As the Rangers prepare to take on the Boston Bruins, Alain Vigneault let the media know what is going on with his lineup.
New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault broke down the play of some of his players as his team tries to win its fifth game in a row tonight against the Bruins at Madison Square Garden.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) November 8, 2017
On Defenseman Steven Kampfer
“He is a real dependable defenseman. He skates well, puck battles are good. He keeps it simple and high percentage. I think he knows his limitations as far as not being a real big player but he skates well and is in good in puck battles and keeps it simple and doesn’t put himself in a lot of trouble.” Those are some very encouraging words for a player some thought would not make it out of training camp.
On Forward Jimmy Vesey
Vigneault was asked about shortening the bench and the role that Vesey plays late in games.
“Depends on how guys are playing. When I shortened the bench in Tampa he was out there. Of the 12 guys that I have available sometimes I do that after the second TV timeout when I drop to three lines, sometimes I do it earlier but at the end of games, whether we are ahead or behind or tied, I usually go down to nine forwards at that second TV timeout. Depends on how guys are playing and how his game is, in certain games his game has been real good and kept him in and in other games, some other guys games were a little better and I kept those guys in.
He has had some good games, Tampa was a real strong game against a real strong opponent and he has had some other games where both with and without the puck some other guys were better. I believe he can be better.”
The intriguing comment here was not about Vesey, but how the coach looks at the progression of the game based on the television timeouts in the third period. The second “TV” timeout late in a game is when he figures out who he wants on the ice and who will be sitting the rest of the game.
On Defenseman Brendan Smith
“Smith has worked extremely hard and I will get Smitty in at some point.” When asked if he thought he would sit Smith so much, Vigneault responded “no, but that is part of internal competition within a team. I thought that Jimmy Vesey would be in our top-six but right now he is not.”
Vigneault has a game plan. While he knows what he wants to do going into a game, how things unfold ultimately guide his decision-making.