 PM


  10. penszone757 - May 5, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    Even as a Pens fan it is ridiculous that they had to play 5 times in 7 nights. The problem that I have is that he wasn’t naming that as an excuse before but now that they lost the past 2 games it is an excuse.

    • nyrpgh - May 6, 2014 at 12:17 AM

      AV waited until now so the players didn’t use it as an excuse. Now that they’ve cleared the messy part he felt he could make his feelings known.

      But how bad did the pens really play when they’re out shot 35-15 by a team that played on fumes?

      • urallstupid - May 6, 2014 at 12:32 AM

        i heard going strictly by shots on goal really tells u which team was playing well or not.

      • kingadrock99 - May 6, 2014 at 12:56 AM

        Too tired to get back on D. Those were 2 breakaway goals. Plus Lundqvist stopped 2 more.

      • penszone757 - May 6, 2014 at 8:50 AM

        Well when your on the pp 5 times in a game and the pens get 1 pp and you still lose. Don’t blame the schedule because they were certainly getting the calls to help them .

    • broadstreetbeatdown - May 6, 2014 at 2:25 AM

      He’s probably bringing it up now….I don’t know, maybe because they just played 5 games in 7 nights. Kinda hard to complain about something before it happens. Eh?

      BTW you’re welcome Pittsburgh.

  11. r8rbhawk - May 6, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    If I were a Rangers fan I would be pissed. Although there are many “valid” reasons for the schedule, it wouldn’t assuage the fact that the Rangers have had to play 5 games in 7 nights. Hell, that was a rare occurrence during the lockout-shortened season last year, let alone the regular season this year. 5 games in 7 nights during the playoffs, well that is even worse considering how intense the games are. As a Blackhawks fan, I don’t care who wins this series, just saying I can show empathy to Rangers fans for this ridiculous schedule.

  12. hockeyflow33 - May 6, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    As someone who’d like to see both teams lose, this schedule is ridiculous and he has a point.

  13. President Charles Logan - May 6, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    the playoffs and cup finals shouldnt be playing in mid june for gosh sakes.. toughen up folks

    • phillyphannnn83 - May 6, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      Wow, one of the biggest crybaby yinzers telling others to toughen up. That’s good comedy right there.

      • President Charles Logan - May 6, 2014 at 11:41 PM

        what is a yinzer anyways?

  14. kingadrock99 - May 6, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    Well, you can out play a team all you want but if you’re giving up breakaways all game, you’re going to lose.

  15. timothybsmith2014 - May 6, 2014 at 12:55 AM

    Maybe the lack of rest is what caused the Rangers to dig out a play from their playoff series against the Pens when number 66 was playing, aka take cheap shots with your stick at the back of Crosby’s head. Not once, but twice and no calls from the refs. So much for being concerned about concussions.

    • nyrpgh - May 6, 2014 at 1:21 AM

      You sound as whiny as Paul steigerwald.. Poor Sid and his egg shell cranium.. Boo hoo

      Ps.. James Neal is the dirtiest hockey player in the league

      • 19to77 - May 6, 2014 at 2:22 AM

        Not as long as Cooke, Torres and Brown still play. Hey, on the subject of dirty players, did you catch Marc Staal cross-checking Crosby in the back of the head? Stay classy, Rangers.

    • itripledogdareyou - May 6, 2014 at 1:25 AM

      I must have missed those. They were tough on Crosby but no worse than the first 2 games or the CBJ series. I thought it was a pretty clean game for playoff standards. Officiating was not an issue in this game. Great goaltending on both ends tonight. I was surprised by how much the crowd was a non-factor. They were so quiet the first period, I thought it was a Knicks game.

  16. johnstone17 - May 6, 2014 at 6:08 AM

    Yesterday, it was reported on here that AV said if Lundqvist isn’t tired, nobody should be tired. Now the schedule is an issue? Sorry coach, you can’t have it both ways. I’ve been a Rangers fan for 42 years & I refuse to blame the schedule for their play. Maybe it’s a matter of conditioning. Maybe, if you took care of business in the first series, you could have gotten enough rest. But as I wrote on another thread on here last week, when if & buts are candy & nuts, every day would be Christmas. Go play hockey & quit whining.

    • gimmethecreeps - May 6, 2014 at 11:28 AM

      And in your 42 years of being an NYR fan, more than half of them have not allowed for this kind of scheduling in the stanley cup playoffs. No team has had to “condition” for this kind of schedule in 25 years. Have a little respect for the sport and the difficulty of it. These guys are sprinting in 25 lbs of gear for 3-5 miles over the course of 18 minutes (Average ice time for a top line hockey forward) Not even including the hitting, checking, puck movement, fighting, shooting, shot blocking, and just general awareness included. This isn’t like when your kid stays up too late playing nintendo and is tired for school the next morning, man. There’s a distinct reason why this hasn’t happened to any team in any situation in over 25 years. It’s easy to use a “get tough” mantra from your armchair.

      • johnstone17 - May 6, 2014 at 9:24 PM

        I played the game, so I understand what the players go thru. My issue is the coach flip flopping one day after he said if his goalie wasn’t tired, no one should be. And if AV has a major issue with the schedule, he should bring it up to his team president & the greedy owner. On top of that, I remember a Rangers – Kings playoff series that was best of three that was played in 5 days. The equipment was heavier & the travel not as easy & the game was move violent. If you don’t believe me, go look at the video from that series of the bench clearing brawl.

  17. dirtyharry1971mom - May 6, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    Crosby calls Bettman: ” Yo Bettman, we need advantage somehow in this series”
    Bettman: “How is giving them 5 games in 7 nights?”
    Crosby: ” Yeah, that’ll work, Thank you Bettman”
    Bettman: ” So we still on for tomorrow night?”
    Crosby Hangs up phone.
    Bettman: ” Hello?…Hello?”

  18. bandree - May 6, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    I think all you Ranger fans need some French Cries to go with that whine! You outshot us last night and your forwards were blowing past our defenders causing us to take stupid yet sometimes necessary penalties. How does this show in any way shape or form that its the schedules fault or your players are tired? Who gives a s hit if no other team has played this many playoff games in 25 years! Its the playoffs suck it up. You wouldn’t be crying if it happened to any other team, so cut the excuses and bring it. If King Lundquist is so tired put in Talbot! He has a 100% save percentage start him. Last night both goals scored were on breakaways which were pretty fortunate (due to lucky bounces) for the Pens. Pitts goals weren’t a result of NYR being tired they resulted in the puck bounced Pitts way for a change and Lundquist although a badass cant stop everything. Fleury, hopefully, got his s hitty play out of the way early and he came to play this series. If you guys want to win the cup your going to have to put your big boy pants on!

  19. penvik - May 6, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Cry me a river. Lololol!! The Pens were outshot 2 to 1. The Rangers DID have jump/energy but will resort to excuses because of a schedule??? The flames had this schedule in 1989 and won the cup so disadvantage my *#%*! Also the Rags don’t play a physical high tempo game, they sit back like the Devils. The first round series against Philly was slow and boring hockey, while the Penguins were in a bruising high tempo battle with Columbus. Sick of excuses, Fleury has outplayed Lundqvist and the Pens offence is scoring while the Rags PP is non-existent. That’s where the blame should lie. It has nothing to do with the schedule. But excuses are exactly what the Penguins want to hear from AV. The Rags are already finding ways to lay down and blame something else.

  20. quizguy66 - May 6, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    It’s the Rangers fault for not winning faster. Duh.

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