Alain Vigneault strikes a more thankful tone the day after firingNews 

Alain Vigneault strikes a more thankful tone the day after firing


Alain Vigneault strikes a more thankful tone the day after firing

Just over 24 hours after his unique soliloquy in which Alain Vigneault proudly, defiantly, meticulously and pre-emptively declared himself a coaching success wherever he’d worked in the NHL, the former coach of the Rangers struck a somewhat different tone in a statement released through the club’s media relations department.

“I would like to thank the New York Rangers management — Mr. James Dolan, Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton — for allowing me the privilege to coach the Rangers,” Vigneault said. “I spent five wonderful years in New York and I want to express my gratitude to all the coaches, players and staff that I worked with during that period of my life.

“The Rangers have an incredible fan base and I will cherish many special moments, especially our trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers are going in a different direction, I respect that and I wish them all the best.”

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Vigneault, who became the first Rangers coach in six decades to be behind the bench for five straight openers (since Phil Watson from 1955-56 through 1959-60, finished his Blueshirt career 226-147-37. He is the third-winningest coach in franchise history, behind Emile Francis (342) and Lester Patrick (281). His .596 winning percentage ranks second only to Francis (.602) among coaches with at least 100 games. The Rangers went to the Cup final in Vigneault’s first season of 2013-14 and then won the Presidents’ Trophy the following year.

But there has been a downward drift since. Management mandated a trade deadline teardown that all but guaranteed the club’s first playoff miss since 2010.

There has been no announcement regarding the fate of assistants Scott Arniel, Darryl Williams, Lindy Ruff or Benoit Allaire.

It should be noted that Allaire, the goaltending coach, worked in both Tom Renney’s and John Tortorella’s administrations since his hiring in 2004. General manager Gorton is scheduled to address the media Monday morning.

Vigneault’s statement concludes:

“Thus far in my coaching career I am very grateful that I have had the privilege to work with three great organizations — Vancouver, and two Original Six teams with New York and Montreal. I have great respect for everyone in the media but for now please understand that I don’t intend to comment any further, as I will regroup with my family. Thank you everyone for a great ride and life-lasting memories.”

Vigneault has two years remaining on his contract at over $8 million. If he is hired by another team during that team, as he most assuredly will be, that club would defray a negotiated portion of the salary.


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