Cory Schneider will start in goal for the Vancouver Canucks Friday against the Minnesota Wild.
It is Schneider's second straight start on Rogers Arena ice, and it signals that the Canucks intend to provide regular rest for starter Roberto Luongo. Management wants Schneider to play 20-25 games to progress his NHL career, and keep Luongo fresh for the playoffs.
"I think they wanted Lou for the two tough road games and then, try to give him a break," Schneider said. "So I'm excited here. I'm ready to go."
Luongo played back-to-back games earlier this week, but was pulled after two periods in a 6-2 loss to the Wild. Though he is accustomed to making almost every home start, Luongo would have been playing his third game in four days, which head coach Alain Vigneault has traditionally avoided. The coach said that the team's travel has taken a toll, and that Schneider played well in his first start of the year.
Schneider was excellent in a 5-1 victory over Carolina Sunday, and relieved Luongo in Minnesota. Luongo said he understood Vigneault's decision, although his answers were curt and delivered with a tinge of annoyance in his voice.
"I'm all about winning a Cup," he said. "It doesn't matter to me."
The Canucks will be without two regular defenceman.
Dan Hamhuis (foot) tried to skate Friday but left the surface after a few minutes. He said he suffered a setback by taking warm-up Wednesday in Chicago, but has been cleared by all medical tests, and is targeting a return next week. Keith Ballard (concussion) is set to miss his fourth consecutive game.