Groundhog Day for Vigneault

Groundhog Day

It is Groundhog Day. Cue the jokes from Bill Murray’s classic Phil character whose life keeps repeating the same day over and over. Unlike the classic movie made in 1993, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has his own version of Groundhog Day.

It involves keeping young rookie defenseman Dylan McIlrath out of the lineup even when he probably would be a better fit in a big rivalry match against the Hudson rival Devils.

At least with the movie, Murray’s lovable Phil recreated the day to his advantage winning the heart of the beautiful Andie MacDowell’s Rita. In other related news on Groundhog Day, the Staten Island groundhog Chuck didn’t see his shadow predicting an early Spring. Considering that it’s been a week since 28 inches were dumped here with mild temps melting the snow, there’s reason for hope.

The same cannot be echoed for Vigneault’s stubborn lineup which keeps Dan Boyle in over McIlrath and prevents Keith Yandle from playing on the top power play unit. In his latest experiment, he’s going with one defenseman and four forwards on the top unit.

At least Rick Nash skated at the end of practice. Happy Groundhog Day!

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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