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).”
“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.”