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New Rangers coach says fighters better be able to play, too

Sep 17, 2013, 9:24 PM EDT

rangersfightinggetty Getty Images

If the New York Rangers are going to engage in line brawls like they did against the New Jersey Devils in March 2012, then the guys dropping the gloves better be good at more than just fighting.

That’s the message the Blueshirts’ new head coach Alain Vigneault sent to the New York Post on Tuesday.

“You’ve got to be able to play; you’ve got to be able to skate and get in on the forecheck,” Vigneault said. “Because you’re a physical presence out there, sometimes you have to stand up for yourself but you have to be able to play. That type of [enforcer], not a lot of teams have that type of player anymore.”

Vigneault employed a similar strategy with the Vancouver Canucks, so this shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

It’s not as if Vigneault’s Canucks totally shied away from fighting, as they actually fought more often in 2013 than the Rangers did, according to Hockey Fights. (The Rangers have typically fought far more frequently in recent years, though.)

If you’re wondering which Rangers player might suffer the most from this policy, one might guess it would be an already marginalized tougher guy like Stu Bickel (three fights in 2013). Arron Asham and Derek Dorsett also come to mind, although it’s likely that Vigneault will put them in the “viable” category; both have scored at least 12 goals in a season before.

Vigneault’s is indeed correct in saying fight-only enforcers are going the way of the NFL fullback, which might be disappointing for fans of local rivalry-fueled bouts.

  1. mattybo - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    I miss Prust.

    There, I said it.

  2. 950003cups - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    Ha! Looks like AV won’t make it till February.

    • nicknyhc - Sep 18, 2013 at 5:15 AM

      Why, because your pathetic Devils beat them in a meaningless minor league scrimmage?

      • nhloon - Sep 18, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        No, because he couldn’t even win in 2011 with a stacked Canucks team. Good luck telling your enforcer’s to play a game that isn’t their style. This guy stinks. He should coach in Europe.

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