After yesterday’s practice, Alain Vigneault mentioned that one of the reasons the Rangers recalled JT Miller is that he has the potential and skill set to be able to fill-in if someone in the lineup goes down.
“I would say those comments might have been interpreted by you as pointed,” Vigneault said. ”I would say to you that 95 percent of young players have to figure it out. They get help from coaches, from their minor league coaches and from their NHL coaches and until they figure it out, they’re either going to figure it out and become good NHL players or they’re going to be good minor league players. That comment I made of him I could have made of any young player.
“It’s a process for young players and they have to understand exactly what the process is and what they commitment that it takes to become a professional hockey player,” Vigneault added. “The odd Crosby here or there that figures it out when they’re 15 or 16, others figure it out when they’re 19 or 20, some other guys figure it out when they’re 27 or 28. He’s a young guy going through the process. He’s learning every day. If we need him I’m confident he’ll be able to come in and fill a good role for us. He’s done that on a number of occasions for us this year.”
Here’s Miller on possibly getting another opportunity to prove himself…
“Every time I get an opportunity, I feel like I have to prove myself. I’ve just got to play well. At the end of the day, I’ve just got to play and be good at both ends of the ice and stay mistake-free. It’s hard this time of the year.”
Miller also noted that he worked on his defensive deficiencies during his latest stint in Hartford…
“When I was down, I tried to work on defensive things. Obviously, offensive comes a little bit easier for me. I try to stay steady there.”
…i love what AV did here. His initial comments were to take Miller down a peg, now he’s in the process of building him back up.
…most young players need to be put in their place every once in awhile to learn what it takes to become a pro and succeed in the NHL. It’s now up to Miller to prove to his coach and the Rangers organization that he gets it.
…at some point during the playoffs Miller is going to be relied on to provide quality minutes, so it’s a smart move by AV to get the 21-year old feeling good about himself and his game.