‘Rangers Inside And Out’
By Sean Hartnett
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The New York Rangers introduced new head coach Alain Vigneault on Friday in front of a large media gathering at the unfamiliar venue of Radio City Music Hall.
A change of venue, away from the usual setting of Madison Square Garden, was fitting as Vigneault is ready to breathe fresh life into the Rangers. It’s going to be a new era of exciting, offensively-expressive hockey now that Vigneault is replacing former head coach John Tortorella behind the Blueshirts’ bench.
Vigneault has a clear idea on how he expects the Rangers to perform under his watch. His plan is going to excite a fan base that’s been starving for a taste of the Stanley Cup Finals. There’s never any guarantee that a change in coaching will deliver instant success, though Vigneault’s plan certainly raises the level of anticipation ahead of the 2013-14 season.
“I believe that your top skill players have to be given a little bit more latitude,” Vigneault explained during his introductory press conference. “They have to understand the game. “They also have to be given the latitude to make something out of nothing. That’s why those guys have the high-end skill. You’ve got to give them that leeway.”
That should be refreshing news to Rick Nash whose game thrives on expression and unpredictability. Once the press conference broke into group media sessions, I asked Vigneault about his experiences coaching against Nash in the Western Conference. Now in New York, Vigneault is excited to finally have Nash on his side — a player who in his opinion is undoubtedly an elite player.