NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Alain Vigneault will be the next head coach of the New York Rangers.
And Mark Messier isn’t happy about it.
“I don’t really know what Mark is going to do,” general manager Glen Sather told the New York Post. “He was very disappointed when I called to tell him that we were going to hire Alain. He said he wanted to take a few days and would call me, but we haven’t spoken since.”
The former Rangers great interviewed for the coaching job and was passed over. For the past four seasons he has served as a special assistant to Sather.
His future with the Blueshirts is now in doubt, according to the newspaper.
New York agreed to a five-year contract with Vigneault over the weekend. Vigneault brings far more experience behind the bench than Messier would have, as he has 10 years of NHL coaching experience. The former was previously the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks. He was fired by Vancouver on May 22 after his team was swept in the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs by the San Jose Sharks.
Vigneault will be introduced as Rangers head coach on Friday morning at Radio City Music Hall.
John Tortorella was fired by the Rangers following the team’s second-round defeat to the Boston Bruins in five games, a decision which surprised many.
“I’m not going to start dumping on Torts,” Sather told the New York Post. “He was very good for us when he first got here, gave us a lot of discipline and taught the players a lot of good things. Whether he could have gotten us over the next hurdle, I don’t know. I couldn’t be sure he would. There were things that happened along the way, things I picked up on that gave me a feel about the team.”
The general manager denied that it was the players who forced Tortorella out.
“The players didn’t come to me with ultimatums,” Sather told the newspaper. “It wasn’t that way. I hope people recognize that I have enough integrity that it wouldn’t be a spur of the moment decision. But I did think we had gotten to the point where we needed a change. And so that’s what we did.”
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