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Vigneault has high hopes for Del Zotto despite decision to scratch him

Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Michael Del Zotto #4 of the New York Rangers skates during an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden on October 31, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Paul Bereswill

Michael Del Zotto hasn’t logged more than 16:44 minutes in any of his last four games and tonight he won’t play at least.

It seems like the 23-year-old defenseman has fallen out of favor with Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, but the bench boss thinks Del Zotto can change that.

“I’ve been told there is more to his game than what I have seen, and we need that from him,” Vigneault told Blueshirts United.

“We feel tonight we need to make a change there, and I’m hoping he’ll react the same way (Mats) Zuccarello did when he was fighting it a little bit. He took it upon himself to get his game to where we needed it to be, and he’s been one of our better players now.”

Zuccarello has two goals and 10 points in 10 contests since being listed as a healthy scratch on Oct. 24.

Del Zotto had 13 goals, 62 points, and a plus-26 rating in 123 games in his previous two seasons. By contrast, he has four points and a minus-four rating in 16 contests in 2013-14.

Defenseman Justin Falk will get an opportunity to play with Del Zotto out of the lineup.

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