AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- Before Alain Vigneault signed on for the job he said he couldn't turn down, the New York Rangers' new coach got two important thumbs-up that led him to the Big Apple.
Vigneault's hockey coaching jobs over the past decade have taken him far away from his home in Gatineau, Quebec, and separated the divorced father from his two daughters for far too long.
When the recently fired coach of the Vancouver Canucks was faced with the decision of continuing his career with the Dallas Stars or the Rangers, he chose the place that is just a one-hour flight from his family.
"I was thinking about the opportunity to coach the New York Rangers, one of the Original Six teams, in this great city," he said Friday at his introductory news conference. "There is not a chance I could pass that up."
Vigneault was given a five-year contract about a month after he was dismissed by the Canucks and three weeks after New York fired combustible coach John Tortorella.
Vigneault visited his daughters in Montreal and got a clear message from them where they wanted him to go. When he went into the apartment of his 20-year-old daughter, Janie, at college, he saw two mugs on the table -- one with a Rangers logo and the other with a Dallas Stars insignia.
Then he received a much clearer signal.
"They were sitting on the couch, and they both had Yankee hats on," Vigneault said. "So I said, 'I know where you want me to go. I'll see what I can do.'"
Visits that had been limited to Christmas and maybe another time during the season can now increase to multiple times per month.
"They both like to shop," he said.
Vigneault let the Stars know he was taking himself out of the running to be their bench boss and worked out a deal with the Rangers -- one that will reportedly pay him $2 million per season.
"I want to win," Vigneault said. "I did find out that it is a lot easier to negotiate yourself a contract when you've got two teams that are after you than just one."
With that, he gave Glen Sather, the Rangers president and general manager a hearty pat on the back as those in the room broke out in laughter.
"I didn't particularly enjoy that part," Sather said with a smile.
Although he has yet to win the Stanley Cup, Vigneault brings a wealth of experience and success into his third NHL head coaching job. His most appealing attribute might be that he is so different than Tortorella -- on and off the ice.
That was evident Friday when Vigneault was introduced at Radio City Music Hall. In the short window of time in which he met with media members, Vigneault smiled and joked more times than anyone could remember his predecessor doing in 4
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