The Rangers former captain, Ryan McDonagh was not at all surprised that Alain Vigneault was let go.
McDonagh on Vigneault’s firing: “It wasn’t necessarily a very big surprise just because everything that’s been going on, the changes. It just makes sense, if you’re going to go in a big different direction, you might as well start with a new coach at the same time.” #NYR
— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) April 16, 2018
This was a difficult season for Ryan McDonagh as he appeared to struggle more than ever before. After losing his long term partner Dan Girardi, McDonagh couldn’t seem to find chemistry with anyone. Couple that with overcompensating for Alain Vigneault’s flawed defensive schema and an upper body issue, it all led to a disappointing season. When McDonagh was finally traded, he looked relieved and happy to be leaving the Rangers, which is not common.
The captain was often undermined by Alain Vigneault, who when things went bad would immediately call out players and leadership in particular. Aside from Mats Zuccarello, not one single Ranger expressed any notable sadness in the coach’s dismissal.
We Saw This Coming in October
Early this year, I wrote about the issues in the locker room. In early October we wrote:
FTNYR has learned through a unconfirmed source with knowledge of the situation, that some have actually expressed their concerns all the way up to owner, James Dolan. Veterans and team leaders like, Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, and Marc Staal may have all felt the need to speak up. To be fair, it wasn’t all anti-Vigneault talk, some of it was about their dissatisfaction with the team’s decision to trade Derek Stepan. However, his management style and treatment of players was likely brought up.
After another embarrassing loss, McDonagh told reporters, “That’s on myself, the other leaders, and the older guys in here have got to find a way to get this group going from the start.” Make of it what you will, but it could also be taken as the players don’t feel that direction will be coming from their coach anytime soon.
Apparently in never did, and now both the captain and the coach are gone.
Updated to include comments from an RDS article on April 11th.
In fairness to all the info that is out there, an article from RDS, a French Canadian outlet had this quote from Ryan McDonagh:
“I have always respected Alain’s methods and philosophy. His requirements, his directives, his messages, everything was always clear. He’s a very organized guy. A demanding guy, able to be tough when the club is not performing, but no one can say he does not know exactly what is required of him in terms of effort and performance. The seasons are long and Alain always found a way to keep us on tiptoe while we could have taken things more lightly. Collectively, we had some difficulties that led the Rangers to do what they did. I do not know who will replace him, but I can assure you one thing: Coach V will bounce back, because there are several teams that will be interested in relying on a guy like him to run their club.“
This translation was pulled from Google, so anyone who is fluent in French please feel free to give a better one in the comments section below.
For the record, McDonagh should be taken at his word. However, even if there were differences, no athlete would out another player or coach on blast. Especially if they are in the middle of a playoff run.
Regardless, the goal of this blog is to give our readers as much info and insight as possible. Thank you for reading us.