Kukla's Korner Hockey
During the recent Rangers/Canucks game, both Tortorella and Vigneault were mic'd up.
Boy, when AV gets loud, his voice gets higher...
added 11:20am, Larry Brooks on the contract extension.
added 12:41pm, Official release of the signing is below...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
All right, Alain Vigneault has had his little romance with Cam Talbot, and it is difficult to blame the coach for sticking with the hot hand for Monday’s game against the Jets even if it meant sticking Henrik Lundqvist on the bench again.
But the dalliance with the backup and the genetic engineering being applied the Rangers’ goaltending situation has to end, and end now.
This isn’t a reflex response to Winnipeg 5, Blueshirts 2 at the Garden. This is simply stipulation that the Rangers have no chance to reach their ceiling — whatever that may be — without Lundqvist at his best, and in order to be his best, Lundqvist needs to play … and play … and play in order to get into the rhythm to which he and we have become accustomed over the last eight seasons.
For it is not about one game, not about giving the team its best chance to win one game, not in December it’s not, and not if winning the battle might ultimately undermine efforts to win the war. It is about giving the team its best chance to win over 82 games, even if that means taking one step back to take two steps forward.
The Rangers are stuck in the middle. They don’t have enough top-end talent to play a skill-oriented game. They don’t have anywhere near enough size or muscle to impose their will on anyone. Their identity is anybody’s guess.
added 2:20pm, from Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants,
from Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News,
Cam Talbot has not dethroned Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers say, but Alain Vigneault's decision to start Talbot Monday night for the second straight game has the unmistakable makings of a potential goalie controversy at 33rd and 7th.
"Cam's playing extremely well right now," Vigneault said at the Garden before the Blueshirts (14-13-0) took on the Winnipeg Jets (12-12-4). "He's got a lot of confidence in his abilities, and for tonight's game, I just thought that was the right call. Henrik is definitely the number one goaltender on this team. He's proven that over the years: That he's one of the best, if not the best, in the National Hockey League. But for tonight's game I feel that it's the best thing for us to go with Cam."
Lundqvist, 31, the Rangers' Team MVP for the last seven consecutive seasons and the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie, has not been a healthy scratch in consecutive games since Feb. 5-7, 2011, when now-retired backup Martin Biron played two in a row under former coach John Tortorella....
"This game is not about what you did last year or the last eight years or last month; it's about now," Lundqvist said. "And tonight, this is the best decision for the team, and I stand behind that. I just have to see it as a challenge for me to really reach my top level. I'm not satisfied by being OK or (that) I played a solid game. I want to be great. And if I'm not, I'm not gonna be satisfied. So I just need to push myself even harder here."
On the losing end of a 5-2 score to the New York Rangers, Bieksa fought Brian Boyle and Boyle's helmet too.
Both received 5 for fighting at the 20 minute mark of the 3rd period.
from Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants,
After patiently answering the media’s questions, Vigneault took out his frustrations opposite the way predecessor John Tortorella might have, that is saving his audible curse until the microphones were off and then slamming a door.
“We got exactly what we deserved,” said Vigneault, nixing the notion this was a lost opportunity for the Rangers. “We had too many guys with their B game on the ice against a Stanley Cup finalist, a team that was obviously not happy with their performance (after a 6-1 loss to the Red Wings). We came in here, I thought, with a lot on the line and should have been very motivated. We could have made this a real solid road trip instead of making it an OK road trip (3-2-0). Too many guys, their execution and their compete level…we got exactly what we deserved. We didn’t deserve to come out of here with a win and we didn’t.”
Vigneault, though, looked at the bigger picture when asked if this is the most frustrated he’s been.
“Our lack of consistency has been an ongoing issue here with a few of our players and we’re a .500 hockey team right now,” Vigneault said. “And that’s definitely not good enough.”
from Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times,
As long as John Tortorella coaches the Vancouver Canucks and Alain Vigneault coaches the Rangers, the comparisons will be inevitable.
The Rangers under the calm, cool Vigneault are loose and enjoying themselves. Last week on a swing through the South, the Rangers celebrated victories in Dallas and Nashville; Vigneault joked about his Johnny Cash man-in-black suit; and the players’ fathers were along for part of the trip. In Vancouver under Tortorella, it was all business, serious business. He defiantly explained why he said his team “sucked” after a loss; had a closed-door meeting after a win with David Booth, a player in his doghouse; and talked about the young forward Zack Kassian’s deficiencies after benching him in another loss. In the Canucks’ dressing room, Kassian looked scared.
“They’re both very good, but just different styles of coaches,” said Mike Gillis, the Canucks’ general manager, who arranged what amounted to a Vigneault-for-Tortorella swap last spring with Glen Sather, the Rangers’ general manager. “Alain’s style is what works for him, and it worked for us. John’s style is just different. Technically they’re both extremely sound. They just give direction differently, I guess.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Following Monday’s 5-0 defeat to the Lightning in Tampa, Fla., the Blueshirts were averaging 2.0 goals-per-game while splitting their first 24 matches after averaging 2.6 goals-per-game last year and 2.7 goals-per-game two seasons ago.
So what’s the answer?
Well, perhaps it was simply a throwaway line to the press following what Vigneault called “a more offensive-skill practice,” or perhaps it was a manifestation of the frustration of presiding over a club that has scored nine goals in its last seven games and has been limited to two goals or fewer in 15-of-24 matches, but the coach actually suggested: “Maybe we have to play even tighter to the vest than we are and go into games with that mentality [of trying to win] 2-1.”
Oh, boy. That’s just what everybody wants to hear. And to play.
The Rangers are creating opportunities, sixth in the league in even-strength shots and eighth in attempts. But they’re falling short at the finish line, last in the NHL with an even-strength shooting percentage of 5.2 and 21st with a power-play shooting percentage of 11.1.
“It was a Martin St. Louis lovefest out there and nobody touched a soul, especially not him.
“It was a big no-hitter.”
-Alain Vigneault, head coach of the New York Rangers in his post-game comments. More on the Rangers' 5-0 loss to Tampa Bay from Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Nash said the comparatively lengthy recovery process attached to what was his second concussion in eight months has altered his perspective.
“I’ve come to realize that with all this stuff going on, I’m going to have more than half of my life to live after I retire,” said the 29-year-old. “There’s a lot to life after hockey.
“Headshots are a serious problem in the game. You see them all the time,” said Nash, whose team will play in Dallas on Thursday to open a five-game trip including stops in Nashville, Tampa Bay, Florida and Boston. “You watch the highlights and it seems like there’s a headshot every night.
“Something has to change.”
(Brad) Stuart was suspended for three games for the blow in question. Nash does not question that. He doesn’t assign the burden of affecting change to VP Brendan Shanahan, the Department of Player Safety or the NHL. The burden, he believes, is on the players to change their behavior.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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