New Flyers coach brings experience to the bench

Ed Benkin
April 18, 2019 - 6:54 pm
Alain Vigneault decided that one year away from coaching was more than enough.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Alain Vigneault decided that one year away from coaching was more than enough.

After a combined 15 seasons in Montreal, Vancouver and New York, Vigneault took a year off from coaching after being let go by the Rangers. He soon discovered a desire to get back behind the bench and was happy to accept the opportunity to take over in Philadelphia.

Vigneault not only rediscovered his love for coaching, but also realized he had some unfinished business.

"This gave me a year away from the game," said Vigneault. "It put a lot of things in perspective for myself about how much I love the game, how much I love to coach, and how much I need one more thing. In my bucket list, I need one more thing. I need to win a Stanley Cup. I’ve come close twice." 

Vigneault did indeed come close in Vancouver and New York. He guided the Canucks to the Finals in 2011 only to lose a heartbreaking, seven-game series to Boston. Vigneault returned to the Finals with the Rangers in 2014, but the Rangers fell in five games to the Kings.

Now, Vigneault will have another chance with the Flyers and he believes the pieces are in place for his new team to contend for a Cup in the near future.

"First thing I was looking for was an opportunity to win," Vigneault said. "An opportunity in the short-term to win a Stanley Cup. When I look at and analyze the parts we have here in Philly, when I look at and analyze the options that we have in improving this team, it gets a check mark from me."

Vigneault has built a reputation for coaching an up-temp style. It has been successful during his first three coaching stints and Vigneault believes it will work again in Philadelphia.

Vigneault also believes his players will buy into the concept of his style as he begins to transform the Flyers into his type of team.

"You definitely build it around the pieces that are there," said Vigneault. "But I believe in today’s game, a high-tempo, take our game to them approach where you have the D supporting the attack, D jumping up in the play, forwards making the right decision with the puck. When the other team has the gap and there’s no space to make a play, there is one play. That’s to get it behind them."

It was a disappointing season for the Flyers. Many expected the team to get back into the post-season and possibly advance in the playoffs, but the Flyers were on the outside looking in when the regular season came to an end.  

General Manager Chuck Fletcher is betting on Vigneault's experience, while Vigneault is hoping to bring the winning formula that has been missing for much of the past decade.

"I’m extremely excited to be here in Philly," Vigneault said. "This is without a doubt one of the best franchises in the National Hockey League. In my mind and after talking to a lot of people who have been in the game that know this franchise, this team is on the upswing. We’re here to work on winning and bringing a Cup."