By Josh Plummer
Markus Naslund is getting bashed from all sides by various media outlets for his recent perceived poor play because the Captain has mustered only two goals in his last 12 games.
Coach Alain Vigneault sent a not so subtle message to Naslund on Saturday night by benching him for two powerplay shifts in the second period versus the Detroit Red Wings.
Good for Vigneault.
Rather than beat the struggling Naslund into the ground, it's too bad the papers don't cut the Captain some slack and focus on the guns that Vigneault has stuck to all year: If a player isn't playing up to expectations - they'll sit or be demoted with less ice time on the third or fourth lines. It doesn't matter what the name on the back of the sweater is.
Naslund didn't look too concerned about being benched for two shifts when he spoke to the press after a solid workout at GM Place on Sunday.
"I agree, I didn't have a strong game against Detroit," said Naslund after practice. "He probably did the right thing. But I'll bounce back and I'm looking forward to having a good game in Edmonton."
Naslund's response to the prying press clearly shows how much he and the rest of the team have bought into the system Vigneault and his coaching staff have put into place.
Naslund didn't sulk. He answered all the questions thrown at him by the media and he didn't send verbal barbs back to the coach through the press. He accepted that he played poorly and he's ready to move on.
I suggest the papers do the same. Naslund is the Canucks undeniable Captain on the ice and in the room and the press can try their hardest to elicit a print worthy response from Markus, but it's not going to happen - especially at this time of year when team camaraderie is more important than ever.
Even the coach didn't think it was a big deal.
"It's the way it's been all year," said Vigneault. "I just felt, at the time, Markus wasn't where he needed to be. Everyone's been through that. "It just happened I decided to go with other players for about seven minutes, Vigneault continued. "Markus wasn't playing well. It's as simple as that."