NEW YORK (WFAN) — In the four days since the Rangers’ season ended with a crushing loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, the players have really been at a loss for words to explain what happened.
There really isn’t a simple explanation why the Blueshirts lost 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the deciding game, but during an interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Tuesday, head coach Alain Vigneault tried his best to make sense of it all.
“When you are one period away from getting another opportunity to challenge for the Stanley Cup … it’s going to take some time,” Vigneault said.
“You get so emotionally involved – yourself, your family members and friends and your team – when you get so close you can’t just from one day to the next turn the switch to something. We’ll get through it, but it will take some time.”
With the Rangers having advanced to the Stanley Cup Final last year only to lose in five games to Los Angeles, a lot of people felt that this season was Cup-or-bust. Francesa asked Vigneault if he felt that way as well.
“Every year, going into the playoffs, I always say the same thing — the 16 teams going in all have a legitimate chance to win the Stanley Cup,” the coach said. “There is so little separating teams now that it’s very, very competitive and very hard-fought. This team was a different year than the one prior. We had lost some very important and strong leadership pieces of our team – from Brad Richards to Benoit Pouliot to (Dan) Carcillo, (Derek) Dorsett (and) Anton Stralman. We were replacing those important pieces with some good, young players, good, young players that at the beginning of the season we were hoping that they were going to be able to do the job and our hope became realty.
“We were going into the playoffs feeling very good about our team,” Vigneault added.
To hear Vigneault’s complete and revealing interview with Francesa, please click on the audio link below.