Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alain Vigneault Faced With Some "Good Decisions"

Not often in life you are faced with some good decisions. If your Alain Vigneault he will have some good decisions to make before his Canucks take the ice for game 3 at the United Centre. The Canucks have a 2-0 series lead against the defending Stanley Cup champs, while no lead is safe the Canucks do have a healthy advantage in the Best of seven Western Conference Quarter Final. For Alain Vigneault to have decisions to make like he does is definitely a good thing at this time of year.

With Raffi Torres set to return from his four game suspension today, what will Alain Vigneault do with his lineup dilemma? Does he take Cody Hodgson out of lineup for Raffi Torres? Cody Hodgson has had two decent games to start the series. In game 1 he had 7: 38 seconds of ice time and recorded three shots on goal. In game 2 he was rewarded with 10:22 seconds of ice time and tallied an assist on the Vancouver Canucks third goal of the game late in the second period.

Or should Alain Vigneault take out Victor Oreskovich? Oreskovich is a energy guy who won't be afraid to drop the gloves to add a ignite a spark for his team. The Whitby, Ontario native was involved in the Kieth Ballard trade on the weekend of the draft back in June and has been a good addition to the team with adding some depth.  Oreskovich has played both playoff games this series but has really been a non factor. The reason I see Alain Vigneault keeping Victor Oreskovich is for his toughness. With the Canucks leading 2-0 in the series, the Blackhawks might try to throw the body around to swing the momentum in their favor. Having Victor Oreskovich in the lineup might be important.

Does Alain Vigneault toy with the idea of putting Raffi Torres as a healthy scratch? Torres this year played in 80 out of the 82 games this year. He has 14 goals and added 15 assists over the regular season. Torres was a big piece in the Edmonton Oilers 2006 Stanley Cup run that ended in game 7 in Carolina. The only way I see Alain Vigneault keeping Raffi Torres out of the lineup is because of illness. Torres was fighting a stomach virus the last few days but he says he's ready to play.

Like Torres, Mikael Samuelsson has also been under the weather. In fact, Mikael Samuelsson missed game 2 because of the flu but is optimistic that he will be in the lineup for game 3.  Samuelsson is an important player for the Canucks. He has playoff experience that should come in handy in a hostile environment like the United Centre.

If Mikael Samuelsson can't go, it is just another spot opener for one of the younger guys. If Samuelsson is able to go then he will surely be in the lineup. Samuelsson had a great playoffs last year scoring 8 goals and 7 assists in 12 Canuck playoff games last year.

No matter what choice Alain Vigneaul makes he can't go wrong. Each player that Alain Vigneault will choose from has some good sides to the player. In addition, all the players that Alain Vigneault will chose from he has confidence in. Over the course of the year all the players have had really good games. With  a 2-0 series lead and lots of choices to make, Alain Vigneault can juggle his lineup and each decision he makes has a chance to be a good decision.

The game starts at 5pm and will be on TV on CBC, Versus and RDS.

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