Alain Vigneault met with the media on Thursday prior to the Rangers game against the Islanders (NYR):
- "I thought we played pretty good against Jersey also. We've had some good moments in some good games. Tonight we get another opportunity against a good rival to put our game in place and I know it will be a hard fought game, we will have to play fast and check well. We are ready for it, we've taken strides and working real hard to get our game in order."
- On McDonagh's season, "Mac puts a lot on himself and there is probably a couple of decisions here and there that are not Mac-like. He has always been very dependable, a lot like some of our other guys, trying real hard to get this going in the right direction. He is only 1 or 2 really solid plays away from being really good. Everybody looks at the last game and what happened at the end but you gotta turn the page, move on and focus on tonight and that is what I want him to do."
- How much does the team struggle when he isn't on his game, "it's the same as every line or every D pair or the goalie. To win in today's NHL you can't win with a "B" game. You gotta work real hard but also have to perform and execute in all the areas. Tonight, if I'm a linemate on a line, it's your responsibility to make sure you are going out on the ice and performing to your best, otherwise you are not helping your linemates. We need a complete and total effort from our whole group."
- On the starts, "basically it's been the first chance, it goes back to our decisions with the puck, we have made some unfortunate and uncharacteristic decisions with the puck that have led to real good opportunities for the other team. Right now they are finding the back of our net. Hank will make a save and we will make a better decision in front so that he won't have to make that initial save off the bat and we will be in better shape. We will talk about it tonight again and I am confident that we will do it."
- Are plays being forced, "turnovers have been in little spurts and they have been evident but the other 90% of our game is good, good checking and good with the puck. We are going to make mistakes, we can't to be perfect, you just gotta understand that the first minute of a period, last minute of a period, you gotta make the right plays to build momentum. That is what has been lacking a bit. I don't want to over analyze our game because I think we are doing a lot of good things now and we just gotta go out tonight and play."
- "to the contrary. We have everyone's attention right now, everybody in this game whats to know what they need to do to perform right. Everyone's intentions are good, everyone is working extremely hard. If you were at practice yesterday, they are doing extra, staying on, going out before, very focused and intense. It's how you work your way out of these things and that is what we are doing."
- On Hayes and Desharnais, "In Kevin's case there is definitely room for improvement at both ends of the rink but he has done some real good things defensively. Big body, his faceoffs have been better, I'm counting on him to be a 200ft player. In David's case, I think the last three games he has really picked up his stride, made some real solid plays. In the last game he made a great shot on his first goal with us and then a real solid play on Grabs' goal. His game is striding in the right direction."
- On Hayes and his new role, "he is learning. If you look at the last game he was going up against Malkin at least 85% of the night. We are showing faith in him and I am very confident that the faith hand trust we are showing in him will pay off."