Recap: What Alain Vigneault said about Rick Nash, Game Six and JT Miller

Alain VigneaultAlain Vigneault met with reporters today before the team traveled to Philadelphia for game six (Rangers):

  • On relying on veteran players who know what it takes to close out a series, “A lot, those guys have got to share their experiences with our players. They need to help them to focus on the right thing and the right things are not the outcome but the process. We need tomorrow to focus on what we need to do against Philly to have a good game. Game plan that we have laid out, that we have modified and adjusted as the games have developed, they know the game plan and it’s about focusing on it and executing it and executing it real hard.”

  • Do the players understand the urgency, “I got a feeling that they know, it’s an opportunity to move on to the next round. There isn’t a player in that room that doesn’t want to do that.”
  • Do you have messages to the team or is it all strategic now, “It’s basically the same as it was prior to the last game, trying to get our guys to focus on the right things, trying to make sure they execute and that isn’t going to change.”
  • On Rick Nash and concern with him, “he’s due and he has had some great looks and is working real hard. I have and his teammates have a lot of confidence in him, he is doing a lot of the right things and sooner or later those will go in.”
  • Are there guys made for playoff time, like the fourth liners, “to the contrary, I would say that you expect those guys, come playoff time you are seeing the same thing, the same team nigh after night and there is a physicality that is obviously a lot more important in playoff hockey, important isn’t the right word, relevant in playoff hockey than it is in the regular season because you are playing against the same opponent night in and night out and those guys bring that dimension and they wear the opposition down, or they try to, just like the opposition is trying to wear us down and those guys have had a real good impact and real big impact.”
  • What do you like about the defensive zone play, “I don’t think we have changed anything there, we were one of the top defensive teams in the league, third in our conference in goal differential, we play smart and hard, when we don’t have the puck, to get it back and go on the attack and that has permitted us to be a good two-way team all season long.”
  • On the differences from game to game, “this game is about making the opposition pay when they make a mistake, when you can do that you have a better chance of winning the game. When we make mistakes, and we do, you are never going to play a perfect game, we hope that our goalie will bail us out and he has done a good for us and we are trying to capitalize on their mistakes.”
  • What has changed in JT Miller’s game, “he has played one game, not much has changed, when he played for us in the regular season you could see the skillset, that he was smart offensively, that he could protect the puck, win some battles and we felt that for yesterday’s game it was time to put him in and we will see what we do moving forward.”
  • How much harder is the elimination game, “to tell you the truth, in playoff hockey they are all hard. They are all competitive, there is this theory that the last one to win is the hardest and it’s probably true since it permits you to move on and there is probably more desperation from both teams, the team that can end their season and the team that wants to pursue their season, it makes it for what players and coaches and fans are in this game for, it’s great hockey.”
  • Does anything change going into Philly, “we play, in my opinion, the same way at home and on the road, we play the right way, we try to make the right plays with and without the puck and that won’t change.”
  • On Marty St. Louis, “You need 4 lines and 6 ds and great goaltending but you also need your top players to take their game to the next level and he is doing that for us and we need some other guys if we intend on moving forward.”
  • How much did you know about Dan Girardi prior to coming to NY, “I knew very little of him other than he was a guy who logged a lot of minutes, blocked a lot of shots, etc. Having coaching him now for a year he is a real important player on our team and he needs to continue to play the way that he has.”