Over the last week the Rangers have been experiencing a bit of a renaissance, as we've finally seen players like Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard living up to their potentials, while Henrik Lundqvist is rounding back into form.
Unfortunately, one player hasn't been reaping the rewards of the turnaround as JT Miller was made a healthy scratch for the Rangers 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks after struggling in the previous few games, specifically in the 5-1 win against Carolina last week...
"You can’t afford to have games like that at this level," Miller told ESPNNewYork.com "I think I have more to show; I think I can produce more than I’ve shown. Obviously, I just want to get better from here."
Alain Vigneault is a bit unsure about what he has in Miller and is still pondering what is or isn't better for the Rangers 2011 first round pick's development...
“For a young player like that, they need to play a certain amount of minutes,” Vigneault said to the Daily News yesterday. “Now is it better to play eight minutes in the National Hockey League or 20 in the American (Hockey) League? I would say to you that the right answer to that is each player is different. You’ve just got to figure out what’s best for each situation.”
It looks like Vigneault is willing to give Miller one more chance to prove himself at the NHL level as he's been re-inserted into the line-up for tonight's game against the Penguins in favor of Brandon Mashinter (Are you kidding me?!?!?!?).
To say tonight's game is big for the young forward, would be the understatement of the century. If he performs well, he might buy himself some additional time in the NHL. If not, he'll likely be on the first bus back to Hartford after the game.
To be honest, I don't think he's been playing all that poorly. Yeah, he wasn't able to clear a puck in the defensive end against the Hurricanes that Lundqvist had to make a nice safe on, but I really love him going to the net to cause havoc ala Kreider recently.
And let's not kid ourselves, as constructed right now, this Rangers team isn't contending for a Cup, so why not get him as much NHL experience as possible, so he's that much better going forward?
On a related topic, how the hell is Pyatt still in this line-up? I can guarantee you that if he was in the press box tonight the betting odds for the Rangers against the Penguins would go from +.5 to - 2. Click here to check current hockey lines.
In other line-up news from practice, Henrik Lundqvist will be back between the pipes tonight, while Dominic Moore (oblique) skated for the first time since hurting himself last Tuesday against the Islanders. The Rangers say he's still 7-10 days away from returning.
Also, Derek Dorsett skated this morning after a maintenance day yesterday and will play tonight. However, he did need a couple of stitches.
Sorry not sold on Pyatt's veteran leadership maybe they had that idea in the pre season when they gave him a A but that disappeared.
He is holding on for dear life every shift literally i.e. his penalties and looks he like it even on the bench . As a young player that is not something one is going to look up to and then to see him eating possible minutes or opportunities that one could have... no way . If you are a top 6 player he hurts you and as a bottom 6 player fighting to stay in the show the last thing needed is a guy dragging you down, I said this before I think it sends a bad message playing this guy.
trade Pyatt for whatever you can get that doesn't cost money and claim Jordin Tootoo. atleast he can fight.
I totally agree that Pyatt (along with several other Rangers) could be a LOT better, but let's look at Pyatt and Mashiner:
Both players have 10 PIMs. In Mashinter's case, he's played 4 games and has 2 shots, is a 0 +/- and has no points. In Pyatt's case, he's played 14 games, has 19 shots, is a -8 and has 1 assist.
5 of those -8 are from games where NYR lost by a combined total of 5 to 24, so if Mashinter had played those games instead of Pyatt, you can be certain that he'd be in the negative, too.
Given this, can you please explain to me why you feel the Rangers would be SO MUCH better with Mashinter in the lineup? Because the math does not bear that out. He's not even in the top 10 in points in Hartford.
Both of them underwhelm me, but I'd love to know what I'm missing.
I'd rather see Miller in the AHL. He was a 1st round pick and is expected to be a top 6 forward. He's not a top 6 right now so give him a few months in the AHL and see if he's ready in the 2nd half. Sure the team is in need of scoring, but it's not Miller at this point. Perhaps give Lindberg a shot since he's played well in Hartford and is naturally better defensively than Miller or Kristo. Those 2 need to round out their games. Don't rush them.
Typical Pyatt still in the lineup. At this point I'm starting to think no matter what happens barring a trade or injury to him he'll be in all year. WTF
@johnAMIRANTESrug Standing ovation for your screen name.
@queensbee The thing that I think EVERYONE is missing is the fact that the Rangers have 3 players over the age of 30...Richards, Hank, and Pyatt. Pyatt has certainly been underwhelming this year, but this team sorely lacks some veteran leaders that have won something. This team has 1 player with a Cup! Pyatt hasn't won a Cup but he's been to the 2nd round twice and the conference finals twice (both times losing to the Cup winner). Last year he has 2G and 2A in the playoffs (8th on the team). I find a lot of the comments about him to be VERY similar to the comments that were made about Fedentenko a few year back, until he had a strong end to the season and a good playoffs. I believe Pyatt is on this team solely for leadership. If Sather is able to find someone else to fill that, then I think Pyatt's days could be numbered unless his play improves. For now though, I don't think he's going anywhere.
@queensbee It isn't a matter of point production with these two, because as you pointed out, they are rather even. However, Mash provides more of a spark and toughness that obviously this team needs unless we want to see another one of our top offensive players get cheap shotted again. Unfortunately, it seems like every time Mash seems to assert this on the ice, AV doesn't take too kindly and benches him.
I've been saying that for a while Torts kept him in all last year and aside from 3-4 games he was absolutely worthless!!!
@gravey94 Wow, I had not looked at that math (mostly because it makes me feel really, really old), but that is an excellent point. That's also been a big problem for Edmonton, and their youngsters are way better than ours (at least in theory).
@laxrat45 We have Dorsett for toughness and I actually see some offensive upside with him (although the amount of stupid penalties he's taken is a real problem), so do we really need Mashinter AND Dorsett?
Not for nothing, if Nash were in the lineup, Pyatt's role would be able to be reduced to his more suitable role on the PK, etc. If we had Nash back, this entire issue would be moot.
@Kevin DeLury @laxrat45 At this point, I'm more worried about putting the puck in the net than being intimidating, and given that our tough guy options consist of Dorsett, Mashinter & McIlrath, I'd rather we trade for a better tough guy (read: one who can do something useful in addition to punching), or go for full-on finesse.
@Kevin DeLury @laxrat45 I guess I'm just not seeing this "spark" that Mashinter allegedly brings to the team. I've been watching him to see what I'm missing that everyone else seems to be loving, but he hasn't done anything to impress me yet, and I haven't see the team be any better with him in the lineup, either.
Mashinter doesn't need to score, he needs to stick up for teammates and provide a physical presence.
I like Dorsett, but I'm sorry, he's not intimidating anyone out there.
@queensbee Unfortunately I just don't trust Dorsett enough because of his stupid penalties, but I just personally feel that Mashinter is an upgrade from Pyatt, because he can skate better (not by much). & while I agree if Nash was in the lineup it would be a moot point, we can't go by that because his timeline is still uncertain.