|Luongo. Ben Eager. Blackhawks. Canucks. 2009? They lost the series? Still great. (Photo “courtesy” of NucksMisconduct.com)|
For Canucks fans, the grass is always greener. Of course, you can’t get greener than Luongo’s mask, but you could imagine it.
Pekka Rinne, Henrik Lundqvist… Tim Thomas, even?
There are only a few goaltenders in this league that outplay Roberto Luongo on any given night, but he’s still a pariah in his adopted hometown. When his backup – who he appears to be good friends with – plays his best on his scheduled starts (if we believe these were scheduled at season’s inception), Luongo is cast aside.
Overrated. Aging. “Flops like a dolphin.”
The third one is true. Just, don’t catch yourself saying the next time he makes one of these saves or one of these saves, okay?
We love Cory Schneider here, but we stick by what we said yesterday. Because, Roberto Luongo and his career-long streak of excellence
while sometimes under fire is something that should be valued and it should not be taken for granted.
It just is.
“Listen… two superstar goaltenders that you could bet the house on? Each of these guys comes along once every 20 years (if you’re lucky) and once every 40 years (if you’re Philadelphia). The Canucks, somehow, acquired them both 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
carouselgraveyard 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!”
“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.”
I eagerly await your response, Canuck Nation…
|Don’t you just feel another long, playoff matchup with the Red Shirts? (Photo “courtesy” of CBC.ca)|
The Vancouver Canucks. 48 games playes. 29 wins, 15 losses, and 4 overtimes thingys. 62 points, good enough for “second” in the Western Conference. But, is that good enough?
The Red Wings, another team that has played 48 games, sits three points ahead with 65, have won six straight and are 8-1-1 in their last 10. They’re on fire. Some might say, the only good thing in Detroit. (Most would say that.)
Okay, so, the Canucks are only second to one team, and we still have a solid 44 games to go. Not bad, eh?
Well, it gets hairy.
Take a look just below them at the Pacific Division-leading (Christ, again?) San Jose Sharks…
26 wins, 14 losses, and five overtime whatcha-ma-call-thems. 57 points.
Okay, so the Canucks are five points clear, except the Sharks have played three less games, meaning that a 3-0 run would put the Canucks in third.
Dive a little lower, and you’ll find the St. Louis Blues in 4th and the Chicago Blackhawks in 5th, with the Nashville Predaotrs in 6th (Central Division, eh?).
The Blues have played 47 games and are actually two points ahead of the Canucks, which puts them second in the Western Conference and an ability to jump ahead of Vancouver by four points (so, one back of Detroit) with just one, measly win.
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are also two points ahead of the Canucks with 64 points, but have played 49 games (if you aren’t counting, that’s one more than Vancouver).
So, now the onus shifts to the Canucks to win that one, measly game and tie Chicago (in points, of course).
And, how about the Nashville Predators, which is hockey’s version of Will & Grace in that it just won’t go away even if the show’s been dead for years. The “Preds” (as their “faithful” fans refer to them) are two points back of the Canucks with 48 games played (that’s even with Vancouver).
Now, the All-Star break is almost upon us, and the Canucks schedule gets lighter and lighter so that other teams can even out the “Games Played” column in the Standings. Conceivably, an ill-timed loss to another team like Columbus, Calgary, or Carolina (all three of which have happened this season) could drop the Canucks to a realistic sixth in the Western Conference… in points, of course. The Northwest Division has been wrapped for a while now.
You say winning isn’t everything? It really is the only thing.
With every passing year, and every missed playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs become a little easier to tolerate. And, with every [...]
|Despite his fantastic play – and diving – Jonas Gustavsson couldn’t steal one for the Leafs. (Photo “courtesy” of VancouverSun.com)|
With every passing year, and every missed playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs become a little easier to tolerate. And, with every passing year, and every successful regular season that ends in unresolved playoff defeat, the Vancouver Canucks go the opposite way. In some way, the bitterness and hate that Canucks fans have for Toronto goes away… the same can be said for the feelings of indifference and “They have a team???” that Leafs fans have for Vancouver.
And yet, every time they meet, that newly formed friendship – or, at best, “mutual respect” – goes away for one night. The last few years, the Leafs have never been the favo(u)rite in these games (I mean, they haven’t beaten Vancouver since 2003), but they’ve all been great. Saturday’s was no different… a fantastic game, a fantastic 5-3 win for Vancouver.
“Luongo, Canucks end road trip strong with win over Leafs,” by The Canadian Press (TSN.ca)
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