DENVER - J.T. Miller, reassigned to Hartford on Wednesday, didn't exactly receive a ringing endorsement from coach Alain Vigneault. In fact, it was pretty harsh.
"There needs to be more commitment on his part, both on and off the ice,'' Vigneault said Thursday. "Until there is, he just hasn't earned the right to be at this level on a regular basis.''
Miller, 21, who was selected 15th overall in the 2011 NHL draft, was recalled before the road trip a week ago Wednesday after Chris Kreider suffered a hand injury that required surgery.
He played 13 minutes against Philadelphia, was benched in the third period in a 4-3 loss to Calgary and was scratched in Edmonton and Vancouver.
"Any young player going through the process of being an NHL player . . . you've got to figure it out,'' Vigneault said. "Hopefully he will, and when he does, we'll have a pretty good player, and if he doesn't figure it out, he'll be a good minor-leaguer.''
In 56 NHL games this season and last season, Miller is 5-5-10 with a minus-13 rating. His defensive reads have been an issue. His numbers are far better in the AHL, with 12 goals and 37 points in 35 games.
Miller was a favorite of former coach John Tortorella, but judging by Vigneault's critique, he will have to impress in training camp to crack the roster in October.
Mitchell recalls NY
John Mitchell, who recently signed a three-year extension worth $5.4 million with Colorado, recalled 2011-12, his lone season with the Rangers. He said "going deep in the playoffs helped my cause'' as a pending free agent. "As far as my role on that team, it was here, it was there, kind of all over the place,'' he said. "I think Torts is a very good coach, but he has his guys and he's set in his ways. It was a fun time to be playing hockey in the middle of May in New York. Seemed like every bus, every billboard, had pictures of the Rangers.''