Rangers present Alain Vigneault

Updated: June 22, 2013, 4:19 PM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Alain Vigneault could tell that his daughters wanted him to get the New York Rangers' head-coaching job.

The Yankees hats they wore while talking with him at his youngest daughter's apartment at Concordia University in Montreal were a dead giveaway.

"I told them, 'I know where you want me to go, so I'll see what I can do,'" Vigneault said.

Broadway Vigneault it is.

Vigneault, who emerged as the leading candidate for the job after impressing Rangers brass during a pair of interviews, was introduced as the 35th head coach in the 87-year history of the franchise on Friday morning at Radio City Music Hall.

"It's an Original Six [team]. It's got a chance to win. 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," said Vigneault, who agreed to a five-year contract worth $10 million with the Rangers.

"There's no better place than here to win a Stanley Cup."

Rangers president Glen Sather said there were originally 13 candidates for the job, and he pared down the list to nine. The GM then interviewed four candidates over the phone and Vigneault and Mark Messier in person. Vigneault impressed Sather last week at the team's organization meetings in California and then met with owner James Dolan in New York. Vigneault ended up choosing the Rangers over the Dallas Stars, who were also interested in his services.

"I did find out it's a lot easier to negotiate yourself a contract when you've got two teams that are after you, not just one," Vigneault joked, prompting Sather to reply, "I don't particularly enjoy that remark."

Who knew a coach could be so funny?

Vigneault replaces the often brash and abrasive John Tortorella, who was fired by the Rangers after coaching in New York for five seasons. Vigneault was fired by the Canucks in May after his team couldn't make it out of the first round in back-to-back seasons. Interestingly, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun that Tortorella is expected to get the Canucks job.

Sather said it wasn't Tortorella's personality that was the reason for the change but rather that his black-and-blue, defense-first style had taken too much of a toll on the team. Sather said he had been thinking about making a coaching change during the season but kept it from the media.

"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."

Sather is hopeful the Rangers will be able to open up their transition game with the offensive-minded Vigneault at the helm.

"I believe your top skilled players have to be given a little more latitude," Vigneault 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."

Sather said despite media reports to the contrary, "there hasn't been a player that has b----ed or complained to me about Torts."

"It wasn't a matter of not playing hard for Torts, it was a matter of having enough left to continue to play. I think they loved playing for him," Sather said.

Sather did say that Tortorella was "beyond stubborn," but "he was perfect for us for a few years and he's going to be perfect wherever he goes. We just felt that it was getting to be so hard on some of our players playing the style we were playing. We needed to make a change just to give them fresh life and more of an optimistic view on how to play the game."

Vigneault said he's going to use advanced statistics and wants to have three or four assistant coaches with one specifically focusing on the power play and one focusing on the penalty kill. He met with assistant coach Mike Sullivan, who is still under contract, on Thursday. It is unknown whether Messier, a special adviser to Sather, will be back with the organization, but Sather said he'd talk to Messier soon.

Vigneault, 52, served as the Vancouver Canucks' coach for seven seasons, going 313-170-57 for a .632 winning percentage. He led the Canucks to back-to-back Presidents' Trophies in 2010-11 and 2011-12, and captured the Northwest Division title in six of his seven seasons in Vancouver.

Mike Mazzeo is regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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