In news that isn’t shocking based on the rumors, the Flyers decided to hire Alain Vigneault as their new head coach today.
It’ll be interesting to see how Vigneault does in a very unforgiving city like Philadelphia. Judging from how they treated the 76ers booing them as early as the second quarter in a Game One loss to the Nets, this will be interesting to follow.
As we know, Vigneault is a good coach who prefers a high tempo offensive style. He certainly will have some excellent weapons at his disposal. Barring any major changes, the veteran coach should have captain Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Jake Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Travis Konceny, Nolan Patrick, Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere. There’s also promising young netminder Carter Hart.
So, there’s a good nucleus for Vigneault to coach. I wonder if his style will mesh with a historically tough franchise known for pushing around opponents. Though that era is dying, they still have guys like Radko Gudas around. AV is a coach who prefers his teams play whistle to whistle and not get involved in the rough stuff we see a lot of during this time of year.
After initial success on Broadway guiding the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final in ’14 and within a period of repeating as Eastern Conference champs in a year they won the President’s Trophy, the luster came off the AV Era slowly. Some could argue the awfully disappointing home shutouts in Games 5 and 7 in a bizarre series loss to the Lightning was the beginning of the end. Granted, four of their six defensemen played hurt.
It didn’t explain the lack of offense under a creative coach, who preached scoring off the rush and emphasized the stretch pass. It still is mystifying why he underutilized Keith Yandle and misused Eric Staal. But then again, communication wasn’t a strong suit. Just ask Pavel Buchnevich or Kevin Hayes about it. Neither were some of the questionable lineup decisions or lack of in game adjustments that proved costly against the Kings, Lightning and Senators.
How will Vigneault handle former 2017 second overall pick Patrick, who’s yet to reach his full potential? He will need to be better in this area if the Flyers are to have success under him.
What about a defense that has talent in Provorov, Gostisbehere and Travis Sanheim? Their offensive numbers should improve, but what about their defense? I don’t know. They can’t just leave Hart out to dry the way Henrik Lundqvist was way too often in the final frantic two seasons under Vigneault. I think that aged him.
Hart is much younger. It’ll be interesting to see if bringing in a proven coach, who has some obvious flaws, will work in the City of Brotherly Love. Either they’ll have good success right away or it’ll blow up in their faces.
Vigneault will make a reported $25 million over five years. Oh my. I don’t say this often. Good luck to the Flyers and their fans.