Alain Vigneault met with the media on Thursday after practice and said (NYR):
- On Shattenkirk, "Kevin, like the rest of our team, is a work in progress. He has been very efficient on the PP but like the rest of our team, 5 on 5, there is definitely room for improvement there. It's normal, you come from another organization, two really but one he was with for a long time, it takes a little while to adjust to teammates, environment, style of play. He's going to be fine, smart young man, real good work ethic and he will fit in real good."
- On the defense changes, "right now, work in progress, trying to find combos and duos that can be real successful and bring us wins, trying to sort that out on defense. Obviously putting Smytty with Brady, they had good chemistry. Now we have to sort out, I think by having Mac on the right side, as much as he can play both sides, we lose a little bit of him being able to jump into the play and keeps puck in the offensive zone because he is so much more comfortable and better on the left side than right side. We decided to put him back there so that changes our dynamics of our back end because we want that strength in our lineup. Just trying to sort things out right now and figure out if we are going to have a shutdown pair like we have in the past or are we going to have a group of six with that mandate. We need a bit more time here and we said that at the start of the season."
- On better starts, "there is no doubt that in the first four games, other than the Montreal one, even the Montreal one where we had a lot of turnovers and spent time in our own end, if you get behind, it's a tough league. Positive thing, for me, is that we got behind and tied it up, that shows a lot of character and resiliency in the room. Last game we went down and tried to come down and had a real strong push and their goaltender was the difference in the third. There are some things to build on but we aren't going to hide, we have room to improve and I believe this group will do it, very hard working group."
- On McDonagh and Shattenkirk, "Shatty has to have a little bit of time to get adjusted here, he has had a different role in the past. This is an adjustment and playing against top-six forwards. I think he is on the verge, 5 on 5, of understanding what we are looking for and being a real effective player for us. Is that going to be with Mac or someone else, right now he is with Marc Staal and time will tell."
- On Pavel Buchenvich, "there is no doubt, he came to camp better prepared. Because he was better prepared it shows, he is getting some good looks. That line has had some real good moments and that the chemistry will continue. He's still got a lot of room for improvement and with that skill set, he can be a real solid player and he is trying to get better and we are trying to get him better."
- On Brendan Smith, "If I have a happy player that is sitting out then I question myself on that player. I told Smytty why we were doing it, training camp was okay. His first game against Colorado was a fairly good game but in Toronto, I wasn't trying to single him out but I had to make some decisions and he stayed out and the guys who played played a real good game against Montreal. I see him in our top defensemen but he has to play accordingly and I feel there is room for improvement in this case. At the end of the day I am sure he knows that."
- On the fourth line, "Adam just got here and hadn't skated for three days, maybe I should have kept him out of that first game and going with 7 D but I wanted to get him used, as quick as we can, to the environment here. With Grabs and Paul, two guys with good speed and can skate real well. Paul has played a lot of center in the past and I feel that it should be an effective line for us."
- On wanting JT on the wing, "I think JT is more effective on the wing. I know he likes the wing better, he can get in there more and get on the forecheck and protect the puck and get to the front of the net a little more. We need that strength and him playing to that. I liked our look today and at practice and we are ready for the weekend."