Alain Vigneault has, at times, been hard on young J.T. Miller.
You’ll recall a couple of years ago when the Rangers’ head coach said that Miller needed to “figure it out,” otherwise he’d be a “good minor-leaguer.”
Miller, now 22, has improved a lot since then, to the point he was recently among the first 16 players named to Team North America for this summer’s World Cup.
But Vigneault still has to dole out some tough love on occasion.
In Sunday’ 6-4 loss to the Islanders, Miller logged just 6:35 of ice time. In 13 shifts, he managed to finish minus-2. He only had one shift in the third.
“In an 82-game schedule, you’re going to have the odd game where it’s more challenging,” Vigneault told reporters today, per NorthJersey.com.
“J.T. is a lot like [Chris Kreider]. They’re power forwards. They’re guys that have to get in on the forecheck, utilize their body to retrieve pucks, utilize their body to protect pucks, make plays in the offensive zone. In the defensive zone they’ve got to be solid. Get a clean out. J.T.’s been a good player for us and I’m sure he’s going to play a good game tomorrow. As a hockey player, turn the page and get ready for the next game.”
The Rangers play tomorrow in Buffalo.
FYI, below are the two Isles goals that Miller was out there for, starting with Johnny Boychuk sneaking behind him to fire it home:
And here’s Boychuk, again, beating Miller to a puck along the wall: