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
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.