“At times he has [been physical],” Stevens said. “Earlier in the year against Ottawa, I thought he really played with a lot of pop in his game, he wasn’t running around reckless. He’s a big guy. He skates well and can get on top of people and finish hard when he has the opportunity.
“We want him to be a good defender, but be consistently aggressive. Use his size. He’s played against the top guys most of the year. When you’re in that situation, his strength as a defender, I’d like to see him first and foremost be a good defender. And also be a hard guy to play against.”
The seven-year pro admits his play has been lacking.
“I’m sure I need to be more consistent on what I bring and I know what is expected of me,” Vaananen said. “You mention the first Boston game [minus-3]. I don’t know if this is about one game or more. We had a good conversation. I need to be more consistent.”
What about being more physical?
“Sure, that’s what I like to do and need to do, but on a consistent basis,” Vaananen replied. “Try to close on people quick and make some hits. Good defending. ... It’s a tough subject. It is what it is. I’m not the one making decisions.”