Schneider Soul Searching
Elliott Pap (Vancouver Sun) has an interesting article today about Mathieu Schneider’s “personal leave” from the Canucks.
Injured Vancouver Canucks forward Pavol Demitra rejoined his teammates for an optional practice Tuesday morning but, for the third straight day, veteran defenceman Mathieu Schneider was nowhere to be seen.
Schneider is away due to a “personal” issue, according to club officials. General manager Mike Gillis, Schneider’s former agent, would not shed any light Tuesday on his ex-client’s mysterious absence.
“Well, it’s a personal matter, really,” Gillis said.
Asked whether Schneider was contemplating his future with the Canucks, or if the matter was family related, Gillis replied: “I’m not going to say.”
Head coach Alain Vigneault was equally cryptic. He would not reveal whether Schneider was even in Vancouver or if the blueliner would rejoin the team on Boxing Day following the three-day Christmas break.
“It’s just a personal matter,” Vigneault said. “Can’t talk about personal matters, same as with [Rick] Rypien last year.”
To add to that, Twitter is now abuzz with rumors that Schneider may now be contemplating retirement.
It hasn’t been a banner year for Schneider, though I don’t think even the most pessimistic of fans expected his game to have slid as much as it has. He was brought in as a good depth defenseman, powerplay specialist and veteran mentor to the team’s younger defensemen. But while he’s had some good games on the powerplay, he’s also had a rough time defensively. His foot speed has been slow and his defensive positioning has been off, to the point that few Canucks fans questioned Vigneault’s decision to scratch him and play Aaron Rome against the high-octane Washington Capitals.
Especially for a veteran like Schneider, who’s played more than 1,300 games in the NHL, that has to be disappointing. And in fact, I don’t blame him if he is indeed doing some soul searching about his future. Brendan Shanahan went through the same process earlier this season, and maybe, Schneids has to now as well.