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Vigneault: ‘The experts probably favor the L.A. Kings’

Jun 3, 2014, 11:16 PM EDT

New York Rangers Introduce Alain Vigneault Getty Images

The last time Alain Vigneault was coaching in the Stanley Cup Final, his team, the Vancouver Canucks, was the favorite. That was only in 2011. The Canucks didn’t win.

He comes back to the championship series in his first season with the New York Rangers, and he’s playing the underdog card as his team prepares to face the Western Conference champion L.A. Kings, a team that has gone to and won Game 7 on the road in each of their first three playoff series this spring.

The Kings, the host team in the first two games of this series, dispatched California rivals from San Jose and Anaheim and then beat the defending Stanley Cup champions from Chicago to advance to this point.

“The experts probably favor the L.A. Kings quite a bit,” Vigneault told reporters.

“That’s not going to change our approach, what we think we need to do. We know we have to play a certain way. There’s a couple areas that we think we can do real well on the ice. That’s what we’re going to try and do starting tomorrow.”

It’s clear that the Rangers won the great swap of head coaches from last spring. New York fired John Tortorella and then hired Vigneault.

The Canucks fired Vigneault and then hired Tortorella. The Canucks didn’t qualify for the playoffs, didn’t even come close, really. Oh, and Torts lasted only one season in Vancouver.

It’s worked out for the Rangers, even if they got off to a slow start in the regular season, losing six of their first nine games – all on the road.

“He’s obviously a very good coach. I’ve known a lot about his history. I can’t make a comment why it didn’t work. It did work
with Torts for a while,” said Rangers general manager Glen Sather.

“I’m glad the opportunity was there to make a deal. We’ve had nothing but fun with each other. We continue to do it. It’s been a good relationship. Coaches sometimes run out of time wherever they are.”

Seems like Vigneault’s time in New York is really just getting started. The focus for right now is on the Kings.

  1. joey4id - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    He”a right. We experts do favor the Kings. However, we also think you did a heck of job with the team, and you’ll give the Kings a run for their money. Go Kings!

  2. c1md6 - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    The “experts” also picked the Pens, and the Flyers who they said were the “hottest team” going into the playoffs. The Rangers are used to it, would probably want it that way, can’t wait till the puck is dropped and see where the chips fall.

    • joey4id - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      Not this expert. Let’s face it. The Rangers have not met a team as formidable as the Kings. Kings had to beat Sharks, Ducks, and Hawks. Rangers beat Flyers, Pens, and Habs. How can you compare?

      • johnstone17 - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        Joey, no offense, but expert?

      • imleftcoast - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        He just forgot the quotes. Who are these hockey ‘experts’ anyway? I wouldn’t put anyone in the media in that category (or the Commissioner for that matter).

      • blomfeld - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:27 AM

        YES JOHNSTON ! … IN FACT, JOEY AND I ARE BOTH EXPERTS !

        ____________________________________________________

        blomfeld – Mar 29, 2014 at 2:16 AM

        Question: What is going on with the Chicago Blackhawks?

        Answer: “these rustics are so inept … it almost takes the honor out of victory”

        __________________________________________________________

        *** this message is for fans of the ‘glorious’ SC Champion LA Kings only ***

        Another night and another night of losses by these so-called WC powerhouses like Chicago and Anaheim … and like we were ever worried eh ? The bottom line friends is that as the hour of ‘true’ battle now fast approaches, these pretenders and wannabes are starting to fall by the wayside faster than a bunch of rats fleeing from a sinking ship ! As you know, in previous testimony here at PHT going back as far as last September, I ‘personally’ proclaimed that we Kings would be returning to the ‘high ground’ come this spring to reclaim that which is ours. Yes sir ! And now as God is my witness, that is ‘exactly’ what is coming to be ! Of course we don’t know yet who it is that we’ll be facing ‘up there’ where heroes are made and legends are born. However that’s completely immaterial, as ‘ours’ is an enterprise driven not only by superior skill, conviction and aplomb, but more importantly, by supreme righteousness and divine providence !

        “a King’s army is on the way which will neither ‘accept’ nor ‘grant’ any quarter” …

        GO KINGS GO !!!! … AND ‘MAKE READY’ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • nebbah306 - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        Hey Joey, look at the goaltenders the Kings faced. That same Kings team that was 26th in the NHL in scoring during the regular season. Anaheim resorted to an AHL goalie, yet only the Rangers are mentioned about playing an AHL goalie against Montreal. Niemi had a horrible series, and Crawford isnt on the same level as Lundqvist. I think this series is a lot more evenly matched than people say. Yes, I am a Rangers fan, but I say Rangers in 6!!

      • joey4id - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:40 AM

        That’s a very good point. Can we say the same for the Rangers? Mason & Emery, Fleury, and Tokarski.

    • hockey412 - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:08 AM

      The experts didn’t pick the Pens – most picked the Rangers in that series. Most people changed their tune once the Pens were up 3 games to 1, but before that the Rangers were favored.

      • hockey412 - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        Oh dear lord, down-thumbers and fantasy-campers, here:

        http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/05/01/2014-stanley-cup-playoffs-phts-round-2-picks/

        Even the staff of the site picked the Rangers.

  3. 950003cups - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:36 AM

    I hope they’re right!!!

  4. vancouversportsbro - Jun 4, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    Rightfully so. I don’t think the Rangers will be swept like many people think and think they will make it a longer series but they should lose.

  5. blueshirtsfaithful - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:19 AM

    Idk kids LA hasn’t seen a good goaltender yet. Don’t be so sure. And oh yeah weren’t the kings the underdogs in 2012

    • c1md6 - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      Lol yeah you guys are experts, meanwhile you’re a blogger on prohockeytalk making ridiculous mets screaming for attention. That’s a great point, everyone is saying that LA had to beat tougher opponents but has LA even seen a goaltender like Hank or a defense like the rangers? They’re not gonna allow dinky wrist shots from the blue line that’s for sure. Also, I love how everyone scoffs at who the Rangers played, before the Rangers knocked off the Pens they were NHL’s darlings and a cup favorite, but when the Rangers best me now they’re just a mediocre team, a lot of road colored glasses mixed with hate on this blog.

      • c1md6 - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:56 AM

        Expert jab was for bloomers fields and Joey something not you Blueshirts, sorry for the confusion.

      • imleftcoast - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:11 PM

        They are masters of baiting a hook. Rangers haven’t seen the size and speed of a team from the West. Write what you want, but there is going to be no space to wheel. The Kings are a complete team, and they aren’t battling with injuries. This is over in 5.

        There is a lot Ranger bragging on here, but I doubt very much anyone is putting their money where their mouth/fingers is/are.

    • joey4id - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      Have the Rangers seen a good goaltender?

      • cofran2004 - Jun 4, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        they saw price for 2 periods, and lit him up pretty bad. mason isn’t awful, and tokarski played pretty lights out. The only truly bad goalie they faced was Fleury, and even he turned it on for a few games. I think the goaltender argument could be made for both teams, but judging by these playoffs, I still don’t think the rangers are up against a hot goalie. I respect the hell out of quick, and maybe he turns it around. but quick hasn’t been himself during these playoffs.

        I won’t predict a rangers blow out at all, but I think if they do win it, they need to win both of the first two games in LA. They also need to win quickly. If this series drags on, I fear for them.

        What I’m hoping for is Rangers in 5. Realistically and throwing my blue-shirt bias out the window, I say Kings in 6. And as I typed that, my heart literally hurt. Any Rangers fans know some good recipes for cooking crow? Because I’m seriously hoping to eat some…

      • joey4id - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        Lol! Nice analysis. And I agree that Quick has to be better.

  6. homerx - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:02 AM

    @blomfeld: That’s OK, if you recall your American history the King may have won the battle but he lost the war. When the Rangers attack like a ghost you’ll have no idea what hit you or from where.

    Great movie though.

    • blomfeld - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      Homer … that was a great movie eh ? :)

  7. homerx - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:07 AM

    Also, all the experts are pointing the the fact that the Kings had to play three tough series and came back from a big hole to show resilience as part of the reason why the Kings will win. Two years ago when the Rangers went 7 games in the first two series the reason they lost to the Devils is because they played too many games and were out of gas. Which is it, does a long series benefit a team or not?

    • joey4id - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      Good point! And neither team had to travel extensively, but the Rangers had the tougher schedule, and LA had a freeway series. So, it might be a wash,

  8. icrew29 - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    You 2 are experts in BS

    • joey4id - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Lol! Why do you feel threatened by blomfeld and I? I can’t offer you a couch, but I can offer some therapy if you don’t mind going public. ;-)

      Relax! Chill! Sit back and have a bit fun. Life is too short. (free advice)

  9. neelymessier - Jun 4, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    They played 2x this year… Rangers winning 3-1 in LA and losing 1-0 at home. If Chicago had Lundqvuist, they would have easily beaten LA. We’ll see what happens.

  10. neelymessier - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    The guy above me is a genius. The Rangers will prevail with defense, speed, and goaltending. Lucky bounces my butt.
    Playoff stats
    Quick
    2.86 GAA
    .902 save pct
    2013-2014 playoff record 12-9

    Lundqvist
    2.03 GAA
    .928 save pct
    2013-2014 playoff record 12-7

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