While leading the team with seven hits against the physical Boston Bruins is nothing to sneeze at, it's safe to say J.T. Miller had his worst game as a Rangers last night by not registering a shot on goal and going 2-for-9 on faceoffs.
So now that the rookie's performance has slipped a little the last two games and with only one game to go before his entry level contract kicks in, the Rangers have a pretty tough decision on their hands. Which John Tortorella addressed today (via Bergen Record)…
“The biggest thing for the organization when you’re dealing with such a young player is just keep on assessing. If we keep on putting him in situations where there’s been some struggles in his game and he keeps on struggling and confidence comes into play and just the process gets a little fouled up, then we have to think about other things to do. But just because he has a few shifts that he doesn’t play well, we’re not there yet. We think he’s going to be a really good player, we’re just not sure how quickly it’s going to come so that’s our situation as an organization to watch that.”
Torts added that the team will continue to discuss their options regarding Miller and that despite his off night he still can do a lot to help the Rangers.
Miller admitted that last night wasn't his best game.
…while Miller was definitely less noticeable, it's hard to criticize a 19-year old playing against one of the hottest teams in the NHL and still finding a way to contribute even if it wasn't in the scoring sheet. Which is what makes this kid so special. Instead of hanging his head, he found a way to help his team win anyway he could.
…and for that reason, I'm 100% in favor of the Rangers keeping this kid around. Will there be some bumps along the way? Sure, but I think they'll be worth it in the end. Seriously, would you rather have Miller or Boyle in the line-up?
Speaking of Brian Boyle, Tortorella hinted that he might return to the line-up tomorrow night against the Islanders….
“I have to make decisions. It’s not so much about Brian Boyle. Brian Boyle is a good player, we all know that. He’s pushed himself and grown into being a good player. I still feel that about Brian. You have to make decisions, I don’t think Brian was playing that well at that particular time, so that’s where we’re at. Quite honestly I don’t think we played that well last night, and a number of guys didn’t so we’ll see where the lineup is tomorrow.”
…i'm sorry there's no way Torts can change up the line-up in the middle of their longest winning streak of the season. Once they lose, sure. But why mess with success?