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

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.