The Vancouver Canucks' top two-way center Ryan Kesler did not take part in the team's off-day skate at TD Garden on Sunday, but he is expected to play Monday in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.
"He's fine, just gave him a day off. That's all," head coach Alain Vigneault said.
Although he almost always declines to discuss lineup issues ahead of games, Vigneault said he was happy with the team's play in Game 5, a 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins, which suggests rookie Chris Tanev will return to the lineup Monday.
Asked whether he would, indeed, go with the same lineup in Game 6, Vigneault grinned and acknowledged he was "pretty close" to confirming that.
Playing the villain
Vancouver blueliner Kevin Bieksa wasn't too receptive when asked Sunday about the Canucks being labeled by some as the most hated team in hockey.
"Who cares? Who really cares?" Bieksa said. "I could say a bunch of things right now."
He was later asked by a Boston TV reporter whether the Canucks enjoyed playing the villain role.
"I don't think we're in the villain role," Bieksa said. "There's a few people that don't like the way we play, but usually when you win, people don't like that. I know when Chicago won last year, I don't remember too many people saying good things about them. But I'm sure if you asked them, they could care less. We don't feel like villains. It feels like we have all of Canada cheering for us. How can you be a villain when a whole country is cheering for you?"