5:57PM: Alain Vigneault spoke with reporters before the game against Tampa and said (NYR):
- On Girardi, "the vacuum came off today and I just saw him walking in. If weather permits he should skate tomorrow."
- On Raanta, "Right now, I've said this a few times since we found out about Hank, we are going on a game to game basis but Antti has wanted to play more games. Now with Hank out there is an opportunity there. Our back to backs are spread out. Played well yesterday, felt good today and that is what we are doing."
- On Fast, "yes, skating again today, feeling much better. I expect him to be back with the team at our next full practice and from there we will get a read on exactly where he is. My understanding is that he is real close. He has been on the ice with the red jersey but he will be on the ice in a regular jersey next time."
- On Kampfer, "I think he skates well. He has good reads when we don't have the puck and he isn't a bad man but pretty physical and good in his 1 on 1s. For the number of minutes that he is playing, I like what he is doing, he has been safe and dependable and played well so far."
- On JT's potential, "It's tough to put a limit and know exactly where expectations are when you are dealing with a young player that is evolving, maturing. JT, whether you talk about JT or Hayes or Fast, Vesey, those are all young players that depending on their willingness to put in the time in the game as far as working on their skills, you don't know how far they can get. In JT's case there is no doubt that there is a lot of potential there. There are areas he is still working on to improve his game but I wouldn't put a limit on those expectations. I still think there is room for improvement and hopefully he continues to improve."
- More on JT, "When you talk about any player you are always talking about a player playing a 200ft game, in my estimation anyway, you need to be good when you don't have the puck and make the right reads and when you do have the puck you need to make plays and make the plays in front of you. In JT's case there is no doubt that he is making a lot more plays, he needs to continue to work on his read when he doesn't have the puck but he is making plays with the puck. In both areas I think there is room for improvement and a better player will continue to progress."
- "If you are talking about Jimmy, I think he has been skating better in the last 5-6 games than he was prior. You can tell that he has power in his stride, I don't see it at all and with Buch he missed so many games and just wants to play."
- On Buchnevich, "I thought Carolina he had a tougher night, was aware of it and worked on some stuff videowise and positioning and plays he needs to make and I thought he was definitely better in Detroit."
- On Skjei, "Brady has a high skill set and his biggest attribute is his skating and getting away from the forecheck and then skate the puck and find an open man. When I mention all the other young players, he is still a young player that in my mind, his commitment to being the best player that he can be, the work ethic and development of his skills, he has a tremendous amount of potential at that young age."
- On the standings, "I haven't brought it up with any of the players, you would have to ask them if they were bringing it up among themselves. Everyday when I get up I look at the standings and I am assuming that if you are a hockey player you do the same thing. It's real competitive division we are in and still a lot of hockey to be played."
5:21PM: Antti Raanta will start tonight against the Lightning in the second half of a back to back.
Alain Vigneault announced that there would be no other lineup changes tonight. (NYR)