Canucks head coach Alain Vigneualt's name is popping up around the NHL in coach of the year discussions.
Vigneault has coached the Canucks to the best record in the NHL this season, in spite of ranking 6th in man games lost to injury; the five teams ahead of the Canucks are all currently out of the playoffs.
“He’s been with this core group for a few years now, and he’s really learned how to coach each guy individually, and which guys to push harder and which guys to let them be,” said Kevin Bieksa. “We’ve had a lot of injuries this year, and he has kept the ship on course, so a lot of credit goes to him.”
Vigneault won the award previously in 2007 when he led Vancouver to a 49-26-7 record and first place in the Northwest Division.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS TO UNVEIL TRIBUTE TO ROGER NEILSON
Prior to their game on April 7th versus Minnesota, the Vancouver Canucks will unveil a permanent outdoor tribute to former Vancouver Canucks Assistant Coach Roger Neilson.
The ceremony will begin at 6:00 pm on the North Plaza at Rogers Arena (corner of Expo Boulevard and Abbott Street). Fans and media are invited to watch the public unveil.
Following the ceremony, the Vancouver Canucks will honour the former Assistant Coach throughout the night’s game as part of the 40th Anniversary’s Roger Neilson night.
For further information, please go to Canucks.com/40th.
ORESKOVICH SENT DOWN, SAMUELSSON BACK
Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that right winger Victor Oreskovich has been re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.
Oreskovich, 24, has split the season between the Vancouver Canucks and Manitoba Moose in 2010.11. The Whitby, Ontario native has appeared in 16 games with Vancouver, recording three assists and eight penalty minutes. He has collected 12 points (4-8-12) and 38 penalty minutes in 40 games with Manitoba.
“Yes, I’m really happy with his game,” said Coach Vigneault. “We sent him back down today, since Mikael is going to play tomorrow. We had called him up on emergency, so we had to send him back to Manitoba.”
Samuelsson will play tomorrow night for the first time since suffering a lower body injury March 18th against the Coyotes. The team has been playing it safe with the Samuelsson injury in the hopes that there will be no lingering affects come playoff time.
“We took an extra couple of days and I feel good now,” said Samuelsson.
ALBERTS AND EDLER CLOSE
Injured defensemen Andrew Alberts and Alexander Edler practiced with the team again this morning, and are inching closer to game action, though a return date has not been set.
“Today was just their second full team practice. We’ve got two more scheduled here, so we’ll just have to wait and see,” said Coach Vigneault
“It was a good practice today, some game like drills out there, which I need to get the timing back, my back feels fine, I just need to get it game ready I guess,” said Edler.
“I’m not going to play tomorrow, but it’s nice being back with the team. If everything feels good I would like to play the last two games.”
Alberts was equally unsure about his playing status, but remained optimistic.
“I feel good, I feel healthy, and obviously a couple more practices would be good, more for timing and hitting,” said Alberts.
“I’d like to get a couple of games in before playoffs, that would be nice, but, I don’t know what the plan is yet for our whole D-corps."
Dan Hamhuis skated this morning for the first time since suffering a concussion on March 27th against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Alain Vigneault, keeping his cards close to his chest as the playoffs near, didn’t want to speculate on a timetable for Hamhuis’s recovery
“I can’t speculate, at this point, one way or the other yet on a return,” said Vigneault.
Hamhuis has played in 63 games with the Canucks this season, registering 23 points (6-17-23) and is 8th in the NHL in plus/minus with a plus 29 rating.