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Vigneault: 'Demitra a game-time decision'

Tuesday, 05.05.2009 / 2:23 PM / Conference Semifinals: Vancouver vs. Chicago

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault wasn't showing his hand with regard to the availability of wing Pavol Demitra for Tuesday night's Game 3 showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks in their Western Conference Semifinal at United Center.

"Pavol is a game-time decision and (Ossi) Vaananen will go in for Sami (Salo)," Vigneault told the media during a brief availability in the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel. NHL.com reported earlier on Monday that both Salo and Demitra were noticeable no-shows at Monday's afternoon skate at United.

Vigneault and players Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa were on hand to answer questions. While the Tuesday afternoon skate at United Center was optional for the Canucks, NHL.com correspondent Brett Ballantini did catch up with goalie Roberto Luongo, who told Ballantini that "(Demitra) is too important for us to not play. We're all banged up but we really need him."

According to reports, Demitra may have suffered an upper-body injury during the course of Game 2 in Vancouver. He was hit hard into the boards during a play by Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell and even though he finished the game, was favoring his shoulder. Center Ryan Johnson had X-rays on his hand after blocking a shot in Game 2 and is expected to play in Game 3 for the Canucks.

The only other update to provide on the Vancouver end is the fact that if Demitra is sidelined, there's a strong possibility that wing Taylor Pyatt could be in the lineup

"That would probably be the ideal chance that we would do that (insert Pyatt into the lineup)," Vigneault said.

Pyatt rejoined the Canucks during their eight-day break between playoff rounds, returning to Vancouver exactly three weeks after leaving the team when he found out his fiancee, Carly Bragnalo, had been killed in an April 3 car accident in Jamaica. If Pyatt does get the nod, it would be his first playoff game of the season.

As far as lineups are concerned, Vigneault wasn't about to oblige.

"I won't discuss my lineup situation," he said.
Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions