There was far more chaos this summer than most New York Rangers fans were expecting. John Tortorella was surprisingly fired after the Rangers bowed out of the second round in five games, Mark Messier threw his name into the ring for the open position, Dan Bylsma vaulted up to the top of the list even though he wasn't fired yet, the Rangers might have thought about waiting for Dave Tippett and the Dallas Stars were hot on the heels of Alain Vigneault (the Rangers rumored top choice from the beginning).
Things got even crazier on Friday. Messier admitted to interviewing for the open position and the Rangers informed the press they requested permission to interview Los Angeles Kings assistant John Stevens. Then reports surfaced that Vigneault removed his name from contention for the Stars head coaching position leading everyone to believe Vigneault was headed to New York.
Which is exactly what happened. Saturday afternoon Vigneault signed his contract to become the head coach of the New York Rangers.
This was the right move for the New York Rangers. We've already talked about how Glen Sather and his brass couldn't make a mistake when it came to this decision. Yes, Messier is an interesting option, and there's a real case to be made that he will make a very good head coach. But there was a significant amount of risk surrounding Messier, and right now the Rangers can't afford to take a risk.
The Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist in his prime. They have a good young core and some players any team would kill to have. They have the pieces in place to be true contenders for the Stanley Cup. Tortorella's system (in my opinion) held them back. His antics in the locker room (which no one outside the room was aware of until he was fired) rubbed the players the wrong way and held the team back as well. There's no way around it.
Vigneault is expected to bring in new life. He employs a more offensive system, he gets the most out of his stars, he's a matchup machine and he's turned Vancouver into one of the best teams in the NHL. His success speaks for itself. There's a reason why he's on the market (his playoff issues the past few seasons) but I think this Rangers team is the right team to fix those.
We'll go more in depth about him later. But for right now it's worth noting that the Rangers made the right choice. Vigneault was the easy choice, even if it wasn't the easiest decision to make.
The Rangers did the right thing. Now it's his turn to show the Rangers they were right in making him the guy.