There is usually a method to the madness when it comes to a head coach in any sport sending a message to a player.
The message can be subtle, like a little less ice time. The message can be not so subtle, like a seat in the press box or a public skewering in front of the inquiring minds.
Alain Vigneault has not been shy when assessing performance this season.
Roberto Luongo has been targeted. So has Brendan Morrison. And Jan Bulis. All three within the last week, in fact.
Bulis had a view from the press box for Saturday's game against Calgary. It was a perch he did not particularly enjoy. And when asked about it, "no comment" weren't the first two words that came to mind. Unfortunately, he offered up "What can I do?" and "I've been waiting for this to come" and went on to bemoan the fact that he hadn't played with the Sedins, as he was allegedly promised when he signed with the Canucks.
If I am Dave Nonis, or Vigneault or a teammate, here's my reaction:
What can he do? Play with more conviction, and be more productive. You've been waiting for this to come? Then you haven't been locked in the way you should have been. You're pissed about not getting a chance to play with the Sedins? What does that say about how you feel about the guys you have been playing with? Memo to Jan Bulis. In eight previous NHL seasons, your career high in points was 40. 'Nuff said.
The same night that Bulis was banished to the box, Brendan Morrison was demoted to the fourth line. He made it clear it was not where he wanted to be, but as Ray Ferraro said Monday on the highly acclaimed Team 1040 morning show, that was not an indictment of his linemates Marc Chouinard and Trevor Linden. It was more like "I don't like the idea of seven minutes of ice time." Morrison simply took ownership of the demotion.
I like the idea that Bulis was unhappy. That is the purpose of the exercise.
It could make for some interesting moments as the season moves along. There are still be 63 games to go. Jan Bulis won't be the last resident of the doghouse.