Rangers open training camp with new coach Alain Vigneault in charge

Alain Vigneault held court as training camp opened for the Rangers on Wednesday. Credit: Getty Images
Alain Vigneault held court as training camp opened for the Rangers on Wednesday.
Credit: Getty Images

Alain Vigneault was asked yesterday how he plans to revitalize Brad Richards as an offensive contributor.

The answer shone a spotlight on the philosophy Vigneault is employing heading into his first training camp as head coach of the New York Rangers.

“I told Brad, ‘Turn the page. Don’t talk about what happened in the past. It’s behind you, it’s behind me. I wasn’t here and I don’t care,’” Vigneault said on the first day of training camp.

Players reported to the team’s Greenburgh, N.Y. training facility yesterday for physicals and a team meeting. On-ice drills start today and run through Sunday, with the first preseason game Monday night in Newark, N.J. against the Devils.

As has been the case two of the last three years — there wasn’t a preseason in 2013 due to the protracted lockout — the Rangers will play the entirety of their preseason games on the road due to the renovation of Madison Square Garden.

Even though Vigneault spoke with players during the offseason, he and the coaching staff will begin to learn about the team over the next 15 days. As important, the team will learn about an entirely new coaching staff.

“If you see the guys, they’re walking around with a T-shirt that says ‘Clean Slate Grab It,’” Vigneault said. “Everybody’s got a clean slate. Everybody’s going to get a chance. It might not be a long chance, but they’re going to get a chance. They’re going to get an opportunity. It’s up to them to grab it.”

This year’s team is almost entirely intact from the group eliminated by the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, the departures of Ryane Clowe (Devils) and Steve Eminger (KHL) notwithstanding.

With 19 jobs seemingly accounted for, there could be room for young players such as Jesper Fast, Danny Kristo or Oscar Lindberg on the roster.

“Deliberately I watched an hour of the team’s games [last year],” Vigneault said. “I said, ‘I really want everybody to come in with a clean slate. I don’t want to come in with any preconceived notion.’ I want guys to have a legitimate chance.

“Talent has no age. When a player is ready to play, ready to contribute, and he’s going to help the New York Rangers win, he’s going to play on our team. He’s going to get the ice time that he deserves to get. I’ve always been a big believer that at the end of the day, talent has no age. When you’re ready to play, you play.”

The only Rangers not present were reserve goaltender Martin Biron and top-line center Derek Stepan. According to a team spokesperson, Biron has a personal situation and it is not known when he will return to the team. With Biron absent, former Devil Johan Hedberg is attending training camp on a professional tryout basis.

Stepan’s circumstance is different, as he is engaged in contract talks with the organization. It is believed the restricted free agent center is looking for a multiyear deal, while the Rangers have offered a bridge deal, as is traditional for the organization.

Currently, the Rangers have $2.18 million in cap room, but that number could rise to as much as $4.03 million should Arron Asham and Darroll Powe be sent to the AHL following training camp.

“I’ve talked to Derek a couple times throughout the summer,” Vigneault said. “He knows contracts aren’t part of my responsibility, and I’m going to take him with open arms when he gets here. I know he wants to be here and I know management wants him to be here also. Hopefully something will get done. If it doesn’t, it’s like the two injured guys [Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, both of whom are recuperating from offseason surgery to repair torn labrums in their left shoulders] — it’s opportunities for other people.”

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

Movies

Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.

Movies

Frank Miller on writing 'Sin City'

Frank Miller's comics career is a long and storied one, with "Sin City" being one of his most individual creations. Here, in his own words,…

Movies

Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…