He said that the organization had been evaluating things since the deadline and "in the last week we had some real conversations with our group and basically made that decision in the last few days."
Gorton said that Vigneault was successful with the Ranges but "I think that after five-years, we think it's time for a change and the players need a new voice and the organization needs a new coach. That is the decision we made."
In another interview, Gorton said "I think that in sports five-years is a long time and watching our team over the last several months and thinking about going forward with youth, it just felt like it was the right time to make the change. Have the timing of a new coach and, essentially, a young team start together."
He said that the decision had been made heading into Saturday's game against Philadelphia and that as far as Gorton knows, Vigneault was not aware a decision had been made.
Gorton told Vigneault after the Rangers arrived back in New York via train from Philadelphia.
Asked if Vigneault had lost the locker room, Gorton said that he didn't think so but added "I would say that it was more the day to day message, after five years, needing something new and needing a fresh start, I think we had a number of guys that need that."
When Gorton was asked if he knew he would move on from Vigneault at the trade deadline, he said "I would say no. When we did all of this we had conversations and AV was fine with the things we were doing and understood. As time went on over the last couple of months it became clear to me that we needed a change and I definitely didn't know at the deadline or when we did stuff, it just became clear in the last week or so."
Adam Rotter: I still believe that when the Rangers released their letter and made their moves at the deadline that they were still truly undecided about whether to keep Alain Vigneault. Even to the end I thought it was 50/50 with things leaning more towards a change but not by a lot. Ultimately the Rangers say they decided in the final week of the season or so and came to realization that if they could move forward without Ryan McDonagh on defense, they could move on without Alain Vigneault behind the bench. Now the Rangers need to find the right person to lead them as they combine teaching and working with young players with trying to make a run at the playoffs.