Will Vigneault Hiring Have any Effect on Wolf Pack?

The parent New York Rangers made it official Friday, Alain Vigneault is the new Ranger head coach.

Ironically, while Vigneault was being introduced at a Radio City Music Hall press conference, reports were circulating on-line that the Vancouver Canucks, whom Vigneault coached for the past seven seasons, had offered their head job to John Tortorella, who, of course, had been the Rangers’ head man for five years before being relieved of his duties May 29.


Alain Vigneault, at the Radio City Music Hall press conference announcing his hiring as Ranger head coach (BlueshirtsUnited.com)

Will this Ranger change affect the Wolf Pack at all?  It’s looking like it probably won’t.

Pack head man Ken Gernander has headed, I believe, off to his offseason home in Coleraine, Minnesota, but when I saw him back here in the Nutmeg State after the Tortorella announcement, he did not let slip any indication that there might be anything afoot as far as a move to New York.  And assistants Pat Boller and Jeff Beukeboom both were at the Wolf Pack’s season ticket holder “town meeting” event Wednesday at the Connecticut Convention Center, and I did not hear anything out of them that made me think they were expecting the Wolf Pack staff to be any different for this coming season.

The Vigneault introduction did not include anything about assistants, but in the course of talking about what his staff might look like, he told the media, “I prefer – and they will be – guys that have NHL experience.”  That would seem to indicate that Vigneault, and, presumably, the rest of the organization, think that Gernander, Boller and Beukeboom are more valuable to the operation as developers of talent here in Hartford than as assistants in New York.  You never know, though.

The other thing that might have an effect on the Wolf Pack that I took out of the messaging from Friday’s gathering was the idea that the overall style of play and focus of the organization might be pushed somewhat more towards generating scoring chances than eliminating them in the defensive end.  Not than anyone can expect the Ranger philosophy suddenly to embrace firewagon hockey, and I didn’t think that the Blueshirts under Tortorella were particularly defensive-minded, but it did sound like the hope was that Vigneault’s philosophies would lead to the Rangers’ impressive group of skilled forwards feeling like they had the green light to be at least a little bit more creative.

“I believe your top skill players have to be given a little latitude,” Vigneault said in his press conference. “They have to understand the time when you have to play a little higher percentage, but they also have to be given the latitude to make something out of nothing.”

It will be interesting to see how that philosophy translates to the on-ice product, both in Manhattan and in Hartford, come the first week of October.


3 Responses to “Will Vigneault Hiring Have any Effect on Wolf Pack?”

  1. chirs Says:

    so the wolf pack site is back up again and it looks like so is your blog. i was thinking of some ideas for a while now and wanna throw them out their. 1 with uconn moving into the xl center for a few years starting in the 2014-15 season i think their should be some uconn pack double headers. and also maybe with them moving to the xl center for a few years along with the size of the building it may be an interesting to experiment with a connecticut college hockey tournament. you know similar to the bean pot. take uconn and 3 other colleges and do something of the same style. maybe quinnipiac and yale can be in the mix. they have some of the best programs in the world and given their long histories and how close they are they already hate each other. add one more college team from ct good marketing and if something like that draws well who knows it could be a positive thing.

  2. chirs Says:

    interesting time to experiment. forgot to add the word time in their.

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