Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
Vigneault since September visit to Vancouver: "Night and day"
VANCOUVER---Back in late September, when the Rangers were here for a pre-season game---and were shelled----Alain Vigneault, who had coached here for seven seasons, had not cut the ties.
Six months later, it appears he has.
“This is night and day from when we came here in training camp,” he said Monday after practice at Rogers Arena. “It was a very emotional time for me. Now it’s all about winning games. We’re in a tough fight to get into the playoffs and we need every point we can get, so my focus is to get our team ready to play tomorrow.”
In taking questions from the Vancouver media, Vigneault declined to discuss current Canucks players, terming it “unfair” because he hasn’t been here.
He did say that the systems he used in Vancouver had to be tailored to different personnel in New York, but was impressed with the Blueshirts’ work ethic.
“They come to practice and they work, they focus and they bust their butt,” he said. “Since the first time I’ve been on the ice with them, they’ve had this drive to learn and to improve and to get better, and that hasn’t changed.”
Vigneault said he wasn’t wired to take criticism personally, and, in my eyes, it appears he is much more comfortable in this environment. Winning certainly helps.
At one point, Vigneault joked that “We're fortunate right now to have the top scorer in the NHL the past four years (Martin St. Louis) on our team and he doesn't have a goal and has three assists...I've turned him into a defensive specialist."
And when someone asked if he had learned to navigate the Lincoln Tunnel, he smiled and said: “I’m real used to New York right now. I’m honking the horn, I’ve got it all down to a science.”