Vigneault Issues A Subtle Challenge To His Players

Alain Vigneault addresses the media (BlueshirtsUnited.com)

Alain Vigneault addresses the media (BlueshirtsUnited.com)

Lamenting a game 1 loss in the Stanley Cup Final is what fans do. The New York Rangers were not going to get caught feeling bad for themselves. To a man, they know that game 1 was not won by the Kings as much as they gave it away.

Two costly turnovers on LA’s first and final score have put the Blueshirts in a hole. Brad Richards told the media after the game, “We gave them momentum.” His counterpart Marty St. Louis had a little more fire in his voice when he said, “We correct the mistakes and get back at it. It’s one game.”

Still, the man responsible had a different take today after digesting what took place. Alain Vigneault told reporters that the Rangers effort wasn’t going to cut it. Here is the quote from BlueshirtsUnited.com

“It is real evident to me, and should be to our whole group, is we’re not going to beat this team (the Los Angeles Kings) if we do not all bring our ‘A’ Game,” Vigneault told reporters on an off day between Games One and Two of the Stanley Cup Final. “It is that strong of an opponent we are playing against. “Our ‘B’ Game won’t do it. We’re not going to win if we bring our ‘B’ Game to the table.”

Today on twitter, MSG’s John Giannone tweeted this out:

You can be sure his players will have gotten the message if he didn’t deliver it to them personally already. As the presser continued, AV would not relent on the topic.

“Our ‘B’ Game is not going to cut it against this team,” stated Vigneault. “(The Kings) are one of the best teams I’ve seen in a long time. We’re going to have to be better than we were (in Game One).”

Still the media sought more clarification, to which AV gave them this:

“It’s a combination of compete level, execution, and sticking to the plan,” explained Vigneault. “It won’t be perfect because you can’t be perfect all of the time, but even when you are not perfect you can put yourselves in situations to make a play. Compete level, winning the on one one battles. You can see when a guy has his ‘A’ Game, and when it’s not there, ‘B’ is not going to cut it.”

What Alain Vigneault did today was a stroke of genius. He, above all people knows the pulse of his team. Last night he sensed the Rangers relented in the third period of a tie hockey game and got burned for it. The anger his players were feeling was palpable. He let that stew and quiet down before speaking about it today.

Vigneault isn’t lying when he calls the Kings the best he’s seen. However, all teams can be beaten. In a battle of wills, it’s the team with the fire to compete and play on the edge that will triumph.

Today, in a very subtle manner, Alain Vigneault delivered “The Speech”. If the Rangers go on to win the Cup, many of us will point to this moment as one of the main reasons why.

– Here is the video:

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