When asked if the Rangers needed to play with more grit, Alain Vigneault said recently that the Rangers need to compete, battle hard and "win puck battles." (NYR)
Derek Stepan was asked a similar question recently and responded by saying that not much changes on defense but that offensively "you don't have as much space and you need to be sharp and execute and have guys close and you have to get on the inside." (NYR)
Asked if the Rangers need more grit in their game, Stepan said that the Rangers don't have to "completely change our face and be this gritty team, but that there is a "playoff style" that the Rangers need to adjust to.
He added, "I don't expect guys to go out and run guys through the walls but there is a way of playing hard without doing that. You gotta play a physical game, you don't need to run guys through the walls or have big hits or fight every night. I would just call it a playoff type mindset."(NYR)
The Rangers added Brendan Smith partly because of the "bite" that he brings.
Adam Rotter: There is no doubt that the Rangers will need to alter their style of play a bit come playoff time. The speed and the space just isn't there and while the Rangers can manufacture that speed and space by forcing turnovers, there are going to be times when the Rangers have to go into the corners, have to make plays along the boards and find ways to get greasy goals. With how the Rangers want to play they need to win battles, be first on pucks and make smart decisions. There is a grit element that they will need but if they can manage the puck and spend time in the offensive zone they should be okay.