Trading Places: Rangers hire Vigneault and Canucks bring in Tortorella

On the day the Rangers introduced new coach Alain Vigneault, it looks like their former employee has landed on his feet in Vancouver. According to multiple reports, John Tortorella is expected to take over the Canucks replacing Vigneault.

Basically, the two veteran coaches have been traded for each other. An oddity. Has that ever happened before? Speaking of irony, Lindy Ruff will coach the Stars. How will that work? Can you imagine this day coming back in 1999? After the whole No Goal saga. Buffalo resident Brian Sanborn devoted a show to it, appropriately titled “The No Goal Sports Show.”

I guess it’s just a weird June. There’s no other way to describe it. Tortorella in Vancouver with that press is even scarier. It makes Manhattan seem tame. His predecessor/replacement Vigneault coached there and Montreal. So, he should be fine here. Plus he is more media friendly. So, they’ll love him and probably already do. He doesn’t have to win a game to earn that.

Vigneault has already toured the radio airwaves appearing on the Rangers home ESPN and then WFAN. We heard how much he likes the roster, referring to it as a very good team. The pulse on a more aggressive system that should allow defensemen to jump into the rush more freely.

Tortorella taught our core well and developed a young nucleus. Now, he’ll take over the Canucks, who are a veteran team led by The Sedins. When asked who were the best players he coached, Vigneault chose them without hesitation. He didn’t disrespect Roberto Luongo, who probably finally gets moved this summer. It’ll be a luxury for Tortorella to have Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who are easily the best players he’ll coach. Marian Gaborik was pretty good and Rick Nash showed flashes. If you polled him, he’d probably still choose Brad Richards, who won a Conn Smythe when they teamed to win in Tampa. He’ll also get to coach Ryan Kesler.

I wonder if he’ll make better use out of Vigneault’s former defense, which boasts Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler and power play quarterback Jason Garrison along with Dan Hamhuis. That quartet is more offensive minded than the Rangers’ top four of Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal. Defensively, give the edge to the Blueshirts. Though Vigneault has plenty of work ahead to harness the talent out of the inconsistent Del Zotto.

What about free agents? The Canucks have more unrestricted’s including NY Puck target Max Lapierre, Mason Raymond and Derek Roy. The Rangers are mainly focused on re-signing key RFA’s Carl Hagelin, McDonagh and Derek Stepan. Glen Sather’s goal is to get Henrik Lundqvist done. He’ll also see if he can bring back Ryane Clowe and Mats Zuccarello. John Moore is a Group II and Steve Eminger is a UFA.

It’ll be intriguing to follow both teams. Especially the coaches. 

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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3 Responses to Trading Places: Rangers hire Vigneault and Canucks bring in Tortorella

  1. Hasan says:

    It is kinda funny it worked out that way. Seems like half the coaches in the league were fired from somewhere else.My computer's still in a coma (fried motherboard for the last week plus), hopefully I'll get it back tomorrow or at least before the draft. In the meantime I won't be able to post much.


  2. Derek Felix says:

    Ah. Well I hope it unfries. Are you going to the draft?


  3. Hasan says:

    Of course, not sure how long I'll stay or how early I get there though. Probably the latest I'll stay is through our fourth rounder (we only have a six after), more likely I'll leave after our second rounder since we don't have a 3 either.


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