Friday, May 31, 2013

The New Rangers Coach - Who Will It Be?

The New York Rangers will have a new head coach for the 2013-14 season. That much is certain. Who that head coach will be is very much up for debate. There are some leading candidates however, and here is a brief look into who just might be behind the bench at Madison Square Garden for the 2013-14 season.

1. Lindy Ruff
This is the big dog and in my opinion, the most likely candidate to become head coach for New York. Most recently the longtime coach of one of the other NHL teams residing in New York State, Ruff suited up as a player for the Rangers to wind up his NHL playing career.  With a .564 winning percentage in the NHL playoffs, and 571 career regular season wins behind the bench, Ruff has shown the right stuff to lead a winning team.  Although not all believe that Ruff will wind up coaching the blueshirts, he is favored by at least one odds-maker to become the Rangers' man. 

2.  Alain Vigneault
The NHL's top coach for the 2006-07 season, and the leader of the team who won back-to-back President's trophies for the most points in the regular season, Vigneault is certainly respected as a head coach.  He led his team to the Stanley Cup Finals, and to within one win of the Cup.  The Canucks were perceived at times by some, to be not as strong in the playoffs as they were in the regular season.  However, Vigneault cannot bear all of the blame for Vancouver's post-season woes.  Not by a long shot.  He certainly has the experience to coach a team like the Rangers.  The question remains to be, how would he coach under the bright lights in Manhattan, with what has been perceived to be an under-performing squad?  Vancouver is a demanding hockey town, for sure.  New York's a different animal.

3.  Mark Messier
If Mark Messier wants the head coaching job with the New York Rangers, it's his.  That's my opinion.  He is a proven leader.  The players would most certainly respect him.   But.....I don't think the chances are very good that Messier will want the position.  Sure, there's an outside chance, but I think Messier, who is currently a special advisor to GM Glen Sather, has his eyes set on a front office position.

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