The original plan was for 19-year-old Jake Virtanen to replace 31-year-old Brandon Prust.
But when the Vancouver Canucks take on the Rangers tonight at MSG, Virtanen will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game and Prust will be in the lineup to take on his former team.
Why the change by coach Willie Desjardins?
Canucks president Trevor Linden was asked about it today on TSN 1040 radio (audio).
“It wasn’t the plan,” said Linden of the decision to sit Virtanen. “We deviated for other reasons. It’s not ideal, obviously. He’s a young guy that was playing well, but we’re changing things up tonight. He’ll be back in against Boston (on Thursday).”
And what were those “other reasons”?
“Obviously, there was some talk about Brandon Prust coming out,” said Linden. “And being at his former team, we thought it’d be the right thing to have him in. As a coach, you want to do the right thing for your room sometimes.”
So, did Desjardins change his mind after he saw the way Prust reacted? Because, according to what was reported on the radio station, Prust didn’t take the healthy scratching very well.
“No, I just think, in retrospect, you have other thoughts, maybe you go down a certain path and you go back,” said Linden. “It’s a delicate dance with the coach and his group and his room [with] maybe the ideas that we may have, so we try to manage those things.”
Translation: management wanted Virtanen, the sixth overall draft pick in 2014, to play. But the coach, for “delicate dance”-related reasons, opted for the veteran over the rookie.
Prust, by the way, is a pending unrestricted free agent.
Related: The Canucks are going to be rather young tonight