|Life’s such much simpler when you go to college in Boston, unless you’re the one guy that invented Facebook. (Photo “courtesy” of Boston.com)|
Truth be told, the biggest signing or deal that Canucks could do – either at February’s trade deadline or in the offseason – is neither.
To keep Cory Schneider, either by re-signing him (which is, of course, unlikely unless Vancouver bucks Roberto Luongo) or by not trading him… well, that might make my day, punk.
Nobody in Vancouver wants to see Cory Schneider go, unless the prize was some kind of obvious jettison pack like a Shea Weber or Corey Perry, but Schneider is unlikely to be packaged for those guys for one reason: those teams already have goalies.
Yea, it’s a Canucks fans wet dream. But, just like a wet dream, when you think about it you realize that it doesn’t make much sense. You just wake up, clean up, and go to work.
Certainly, Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller is expendable in comparison to Schneider, but nobody likes to bail on investment. Nashville’s Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, is the best goaltender in the world. (*If you don’t believe me, then watch the 2012 NHL Awards this summer.)
But, the questions with Cory Schneider aren’t just about what the Canucks will do – or won’t do – with him. The questions really are still about how good he is and whether he can stand the test of time.
The Canucks may have unfortunately (and fortunately) put themselves in this weird position where they have acquired two franchise goaltenders in two opposite, contradictory ways.
They traded Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen, and Alex Auld for Roberto Luongo in 2006, which might be the greatest in trade in Canucks history, if you’re into hindsight.
Meanwhile, they drafted Cory Schneider in 2004 and they developed him through college, the AHL, and now the backup route.
Listen… two superstar goaltenders that you could bet the house on? Each of those situations happens once every 20 years (if you’re lucky) and once every 40 years (if you’re Philadelphia). The Canucks, somehow, pulled each off in two years. That’s the equivalent of hitting four straight numbers in roulette. It’s even more amazing when you think of the goaltender
carousel graveyard that the Canucks were before Luongo arrived.
Alex Auld, Sean Burke, Arturs Irbe, Dan Cloutier, Bob Essensa, Johan Hedberg, Corey Hirsch, Felix Potvin, Petr Skudra, Kevin Weekes, Garth Snow… those are a few of the names that wore Canucks sweaters (if you can call these eyesores sweaters) between the pipes from 1996-2006. Yea… that’s 10 years!
11 goaltenders worthy of a name drop in a 10-year period, and only Cloutier had his best years on the West Coast (which Canucks fans can’t totally brag about).
But, the questions around Schneider remain… although Luongo has been noted for his uneven playoff performances, he was outstanding in three series-clinching wins last year and the Canucks failed to score in the last game of the season. So, homeboy gave them a chance to win, and you can’t argue that the team in front of him has ever helped him out in their losing efforts.
The fact is, while Luongo may not be the guy you trust with your “Dear Dad” letter while you’re dying in the mud in Normany, he’s one of the most talented goaltenders to ever play in the NHL and he’s one of only a couple in the last 20 years that has done it for as long as he’s been in the league. The others would be, of course, Martin Brodeur, (the second half of) Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour, Miikka Kiprusoff and Dominik Hasek (with that last guy not winning the Stanley Cup until he was 37 years old and he changed teams for the exact, direct reason of winning).
So, while the sheer unbelievable fortune of drafting a guy with the pedigree of Cory Schneider is nearly impossible to let go of, letting go of Luongo is just as crazy… and, of course, one of them is going to have to go.
Additionally, while Canuck nation (and myself) has complete faith in the future profit of Cory Schneider, the odds aren’t exactly in his favour.
Historically speaking, Ryan Miller, Steve Mason, Andrew Raycroft, Cam Ward, J.S. Giguere, Jim Carey (yea, really)… there have been a limitless amount of goalies who have started hot and even won major awards (Vezinas for Miller and Carey, the Calder for Mason and Raycroft, and the Conn Smythe for Giguere and Ward) that have dipped, ducked, dived, and dodged on their career path. A couple have completely imploded.
So, will Cory Schneider be very good with some hiccup – like Ryan Miller or Cam Ward – or will he continue to progress on the path to consistent career greatness – like Miikka Kiprusoff?
He hasn’t yet started a full season or had the opportunity to play 10 straight games after his rookie season.
Of course, this matter comes down to the individual, and Schneider seems to have impressed everyone with his play, candor, and attitude. But, only the Canucks and Cory himself know what’s in store.
It should be interesting. For us Vancouverites, it will be a little more than that.
|Dropped Call Arena witness one of the best games of the season, even if it didn’t go the home team’s way. (Photo “courtesy” of the National Post)|
*An analysis of the Vancouver Canucks’ Game #25, which it lost 6-5 to the visiting Nashville Predators and two-goal Mike Fisher.
“We” feel perfectly able to describe this Canucks game for you, because we only watched the third period. Could that period have been a microcosm for the entire game? Doubtful. That said, it’s hard to get a reading on any game where Cory Schneider can let in three goals on five shots, after only allowing four goals in five games. Meanwhile, Pekka Rinne – the best goaltender in the NHL, according to “us” – get pulled after allowing five goals through two periods, two of which were dreadful in a game you need to win.
Maybe not watching periods one and two is better than actually watching the game. It was confusing enough to try and figure out why Mason Raymond was returning to the lineup but not playing… nevermind having to read the score sheet.
Nashville goes up 3-1. Vancouver goes up 5-3. Nashville ties it. Vancouver heavily outshoots Nashville throughout the whole game, and heavily outplays them in the third period, then loses 6-5. Wait, what? Shoot, maybe Mike Gillis should be looking at this Anders Lindback guy… I mean, Vancouverites are so desperate to pull the trigger on any goalie, why not? He just outplayed you, you may as well sign him! (That didn’t work so well for Richard Park or Martin Rucinsky, though…)
Anyway… a terrifically exciting game. Just, messed up. FUBAR. Then again, when your goalies let in six goals on 20 shots, you shouldn’t expect much other than a loss.
6-5 Preds. Take it as you will.
*NOTE: I give extra credit to The Province’s Jason Botchford, whose article tonight was titled, “Predators beat Canucks 6-5 in wild, inexplicable game”… he then went on to explain the game for a few hundred words.
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