VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The Canucks face their former coach tonight at Rogers Arena. Alain Vigneault and the New York Rangers will try and extinguish the faint flame that is Vancouver’s playoff chances.
The Canucks enter the game five points back of Phoenix for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Vancouver only has six games left, while the Coyotes have seven games remaining. Ryan Kesler admits he is frustrated by the position the team is in.
“There is still a chance and we just have to focus on tonight. Obviously you don’t want to be in a situation where you need help from other teams and you don’t control your own destiny. It is the first time I have been in this situation in a while. It is a little different coming to the rink.”
The Rangers are sitting comfortably in a playoff position. After a slow start to the year Vigneault has turned around New York’s fortunes. He told reporters he hasn’t been keeping tabs on his former team.
“It would be unfair for me to comment in any way, shape or form. I am 3000 miles away. I have no idea what’s going on in Vancouver. Obviously I have kept in contact with Mike Gillis, Laurence Gilman and Lorne Henning throughout the year about different things but we didn’t really talk about our teams. We talked about our families.”
Vigneault still thinks the Canucks have a great team and says he isn’t sure what went wrong for them this season.
“You talk about the core guys who have been together a long time, they are good players. They are players who are real professionals and they compete really hard. I don’t think that has changed.”
Canucks Head Coach John Tortorella is also facing his former team tonight, but he says the focus should be on the game, not who is coaching it.
“It is kind of a unique thing that happened with Alain and I. We are losing games so I am the idiot, and he is winning games so he is the smart guy, and rightfully so. When you lose games and you struggle you are going to get scrutinized and that is part of the business. I should be scrutinized.”
Eddie Lack starts in net for Vancouver.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m.