Rangers Notebook: Vigneault experimenting to assess talent

Chris Kreider will be up to stay next time he's promoted from Connecticut. Credit: Getty Images
Chris Kreider will be on the top line to start the preseason as Alain Vigneault gives him a good look.
Credit: Getty Images

Winning is important, but the overriding goal for new head coach Alain Vigneault heading into Monday night’s preseason game against the Devils was to study the collection of athletes at his disposal.

“Right now my thoughts are evaluating our players,” Vigneault told reporters at the Rangers’ Greenburgh, N.Y., practice facility Monday morning.

The Rangers held two practice sessions yesterday — one at 10:30 a.m. and the other at 11:30 a.m. — before the preseason opener at the Rock.

Vigneault’s plan heading into the exhibition game was to “find roles for guys where we’re going to have success, putting guys in places where they can be successful.

“You always play to win. There’s not a player, a coach, [an] assistant coach, a staff member — we all have a competitive nature where we want to win. We’ll play to win but it’s also about putting guys on the ice [in] any moments and see how they react. Can they make the right play at the right time in the right areas? You’ve got to give them that opportunity and that’s what we’re going to do tonight.”

As part of the experimentation, a top line of Chris Kreider, Brad Richards and Rick Nash was created for the game. While the organization has embraced a “clean-slate” mantra, the forward trio should be on the opening night roster.

All three have something to prove this season.

Following a season in which he was routinely shuttled between the NHL and AHL, Kreider appeared to jell with Nash and Derick Brassard as a line during the final two games of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Bruins. He finished the regular season with three points (two goals and an assist) in 23 games, and had two points in eight playoff games.

After being acquired in a blockbuster deal with Columbus last summer, Nash recorded 42 points (21 goals and 21 assists) in 44 games, but only had five points (one goal and four assists) in 12 playoff games. Nash assessed his playoff performance as “good” on breakup day.

Despite their ups and downs, it can be argued that Kreider and Nash were more successful than Richards. The center arrived to camp out of shape, and was benched at one point during a regular season in which he had 34 points in 46 games. He was scratched in Games 4 and 5 against Boston to end a playoffs where he had one goal and no assists in 10 games.

“We want them to play well,” Vigneault said. “I want them, if they get an opportunity, to go out on the power play [and] get a little bit of chemistry going. We worked on [the power play] today for the first time with coaches. We worked on it [Sunday] but there [was] no direction. Today there was a little more direction. I’m anxious to see us get better and evolve — five-on-five and our specialty teams also.”

Tickets going on sale

Rangers single game tickets go on sale, Thursday, Sept. 26 at noon. There is a limit of four tickets per game per person. Tickets can be purchased through the Rangers website and Ticketmaster.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.