When the walls seemed to be crashing all around the Rangers during their disastrous opening season west coast trip, there remained one constant throughout, Alain Vigneault, who kept the players calm when panic could have easily set in (via Pat Leonard at the Daily News).
"With what we've been through, he handled it professionally, and there was never a moment you felt he wasn't behind us. Individually, he met with a lot of people, with the leadership group. There were some honest talks. We really had to figure out what was going on (in October). We'll keep that in the room, but he put a lot of faith in the leadership group and his staff, individually, in getting people on the same page."
"You like to know where you're at, where you stand. That's a good thing. At the same time, if it's not good enough, (Vigneault) is gonna let you know it."
The players have also been impressed with the amount of one-on-one work, including video sessions during practice & in between periods, from Vigneault, which the Rangers head coach explains the importance of here…
"Coaches, especially my assistant coaches, need to spend a lot of time one-on-one with certain guys going through anywhere from five to 10 shifts. Sorting things out, making sure they understand why they made that read, why it was the right read in another situation, why this is what you need to do. If they do that instinctively, I think they'll visualize it and they'll see it quicker and be able to make the better play on the ice. That's what we'll continue to do, and that's always the way I've done it."
Leonard also adds that while Vigneault does not use advanced statistics, the Rangers have a mobile application on which players can view all of their shifts from every game and then return to coaches with questions.
…listen, this is what you hear from players about their head coach when things are going well. And right now things are going very well for the Rangers. I'm sure the players said similar things about Tortorella back in 2011-12, so I'm not ready to christen AV as the next Emile Francis just yet.
…having said that, I am encouraged with what I'm hearing about the emphasis on one-on-one work AV and the coaching staff is doing with the players. With all the "hands-off approach" talk we've heard about AV, I was worried he might have been isolating himself from his players during the early season struggles. But it sounds like he was very much engaged and remained positive throughout, which must be a welcome change for the Rangers players.
…btw, how awesome does that mobile app for the players sound. Eff'n technology.