New faces in place for New York, Dallas BOSTON vs. CHICAGO
Stanley Cup Finals nVigneault replaces Tortorella behind the bench for the Rangers, while recently fired Ruff lands on his feet with Stars. ASSOCIATED PRESS
Alain Vigneault brought a whole lot of experience and success into his interview with New York Rangers General Manager Glen Sather.
However, his most appealing attribute might be that he is so different than former coach John Tortorella -- on and off the ice.
That was clearly evident Friday when Vigneault was named as the feisty Tortorella's replacement during a news conference at Radio City Music Hall. In the short window of time in which he met with media members, Vigneault smiled and joked more times than anyone could remember his predecessor doing in 4½ seasons with the Rangers.
Vigneault brings a welcoming demeanor away from the rink and a more offensive philosophy on it -- in contrast with Tortorella's way of working in the defensive zone and putting a premium on blocking shots in front of star goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
That often left many players dealing with multiple ailments.
"We needed a change in style," Sather said. "You look at the injuries ... we needed to move the puck out quick. That style was perfect for a couple of years, but it started to wear our team out."
Just more than four weeks after he was fired by the Vancouver Canucks, Vigneault already has a job. He edged out former Rangers captain Mark Messier, longtime former Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff and others.
Vigneault was given a five-year deal, and his first day featured his name on the famous marquee outside of Radio City.
"I was thinking about the opportunity to coach the New York Rangers, one of the Original Six teams," the 52-year-old Vigneault said. "There is not a chance I could pass that up. Honored and privileged I feel."
In 11 seasons as an NHL head coach with Montreal and Vancouver, Vigneault is 422-288-35-61 in 806 games.
"I'm going into this with an open mind," Vigneault said. "I think (players) should be too. I'm going in with a clean slate. Let's see what we can write on that slate."
Vigneault was interviewed last week during the Rangers' organizational meetings in California and then met with team owner James Dolan in New York.
"We had a list of 13 candidates and I narrowed it down to nine," Sather said. "I interviewed two in person and four over the phone. It wasn't just between A.V. and Mark."
Vigneault and Sather will now work on filling out the coaching staff.
It is unknown if Messier, now a special assistant to Sather, will remain with the Rangers. Messier, a Hall of Fame player, lacks the coaching experience that Vigneault is loaded with.
"It was a difficult decision. We've both grown up with each other," Sather said of passing on Messier. "At this stage, A.V. was the man. Mark has got to decide what he wants to do."
Tortorella was fired May 29 -- four days after the Rangers were eliminated by Boston. A year ago, the Rangers reached the Eastern Conference finals.
In an ironic twist, Tortorella was reportedly offered the job on Friday to replace Vigneault in Vancouver.
Vigneault ranked first on the Canucks' list in coaching wins and came within one victory of capturing the Stanley Cup in 2011. In seven seasons, Vigneault was 313-170-57 in the regular season but only 33-32 in the playoffs.
His final two seasons ended in disappointment as Vancouver was knocked out in the first round in both years -- including a sweep by San Jose last month.
Dallas chooses Ruff: Lindy Ruff had one stipulation when he agreed to meet with the Dallas Stars about their coaching vacancy.
"We can't meet in the crease," Ruff said about his joking conversation with new Stars General Manager Jim Nill.
Ruff was hired Friday the new coach of the Stars, 14 years after Dallas clinched its only Stanley Cup championship on a goal he has always questioned -- Brett Hull's shot with his skate in the crease late in the third overtime of Game 6 that beat the Ruff-coached Buffalo Sabres.
"It's a long time ago," Ruff said after his introduction. "I've had some great memories. I've gotten past that. I'm a coach, I want to coach, and this is an unbelievable opportunity. ... It all worked out great for Dallas.''
The Stars, who have missed the playoffs the past five seasons, gave the 53-year-old Ruff a four-year contract. He is the 22nd coach in franchise history and seventh since the team moved to North Texas in 1993.
Before being fired by Buffalo in February, Ruff had been the Sabres coach for 15 seasons and was the NHL's longest active-serving coach with one team.
The Stars are in their longest postseason drought in the history of the franchise that started as the Minnesota North Stars from 1967-93. They were 22-22-4 last season, at the bottom of the Pacific Division.
Ruff was the Sabres' winningest coach (571-432-162), but was fired after a 6-10-1 in this year's lockout-shortened season. There had been 170 NHL coaching changes between his hiring in July 1997 and the time he was fired.
Under Ruff, the Sabres made the playoffs in each of his first four seasons and eight times overall. They made the Eastern Conference finals in 2006 and 2007.
Coyotes extend Tippett: The Phoenix Coyotes have agreed to a long-term contract extension with coach Dave Tippett.
The Coyotes have gone 156-96-42 and made the playoffs three times in Tippett's four seasons with the team, despite the fact that the franchise was owned by the NHL and had strict financial restrictions during that time.
In 2011-12, the Coyotes went 42-27-13, won the franchise's first division title and advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in team history.
(Best-of-7; x-if necessary)
Wednesday, June 12
Chicago 4Boston 3 (3OT)
Saturday, June 15
Boston 2Chicago 1 (OT)
Monday, June 17
Boston 2Chicago 0
Wednesday, June 19
Chicago 6Boston 5 (OT)
Series tied, 2-2
Saturday, June 22
Boston at Chicago8 p.m.
Monday, June 24
Chicago at Boston8 p.m.
x-Wednesday, June 26
Boston at Chicago8 p.m.