Potential fallout from Vigneault's presence
August, 28, 2013
By Victoria Matiash | ESPN.com
Even though most of the cast of characters remains the same, some degree of metamorphosis is expected in Manhattan this season. By replacing John Tortorella as head coach of the New York Rangers, Alain Vigneault brings a fresh influence with his own preferred system and style. An approach that will inevitably differ from his predecessor's. This doesn't mean Vigneault will jam experienced, skilled skaters into his own mold -- several prominent Rangers tell Craig Custance they'll remain true to their own individual style of play -- only that the team won't resemble a carbon copy of what Torts had in operation. There's no way. So here are a few factors to look for as Vigneault takes his seat in the director's chair near Broadway.
1. More offense Simply put, we should expect more goals from the Rangers with a new head sheriff behind the bench. The Vancouver Canucks' offense flourished under Vigneault for a good chunk of his seven-season tenure -- sitting at, or near, the top of the NHL's rankings (goals per game) through three seasons from 2009 until 2012. Perhaps partly because the 52-year-old allows his top players the freedom to strut their stuff, for which he has a well-earned reputation.
"I believe your top skilled players have to be given a little more latitude," Vigneault said of his coaching style, as reported by CBC Sports in June. "They have to understand the game, they have to understand the time in the game where you need to play higher percentage but they also have to be given that latitude to make something out of nothing …"