Recap: Alain Vigneault on Mike Francesa

Alain VigneaultAlain Vigneault was a guest on Mike Francesa this afternoon:

  • How are things going, “we have been playing some good hockey lately. We lost our last two games, it wasn’t from a lack of effort and from a lack of our guys playing well. We had a real strong game against St. Louis and they are one of the elite team in the league and their PP clicked for them at the right time. I am happy with the leadership and commitment we are getting from the whole team and I am confident that as we move forward here we will win a lot of games.”

  • What has surprised you about the team, “I can;t say one thing particular thing stands out. Having been here quite a few months and figuring things out and getting to know the players individually. There is a sense that they want to win, follow direction and do what they can to bring a Stanley Cup to New York. That is what we are looking for. There are some areas to our team, our goaltending, I like the balance on D and our offense, we are trying to generate more offense and if we do that and score more goals we will win more games.”
  • On the PP, “PP has been working well. Last night it had an opp to get us the lead in the third and we didn’t execute real well but since the beginning of the year we have been in the top ten in the league. At one point we were fourth in the league so the PP has been working out for us.”
  • On the goalie schedule, “it has worked out well for him and it;’s changed sine the last time we talked. We saw early on that we needed to go with a young goalie named Cam Talbot who had been playing in Hartford and playing well and Cam convinced the Rangers. He has played 15 games this year and is 10 and 4 and we are real pleased with his progression. He is a young man that has a tremendous amount of upside.”
  • On doing things different outside, “we are waiting to see what the weather and conditions will be. Sunday looks to be real cold and it’s its snowing we may need to keep things more simple. If the conditions are fine and there is no snow and if the wind isn’t too bad (interrupted)
  • Would you put them on shorter shifts because of the cold weather, “I think we are going to sort this out as the game unfolds. During the regular season we keep the shifts real short and hard and that is one of the things that I think we do best. It should be a lot of fun and interesting to see how things react.”
  • On checking the surface tomorrow, “we are having a practice tomorrow afternoon. We are going to get used to the conditions and after the players families and my girls will get to skate on the ice and it should be a lot of fun.”
  • Do you like the idea of this, “I have never participated in one so I am really looking forward to it. I have been looking forward to it for a long time even though as the season goes on you go one game at a time. I have had this penciled in my calendar, I have had tons of friends talk to me about it. My family is coming down for Sunday’s game and I have other family coming to Wednesday’s game. This is on a lot of peoples agenda especially those who have not been in one and what to see what it is.”
  • On Yankee Stadium, “you have games going on in LA, one going on in Chicago and the two we have in NY. This for hockey is something different it is outdoors and I think a lot of people are looking forward to it.”
  • On the games being back to back with a few days in between, “I’m not sure, I think it’s unique and if you are a player who in the middle of an 82 game schedule it may come at the right time. It’s outdoors, fresh air, it should be fun.”
  • On the Olympic break, “you can’t do anything as far as before the Olympics. the standings are so tight and everyone is in playoff mode and points are so hard to come by. We have 7 guys going over and we will see where they are energy wise and mentally when they come back and if they need a day or two in between games for total rest, we will make that decision then. Our group is a real strong group and strong mentally and I am confident that we are going to play well and represent their countries and come back here and make sure that the Rangers be as successful as they can be.”
  • Can this team be everything you think they can be this year, “we are a very different team than the team was prior to when I got here. The team has changed personnel, in my estimation, I wasn’t here but I have watched some games, the team has a different identity, I would say that probably a bigger, probably tougher and defense oriented. Now are trying to play and up-tempo and fast paced game. I don’t think you can compare our team to the team from two years ago that went to the conference final. Every year is different and as soon as you change one piece of the puzzle you change the identity of the whole group and we have changed a whole group of players since then, that is the way the NHL is today. I feel good about this group, it’s progressing and working hard and our goal, like all other teams, is to get in and once you get in you have the opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup.”
  • Which area needs the most improvement, “we have to find a way to score those timely goals. I think for the most part lately we are getting timely saves and playing really solid defensively. Our offense from my perspective is generating better quality chances but it’s a tough league to score. Goalies and teams defend well and we need to be able to score a timely goal. What I like about our group is that we are a four line team and that three of our lines can always generate good quality offense and that is what I see moving forward.”
  • On coaching outdoor games, “I watched quite a few. I watched the one on New Years. (interrupted)
  • Mike: “I watched that, it was tough to score that day, that is for sure” (chuckle from AV), “hard to move the puck and that is when teams have to keep their game real simple and high percentage and the conditions dictate that a bit. If it will be nice and sunny and a brisk 15 degrees it should be a lot of fun.”
  • Are the players excited, “without a doubt. I know that a few of our players had the experience two years ago and now I sense the same feeling of having that opportunity and not every team gets to have that opportunity.”