Sunday Snippet: Alain Vigneault

“I found out the dynamics of that Jennings just a little while ago and obviously it was a big thing for Roberto for us to give Schneids his 25 starts…. He came to see us. He wanted that because Schneids has been a big part of this team. He’s got 16 wins this year and that’s a great accomplishment for a young man coming into this league.”

The Vancouver Canucks wrapped up the regular season last night with an overtime victory over the Calgary Flames, but the win itself didn’t mean all that much. The team had already locked in its place with the most regular season wins several games prior, earning the team the Presidents Trophy. But that’s not the point of the quote above.

Head coach Alain Vigneault is talking about the William M. Jennings Trophy, which is awarded to the goaltender who allows the fewest goals against in the regular season. In order to qualify to have your name on the trophy, you have to play a minimum of 25 games. Last night’s win was precisely game #25 for Cory Schneider, backup to Roberto Luongo.

The significance here is the team-first mentality. Anyone who knows Luongo knows that he loves to play. If it were truly and completely up to him, Roberto would likely want to start every game… but he was the one who insisted Schneider get the start last night. So he did. And he won.

Yes, the win itself is mostly meaningless. Yes, you might say that Roberto stepped aside, because he wanted to rest and be healthy for the playoffs. That may or may not be true, but it shows that everyone on the team must not only take personal responsibility; everyone must also work as a team.

This echoes the sentiment expressed by Al Gore (though under completely different circumstances): “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We need to go far… quickly.”

And the Canucks definitely want to “go far” in the Stanley Cup playoffs. To do that, they need to work together, even if Roberto gets most (if not all) of the starts from here on out. Go Canucks Go!