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Rangers introduce Alain Vigneault as head coach, prepare for ‘a lot of fun’

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Don Draper is introduced as the new coach of the Rangers.

How can you tell things are going to be different in New York? Glen Sather introduced Alain Vigneault to the media by telling them he likes to be called "AV".

That's right. Call him by his hip nickname. AV just wants to "kick it" with you.

One half-expected Vigneault walk into the room, spin his hat backwards, turn his chair around, then face the throng of reporters leaning over the back of it and say, Today, let's just rap.

Compared to the last guy, he seems nice, is what I'm saying.

It helped that he was genuinely happy to be there. "I was thinking about the opportunity to coach the New York Rangers, one of the original six teams in this great city," he said. "There's not a chance I could pass that up."

"I'm here," he said, jovially. "I'm ready for the questions."

Vigneault's introductory press conference Friday underscored a number of fundamental difference between him and the man he's succeeding.

For one thing, he made jokes. "I did find out … that it's a lot easier to negotiate yourself a contract when you've got two teams that are after you than just one," he quipped, to much laughter.

"I didn't particularly enjoy that remark," Sather responded, to even more.

But, most importantly, he laid out his plan for the Rangers under his watch, and it sounded a whole lot more fun than that of the previous regime, whose two-tiered system involved throwing players at pucks and under buses.

"I believe that your top skill players have to be given a little bit more latitude," Vigneault said. "They have to understand the game. They have to understand the time in the game when you need to play a little higher percentage, but they also have to be given that latitutde to make something out of nothing. That's why those guys have the high end skill. You've gotta give 'em that leeway."

Brad Richards, who spent much of the Rangers' second round off the ice, either by way of the bench or the pressbox, has to like the sounds of that. Same for Marian Gaborik, who was willing to accept a trade to Columbus to get away.

"We're going to have a lot of fun together," Sather said.

But lest you think the Alain Vigneault era means the end of snark entirely, consider this loaded zinger: "I saw some of the pictures from the last time this city won the Cup," Vigneault said, describing a walk through the Rangers' practice facility. "It's real clear to me there's no better place to win than here in New York."

Of course, those pictures would have included images of rueful Canucks in the background.

And if Vigneault's Rangers have their way, the Canucks will be kicking themselves once again.

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