The New York Rangers have fired head coach Alain Vigneault.
The club canned Vigneault on Saturday after finishing the regular season with a 34-39-9 record. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
The Flyers defeated the Rangers by a final score of 5-0 and that seemed to be the proverbial last straw, with Philadelphia clinching and New York heading for the golf course.
The Quebec City native coached the Rangers for five seasons, posting a record of 226-147-37. He led the club to the Metropolitan Division title in 2014 and landed in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since the late 1990s. The Rangers fell to the Los Angeles Kings in five games.
Immediately following Saturday’s loss to the Rangers, Vigneault was in front of the media pleading his case.
“Yes, yes, without a doubt,” Vigneault said of the possibility of returning next season. “I think my staff is the right staff for this job. I think, and this is just my opinion, but I think one of the strongest assets of this organization is its coaching staff and their experience. We’ve been able to do it with veteran players, we’ve been able to do it with younger players. Our development record — and our record, wins and losses — you know what, it’s pretty good, with young and older players.”
Alas, it was not to be and Vigneault was fired shortly afterward.
At the time, the bench boss said he didn’t expect to talk about his future with the team until the season was formally over. But that conversation seemed to come in a hurry.
The Rangers have taken some unusual steps as of late, including sending a letter to fans in an effort to inform them as to their future plans. The Blueshirts intend on getting younger and faster and Vigneault is clearly not part of those plans.
Vigneault has coached three NHL clubs in his career, including the Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens. He reached the Stanley Cup Final with the Canucks as well.
Vigneault’s coaching career has thus far amounted to a 614-396-35-89 record over 15 seasons.