Whether or not intentional or not, what Ryan McDonagh stated was an oblique endorsement of his coach, Alain Vigneault — which is tough to return by now that these Rangers are three-7-2 after one other horrid first interval resulted in a 5-four loss to the Canadiens on Saturday night time in Montreal.
“There’s good power in right here once we undergo our conferences, and there’s good speak,” McDonagh stated after the sport, when he was the workforce’s harshest critic in a locker room that had only a few gamers prepared to reply for an additional desultory efficiency. “We’ve had the identical strains and similar ‘D’ pairs right here for a number of video games, in order that’s not an excuse. There isn’t a excuse.”
Later, McDonagh added that it was “nothing about schemes and techniques, that first interval.”
As an alternative, the captain tried to direct blame towards the gamers, utilizing damning phrases like there was a scarcity of “compete” and “battle degree.” Certainly it displays poorly on Vigneault that the staff has had such terrible begins to video games, however the query is, what can the coach do when his gamers, from prime to backside, are virtually universally underachieving?
Vigneault didn’t get to 617 profession teaching wins, good to be tied for thirteenth on the all-time record, by being a fireplace-and-brimstone sort motivator. Nevertheless it looks like this workforce may want extra of that in the event that they need to flip this season round earlier than it’s too late.
Perhaps the revamped group wasn’t precisely imagined to contend this yr, with Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil representing a superb future down the center that simply wasn’t prepared whereas each first-rounders have been nonetheless youngsters. However only a few have been anticipating it to be fairly this dangerous, with the likes of McDonagh and goalie Henrik Lundqvist — the 2 most relied-upon veterans — each struggling to seek out any consistency.
Vigneault has given McDonagh 5 totally different defensive companions already, and that is perhaps clear now as a mirrored image on the captain struggling to seek out his recreation greater than anything. Vigneault stated he “didn’t have a ‘D’ pair that would make a cross” on Saturday, and if the Marc Staal-Kevin Shattenkirk duo had been OK since uniting eight video games in the past, they have been a multitude towards the Habs.
How for much longer can Shattenkirk be shielded by the concept he’s getting “used to his environment,” as Vigneault put it? Quickly, that 4-yr, $26.6 million deal — or at the very least the $6.sixty five million cap hit this season — goes to start out wanting much less…