Rangers’ journey begins … players report to camp (updated with Vigneault remarks)


Just a few things while I try to get the issue with the Alain Vigneault audio resolved (fingers crossed).

First and foremost, Derek Stepan, as expected, did not report. He’s still an unsigned restricted free agent. And just to clear up some details, that $2.18M the Rangers have under the cap according to capgeek.com is a bit of a moving target. For example, capgeek’s roster has eight defensemen, including Justin Falk and Aaron Johnson. It’s entirely possible, if not likely, that the Rangers won’t have eight defensemen on the opening night roster. And they will gain the $1.7M or so if they cut Arron Asham and Darroll Powe.

Then there are the complications around putting either Ryan Callahan or Carl Hagelin, or both, on LTIR for the start of the season. So there is some maneuverability in the Stepan negotiations.

By the way, Stepan’s agent Matt Oates … where have you heard that name before? He was traded by the Rangers, with Tony Amonte, for Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan, March 21, 1994.

The only other personnel issue is that Martin Biron did not report due to what the team said are personal issues. So Johan Hedberg, former Devil, is in camp on a tryout contract.

The Rangers are wearing T-shirts that say, “Clean slate … Grab it.” … which is Vigneault’s motto. He said he hasn’t done much evaluating at all, and that he hasn’t watched much film of last season’s Rangers — though he has had Ulf Samuelsson watch the penalty kill video and Scott Arniel watch the power play (poor S.O.B.).

The clean slate thing is most crucial to Brad Richards. Vigneault said he told Richards he doesn’t even want to know what happened last season, and that Richards should wipe it out of his memory too.

Meanwhile, good to see a lot of our regulars coming back out of hibernation. Thurday we should have some player interviews and such, hopefully video and audio. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter: @RangersReport.

Photo by me.


Here are some of Vigneault’s quotes, in case the audio doesn’t happen:

“I’m looking forward to getting this started. I’ve been able to meet all of the players one-on-one to sort of get to know them, get to know what they’re thinking. Everybody’s looking forward to the start of the season.”

“Everybody’s got a clean slate. Everybody’s going to get a chance. It might not be a long chance, but they are going to have a chance, an opportunity. It’s up to them to grab it. … a lot of times we don’t even make the decisions; they make it for us by how they play.”

“I really want everybody to come in with a clean slate. I don’t want anybody to come in with preconceived notions. I want everybody to have a chance. When you meet players, (they sometimes say), ‘I know I can do more; I know I can do this.’ OK, they’re going  to have the opportunity to show me.”

On whether the style of play will be noticeably different right away:

“I don’t think it will be ‘Oh, wow.’ I don’t think that’s going to happen. It doesn’t happen that way. I think as we move forward and as we work with our players on the style of play that we like to play – outnumber the opposition aggressively so you can recover the puck, set the tone and go on the attack – I think as our players understand the different principles that we’re trying to put into place, I think people will be able to pick up (the difference).”

On Richards:

“I told Brad, ‘Turn the page; I don’t talk about what happened in the past. What’s behind me is behind me. I wasn’t here and I don’t care.’ So he’s coming here (for unofficial workouts) and every time I’ve seen him he’s been real positive, real upbeat. It’s a new season. I’m sure he’s going to put his best foot forward.”

On young players making the team:

“You know what? Talent has no age. When a player is ready to play and ready to contribute and he’s going to be able to help the New York Rangers win, he’s going to play on our team. He’s going to get the ice time he deserves to get. I’ve always been a big believer in that, that at the end of the day, talent has no age.”

On starting the season with six preseason and nine regular-season games on the road:

“I think for our group, with a new staff and some players (who) are very young to this organization – Rick Nash, even Brad Richards – it’s going to be a good time for us. We’re going to use this time to do what we need to do on the ice, get the amount of work that we need. But also we’re going to use this time to get to know one another and there’s no better place, sometimes, then being on the road and spend more time with your teammates and coaches and management. I don’t know Glen Sather that well. I don’t know Jim Schoenfeld. I don’t know Jeff Gorton. I’m going to get to know these guys. Being on the road is probably the best way of doing it.”


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  1. Was hoping to do it today, Rob. That changed when the Vigneault presser was scheduled for noon. Not sure when … but we will.

  2. Je ne peux pas croire que Vigneault n’a pas regardé la vidéo de l’équipe de la saison dernière. Le gars a tellement d’entraîneurs et des stagiaires pour gérer le plus minutieux des détails pour chaque joueur mais il évite regarder n’importe quelle vidéo? Cela doit être un écran quelconque.

  3. Il est également important de se rappeler que les Canucks de Power Play n’a été que légèrement mieux que les Rangers la saison dernière. Comment est Vigneault censé faire mieux avec le personnel sensiblement moins talentueux? Je ne suppose qu’il sera beaucoup mieux, car comment pourrait-il être pire, mais seriousl. Regardez un mec vidéo!

  4. The French are with us and have offered to supply our drive-by shooting in Syria with crusty baguettes, fresh brie, and croissants. No politics, just humor.

  5. on Stepan,
    is it me, or do both Stepan and the Rangers have it backwards. Stepan should want the 2 year bridge contract, put up 2 good seasons and he will make a lot more money 2 years down the road. the Rangers should want the longer term for just the opposite reason. it would save them money down the road. Stepan will make more money signing a 2 year deal followed by a 6 year deal. where is it will cost the Rangers more that way. seems backwards to me.

  6. Maybe you got the video … the audio hasn’t been uploaded yet … got about 20 minutes of answers from him. But no go so far.

    So I’m transcribing in the post above.

  7. I’m going back and forth between my writing work and this blog and I think I’m leaving the better stuff of the blog. Which is not good, in any sense of the word. :)

  8. Rob in Beantown on

    bull dog line, I think there is something to be said for the security of a longer term McDonagh-type contract, even if it is for less money. Anything can happen in two years (Sauer?) and there is no guarantee that big payoff will ever come. Plus, the Rangers don’t have the cap space to give Stepan the longer deal

  9. one more thing on Stepan.
    his agent should not want to sign a long term deal coming off 3 seasons of playing for Torts. scoring on the team was down. playing for AV it is likely that team scoring will go up. meaning Stepan’s scoring should go up. you want to sign the long term deal after that.

  10. I think Steps has to consider injury, which is the main reason for all of this. If he knew he could get a $3 mil bridge and a guaranteed six year 30+ mil thereafter, he’d be delighted.

  11. Gravy, Just Gravy on

    If someone guaranteed they could give you $30M (6 years, $5M), would you turn it down if someone said I’ll give you $5M (2 years, $2.5M), and *maybe* you’ll get $42M down the road (6 years, $7M)?

    I’d want the guaranteed money.

  12. Gravy, Just Gravy on

    So many things could go wrong for the player…point production could decline, injury, etc.

  13. Rob in Beantown on

    Yeah it doesn’t even need to be a career-ending injury. It could just be a season-ending injury in the next two years that wrecks that supposed big payout in 2 years.

  14. I don’t disagree with any of you about security. but isn’t also about making as much money as you can over the life of your career. sometimes you have to gamble on your ability.

  15. Gravy, Just Gravy on

    I depends on your risk tolerance, but when you’re talking millions of dollars, usually better to go with the guaranteed money. It’s why most people take the Powerball lump sum rather than the 20 year payout.

  16. Gravy,
    you would leave 17 mill on the table? I would gamble on my ability, and try to get that 17 mill.

  17. as an example, if Richie gets himself seriously concussed or whatever, he gets paid, but we’re screwed for years and years.

  18. Rob in Beantown on

    Granted I don’t know him and never met him and could be dead wrong, but Stepan seems like a humble enough kid that I think he’d take the safe money rather than be reckless and try to get a big payout.

  19. And Sauer, if I’m not mistaken, was on a two year, 2.5 million dollar deal. With a long term, he would have been banking McDonuts money.

  20. he is a professional athlete. they have big egos. that how they got there. if he thinks he can get a bigger payday, he is going after it. it is always about the money.

  21. McDonagh has long term security, but in a couple of years he is going to kicking himself when he sees players not nearly as good as him getting bigger deals.

  22. We will all cringe every time BRich goes charging into the corner to get the puck.

    That ought to be about four cringes before the Olympic break.

  23. McD has been eating tuna fish sandwiches and Oreos. I’m sure he’s delighted and will remain delighted. Not the type to say “Hey! Ovechkin’s got a bigger yacht than me!”

  24. Gravy, Just Gravy on

    If Stepan gets an offer sheet, the Rangers will match, trade Brassard, and go with Lindberg/Kristo/etc. Granted, they’ll be getting 10 cents on the dollar for Brassard, but I think that would need to be the course of action.

  25. If that were the case, they might have no other choice, Graves, other than to bank draft picks, and then try to legally destroy the Isle’s franchise one way or the other.

  26. Carp, if you Charp on Friday I Charp with you. I’ve got some really important questions burning a hole in my pocket. You’ll never guess them.

  27. Hockey back. Thank goodness. Rangers on the West Coast. Excellent. I look forward to seeing them live.

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