Posted September 24, 2013 on
AP on Fox
New York Rangers
Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
Tampa Bay Lightning
The message from the New York Rangers bench might not be any different than in years past. The tone in which it is delivered most likely will be.
Whether the softer approach new coach Alain Vigneault offers in comparison to the barking tones of deposed bench boss John Tortorella is what the Rangers need remains to be seen.
Despite getting the club to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, Tortorella was somewhat surprisingly let go by general manager Glen Sather and replaced by the gentler-on-the-outside Vigneault, who was dismissed as coach of the Canucks after Vancouver was swept in the first round of the playoffs by San Jose.
In an added twist, Tortorella got Vigneault's old job in Vancouver, while Vigneault took over for him in New York.
Quite a trade indeed.
''I believe the New York Rangers have been doing a lot of the right things for a lot of years,'' Vigneault said. ''This is an Original Six team. This is a great franchise. There are some things I prefer done a certain way, and I'm going to tell the players. But as far as this being a drastic change, this organization is one of the best in the league.
''There are little things here and there that need to be pushed in a certain direction. The atmosphere, the environment that I want to create - a professional, positive environment. I want the players to feel good about coming to the rink and trying to get better every day.''
Vigneault is the winningest coach in Canucks history, but after a seven-year run it was determined a different voice was needed in Vancouver - perhaps a harsher one than the one the more user-friendly Vigneault provided.
Tortorella lasted only 4 1/2 seasons before his time with the Rangers ran out.
Sather was quick to assert at Vigneault's introductory news conference that the Rangers needed a change in style. He spoke specifically about Tortorella's strong focus on defense and blocking shots - a philosophy that often led to New York's players being consistently banged up.
Vigneault was given a five-year deal to lead the Rangers, edging out other candidates such as Mark Messier and longtime former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who landed with the Dallas Stars.
In 11 seasons as an NHL head coach with Montreal and Vancouver, the 52-year-old Vigneault is 422-288-35-61 in 806 games.
''The style of play we like to play is outnumber the opposition aggressively so we can recover the puck, set the tone and go on the attack,'' Vigneault said. ''As our players understand the different principles we're trying to put in place, then I think people will be able to pick up (the system).''
The Rangers open at Phoenix on Oct. 3.
Here are five things to keep an eye on with the Rangers this season:
ROAD TRIP: Before the Rangers get into the thick of the new-look Eastern Conference, they will get a healthy dose of Western opponents as they open with a nine-game, 23-day road trip necessitated by extensive renovations at Madison Square Garden. New York will play at Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim and St. Louis before traveling to face Eastern foes Washington, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Detroit, which has been transferred from the West to the East. If New York can get off to a good start before finally playing at home on Oct. 28 against Montreal, it could bode well later in the season.
STEPAN'S ABSENCE: The Rangers are dealing with the absence of restricted free agent center Derek Stepan, who remains unsigned deep into training camp. The sides are believed to be about $600,000 apart on a two-year deal. Stepan is thought to be looking to get $7 million as the Rangers are holding to a $6.4 million offer. It is unknown if Stepan, who could be the club's top center, will be signed before opening night. He will have to sign by Dec. 1 to be eligible to play.
NEW FOES: While the Rangers will still face familiar rivals from their Atlantic Division days - the New Jersey Devils, the New York Islanders, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins - they will be joined in the newly formed Metropolitan Division by the Carolina Hurricanes, the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets, who were moved from the West.
NASH AND RICHARDS: Brad Richards is still with the Rangers after his poorest NHL season. He avoided having his contract bought out, but he will need to show the kind of offense he featured during his glory days with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nash had 21 goals and 21 assists in his lockout-shortened first season in New York. He struggled with a wrist injury and had only one postseason goal.
INJURIES: The Rangers hope to have key forwards captain Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin back on the ice soon after both underwent shoulder surgery. They might not be cleared for contact before the season opener. However, leading defenseman Marc Staal said he feels good as he continues to come back from a serious eye injury.
BEST OF MAXIM
Ryan McDonagh is the Rangers top player under 25 years of age.
Over the past few weeks, the guys over at Copper n Blue (Oilers blog) have put together a voting contest where their fans vote on the best young core in the league. The guys at CNB have annually put together their list of top 25 guys under the age of 25, and many others have taken that idea and ran with it for their own...
The NHL’s presentation of Trading Places: Behind the Benches debuts Thursday night with Alain Vigneault’s Rangers hooking up with John Tortorella’s Canucks.
But while this unique matchup will attract a disproportionate amount of attention across the continent the Blueshirts have way too much unfinished business to complete in this preseason to be concerned with proving a point...
Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers have cut the following players, and sent them to the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack:
Goalies: Cam Talbot
Defensemen: Tommy Hughes, Aaron Johnson, Dylan McIlrath, Danny Syvret
Forwards: Micheal Haley, Michael Kantor, Andrew Yogan, Danny Kristo
While most of these were predictable (I got 8 of 9 correct), Kristo being sent to the AHL is a bit of a surprise....
Per Steve Zipay, the lines for tonight’s game against Edmonton will be:
Benoit Pouliot-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello
Marek Hrivik-Oscar Lindberg-Danny Kristo
Micheal Haley-Dominic Moore-Derek Dorsett
Chris Kreider-JT Miller-Arron Asham
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Conor Allen
Aaron Johnson-Tommy Hughes
Martin Biron (full game)
There are a few things worth noting...
Hasn’t missed a beat (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Rangers lost their third preseason game –and second straight– tonight in Edmonton, but it was not all negative. J.T. Miller and Connor Allen played extremely well tonight. Allen is leapfrogging kids on the depth chart very, very quickly. We all know about Miller’s potential, and the kid played will with Arron Asham and...
(Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News)
Although the Rangers lost tonight’s game in Calgary, we learned a lot of important things about Alain Vigneault and his coaching style. The first, and it’s something we’ve heard a lot about, is that he preaches offense, and getting offense from his defensemen. We saw that on the first goal, when Marc Staal was down by the circles for...
Vigneault will be looking long term, not just trying to cope in October
While the vast majority of NHL teams have trimmed their rosters down in preparation for the season, the Rangers are still carrying a large, oversized squad as they continue to work out what they need to cope with a harsh start to their regular season. The results haven’t been positive (yet) but when has the...
One of the best moments of Nazem Kadri’s free-agent contract squabble with the Toronto Maple Leafs was when he called out the team’s irresponsible cap management in a martyr-ish way:
“I know I’m being pretty reasonable taking cap into consideration when really that’s not my job."
Alas he had zero leverage and took the money ($2.9 million against the cap) the Leafs...
By now, most of our regular readers are aware I was a big supporter of John Tortorella and the team concept he constructed for the New York Rangers. To say the least, I was very disappointed with Glen Sather’s decision to fire him.
Although I had an up close perspective of John that most did not, I still disagreed with some of his decisions/strategies. And while AV isn’t...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
They came down from the mountains Monday to start a week of NHL exhibition games – first in Calgary, then Edmonton, and then Thursday, in what might be September’s most-anticipated meaningless game, Alain Vigneault’s New York Rangers face off against John Tortorella’s Vancouver Canucks.
Three networks are televising the...
The Rangers are in Edmonton tonight to take on the Oilers in their second of back-to-back games, and second of a four-in-five stretch to close out the preseason. The lines for tonight’s game have generated some discussion, particularly when you look at the forward lines. This is a team that needs to shake off the rust, but needs to give their highly touted prospects...
Henrik Lundqvist for Head & Shoulders in your 12-year-old sister's leather jacket [The Nosebleeds]
**Follow us on Twitter, View via Our Mobile Site, or Return to BobsBlitz.comFollow us on Twitter. Subscribe or Return to Bob's Blitz.
The teams swapped coaches. By definition then the Rangers are hoping to infuse the best of Alain Vigneault’s Canucks while John Tortorella wants to infuse on the West Coast – aka the Wet Coast – what worked so well for him in New York.
The teams’ identity makeovers intersect tonight when Tortorella’s Canucks host Vigneault’s Rangers at Rogers Arena a preseason game unusually...
Follow Colin on Twitter!: @ColinDJD
The Calgary Flames took on the New York Rangers last night in what was an entertaining game to watch with some big saves and big goals. The Flames played well against the Rangers as most felt that with Lundqvist in net and a few of their stars on the ice, it would have been a much closer game.
The final tally for the night was 4-1 for the...
John Tortorella is assembling the puzzle pieces that are his Vancouver Canucks and he still doesn’t know just where Zack Kassian fits.
It’s clear he’d like Kassian to slide in alongside the Sedin twins on Vancouver’s first line and develop into the type of power forward many project him to be.
So far that Kassian puzzle piece hasn’t exactly snapped into place. The 22...