Alain Vigneault met with the media on Friday after practice and said (NYR):
- What has been missing, "I think that at the end of the day, if you look at the whole body of work, we are in a good position. We have put ourselves back in contention. We have half the schedule left, we are, like every team right now, we need our top performers to deliver. I liked a lot of our games lately but we have been a little slow in the finishing part, need some contributions, without getting into specific names, we have some guys who need to finish 5 on 5, our second unit on the PP. For me, that makes me believe we are in a real good position. I know those people, I know our core group and their willingness to play the right way and do the right things so it makes me believe in this group. We have 8 games in the next 13 days, we will be in hockey mode, we have some traveling to do. With the people that we have and the people playing hard, I think they will find a way to contribute. We have a balanced group, we have Hank but we are a team and we need to play well and get contributions."
- On Hayes, "at this time I would say, 50/50 and maybe less than 50. After talking to him after practice and to Rammer. It can change between now and tomorrow."
- Was this the first time he skated, "he skated yesterday, has been in for treatments, skated yesterday."
- On the PP, "there is no doubt that the PP gives you momentum, it can change the course of a game, no doubt that our PP, especially the second unit, needs to find ways to create opportunities and create some momentum. Might make some little changes there. We are at game 42, we have been patient with some of the groups but all of that being said, I know our core group, what they are made of. I think everyone understands, everyone is in playoff hockey, it's the way it is. I feel good about where we are and what we have ahead."
- On Henrik being an All-Star, "it just shows me that you can improve at any age if you want to put in the time and effort. Hank has always done that. He has made some subtle changes technically to work on, he did and he is back on top of his game and we need good goaltending."
- On Brendan Smith, "he would be the first to say, I think, that he can be better. There are a lot of things we all like about Smitty, his energy, the way that he comes to play. But for this first half, I would say that it hasn't been what we expected, it hasn't been the same player that we saw last year and last game I threw in Kampf and really liked how he and Marc performed with and without the puck. I like that right-hander, left-hander and we seemed faster coming out. I decided to stay that way for tomorrow."
- What if Hayes can't go, "I really thought coming in today that he would be able to play and now I'm not 100% sure so I will go back to the drawing board and look at a couple of options."
- Could Lettieri play the middle, "I would not put him there, he hasn't played it a lot in Hartford. Probably JT would be the option we are looking at right now.