Alain Vigneault met with the media following today's morning skate (MSG):
- "our focus has to be on finding a way to get two points. Such a competitive conference and everyone is desperate to get points. We know we are playing against a team that plays a heavy game, they are big, protect the puck well, they are tough to penetrate, we have a real strong challenge ahead of us. I like the way we have been playing, we have been competing and it will be tested tonight."
- On Raanta starting because it's a Western Conference game, "there is a little bit of that but Antti has been working very hard with Ben lately. It's his time tonight to go in goal and give us a good performance."
- On JT Miller, "When you talk about the process and understanding the game, I think he is starting to understand what it takes to be a solid professional. His work ethic, not just what you see during practice but before and after practice, he is becoming a pro, working on his skills. Not just the on-ice stuff but the off-ice stuff also. On the ice you see a more confident and smarter player. Better decisions with the puck. Everyone knew that he had the skillset and the skating and the physicality, it was a lot of those puck decisions that put him or his teammates into difficult situations. His puck decisions aren't perfect, nobodies perfect, but they are much better and every time he steps on the ice he continues to improve and that is what we are seeing from him."
- On ice time for players, "that is the question you always get. Players sometimes think they don't have their confidence or they are not getting the ice time, they say give me the ice time and I'll play better but if you play better I'll give you more ice time. You are always walking that fine line...example, Yands against New Jersey on the PP. He makes that low percentage pass that makes it 2-1. I can keep him on or I can take him off and I kept him on, you try to show players confidence. Different players react differently to different things, there is no set way. Everyone is different and reacts differently. You just need to know your players and find out what makes them tick and perform."
- "We have been stressing a lot and working at it a lot and if you do that through on ice and video you will improve. Combine that with Hank playing like Hank and it makes it better for everyone else. If you know that you aren't going to be 100% on all of your passes and that if you do make a mistake your goalie will stop it. I think Hank, the last 3 weeks to a month, has found his rhythm and his game.