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Vigneault thinks J.T. Miller can contribute to Rangers

J. T. Miller skates during practice on Tuesday,

J. T. Miller skates during practice on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, at the Rangers practice facility before their first-round playoff game against the Flyers on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. Credit: Errol Anderson

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - When J.T. Miller was returned to the AHL on April 2, coach Alain Vigneault was critical of his "commitment" and suggested that if he didn't "figure it out," he might just remain a good minor-league player.

On Monday, with Miller back in the fold, Vigneault questioned the interpretation of those remarks. "Ninety-five percent of young players have to figure it out," he said. "That comment I made of him could've been made of any young player . . . They have to understand exactly what the process is. Other than . . . [Sidney] Crosby, who figured it out at age 15 or 16, some guys figure it out when they're 19-20, other guys figure it out when they're 27 or 28."

Miller is "learning every day," Vigneault said. "If one part of any line goes down, he has the potential and the skill set to be able to come in, and for whatever amount of time, be able to take that spot."

Asked if the criticism was fair, Miller said: "Sure, yeah. I try not to worry about the past, I just worry about the task at hand, try to focus and play well . . . I've been trying to work on defense, the offense comes a little easier for me."

Confidence in NashRick Nash had just one goal in 12 playoff games last season. But Vigneault said he is confident that Nash "learned from that" and will contribute in his third playoff appearance in 12 seasons.

Nash scored 26 goals in 65 games, and Vigneault called him "our best, and one of the best in the league, as far as scoring game-winning goals. He puts himself in the right spot."

Blue notesExpect to see Dom Moore and Brian Boyle with either Derek Dorsett or Dan Carcillo on the effective fourth line . . . Chris Kreider (left hand surgery) skated on his own. He remains out indefinitely . . . Mat Bodie, 24, the defenseman who captained NCAA champion Union College, signed an entry-level contract and will be in development camp. In 40 games, he had eight goals.

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