NHL notebook: Rangers hire Alain Vigneault

Former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault has been hired by the Rangers, according to reports out of New York.

Ben Nelms/Reuters

Former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault has been hired by the Rangers, according to reports out of New York.

The New York Rangers hired Alain Vigneault to be the team’s new coach, according to published reports Saturday.

The New York Daily News reported that the former Vancouver Canucks coach agreed to a deal to become the Rangers coach Saturday afternoon, replacing John Tortorella.


Vigneault, who had been in contention for the Dallas Stars’ opening, withdrew his name from consideration for that job Friday night, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Vigneault was fired by the Canucks after they were swept by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs.

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Tortorella was fired by the Rangers on May 29, after losing in five games to the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Vigneault, 52, has 11 years of coaching experience, the past seven with Vancouver after three-plus seasons with the Canadiens. The Canucks, who lost to the Bruins in seven games in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2010-11 and 2011-12. They finished first in the Northwest Division this season before being swept by San Jose.

Vigneault, let go May 22, had a 313-170-57 regular-season record.

Ovechkin wins Hart


Alexander Ovechkin won his third Hart Trophy, given to the NHL’s most valuable player.

The Washington Capitals right wing beat out Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and John Tavares of the New York Islanders for the award. Ovechkin also won the Hart in 2008 and 2009.

In other awards, announced before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, Montreal’s P.K. Subban won his first Norris Trophy, given to the NHL’s top defenseman. Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets won the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s top goaltender. And Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau won the Calder Trophy, given to the NHL’s top rookie.

Bobrovsky beat out Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers and Antti Niemi of the Sharks for his first Vezina on Saturday. The Russian (21-11-6, 2.00 GAA, .932 save percentage and four shutouts) anchored Columbus’s late-season surge that nearly earned the club a playoff berth.

Crosby won the Ted Lindsay Award, which recognizes the league’s most outstanding player as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players’ Association. Crosby finished fourth in the NHL with 56 points despite missing 12 games because of injuries.

Voting for the awards was done before the playoffs began.

Oilers prospect dead

The Edmonton Oilers confirmed that prospect Kristians Pelss has died. He was 20. The Oilers released a statement saying the team was deeply saddened by the loss of Pelss, who went missing Tuesday and was feared drowned in a river near his home in Riga, Latvia.

Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said in a statement: ‘‘This is the news we feared. Kristians was an outstanding man and we feel terrible he has left us at such a young age. I can’t imagine how painful this situation is for the Pelss family.’’

Pelss arrived home in Riga on Monday after playing last season with Edmonton’s top minor league team, the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League. He was drafted by the Oilers in the seventh round in 2010.

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