Practice makes perfect.  

For Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller, practice days are essential for fine-tuning. Over the course of an 82-game regular season, they offer an opportunity to reflect on past performances and refine any weaknesses.  

That process begins even before the players step onto the ice.  

“We’re always doing video and watching film before practices,” Miller said. “We're trying to translate what we're learning and what we're breaking down in film with things that maybe we had some struggles with or breakdowns -- just different things we can look at within our previous game. Just watching film and analyzing those breakdowns are things that we can work on and try to do better at in practice.  

“That way, when we get out there [for a game], we have a little bit better structure and better understand what the job is and how to execute it.” 

While no practice is exactly the same, there are certain elements that become routine and are often based on position. For example, some forwards might work on faceoffs and goaltenders typically spend time practicing their form within the crease. Miller and the rest of the Rangers defensive core allot time toward stringing passes from low –to – high and sending them laterally to their d-partners, who will then fire a shot on net from the point.  

Either prior to or following practice, Miller and forward Chris Kreider have established a habit of working on deflections. Miller will carry the puck at the blueline and launch a shot on net, and Kreider will attempt to redirect the airborne puck past the goaltender.  

“Chris and I try to stay out a little longer -- he likes to work on tips,” Miller said. “He’s pretty good at that. There are just little things we all do. Every guy on this team has a little bit of a different skill set. Everybody brings something a little bit different.” 

While there’s plenty of repetition during practice days, it’s also an opportunity for players to try to integrate new components to their multifaceted games or to experiment with a new skill. In many cases, players try to gain insight from fellow teammates or the coaching staff.  

“It's always a good time after practice or maybe before practice to pull guys aside,” Miller said. “You try to work on some of those individual things or learn some things from guys that have a little bit more skill or knowledge of something. You're not just shooting; you’re trying to learn different things, getting more pucks on that, helping each other out.” 

As the season goes on, practice days tend to become more and more sparse due to the physical grind of the 82-game season, but even so, their importance remains the same.  

“There’s a lot of good that comes from practice,” Miller said. “It’s just all those extra reps and spending more time together that goes a long way.”