Vigneault’s Strategy

It's been almost a week since Alain Vigneault has been named head coach of the New York Rangers and a lot of you have been wondering what kind of style we're going to see from the Blueshirts under his leadership. Here's what Vigneault has said so far…

“I like my teams to play the right way, which is: If you’ve got room to make a play, make a play. If you’ve got space and time to carry the puck, carry the puck. If the other team’s got the gap on you or they’re playing you tight, then sometimes you’ve got to make the high percentage play and chip those pucks behind. But I really believe in playing the right way both offensively and defensively.”

…as opposed to Torts, whose game plan was if you've got room to make a play, get it deep and cycle. And under no circumstance is anyone allowed to go to the front of the net.

Vigneault also discussed the power play…

“Power play is X’s and O’s, but it’s also hard work. Because you know that the penalty-killers are going to work real hard. They’re shorthanded, they’re gonna go the extra mile to try and kill that penalty and give their team momentum. On the power play, hard work moving the puck, getting to loose pucks, getting to areas of the ice where you can outnumber the opposition is huge."

…moving the puck on the power play? Can't compute.

…i would have liked to have heard him stress shooting the puck, but I've got to think he just assumed that's a given on the power play, you know, for every team other than the Rangers.

Meanwhile, Elliotte Friedman at CBC Sports notes that Vigneault will continue to use his zone matching strategy of deploying the best scorers for offensive-zone draws and the best defenders to take faceoffs front of your net that worked so well in Vancouver…

"I prefer it that way," Vigneault said. "It's a great way to maximize the strength and potential of your lineup."

For more on AV's zone matching, click here.

…i don't get all the hullabaloo about Vigneault's zone matching. Don't most coaches normally have their best offensive players on the ice for offensive zone faceoffs and top defenders for defensive zone ones? I'm pretty sure Boyle took a hell of a lot more faceoffs in front of Lundqvist than the opponent's goaltender last year. Assuming Vigneault gets more credit for this because he takes it to extreme levels, which pretty much guarantees that Powe will go another season without scoring a point for the Rangers.

Finally, Larry Brooks at the New York Post says that last season AV was committed to a four-line philosophy in Vancouver, doling out between 12:35 and 19:20 of ice per game to a dozen forwards and he has never given as much as 20 minutes per to either Henrik or Daniel Sedin in their seven seasons together. Although neither killed penalties.

…Asham better get himself into good shape as the days of him playing three minutes a game will likely be over.

…another thing you are likely to see under AV is the Rangers go from a forechecking, pressure offense to a more puck possession one. And after watching the series against the Bruins, when the Rangers combined for one minute of puck possession in the five games, this would be a welcome change.

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