OK so as inspirational messages go the “Clean Slate …Grab It” motto adopted by Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault isn’t quite “Clear Eyes Full Hearts Can’t Lose.” But then it isn’t “If You Don’t Block Shots You Don’t Play” either so that’s a start. That’s a start for the Blueshirts who started their first training camp under Vigneault on Wednesday wearing T-shirts bearing the 2013-14 slogan while going through their physicals that preceded Thursday’s on-ice testing and the preseason work during which the new coaching staff will install its system and communicate its philosophy. That program actually began at Wednesday night’s team meeting during which Vigneault made reference to the Stanley Cup that has been won once by the Blueshirts over the last 73 years and 72 seasons. “That’s our quest” said Vigneault who came within one victory of winning the Cup in Vancouver in 2011 before losing to the Bruins in a seven-game Final as a miniature Stanley Cup sat on his desk in his office. “Getting to that goal is a daily process that starts in training camp. “[They will have an idea [at the meeting] what I’m looking for. They will have a real good idea where the coaching staff is coming from and what to expect” he said. “It’s a clean slate everyone is going to get a chance. “It’s up to them to grab it.” As expected camp began without Derek Stepan the unsigned restricted free agent whose contract talks with management are at an impasse. Stepan became the second Ranger of the hard-cap era to miss the opening of camp because of a contract dispute four years after Brandon Dubinsky sat out the first week until he reached an agreement. In 2009 John Tortorella then the coach said it was “stupid” of Dubinsky to miss the opening of camp and that his agent Kurt Overhardt was “stupid.” On Wednesday Vigneault avoided such foolishness choosing instead to say he will “take [Stepan] with open arms when he gets here.” Camp also opened unexpectedly without Martin Biron the backup goaltender who left New York to return to his home in Buffalo to deal with what Vigneault framed as “a personal situation.” Uncertain as to a timetable for Biron’s return the Rangers brought erstwhile New Jersey backup Johan Hedberg to camp on a PTO. Vigneault said he did not watch tapes of the team’s games last year because he did not want to carry “preconceived notions” into camp. Scott Arniel the assistant coach responsible for the power play and Ulf Samuelsson the assistant responsible for the penalty kill did review all of the respective specialty team tapes from a year ago.
Rangers camp starts with new team motto
New York Post | Sep 12