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Practice Report: Vigneault Sorts Things Out

by Jim Cerny / New York Rangers

On the day after the Rangers 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, and the day before their first showdown this season with the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night at The Garden, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault told reporters that he is still in the process of evaluating his roster. In addition Vigneault pointed out that he has a date in his mind regarding how to move forward with his personnel--both in New York and in the minor leagues at Hartford.

"I have given myself the latitude in my mind--and without sharing with you---a certain number of games to sort out here what I have," stated Vigneault. "I have spoken to (Rangers management and Hartford coaches) to find out what would be the other options."

The head coach would not divulge if this "deadline" of sorts is approaching or which players are most affected by this ongoing evaluation, but he did make it clear that a certain status quo is not acceptable, even if the Rangers have won three of their last four games and have been playing much better hockey of late.

The one player Vigneault did openly discuss with reporters---because he was asked specifically about him---was J.T. Miller, who was a healthy scratch Monday night against the Ducks.

"He, like a number of players here, has not done it on a consistent basis, but he's been better and really only had one game where it was rougher--the game before last," Vigneault said of Miller, who has one assist in nine games played this season. "He's a young player ,and we're working with him and I a'm confident we're going to get him better."

Vigneault admitted that right now he is caught in-between on what is best for Miller---playing in New York, if that means receiving less ice-time should he not fit in a Top Six role, or playing in Hartford and receiving major minutes. The head coach also stressed that he sees Miller as a "highly-skilled" player, one who needs to play.

As for returning Miller to the lineup this week, Vigenault was non-committal, saying only that "I will do what is best for the team".


At practice Tuesday rugged winger Derek Dorsett was not out on the ice, taking a maintenance day off ice instead. Vigneault was asked if there was a chance Dorsett could miss Wednesday's contest with the Penguins, and he replied emphatically, "no."

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