Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Vigneault's Voyage

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Vigneault's Voyage

Article excerpt

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- One of the main objectives of the Rangers' training camp is for new coach Alain Vigneault to begin forging a relationship with his players.

He'll just have to wait a bit longer to establish one with Derek Stepan.

The team's leading scorer last season remains a restricted free agent and is not expected to reach a deal before camp opens today, which would make him the team's first holdout since Brandon Dubinsky in 2009.

The Rangers report for medical testing today and Thursday will be their first day on ice. The six-game, all-road, travel-heavy preseason schedule opens Monday at New Jersey.

John Tortorella, who replaced Vigneault with the Canucks, was fired after the Bruins eliminated the Rangers in five games in the second round of the playoffs. The Rangers will be in Vancouver for the penultimate preseason game Sept. 26.

Almost to a man, the players, many who have gathered at the Rangers' practice facility since mid-August for informal skates and scrimmages, have described the change in coaches as bringing a fresh energy to the team.

Vigneault, certainly with a less caustic public persona than the fiery Tortorella, brought the Canucks to within a game of the Stanley Cup in 2011 and consistently had Vancouver among the league leaders in goal scoring, at even strength and on the power play.

"We've got a different voice now and we're very enthusiastic about that," said center Brad Richards, who probably had the worst breakup with his longtime coach after he was a healthy scratch for the final two postseason games.

"We've got a great work ethic in here that's already been installed," Richards added. "There are other ways I think we can enjoy it a little bit more and that will express ourselves and we're looking forward to that. With AV, he's going to try and bring that out in us."

Stepan, 23, has taken over for Richards as the No. …

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