Over the last week the Rangers have been experiencing a bit of a renaissance, as we've finally seen players like Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard living up to their potentials, while Henrik Lundqvist is rounding back into form.
Unfortunately, one player hasn't been reaping the rewards of the turnaround as JT Miller was made a healthy scratch for the Rangers 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks after struggling in the previous few games, specifically in the 5-1 win against Carolina last week…
"You can’t afford to have games like that at this level," Miller told ESPNNewYork.com "I think I have more to show; I think I can produce more than I’ve shown. Obviously, I just want to get better from here."
Alain Vigneault is a bit unsure about what he has in Miller and is still pondering what is or isn't better for the Rangers 2011 first round pick's development…
“For a young player like that, they need to play a certain amount of minutes,” Vigneault said to the Daily News yesterday. “Now is it better to play eight minutes in the National Hockey League or 20 in the American (Hockey) League? I would say to you that the right answer to that is each player is different. You’ve just got to figure out what’s best for each situation.”
It looks like Vigneault is willing to give Miller one more chance to prove himself at the NHL level as he's been re-inserted into the line-up for tonight's game against the Penguins in favor of Brandon Mashinter (Are you kidding me?!?!?!?).
To say tonight's game is big for the young forward, would be the understatement of the century. If he performs well, he might buy himself some additional time in the NHL. If not, he'll likely be on the first bus back to Hartford after the game.
To be honest, I don't think he's been playing all that poorly. Yeah, he wasn't able to clear a puck in the defensive end against the Hurricanes that Lundqvist had to make a nice safe on, but I really love him going to the net to cause havoc ala Kreider recently.
And let's not kid ourselves, as constructed right now, this Rangers team isn't contending for a Cup, so why not get him as much NHL experience as possible, so he's that much better going forward?
On a related topic, how the hell is Pyatt still in this line-up? I can guarantee you that if he was in the press box tonight the betting odds for the Rangers against the Penguins would go from +.5 to – 2. Click here to check current hockey lines.
In other line-up news from practice, Henrik Lundqvist will be back between the pipes tonight, while Dominic Moore (oblique) skated for the first time since hurting himself last Tuesday against the Islanders. The Rangers say he's still 7-10 days away from returning.
Also, Derek Dorsett skated this morning after a maintenance day yesterday and will play tonight. However, he did need a couple of stitches.