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Devils' Schneider praises former coach Vigneault

by Staff

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault continues to receive praise from former players on his success during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider, who played as part of Vigneault's goaltending tandem with the Vancouver Canucks for several seasons, told The Star-Ledger he thinks Vigneault is "a great coach."

"We went to a Cup Final and we won two Presidents' Trophies and a bunch of division titles with him, so he was clearly a great coach," Schneider told the newspaper. "I'm not surprised at all that they're there. It was unfortunate the way it ended in Vancouver for him. I don't think it was a knock on him as a coach. I just think it was a change with the ownership."

The Rangers trail the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final with Game 2 set for Saturday at Staples Center (7 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Vigneault coached the Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, which they led 3-2 before losing to the Boston Bruins in seven games. He was fired following the 2012-13 season and replaced by John Tortorella.

During the Eastern Conference Final, when the Rangers were dispatching the Montreal Canadiens, it was Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa who said he was rooting for his former coach.

"For Alain, I'm happy for him that he got back there so quickly," Bieksa said, according to The Canadian Press. "He's a good coach and he's obviously been there before and he took us there. We had a lot of really good years together. Absolutely we're cheering for him and hope they do well."

Schneider, who had to battle Roberto Luongo for playing time in Vancouver, said Vigneault had a significant influence on his career.

"I have a lot of respect for him as a coach," Schneider told The Star-Ledger. "When I was first trying to break into the League he could be tough on me. He can be tough on young guys. He makes you earn it and there's nothing wrong with that.

"I figured it ended up being a good thing for me, and once you earned that respect and trust from him he was great. He put a lot of the onus on us. What did the players want, a micromanager or somebody always telling you what to do?"

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