Before I forget … and I should have gotten to this earlier … we will do the Three Rangers Stars polls on game nights again. Also, I’d like to have some of you guys join me in picking the stars, along with Kenny Albert and sometimes Josh Thomson, 26, in my next-day game review.
If you’d like to volunteer for a game, or several games, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a short story, undedited version, I wrote for The Journal News and LoHud.com:
By Rick Carpiniello
GREENBURGH – Rangers coach Alain Vigneault obviously runs a ship with less tension than his predecessor, but make no mistake that Vigneault’s in charge.
On Tuesday he was discussing the decision to move center Brad Richards to the wing – a move with which Richards insists he is fine – when the coach smiled (VIDEO ABOVE).
“He probably prefers to play the middle, but he’s going to play the wing to start,” Vigneault said with that grin.
When he was asked if Richards was receptive to the idea, Vigneault said, “I didn’t ask.”
That said, Vigneault’s explanation for the decision is that he feels all three of his top centers – Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard and Richards — should be among his top six forwards, along with Rick Nash and soon Ryan Callahan.
They all got time on the power play in practice Tuesday, including Richards at the point. With basically the same personnel, Vigneault and assistant Scott Arniel are trying for vastly different — better – results.
“It comes down to getting some consistency with our units,” said Michael Del Zotto, for the moment the other first-unit point man. “Time will tell. But the way we’re working on it, and some of the little details, it definitely feels different. But it’s a matter of contributing and being productive in games.”
As Stepan said, Vigneault and Arniel have one basic principle:
“I think there’s going to be a lot more pucks and bodies at the net,” said Stepan, the lone right-handed shot up front until Callahan returns during the opening trip.
In place of Callahan (shoulder), who insists he won’t play Thursday, rookie J.T. Miller also saw some power play time in practice.