Canucks and Beyond
by Alanah McGinley on 05/19/11 at 05:07 PM ET
From today’s Q&A with Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.
Q. Coach, can you update us. We got word about Mikael Samuelsson going under the knife.
COACH VIGNEAULT: Obviously he’s out indefinitely. He got operated on. That’s it.
Q. Back at all for the playoffs?
COACH VIGNEAULT: No.
Q. How many months is the rehab kind of thing?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I couldn’t answer that. I don’t know.
Q. Can you tell us how long it was bothering him. We were under the impression it was going on for quite a long time?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I know he’s had a few issues here with the groin there. But he had been fine until he got hurt on the ice at the end there, so…
Q. Was it related to when he missed games in March?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Yeah, he missed a couple games because his groin was a little bit sore there, but not to the extent of when he got hurt.
Q. Last night you said the league would do the right thing with respect to Eager on Daniel. They didn’t suspend him. Wondering your reaction to that.
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, you know, there’s really nothing we can do about that.
In our mind anyway, you know, he went out and tried to hurt our player, the NHL MVP, potential MVP. That’s how their coach wants him to play. He ran our goalie. I guess that’s how they want him to play.
I mean, there’s really nothing we can do about it. We just got to hope that the people do the right things.
Q. In some way, knowing that he can’t play like that every game, McLellan said he would put him back in the lineup pending a non-suspension. If he’s running around again being undisciplined, does that help you guys because you could benefit from power-plays?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Obviously if he’s undisciplined and the referees call it, then it’s favorable to us.
That being said, you don’t want players running around trying to hurt people. It’s evident by him challenging the bench, him challenging the bench at the end of the period, his coach saying that’s how he wants him to play, that I hope nothing bad happens because some people are going to have to pay for it.
Q. Earlier in this series, you coached Ryane Clowe. We’re having difficulty making the connection.
COACH VIGNEAULT: In Montréal.
Q. Mid-season replacement?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Yes.
Q. Clowe said after the game he didn’t like Lapierre when he got traded there. Was there any sort of fences you had to mend? Do you recall anything like that?
COACH VIGNEAULT: When I got there just around Christmas time, they were both together at that time. I think Ryan had just arrived with the team. To tell you the truth, I thought they both got along real well. They both are highly competitive. They both want to win. If there was any bad blood between them, I didn’t see it. We had a real strong finish. Both those guys were a big part of that finish.
Q. Where do you see Raffi Torres’ confidence now?
COACH VIGNEAULT: He’s playing well. Raffi is a player that when he feels good about his game, about how he plays, that he can really chip in and contribute. Right now he’s doing it both offensively and he definitely is doing it physically.
Q. Following up, you’re not the first person to say about the confidence. Was there a lack of confidence when Manny went out because of that line?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, you know, with Manny and Raffi and Jannik, they played together so well, they knew one another. Manny did a good job of helping both those guys know exactly what their responsibilities were on the ice.
When he went out, we tried different players at different times. Finally Max stepped up and became a real good player for us, a real good fit on that line.
Q. Can you talk about Daniel and Henrik. They seem to be playing with more confidence in this series?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I don’t totally agree with that. Obviously in the Nashville series, they didn’t get a lot of points. But they were playing well. They were playing hard. They were generating scoring chances. They were playing with confidence.
Sometimes the puck’s going to go in, sometimes it’s not. But you can never question that whole line: Hank, Danny and Burr. You can never question their work ethic and how they come to play.
Q. Are they getting more time and space out there?
COACH VIGNEAULT: They’re working hard like they were in the Nashville and Chicago series to create their time and space.
But, you know, it’s like anything else, right now they seem to be able to get things off the rush and sometimes in their cycling. It’s paying off for our team.
Q. You’re going into a hostile building, prior to this season one you didn’t have a lot of success in. Is there some different talking points you have for your players heading to San Jose?
COACH VIGNEAULT: We went into a hostile building in Chicago and played well. That’s one of hockey’s best atmosphere. Nashville, if people haven’t been there, is utterly amazing when you go there. We played well there.
We don’t control the past. The past is behind us. What we control is our preparation for our game tomorrow. We know San Jose is a great building to play in. It’s a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to the opportunity.
Q. Aaron Rome obviously was in prime real estate to score, maybe not a coach’s decision to have him there.
COACH VIGNEAULT: Set play. That’s where we wanted him (laughter).
Q. Maybe comment on his play here in the playoffs. There are a lot of people in this market thought he should be watching these games from the press box. You’ve shown a lot of confidence in him.
COACH VIGNEAULT: He’s played well. He’s been very dependable both offensively and defensively. He’s been consistent. He deserves to be in our lineup. That’s why he’s there.
Q. When you acquired Chris Higgins, did you envision that you might need him in a second-line role because you weren’t sure about Samuelsson at the time? Was he strictly depth?
COACH VIGNEAULT: No, at the time we picked up Chris, he was to give us good depth on the fourth line, him and Lapierre, that’s why we got ‘em. Obviously because of certain situations, they were given the opportunity to have a bigger role, and they jumped on that opportunity. They’re playing well.
Q. Has Higgins exceeded your expectations?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, I hadn’t seen a lot of him, like, because he was out east. I heard in Montréal, because I have quite a few connections there, that they thought that he had all the potential to become a real good, solid two-way player and had a lot of offensive capabilities. For whatever reason, things went off track a little bit.
But the way he’s playing right now, he’s playing with a lot of skill, determination. He’s doing a real good job for us.
Q. Maybe it’s the coaching that’s brought it out.
COACH VIGNEAULT: Coaching’s got nothing to do with it. It’s always overrated (laughter).
Q. Are you planning on bringing up any of your Winnipeg call-ups to San Jose?
COACH VIGNEAULT: We’re going to bring Balduc on the road.
Q. You’re two wins away from being in the Stanley Cup finals. Can you taste it or are you trying to avoid trying not to think about it?
COACH VIGNEAULT: We’re staying in the moment. We’re getting ready for tomorrow’s game.
Q. Did you see the women displaying her attributes next to the penalty box last night?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I’m only halfway through the game, so I haven’t.
Q. I think it was in the third period.
COACH VIGNEAULT: That’s when he was in the box. I’m only halfway through the game.
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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]