Saturday, June 15, 2013

New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars: The Next Head Coaches

There are three key head coaching positions open in the NHL right now, with several candidates vying for the slots.  As time moves on, the picture gains clarity on just what men will be filling the needs for each of these three NHL teams.  After reading and listening to the pundits, here is my analysis of what coaches will eventually land on each team.

New York Rangers, Candidates:  Mark Messier, Alain Vigneualt, John Stevens, Wayne Gretzky, Lindy Ruff
Head Coach:  Mark Messier
After GM Glen Sather dismissed John Tortorella with one year remaining on his contract, you knew that the Rangers were looking to go in a different direction as far as temperament and motivational techniques.  Both Alain Vigneualt and Mark Messier would fit the bill of a drastic change in coaching philosophy.  But Messier is already employed by the New York Rangers as a special assistant.  He's also a legend in New York hockey history and quite possibly the most loved New York Ranger of all-time.  So if he wants the job, who is Glen Sather to prevent him from taking the gig?  Yes, Messier has extremely limited head coaching experience.  But hasn't he already proven that he is a leader of men?  And hasn't he been involved in the game for long enough to have a very good feel for what would be required? If Messier wants the job, and Sather chooses someone else, to say that there would be a revolt among Rangers fans, not to mention damage to the Sather-Messier relationship, might be putting in mildly.  Messier as the next Edmonton Oilers coach?  Maybe.  I'm betting that Sather gives him the job and that Messier is announced as the next head coach of the New York Rangers.  

Vancouver Canucks, Candidates:  John Tortorella, John Stevens, Lindy Ruff, Jeff Blashill
Head Coach:  Lindy Ruff
The Canucks had high interest in Dallas Eakins as their next head coach, after the dismissal of Alain Vigneault this year.  But Craig MacTavish and the Edmonton Oilers moved too quickly for them.  The Canucks don't want to be caught in that position again.  Now John Stevens seems to be the new "hot" coach now that Eakins is locked up.  But it's been reported that veteran head coaches John Tortorella and Lindy Ruff have both interviewed for the open slot in Vancouver.  And look at the Canucks' roster.  What do they have and what do they need?  They have veteran talent, the likes of Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieska.  Looking at that list of players, who would be the best fit for the team?  Probably not John Tortorella.  Maybe John Stevens.  Definitely Lindy Ruff.  

Dallas Stars, Candidates:  Alain Vigneault, John Tortorella, John Stevens, Lindy Ruff
Head Coach:  John Tortorella
It looks like new GM Jim Nill would like to have a head coach in place by the time the NHL entry draft takes place on June 30.  There are two key factors in the Dallas Stars coaching search.  Number one, the Stars are a relatively young team.  With a young team, you sometimes need more of an assertive leadership style behind the bench.  Number two, it is apparent that the new general manager needs to feel a good bond with the to-be head coach.  He seems to have that bond with the former coach of the New York Rangers.  So, while none of the candidates mentioned above would be a poor choice at all, there is one that seems to fit the needs of the team the best.  And that's why I think that John Tortorella will be the next head coach of the Dallas Stars.  

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