New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is not wasting time beating around the bush. He’s already told his team that .500 hockey is not going to cut it, and it’s hard to be more blunt than that. Still, even after a night’s rest to digest the Rangers’ latest disappointment -- a 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets Monday night that left the team 14-14-0 -- he delivered another message to his wayward club. Vigneault called out the team, namely the Rangers’ core players, and said it was time for them to “put it together.” “If we are going to get some traction and get past that .500 level we need our top players to play consistently like top players,” Vigneault said Tuesday, following the team’s intense, up-tempo practice. “We need that core group, the leaders of this room to perform accordingly. And we have not done that on a consistent basis.” Don’t assume anyone is safe from Vigneault’s scrutiny. Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Henrik Lundqvist? No one seems to be getting a free pass here. As Vigneault not-so-subtly noted Monday, the Jets entered Monday’s match with three different players -- Bryan Little Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd -- who had more points than the Rangers top producer, Brad Richards. That’s not good enough for the Rangers, who are in 25th place with a mere 2.21 goals per game. Vigneault has already shown he is not averse to shaking things up. He went with Cam Talbot over Henrik Lundqvist in goal for the second straight start against Winnipeg. He demoted Derick Brassard to the fourth line after the young center’s ill-advised giveaway that cost the Rangers a goal. And it appears that he is at least considering sitting Benoit Pouliot in favor of Taylor Pyatt. Unfortunately, there are not a ton of players down in Hartford who can come up and compete for some playing time -- JT Miller clearly needs some extra seasoning, Danny Kristo is currently injured -- but it doesn’t sound as if he's far away from taking drastic measures.
Fed-up Vigneault: 'We're all being tested'
ESPN New York | Dec 3