The puzzling words of Vigneault on McIlrath


It’s a Rangers Game Day. They host the first place Caps at 1 PM. If only it were as simple as concentrating on the game. The Rangers aim for two in a row against quality competition. They had the last three days off after hammering the Stars 6-2.

When it comes to coach Alain Vigneault, he continues to baffle with some of his answers to the paid media who cover the team. In regards to the current lineup that has right defensemen Dan Girardi, Kevin Klein and Dan Boyle ahead of rookie Dylan McIlrath, here is what he had to say.

That isn’t all. He continued…

So now that he’s on record, I guess McIlrath is in jail. What more does he have to do to prove he should be in the lineup? Vigneault’s blind loyalty to established vets Girardi and Marc Staal is absurd. Granted. He has a valid point about Boyle with his play improving. Especially on the power play where he’s succeeded on the top unit. Klein has been the team’s most consistent defenseman since last season. Girardi has been okay since returning but the idea he should play daily with swelling in his knee is ludicrous.

More AV:

At this point, most Blueshirt fans who pay close attention want to know what Vigneault is seeing. I get that he wants to be patient and see if Girardi will straighten out. I get that it’s not a comfortable situation. No coach likes to sit prideful vets who have given their arms, legs and hearts the past few years. But at what point does McIlrath finally say he’s had enough? Trading him would be the worst thing they could do. He and Brady Skjei should be a big part of the future. At 23, McIlrath is an NHL player. He took a little longer to develop. He deserves to get in the lineup. Not be treated like Emerson Etem, who never worked out here.

This coach mishandles and mistreats young players. He also plays favorites. Until recently, Kevin Hayes could do no wrong. Finally, Vigneault had seen enough to sit him out two straight games. He returned and was better against the Stars. The only reason Chris Kreider is missing his second straight game is due to a cut on his hand. His inconsistency hasn’t been punished. He also will turn 25 soon. At some point, he better get it. Especially in a contract year.

As for the coach, you know where I stand. He’s going with the same lineup as Monday.

Rangers Lines








About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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