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Vigneault fired as coach of Rangers

Missed playoffs for first time in his five seasons

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Alain Vigneault was fired as coach of the New York Rangers on Saturday after five seasons.

The Rangers finished last in the Metropolitan Division (34-39-9) this season and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009-10.

"I would like to thank the New York Rangers management - Mr. James Dolan, Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton - for allowing me the privilege to coach the Rangers," Vigneault said in a statement released by the Rangers on Sunday. "I spent five wonderful years in New York and I want to express my gratitude to all the coaches, players and staff that I worked with during that period of my life. The Rangers have an incredible fan base and I will cherish many special moments, especially our trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers are going in a different direction, I respect that and I wish them all the best. Thus far in my coaching career I am very grateful that I have had the privilege to work with three great organizations - Vancouver, and two Original Six teams with New York and Montreal. I have great respect for everyone in the media but for now please understand that I don't intend to comment any further, as I will regroup with my family. Thank you everyone for a great ride and life-lasting memories."

Vigneault signed a contract extension, reportedly through the 2019-20 season, on Jan. 31, 2017. He was hired by the Rangers on June 21, 2013.

The Rangers were 226-147-37 under Vigneault, who is third in wins and fourth in games in New York history. They were 31-30 in the playoffs; he is third all-time in playoff wins and games coached in Rangers history.

New York reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, his first season, and got to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2015. The Rangers lost in the Eastern Conference First Round in 2016 and in the second round last season.

Vigneault said he felt he was the right coach for the job following a 5-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

"This is just my opinion, but I think one of the strongest assets of this organization is its coaching staff," Vigneault said.

It's not clear if associate coach Scott Arniel or assistants Lindy Ruff and Darryl Williams will be retained.

Goaltending coach Benoit Allaire is likely to remain because he has a strong relationship with Henrik Lundqvist, whom he has coached since the goalie entered the NHL in 2005.

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