Friday, June 21, 2013

AV Introduced to NYC

It has been a crazy day in the hockey world today. Lindy Ruff has been hired as the Head Coach of the Dallas Stars, reports out of Phoenix say Dave Tippett is on the verge of a new 5-year deal with the Coyotes, USA Hockey announced it will be officially announcing its management team for Team USA for the 2014 games in Sochi, and reports say John Tortorella has been offered the head coaching job of the Vancouver Canucks (more on that later).

Anything else?

Oh yeah, the New York Rangers introduced their new head coach, Alain Vigneault. What has been rumored for most of this week was officially announced as AV has signed a five year deal on Broadway.The main speakers at the press conference included AV, President and General Manager Glen Sather, as well as James Dolan. 

As far as press conferences go it was pretty standard with questions mostly focused on what kind of system AV will implement as well as how he will get himself acclimated to his players. Obviously he did not have a lot of time to focus on the Rangers between coaching the Canucks and never playing Eastern Conference teams in the lockout-shortened season. However he is a smart coach who certainly seems to be genuinely excited about the opportunity that has been presented to him. He mentioned playing "the right way" which has been a moniker with the Rangers first instituted by Tortorella. Obviously their versions of the right way will be somewhat different as I expect the Rangers to play more of a puck possession style and control the play more rather than reading and reacting. Is this a better approach? I would not say better but more suited to the way teams play in the National Hockey League today. Dump and chase has a time and a place and can be very effective (see the Boston Bruins this postseason)  but the ability to adapt is also important. That seemed to be one thing the Rangers were unable to do very well this year and it led to their downfall.

As for the coach himself, he is excited about being apart of an Original Six franchise and being closer to his daughters who will only be an hour away by plane. He will begin reaching out to players over the next few weeks and constructing his coaching staff. I'm not really sure who will be the assistants but it is a very important part of a team. AV will be looking for coaches who will help the younger players of the Rangers grow and mature into reliable and skilled NHL players. Obviously no one can really judge how this is going to go until camp starts and games begin as well but its very positive to see AV's excitement about being in New York and even trying to get Glen Sather to laugh by cracking a joke. 
 
As for AV's old job it seems the Canucks have offered it to John Tortorella and are awaiting an answer from the former Rangers coach. I don't know enough about that situation to know how Torts will fit in there. What I will say is that I am not surprised Torts received another opportunity. Having been around him on a day-to-day basis this season he is a very hard worker and a smart hockey coach. Things don't always work out for coaches but maybe a change of scenery will do him good. 

What I can also say for sure is that I am very glad he has received another job. While he has a certain demeanor when it comes to hockey and the media Torts is one of the best hockey people I have ever met off the ice. No shortages of hellos and humility from a man who works his tail off to get his hockey team to succeed. It was tough having to see him go but he is a very kind person who takes an interest in those around him and I wish him the best of luck in his new endeavor. 

But with the coaching carousel seemingly slowing down its time to prepare for the NHL Draft and the gongshow that is free agency. Oh and finish this fantastic finals series. Game 5 tomorrow in Chi-town. 

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