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article imageCory Schneider back in, Mason Raymond healthy scrath for Canucks

By Marcus Hondro     Mar 19, 2012 in Sports
After beating the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3, Saturday night, Cory Schneider will get another start, coach Alan Vigneault told media Tuesday. While Schneider will play the Wild in Minnesota tonight, winger Mason Raymond will be in the press box.
It's the first time that Schneider has played two straight games since he played seven straight back in November of this season, a stretch in which he appeared to be supplanting Roberto Luongo as the number one guy. But when Luongo got back in he went on a stretch of stellar play that lasted until a recent swoon and it's given the back-up another chance to perform.
Mason Raymond sits for Vancouver Canucks
Meanwhile, for Raymond, who missed the first 25 games of this season after having his back broken in game 6 of the Stanley Cup final last year, it's the first time he's been a healthy scratch since April of 2009. He has only 8 goals and 8 assists for 16 points in 46 games and a recent two-game stint with the Sedins on the top line did not see him produce any offence.
“In Mason's case, obviously he's struggling...and we've tried different possibilities,” Vigneault said in Minnesota Monday. “He can be such a valuable player for our team when he's playing his skill game and being strong on the ice. Right now, we are having a tough time finding the players he could have the most success with. So tonight we'll put Manny back in and let Mason watch the game from up above and maybe that'll help him.”
Raymond tried not to use the games missed as an excuse but said the injury has not helped his season. “Coming off a big injury things aren't the same,” he said. “I didn't have the summer to train, I missed the first 25 games or whatever. There's things coming in, but that's no excuse. I do everything everyday to put my body in a spot where I feel good.”
Sami Salo out, Marc-Andre Gragnani in
The Canucks play four in six nights on the road, starting tonight in Minnesota, then Wednesday in Chicago, Thursday in Dallas and Saturday in Colorado, so the coach said they're looking for chances to rest 37-year-old Sami Salo. So Salo sits in the press box with Raymond tonight and Marc-Andre Gragnani draws back in.
In the case of Gragnani, Vancouver is almost forced to play him. Given the amount of games he's played and his status vis a vis the collective bargaining agreement, he must play 8 more games before the playoffs or he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
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