- So tomorrow's officially the day, eh? The New York Rangers are officially going to be introducing Alain Vigneault as the head coach. While it's completely expected, I'm sure a lot of you are breathing a huge sigh of relief that Glen Sather didn't flip a switch and hire Mark Messier anyway.
- Speaking of Messier, he's apparently really upset he didn't get the job. Here's a snippet from Larry Brooks:
"I don't really know what Mark is going to do," general manager Glen Sather told The Post last night. "He was very disappointed when I called to tell him that we were going to hire Alain. He said he wanted to take a few days and would call me, but we haven't spoken since."
- I'm not sure what happens next for Messier. I can't see him joining the staff as an assistant, and I don't think he wants to move down to the AHL level (just a gut feeling). There might come a time in the future when Messier is the right guy for the job. Right now is not that time, though, and Sather made the right call.
- Another tidbit from Brooks, this time on Henrik Lundqvist publicly claiming he had nothing to do with John Tortorella being fired:
"I would never put pressure on the management on decisions like that. I'm just a player. My focus is to play the game and do the best I can on the ice. Whatever [happens] off the ice, I leave to our great staff we have working for this club."
I believe this. I really don't think Lundqvist's comments on breakup day had anything to do with him trying to cryptically let management and the public know he didn't like Tortorella. That entire situation was blown out of proportion and people are looking at that one quote and assuming this was Lundqvist. Sather did go on in the article to claim:
"The players didn't come to me with ultimatums," the GM told The Post. "It wasn't that way. I hope people recognize that I have enough integrity that it wouldn't be a spur of the moment decision. But I did think we had gotten to the point where we needed a change. And so that's what we did."
I believe that, too, for what it's worth.
- Aren't you guys glad the bright lights of New York drew Vigneault to Manhattan? Quality coaching options are really dwindling, especially with Dave Tippett expected to re-sign in Phoenix. Like I said a few weeks ago, sometimes it's worth taking a risk, for the Rangers and Vigneault they knew now wasn't that time.
- Another series of notes, this time from the New York Daily News:
Sather told the Daily News that he expects to re-sign all four of the Rangers' active restricted free agents: Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello. He said he has not had further discussions about a contract extension for Henrik Lundqvist but told Lundqvist's agent, Don Meehan , that they would meet this week. Sather has been busy with other matters, after all... Sather declined to say if any decision had been made on whether or not to buy out Brad Richards' contract.
This isn't surprising at all, although it does shed some light that the Rangers do want to bring back Zuccarello. Lundqvist contract negotiations are expected to begin soon .. so you all can stop panicking.
- Also Sather declining to say if a decision had been made about Richards means a decision has been made. What that decision is, well, we don't know.