Come on now, you knew this would have to happen at some point in the playoffs. Enough has been written about the Canucks goaltending debate to publish a small book. Well, the debate stopped yesterday when Coach Vigneault stated, “I am going to play the goaltender that I think is going to give us the best chance to win.”
With that the likely goaltender of the future was anointed with Cory Schneider’s start in a deciding game four. All Schneider did was stop 43 out of 44 shots, a penalty shot by Dustin Brown when the game was still up for grabs, and a multitude of LA chances that could have changed the outcome on any number of those.
It wasn’t about the number of saves Schneider made, but the timing of them, like the barrage at the end of the first period to keep LA from going up by two. How about the Dustin Brown penalty shot which could...
CALGARY â€“ Here's the thing about the Vancouver Canucks' goaltending situation â€“ and right now it's still a situation; a situation with the potential to turn into a full-blown controversy but a situation nonetheless.
For all the intrigue it's caused and will continue to cause until the moment it's resolved, there are only three things that can happen: the Canucks can trade Roberto Luongo; trade Cory Schneider; or try to keep both for another season.
See it's easy.
It's only when you start analyzing each scenario that things start to get as complicated as NAFTA and that's why this story will fascinate as long as it has life.
There hasn't been a situation comparable to Luongo-Schneider in the NHL's recent history. There have been some with similarities â€“ Mike Smith's emergence with the Dallas Stars in '07-08; Jaro Halak and Carey Price in Montreal a couple of years ago.
But neither featured a goalie with the second-highest save percentage in the NHL â€“...
VANCOUVER - The defence finally rested for the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night, but it it didn't matter. They still won.
The Anaheim Ducks built a 4-2 second-period lead -- and chased Vancouver starter Roberto Luongo in the process -- but couldn't hang on as the Canucks stormed back to claim a 5-4 shootout win at Rogers Arena.
Luongo was yanked, to considerable cheers from the home crowd, at 7:03 of the second period when Devante Smith-Pelly scored to make it 4-2.
He allowed four goals on 15 shots. Cory Schneider blanked the Ducks the rest of the way, but only faced nine shots.
After the game, Schneider expressed his feelings about the harsh treatment Luongo occasionally receives from the home-town fans.
"I mean, it's getting old," Schneider said. "I'm glad they like me and they support me, but he is a guy who has done a lot for this team and this city and I think he deserves better than that."
Give the Canucks' goaltending story this season, it's ripe with drama.
Even in games of limited import. Take Tuesday's. Roberto Luongo would love you to. Especially, if you could make it disappear.
Luongo was cheered off the ice after giving up four goals on 15 shots. At least he didn't give up any rebounds.
In most years, make that in every year before this one, the outing would have been essentially brushed aside. Loose team, with a loose goalie in a (mostly) mean-nothing game.
Who cares? Wake us up when it's for real.
But this isn't most years. This is a Vancouver Canucks team with a finite window, whose only real goal is to win it all. This is a Vancouver Canucks team with a backup goalie who started Tuesday with a 9-2-1 record, a 1.50 GAA and a .952 save percentage since the all-star break.
Oh, it's easy to love the backup. But it's never been this easy.
"It's getting old," Schneider said of...
We're guessing it has been a while since Roberto Luongo slept in a tent, partly because it's hard for him to play online poker in the middle of a forest, even if the Vancouver Canucks goaltender could fit his couch, television and young family inside a nylon dome.
But Luongo explained Tuesday that a goalie facing a National Hockey League shooter is some-times like a camper facing a bear. The objective is to make yourself appear as large as possible so the bear doesn't get the wrong idea and think he can eat you or easily pick corners.
"It's more mental than any-thing else," Luongo said before the Canucks travelled to San Jose for the start tonight of a three-game tour of California. "I think it's an advantage to have [my glove] up there and show the shooter, so when he looks he doesn't see a lot of net up there."
'Up there' is Luongo's top, left corner, which...
The decision over the future of the Vancouver Canucks' goaltending position might be the most important of Mike Gillis's administration but, in analyzing things as they stand, there is one number that stands out for Roberto Luongo.
It is not the 10 years he has left on his contract. It's not the $5.333 mil-lion annual cap hit he represents. It's not even the number of Stanley Cups he's won.
No, those are all relevant in the great Vancouver goaltending debate but the most important number connected to Luongo is this: 21,743.
And that isn't the number of times Canucks' fans have called the open-mouth shows saying: "We can't win with this guy."
That number, in fact, represents the number of shots Luongo has faced in his 12-season NHL career. It is the third-highest total among cur-rent NHL goalies which isn't overly alarming. But dig a little deeper and you begin to understand the Canucks may be confronting the law of...
The last time Roberto Luongo got a good glimpse of Joe Thornton, he was taken by surprise.
It wasn't so much that Jumbo Joe had the puck on his stick along the cornerboards during a San Jose Sharks power play last Wednesday in the Shark Tank - that's where the game's best big-man passer sets up shop - it's what the hulking centre did after that. Instead of looking for Patrick Marleau on a backdoor play, Thornton snapped a wrist shot under the crossbar during a 3-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks for his first powre-play goal of the season. He could try the same trick today when the clubs clash in a rare 5 p.m. start at Rogers Arena.
"I wasn't too happy that he scored on me, so I just let him know in the third period," Luongo chuckled of the ongoing gamesmanship. "Sometimes he tells me where he's gaining to shoot and it was...
OTTAWA - For now, consider this the order of things where the always popular Vancouver Canucks' goaltending situation is concerned.
First, here comes Roberto Luongo, walking off the ice in full gear, slapping gloves with fans and signing autographs for those clever enough to know the Canucks would be practising in a downtown Ottawa rink.
Next, Cory Schneider, same drill, high fives all around.
To hear players and coaches tell it, the idea of Luongo and Schneider conversing and kidding with each other is just as likely as this friendly mixing with fans. Never mind that one Canucks hockey writer described the goalie situation on the left coast as "the most divisive debate in British Columbia since the HST," the goalies themselves get along.
It's the situation that rankles. Schneider, 25, is too good to be an NHL backup, and needs a team to call his own - if not in Vancouver, then somewhere.
Schneider is finishing out the two-year deal...
People who move to Vancouver from other parts of Canada often lament that they miss the four seasons.
Roberto Luongo has no idea what they're talking about.
The four seasons, he must know, are clear enough in the eyes of many a Vancouver Canucks fan: Despair, Alarm, Hope and Heartbreak.
And anger is the background music, the rain that knows no season but falls on Canada's gold-medal-winning goaltender - sometimes just a mist, sometimes like cats and dogs - from time to time, all year round.
While most of the nation braces for winter, Canuck fans are drumming their fingers on their armrests, impatient for the longest season, Hope - which typically runs from November through April, though most recently it extended into early June - to begin.
Last spring's later-than-usual arrival of Heartbreak, which coincided with the 32-year-old goalie's inglorious Stanley Cup Final meltdown against the Boston Bruins, pushed back the onset of Despair, which fills the months leading up...
Google search "Roberto Luongo big-game goalie" and it looks like every blogger on this planet - and, seemingly, some on Mars - have weighed in on whether the Vancouver Canucks' Bobby Lou is fabulous or a fraud.
Buttressed with hockey sabermetrics and empirical evidence and armed with journalistic freedom, they've debated ad nauseam his ability to "clutch up" enough to win a Stanley Cup.
Never mind that he won an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2010, that he stood on his head in winning playoff Game 7s against Dallas in 2007 and Chicago this spring or that he has the third-best career playoff save percentage behind Dominik Hasek and Tim Thomas.
Those playoff losses to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009 and 2010 and, mostly recently, his Beantown meltdown in last June's Stanley Cup Final series with the Bruins, continue to provide ammunition for the doubters.
He was brilliant in winning two 1-0 games in the final, but was ventilated...
Roberto Luongo apologized this week for yet another mini-controversy which divided the Lower Mainland.
This time he failed to come out after being named first star on Jan. 5 because he was busy beating himself up for blowing a shutout against the Calgary Flames with 10 seconds left. From the tone of the debate, and the length, you'd think he'd just cost the Canucks a playoff series.
It went on and on and on. With Luongo, it always does.
No Vancouver athlete has been so divisive, especially when you consider it always seems to be so much about so little. Here we count down the strange string of controversies that have followed Luongo's career in Vancouver:
10 THE BATHROOM BREAK
Who can forget Dave Nonis' face when his prized, centrepiece netminder failed to return from the dressing room for overtime in a playoff elimination game? Because of a trip to the john, Luongo missed 3:34 and needed Dany Sabourin to make...
LOS ANGELES - In 12 years working in Montreal, Roland Melanson developed an instinctive, early-warning system for imminent danger. He can see trouble coming, the same way people in Kansas sense tornadoes and bartenders watch for Mel Gibson.
Melanson saw trouble approaching this week in its usual form - a reporter.
"I know you want to ask me about Luongo and Schneider and who's going to play," Melanson said in a pre-emptive strike. "I'm not talking about that. You can talk to the head coach about that. I don't want to send any mixed messages."
Actually, Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault and general manager Mike Gillis had the market covered on mixed messages Wednesday when the coach said the policy of job-sharing in goal was the GM's idea, not his.
Vigneault was essentially telling Roberto Luongo that he is still the guy - that although the Canucks fired his goaltending coach, urged him to surrender the captaincy and declared...