All the other cards in Alain Vigneault’s discard pile Sunday were jokers. He had but one ace. He played it.
Cory Schneider in, Roberto Luongo out.
Well, why not? Even if goaltending wasn’t one of the top five reasons the Vancouver Canucks were in an 0-2 hole, the coach had to do something, and he was all out of things to do. Change a fourth-line winger, a No. 6 defenceman? Sure, but how to make a difference?
At stake was a lot more than the Vancouver Canucks’ season.
Hanging in the balance, from the moment they lost the first two games of the 2011-12 playoffs on home ice to the Los Angeles Kings, was their resume, their reputation, their confidence.
It still hangs there. Only the thickness of the thread has changed.
Now, after losing 1-0 Sunday night at Staples Center, the Canucks could die of the common cold. A strong gust could finish them.