Rangers give coach Alain Vigneault two-year extension
NEW YORK (AP) Alain Vigneault didn't have to think long about whether he wanted an extension with the New York Rangers. So it was all settled pretty quickly.
Vigneault and the Rangers announced a new two-year deal Tuesday that runs through the 2019-20 season.
''It was a pretty easy decision as far as you're a coach and you want to have a chance and you got a first-class organization,'' the 55-year-old Vigneault said.
Vigneault was under contract through next season under the five-year deal he signed in June 2013.
He said general manager Jeff Gorton initially brought up the topic of an extension last summer because he didn't want the coach going into a lame-duck season. Talks began about a month ago.
''Rangers, Original Six (team), you don't get much better than this,'' Vigneault said. ''When we go on the road there's a cult (following) there. It's a lot like when I was with the (Montreal Canadiens). I know I need to continue to get better and that's what I'm trying to do.''
Vigneault, who coached his 1,100th game last week, is 175-97-23 with the Rangers. In addition to Montreal, he also previously coached the Vancouver Canucks. Vigneault led New York to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 in his first season with the team, as well as the Eastern Conference finals in 2015 when he was a finalist for coach of the year after leading the Rangers to the Presidents' Trophy.
After a third-place finish in the Metropolitan Division and first-round exit in the playoffs last season, New York made some roster changes and brought in some speed, led by free-agent acquisition Michael Grabner, and youth with rookies Jimmy Vesey, Brady Skjei and Pavel Buchnevich and newcomers Brandon Pirri and Mika Zibanejad.
After getting off to a strong start, the Rangers have slipped to fourth in the Metropolitan at 31-17-1 They hold the East's top wild-card spot and trail third-place Pittsburgh by two points.
''I feel that with the young kids that we're bringing in - whatever you want to call it, the retooling - I believe that we can win and compete in a very tough league,'' Vigneault said. ''If you look at some of the things we have done, a lot of people wouldn't have expected us to be where we are.''
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