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Rangers hire 'perfect fit' Vigneault as head coach

Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault looks on during the second day of training camp in Vancouver, British Columbia January 14, 2013
Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault looks on during the second day of training camp in Vancouver, British Columbia January 14, 2013

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Rangers appointed Alain Vigneault as head coach on Friday, calling him the "perfect fit" for the National Hockey League team.

Vigneault joins the Rangers after seven seasons as coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

"Alain Vigneault has had success throughout his career and his coaching style is a perfect fit for the Rangers," Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather said in a statement.

The 52-year-old Vigneault, who also coached the Montreal Canadiens for four seasons, replaces John Tortorella, who was fired last month after the Rangers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Boston Bruins.

Tortorella, who had taken the Rangers to the Eastern Conference finals in 2012, took a step backwards with the team as they struggled to score goals.

The team's power play in particular lacked punch, especially in the playoffs where the Rangers scored just four goals in 48 opportunities with a man advantage.

Vigneault registered an overall 313-170-57 record with Vancouver and claimed the Northwest Division title in six of his seven seasons there.

The Quebec native guided the Canucks into the top five in the NHL in goals per game in each of the last three full seasons, and ranked in the top six in the league in power play percentage from 2009-10 to 2011-12.

He was fired last month after the Canucks were swept in the first round of the playoffs by San Jose despite having home-ice advantage. It was their second successive first-round ouster after reaching the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final.

Vigneault previously served as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens from 1997-98 to 2000-01.

(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Justin Palmer)

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