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Vigneault introduced as Rangers coach

The SportsXchange

The New York Rangers formally introduced Alain Vigneault as their new coach on Friday at Radio City Music Hall.

Vigneault is the Rangers 35th head coach in their 87-year history.

"It's an Original Six (team). It's got a chance to win," Vigneault said as his press conference. "It's one of the elite teams in my opinion in the NHL, and I want to win, so given the opportunity to come here, it was just something that I couldn't turn down. There's no better place than here to win a Stanley Cup."

Vigneault agreed to five-year, $10 million contract.

Rangers president Glen Sather said there were initially 13 candidates for the job, but only Vigneault and Mark Messier were interviewed in person. Vigneault was also courted by the Dallas Stars, who ended up hiring Lindy Ruff.

It is not clear of Messier, who is a special advisor to Sather, will be back with the team.

Vigneault replaces John Tortorella, who was fired after five seasons. He was reportedly offered the Vancouver Canucks job Friday.

Sather said he let go of the brash Tortorella because of his defensive-oriented philosophy that took a toll on the team.

"If you look at the injuries we've had over the years, a number of guys that really got the crap kicked out of them in our end because we constantly had to defend our own end," Sather said. "It's a lot easier to move the puck quick than go back and slow down and bring the puck up.

"That style was perfect for a couple of years, but I think it started to wear our team out. There's nothing wrong with that style. But with the injuries we had this year, it started to take a toll on our hockey club and it was time to do something to change the style so that we could go farther and compete longer."

Vigneault brings a coaching style that is more suited to offense.

"I believe your top skilled players have to be given a little more latitude," he said. "They have to understand the game, they have to understand the time in the game where you need to play higher percentage but they also have to be given that latitude to make something out of nothing."

Vigneault, 52, went 313-170-57 in seven years as the Canucks coach.

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