Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
Alain Vigneault on camp so far, players, plans
Some excerpts from head coach Alain Vigneault's media session:
“I would say yes,” Vigneault said when asked about a possible Biron-Hedberg competition. “In an Olympic year I need a backup goaltender that can play games for us, whether that number is 15 to maybe 20...in an Olympic year with the number of four games in six nights that we have to play and the number of three games in four nights, we need a backup goaltender that can play and win us some games. That’s part of the equation to get into the playoffs and to be able to have a goaltender, come playoff time, that has got some energy and jump in his legs. Martin is aware of that. I had that discussion when he first got here. If we brought in Hedberg it was obviously to give him a chance."
He said the first camp scrimmage is Sunday, 20-25 minutes. Going West for four pre-season games, the team will likely consist of seven forward lines, 12-12 dmen and 3-4 goalies.
If some guys are pushing me because of their play to bring more people than that’s what we’re going to do. If some guys are pushing me that they can’t follow the pace and they’re not ready to contribute at this level at this time then we’ll go the other way.”
Today's drills with lines and D-pairs: "Less about system and more getting our guys into a couple of principles that I feel are important. Driving the net. It’s a tough league to score goals. If you want to score goals you’ve got to go to the net and be willing to stop in front of the net and somtimes pay a heavy price to be there. On a lot of the drills we had a lot of guys driving to the net hard, stopping in front, throwing pucks at the goaltender. A lot of times that little shot in his feet is as good as a direct pass."
On Nash: “When he played against Vancouver. That was a guy who one-on-one was so hard to contain. If he ever got a half a step on you and you weren’t in a situation where you could outnumber him defensively. he could take that puck right to the net. With his hands a lot of times they were grade-A scoring chances; and a lot of times they were in the back of the net."
The power play: “At the end of the day the power play is my responsibility. I’m the head guy. I’m going to empower Scott (Arniel) on the power play and I’m going to empower Ulfie (Samuelsson) on the penalty killing to do a little bit more, but the buck stops with me. I’m the one at the end of the day that is accountable for those situations. I feel we’ve got some good skill, some guys that have made good decisions and have good stats on the power play... We’re going to touch on it a little bit before the exhibition games, more on video than on the ice. We can’t do it all on the same day. I know and I’ve been told by the people I work for that the power play is going to come up, it was an issue, but I wasn’t here so I can’t really comment on it. That’s a great way of getting out of it.”
About Derick Brassard: ““I remember Derick as a young player coming up... a highly skilled player that could see the ice so well and when he had the puck he made plays. Sometimes there was nothing there and he made things out of it. Obviously for him it was a real confidence builder to be able to come last year in a new environment, a new organization, step in, contribute and play. Basically one of the things when we met I just said that was the start for you and now you’ve gotta follow it up and keep going.
About Chris Kreider: "Besides the You Tube video? (Of him using leg strength to jump out of a pool)...You talk about power. I didn’t want to hear a lot because I wanted to see and get a feel for myself, but there you have a young man that’s full of potential. I think it’s our job... to help him become the best player he can be. What that is, I don’t know right now, but any guy that can jump out of the pool like that has got a lot of power and a lot of strength. He’s definitely got something to work with there."