Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault explains silence regarding injuries

Alain Vigneault is known for having a much friendlier demeanor than the fired John Tortorella. Credit: Getty Images
Alain Vigneault will likely not be too forthcoming about injuries this postseason.
Credit: Getty Images

Silence can be the difference between a large silver Cup and an unfulfilling end to the season.

Following an optional morning skate at the Garden Thursday, head coach Alain Vigneault explained why playoff teams become tight-lipped regarding the medical condition of their players.

Call it a cat-and-mouse game or paranoia, but the underlying rationale for the philosophy is an inherent concern of a rival.

“Once the playoffs start, you’re playing an opponent [and] both teams, their goal is to win four games,” Vigneault said. “I would say to you if you know that somebody on the opposition has a weakness, you’ll try to exploit that. So injuries are something that, at that time of the year, you try to keep internal. There are different theories but I think all 16 teams abide by that.

“If somebody’s got an upper-body injury, it would be safe to say the opposition knows that and they would tell their players, ‘Let’s make sure we finish our checks on him.’ Not that they want to hurt him. Somebody’s got a leg injury or he might [have] a tough time skating, ‘Let’s challenge him more on that side,’ et cetera, et cetera.”

Home-ice disadvantage

Let’s just say MSG hasn’t been a Garden of dreams for the Rangers in 2013-14.

Entering Thursday night’s regular season finale at the Garden, the Rangers had a 19-17-4 mark at home compared to a 25-14-1 record on the road.

Still, the Rangers want home ice with the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning next week.

“We’re still playing for home ice,” Brad Richards said. “I think it’s important. In playoffs everything is so tight. It’s a different animal than the regular season. Matchups become that much more important — faceoffs, stuff like that. If it goes to an all-important seventh game and you have last change, it’s a big advantage. We’re going to try our best for it.”

Richards pointed to his Lightning team’s Game 7 wins over the Flyers and Flames in 2004, and the Rangers’ Game 7 win over Washington in 2012, as examples of the importance of having home ice.

“[We] went to Game 7, and pretty much felt in control both games on home ice the whole time,” Richards said about the Lightning’s Eastern Conference finals and Stanley Cup Final clinching games in 2004. “Even here, Ottawa and Washington my first year here — I remember more the Washington series for some reason — that Game 7 at home it seemed like we had way more jump and got a goal early [that] got the crowd into it. It helps a lot.”

Entering Thursday night’s game, the Rangers were the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division playoff race, two points ahead of third-seeded Philadelphia and first wild-card Columbus. The Rangers and Blue Jackets have each played 80 games, while the Flyers have a game in hand.

The Rangers end the regular season Saturday night in Montreal.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…


China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…


California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…


Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…


What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…


Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.


Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."


3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.


NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.


Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…


Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…