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


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.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin
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The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.


Detroit places Datsyuk and three others on I.R.

Pavel Datsyuk,
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The Red Wings have placed Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko on injured reserve.

Placing these players on I.R. opens up four more roster spots for Detroit.

The Red Wings have suffered an incredibe amount of injuries heading into the season.

Datsyuk (ankle) is expected to be out until November.

DeKeyser (foot) is going to miss three-to-four weeks, while Helm (concussion) and Marchenko (lower-body) are considered day-to-day.

The team also announced that they have reduced their training camp roster to 27 players on Sunday.

Top prospect Dylan Larkin remains in camp for now.

Coach Jeff Blashill told reporters that the 19-year-old has looked good, but a final decision hasn’t been made on where he will play this year.

As for Larkin, he’s just fed up of living in a hotel.

“There’s been so much speculation and so many questions, and no one really knows,” said Larkin. “Maybe the coaches know, but just to find out where I’ll be living or what’s happening — I’m kind of sick of the hotel. It would be nice to know what’s going on.”