Canucks coach rips Blackhawks
CHICAGO -- Before Friday's game, Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault didn't back off his stance that the Chicago Blackhawks tried to run up the score the last time the teams met in the Hawks' 7-1 victory.
During Friday night's 3-0 Canucks win at the United Center, did Vigneault retaliate?
With the Canucks leading 3-0, the Blackhawks' Jack Skille was called for a high-sticking penalty with 3:16 left in the game. Henrik and Daniel Sedin were on the ice when the penalty was called. They had already had skated a 0:26 shift but stayed on for the power play. Joining them were the top two scoring defensemen for Vancouver, Christian Ehrhoff and Alexander Elder, along with Ryan Kesler, who is second on the team with 10 goals.
They played with the man-advantage for nearly a minute, then a second offensive-minded unit took the ice. It wasn't until the penalty expired that Vigneault sent some fourth-liners on the ice -- Tanner Glass and Jannik Hansen for example -- to finish the game.
On Nov. 20 in Vancouver, the Hawks held a 6-0 lead when they went on a 5-on-3 power play with about 11 minutes remaining in the game.
Toews and Kane; it's 6-0 going into the third. What do you think? Let's be serious.” --Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault
Joel Quenneville put out his first line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Viktor Stalberg along with defensemen Duncan Keith and Nick Boynton. Neither Boynton nor Stalberg normally play on the power play, and Quenneville claimed he was just rolling his four lines and regular defensive pairings, and those five players were up next.
"We basically embarrassed ourselves tonight in front of our fans, and they did everything they could tonight to rub it in our face -- 6-0 and they throw their No. 1 power play unit when it's 5-on-3," Vigneault said that night. "They have every right to do that. They did it. They were pushing it, and they did."
Vigneault reiterated that stance Friday morning in almost the same language.
"I think it's every team's right to do what they want," he said. "Obviously, we weren't very good. Five-on-three you sent Kane and Toews on the ice. They have every right to do that. They did it. And that's it."
Vigneault was told that Quenneville said that was just the next line up and Boynton and Stalberg do not normally play on the power play.
"C'mon, be serious here, let's go," Vigneault shot back. "Toews and Kane, it's 6-0 going into the third. What do you think? Let's be serious."
Vigneault was asked when is the right time to take your foot off the gas.
"We just came from Calgary, and were up 6-2 with 3 minutes and my top players never saw the ice," he said. "We had a power play and they didn't see the ice. Everybody has their way of doing things. There is nothing wrong with what they did. It's within the rules. They do things their way and we do things ours."
Quenneville says Vigneault couldn't be further from the truth.
"I just know our intentions were just the opposite of what we got accused of from my point of view," Quenneville said.
The Hawks are now 2-1 against Vancouver this year after eliminating the Canucks in each of the last two postseasons.
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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