Coach Jack Capuano refused to discuss his decision to sit Blake Comeau for Saturday's game against the Rangers.
Comeau, who has averaged almost a point per game against the Rangers in his career, was a surprising last-minute scratch in the team's 4-2 win over their rivals Saturday. He was replaced in the lineup by enforcer Trevor Gillies.
"I'm not answering any questions about Blake," Capuano said Monday after being asked repeatedly about the last-minute change.
Capuano bristled when asked whether the decision was performance-related and said he doesn't plan on discussing future lineup changes, either.
"I'd just rather keep it between Blake and I. I don't want to discuss when there are lineup [changes] even with the goalies and decision-making. I'm going to try to keep that between the player and myself," Capuano said.
Comeau said he doesn't know exactly why he was taken out of the lineup, but he wasn't entirely shocked; he has yet to discuss the situation with Capuano.
"Was I surprised I was scratched? Yes and no. For whatever reason I kind of had a feeling, but you always want to be in the lineup," he told ESPNNewYork.com.
The 25-year-old winger also said he isn't sure whether it was an isolated incident or if he'll be watching more games from the press box in the future.
"To be honest I'm not even sure," Comeau said. "Before the season started I wanted to consider myself one of the core guys that's able to help the team win. There are always ups and downs throughout the season and it's a long year so I'm just going to try to put it behind me and move on."
Comeau, who started the season on the third line with Josh Bailey and Brian Rolston, is coming off a career-high 24-goal season, but was held off the scoresheet in the first three games of the season.
Comeau said he wasn't satisfied with his first few games, but felt he had been steadily improving.
"My first couple of games I didn't play the way I wanted but after however many months it's sort of expected, to get your timing back, your legs back. I felt as I kept playing, the better I got," he said. Me, Rolston and [Bailey] didn't play together at all during the preseason so we're still trying to get our chemistry and feel each other out."
Capuano would not say whether he plans to play Comeau Thursday against the Lightning.
"I don't know what's going to happen Thursday," said Comeau, who skated with Bailey and Rolston Monday. "I guess we'll see what happens."