Canucks and Beyond
by Alanah McGinley on 06/03/11 at 04:18 PM ET
Q. Any sort of update on Manny?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Manny is day to day (laughter).
Q. How did he look to you today?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Skated well.
Q. There was a little bit of confusion. Last weekend you said he was cleared to play. On Tuesday Mike said he wasn’t cleared to play.
COACH VIGNEAULT: No, nobody said that. He’s cleared for physical contact, which is cleared to play. We said, I said at that time, he was day to day. He was monitored every day.
Nothing has changed.
Q. I don’t want to ask you about Dan Hamhuis. I might know the answer.
COACH VIGNEAULT: Day to day.
Q. Should he not be available for Game 2, have you decided yet on who you would use to fill the void?
COACH VIGNEAULT: You wouldn’t know even if I had decided, I’d say Dan wouldn’t be playing, I wouldn’t tell you.
Dan is still day to day. We’ll figure things out tomorrow.
Q. Can you just describe your third line. Kind of an interesting cast of characters. Raffi was hoping to get a chance, Maxim has been around a little bit. Can you describe the three different guys coming together and working as one.
COACH VIGNEAULT: Yeah, obviously to get to where we are right now, you need contributions from your whole group. And it took us a while to get some chemistry within that line, for whatever reason. We had a few players audition when Manny went down for that third-line center spot. Nobody really seemed to grab it until somewhere in the playoffs Max grabbed that opportunity.
I think the reason they’ve been effective is they’re all three emotional players that play with an edge, that skate real well. Right now they’re playing high-percentage hockey. Getting pucks behind their D. They’re playing the body when the opportunity is there. They’ve been real smart and effective about it. It’s been a good line for us.
Q. I know coaches always say ‘every game is important.’ How pivotal is tomorrow night’s game, a chance to go up 2-0? How does this one rate?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I think for both teams obviously it’s a very important game. For them, without a doubt, they’re thinking about coming in here and getting at least a split. We’re thinking about keeping home-ice advantage.
But at the end of the day, we haven’t approached our games that way. I’ve said this a thousand times: we’re playing every game, we’re getting ready for every game one at a time. We put a plan out for the players. We expect them to go out and execute. After we’ve played that game, we analyze it, make the adjustments we need, and move on.
I thought the first game was a very good game as far as us getting better in the game. We had our best period in the third. We had been off for eight days. I thought in the third period we were playing faster. We showed more speed on the ice.
I expect that to continue here in Game 2.
Q. I noticed you had Andrew Alberts skating along Christian Ehrhoff.
COACH VIGNEAULT: Dan is day to day. Don’t put anything in the lines or the D pairs you saw today.
Q. Can I ask you about Andrew Alberts? What would you expect from him?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I’d expect him to play well. He’s a big body. He’s a physical presence. Every time we’ve used Andrew, he’s played extremely well for us and hard.
Whether he’s in the lineup or not, he’ll do a good job.
Q. Alain, can you talk a bit about your decision to have your team stay at a hotel on game day, where that idea came from?
COACH VIGNEAULT: No.
Q. Who made that decision?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Internal team decision, so… We take care of that stuff.
Q. What do you like about Aaron Rome’s game right now?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Aaron, he’s been one of our most consistent D’s as far as his defensive reads, moving the puck. Real high-percentage, plays within his limits. He’s a good physical presence out there. When the opportunity is there to play the man, he does. We’re really happy with how he’s played.
Q. Three shutouts for Luongo in Game 1. How much has he set the tone in the series when he’s having these kinds of games in Game 1?
COACH VIGNEAULT: You need great goaltending. You need great goaltending to be where we are right now. Obviously Roberto has given us that. I feel right now he’s playing some of his best hockey, I’ve been here five years, that I’ve seen him play. We obviously need that at this time of the year.
Q. Any reason for Cody Hodgson’s absence today?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Just numbers. He’ll be back with the group here. It would have been too many numbers. Those guys get a better skate. Our players get a better skate and those guys get a better skate when the numbers make more sense.
Q. As we keep digging for answers on the defense, what do you like about the Ballard/Tanev pair? What do you like about those two together?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Those two guys, when we’ve used them, have been dependable and solid both offensively and defensively. I think Keith has played his best hockey this year when he has played with Chris Tanev. I think they both read off one another real well. Their outlet passes and their north/south plays are consistent. Defensively when the other team has been in our zone, we haven’t spent a lot of time because they’ve been able to read off one another and get the puck out quickly.
It’s been a real good pair for us.
Q. What specifically have you liked about Victor Oreskovich that allowed him to remain in the lineup?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Our fourth line hadn’t played very much in the round against San Jose and in the first game. In the first game, I think it’s mostly due to we had been off for eight days. I knew our guys were real fresh. I just played them. The fact that we had three other days in between that first game enabled me to play them a lot.
I think as we move forward here, we’re probably going to play a little bit more four lines, maybe not to the extreme we did during the regular season, but I would like to get that line out there a little bit more.
What he brings is the speed element. He’s a natural right winger. He’s got size. I think in the Chicago series, you saw Victor probably playing at his best when he got pucks behind their D’s, played a real physical game. Made it real hard on the other team’s D. That’s what we expect him to do here.
Q. A lot was made of the maturation process of some of your forwards, like Alexandre Burrows, Ryan Kesler. With a guy like Kevin Bieksa, did you have to get him to sort of play with a little less emotional volatility? If that’s the case, how has that worked out for you?
COACH VIGNEAULT: The only thing we did with Kevin, it was a combination of Rick Bowness and myself, just getting him to maybe not chase the game. His intentions are so good, so competitive, sometimes he wants to get a little ahead of himself. For whatever reason, sometimes as a player, when you try to do a little bit too much, instead of it turning out well, sometimes it turns out the other way.
All year long he hasn’t chased the game. He’s read the game both offensively and defensively. With his competitive nature, obviously you see what the end results are. I mean, he’s been one of the best defensemen throughout the playoffs and in the regular season.
Q. Obviously you’re hoping not to see him in this series. Can you talk about Schneider’s maturation over the over the course of the season and what you’ve seen out of Eddy Lack?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Schneids, our plan this year coming forward was to give him somewhere between 20 and 25 games. That was part of what we felt we needed to improve, was give Luongo a little less number of games so at this time of the year he’d be 100%. We knew we had a very good goaltender in Schneids. But he played I don’t want to say beyond our expectations. But obviously the way he played and his record, you know, every time we put him in, we knew we had a chance to win.
That trio there with Eddie Lack has really come together. We have a great prospect there in Eddie and we have a very good goaltender in Schneids, a great goaltender in Luongo.
Q. If Manny does draw in, does he take that role, however many minutes, or would you use him in additional faceoffs and penalty kill or anything like that?
COACH VIGNEAULT: If Manny does play, obviously he’s one of the best faceoff guys in the league, so he would be used a little bit more in our end without a doubt.
Q. Bruins had 13 shots in Game 1 but no goals. Are you satisfied with the job you did against them?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I thought their top line played really well. They got some quality chances five-on-five, and they got some chances on their power-play.
I mean, they’re a great hockey line. For us to expect that we can totally shut them down is not realistic. They’re going to get some chances. We hope they’re in the area where the goaltender has a better chance of saving that puck.
That team has got some great tools and weapons. It was a hard-fought game, and I expect the same thing in Game 2.
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About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]