Alain Vigneault Impresses In First Impression

Mike Stobe

Alain Vigneault's press conference went about as well as it could have on Friday.

Sometimes in life a first impression is everything. Sometimes the way someone presents themselves and their ideas are enough to sway you into realizing that you might have someone special on your hands.

Alain Vigneault did just that on Friday.

The New York Rangers -- for what it's worth -- sure do know how to put on a show. They rolled the red carpet out for their newly-hired head coach, presenting him to the world at Radio City Music Hall. It was a spectacle, which makes sense, the Rangers don't do anything low key if they can help it.

That's not a bad thing, but sometimes people can get caught up in the spotlight. Vigneault did not, which means he stands out from the crowd.

He answered questions about his past, talked about how much he wanted to win, how he was the Rangers has his best chance to win the Stanley Cup, about his methods, how he encourages more offense and how he thinks he's the right man for the job. It's easy to see how he impressed during his interviews with Glen Sather and James Dolan, the man sells himself very well.

His resume also speaks for itself, which is a good thing. He's not blowing smoke, he's not covering his tracks. He's a man who talks (and believes) he can make a real difference in New York. Talking about it is the easy part. Actually doing it is where a coach's bread is buttered.

When Sather talked about the game changing he talked about how John Tortorella was "stubborn." At face value that might seem confusing, but Vigneault shows you why someone might think that way. Vigneault buys into advanced stats, has his own analytics that he works with alongside his staff and has even worked with "sleep doctors" to help make traveling less tedious for his players. This is a guy who isn't afraid to walk into the woods and come out with a new medicine if it's needed. While other coaches won't even look at advanced stats he's embracing them. When other coaches are accepting traveling as "part of the game" he's looking for a way to change it. Those are the things you want to see in a coach.

I believe one of the biggest problems Tortorella ran into was his inability (or unwillingness) to adapt on the fly. Look at the series against the Boston Bruins this year. The same mistakes killed the Rangers in each and every game. The same problems from last year were problems this year. Change wasn't evident.

With Vigneault that shouldn't be a problem. He's taken some flack for not adapting enough with Vancouver, but if you look at their record it's hard to argue with why he wouldn't make drastic changes. His style works. It's successful.

Whether or not it will work in New York is the next question. We won't know that until October.

But for right now, Vigneault's first impression was a hell of a start.

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