Canucks and Beyond

Canucks Today: Q &A with Coach Alain Vigneault

06/07/2011 at 5:02pm EDT

Q. Some of your players last night after the hit on Nathan Horton questioned it. They thought it might be a questionable hit. Some of those same players today are saying they think the hit is fine. Why the change of tune? Do they believe it’s a clean hit or are they supporting a teammate?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I can’t answer for them. I don’t know who told you that.

I do know at the end of the day, we hope that the young man regains his health. That’s the utmost importance.

I do think at the end of the day also it was a north/south play, Chara to Horton, he made a pass to Lucic. He was looking at his pass. Aaron was a tad late.

Aaron isn’t a dirty player, never has been, never will be. It was a hit that unfortunately turned bad.

Q. Are you saying you’re surprised by the length of the suspension then?

COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, in my opinion, it’s not the right call. We’ve had instances just in the San Jose series, and Aaron was the player, where he’s facing the board and he gets hit, there’s no suspension there. Eager’s hit on Danny in my mind, where again he’s facing the board, doesn’t get hurt, could have serious consequences. In my opinion, those were two suspendable offenses that weren’t.

Last night, very unfortunate that hit turned bad. We’re real disappointed the player got hurt. But it was a north/south play. It was a little bit late. But anybody that’s played this game knows that you have to make a decision in a fraction of a second. He’s engaged in the hit. I don’t know how the league could come up with that decision really.

Q. Do you just have enough interchangeable parts to fill this void?

COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, we’ll make decisions tomorrow on our lineup. All year long we’ve used quite a few defensemen. We’ve been able to keep on winning. Obviously this is the Stanley Cup finals, the two best teams in the league. It’s a little bit more challenging.

Q. Alain, since we were unable to talk to Aaron Rome. You’ve spoken to him I’m sure. What would he say to us if he was sitting here?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I don’t think he could talk to you right now. He’s very emotional. He’s very disappointed. He’s been taken out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. A couple of weeks ago, he was almost taken out of the Stanley Cup playoffs by another player in a situation that, in my mind, my opinion, was far worse.

I don’t think right now he could tell you anything because he’s way too emotional about what happened.

Q. You’ve touched on the run that McGinn took at Rome a couple times. Did Aaron say anything to you about that when you spoke to him? What was different about what the league communicated to you about that hit and this hit?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I wasn’t part of the conversation with the league. I was just told that the player was suspended for four games. I’m telling you my opinion on the different hits that have happened throughout these playoffs.

Some people will agree, some people will disagree. We all have our own opinions, and that’s mine.

Q. Mike Murphy talked a lot about the injury, that this clearly had some bearing on their decision. Do you think it’s right or dangerous that the NHL is making suspensions based on injury when, for instance, Daniel Sedin jumped right back up when he was hit by Ben Eager?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I had a coach call me this morning to tell me, focus on the things that are within your control, and they’re making it up as they go along, so don’t worry about it.

I don’t feel that way. I think those guys are trying to do the best job they can in very challenging circumstances. You know, obviously we had a hockey play that went bad. That’s very unfortunate. But I don’t know what they base their decisions on. I couldn’t answer that.

Q. Regarding discipline, your team has prided itself on, in your words, playing between the whistles. We haven’t seen that entirely in this series. A few of your series are spending energy after the whistles. Are you going to change that?

COACH VIGNEAULT: We’ve been a team that’s been very disciplined all year long, playing whistle to whistle. Obviously I think we might have gotten a little away from that yesterday. We’re going to have to do a better job there.

Q. The league has said big picture they want to crack down on these kind of hits. Daniel Sedin said they have no idea what is legal and what is not legal. Is that a problem at this stage of the game?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I think if you’re a player, their confusion is obviously part of your vocabulary. But you just have to deal with it and play.

We’re going to put this situation behind us and we’re going to focus on tomorrow night’s game.

Q. You touched on it last night, your power-play has been a real weapon all season long, it hasn’t been in this final so far. What have you seen that needs improvement?

COACH VIGNEAULT: We looked at it this morning with our units. We’re not that far away. We’re pretty close. We’re making some good things out there. Sometimes when it’s time to shoot, we’re passing, and when it’s time to pass, we’re shooting. We’re just a little bit off.

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