Canucks off the Schneid

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

Cory Schneider wasn't trying to mask the disappointment of being demoted.

But the overriding theme of the conversation was ultimately about accountability and excitement.

Not all budding prospects handle a situation with this much perspective, but Schneider is mature beyond his years and that's why he's not hanging his head after losing the battle for the backup job to veteran Andrew Raycroft and being assigned to the Manitoba Moose by the Vancouver Canucks.

"It was pretty clear from the stats in the games that Raycroft outplayed me and that was going to be their determining factor," Schneider said shortly after arriving back in Winnipeg yesterday. "We both knew it, so there was no surprise there. It was a pretty positive meeting, they encouraged me and told me not to get too down, keep working hard and that eventually I'll make it there.

"It's very frustrating. I set my goals pretty high and I wanted to make the (Canucks) team this year. I thought I was ready, mentally and physically, coming off last year. I had opportunities in the pre-season and just didn't get it done. That's on me and I'm not discouraged at all. For a goalie, I'm still pretty young. It's good to be back in Winnipeg, where I'm comfortable and should get a lot of games in. Hopefully, I can improve on everything they want me to."

Schneider was among the eight players sent down by the Canucks and his arrival was cause for celebration in Mooseland.

"Selfish side"

"On our selfish side, we love to have him here," said Moose head coach Scott Arniel. "We know what he did and what he can do for us. It's all part of the maturating process that goalies have to go through. He's got to get his game to where when he gets his next chance at the next level, he makes a statement. He'll be the first to admit he didn't make that true statement he wanted to make.

"He was a cornerstone and he obviously made a very big impact on a lot of our success last year. He's a real professional, he comes to work and he loves the game. For anybody, it would be real easy to hang your head and (say) 'woe is me' but knowing Cory, that's not the way he is. He's going to come out here and try to be even better than last year."

Schneider, who is the reigning American Hockey League goalie of the year, helped the Moose get within two wins of hoisting the Calder Cup last spring and he'd love another shot at a title.

"My goals never really change, my first goal is to win and in the process of doing that, become better as a goalie and mature as a player," said Schneider. "I have a lot of pride for this team here. I'm excited to be here and I want to help these guys win and continue to prove I can play at the next level. This is a great situation to be coming back into.

"You can win a championship, that's something I haven't done. Once you get a taste of it, you want to get back there. Obviously, we lost some key guys but the expectations in our locker room are equally high. The guys that were here last year know what we accomplished and we know we can be better. I'm hoping to be a vital part of that."

ken.wiebe@sunmedia.ca


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