If there were two words I could have stricken from the vernacular around here, a phrase that would become absolutely verboten, it would be 'goalie controversy'. It's just jaw-droppingly stupid to see things like that phrase being the first thing out of the Hockeycentral panel's collective mouths last night. Between them and the usual rantings on Twitter, it's like no one seems to remember the season before. Or before that. Or every single season that Roberto Luongo has been with the Vancouver Canucks. This isn't so much a defense of Luongo as it is a plea for some actual thought to be used before a good portion of you, Canucks fans and media alike, open your mouths or begin to type.
Roberto Luongo did not play well last night. The Vancouver Canucks did not play well last night. And much like they do every season, they've stumbled out of the gate. And yet it seems that even more than ever before, this is setting off alarm bells for some. The so-called goalie controversy, because Luongo has lost 1 in regulation and 1 in shootout as opposed to the 1 win for Cory Schneider. This is seen as a reason that the Canucks should suddenly explore trading Luongo, or at the very least giving his number one spot to Schneider. Lunacy. Absolute lunacy.
There is a portion of the fanbase who simply refuse to acknowledge that Roberto Luongo is a world class goaltender, let alone a good one. They say that regular season accomplishments mean nothing, while at the same timelose their mind over any goal he lets in, win or lose. It doesn't matter who scores it, how incredible the shot was, Luongo is to blame. His defence can (and did last night) offer up chances on a silver platter, and it's still his fault. The man got them to the Stanley Cup Finals, and they act like he still hadn't been able to beat the Blackhawks. Instead of 'what have you done for me lately?', some Canucks fans are 'what have you EVER done for me?' when it comes to Roberto Luongo.
No, instead of the goalie who was part of the Jennings trophy winning tandem, and in the top few for wins, GAA and save percentage, we get to hear Marty McSorley (yes, that Marty McSorley) offer up the gem that because of what he heard Luongo say during the series against Los Angeles (remember the one where the Canucks forgot how to kill penalties for a couple games?), this said to him that Luongo doesn't get along with his teammates and there are problems in the Canucks dressing room. First of all, how in the hell did this neanderthal get a job where he has to speak for a living? Second, it is reprehensible, especially as a former player to make these kinds of ridiculous speculations. We're used to nonsense like this from people like Damien Cox and the Worst Journalist In The World (tm), Barry Rozner. Rozner actually suggested that the Canucks 1-1-1 start was a sure sign Alain Vigneault's job was in danger, and he would be gone by Christmas, or US Thanksgiving 'if he continues to play the sieve'. Which sieve would that be, Barry? Oh right, the one who beat your beloved Hawks. Of course, being the Worst Journalist In The World (tm) means not doing research. Like the fact that the Canucks started last season 0-3. Or that they lost their first 4 road games. And how many did they win last season? Say it with me kids: TWENTY SEVEN.
It's maddening really, to see journalists who cover the Canucks on a regular basis fall into this same line of crap. They amongst all of you should know damn well that this team is simply doing what it always does. A running start, if you will. They will be fine, and Roberto Luongo, along with Cory Schneider will lead the Canucks to another Western Conference title, maybe even a President's Trophy. Luongo didn't lose that game, the Canucks, with a combination of bad penalties and penalty killing, overall poor defensive play, some dumb luck and an inability to get one more goal on the number of power plays given to them in the third as the Flyers did their own meltdown were the reason they lost. The Flyers didn't really deserve to win that game either. Apart from a couple players, they weren't really as billed. They had some monumental defensive gaffes, typical Flyer discipline issues and goaltending that wasn't much better than the kind Vancouver got. That game could have ended up as a W for the Canucks very easily.
While I am sure I could rant incessantly about this, there's actually no time, as the Canucks are right back at it against the Detroit Red Wings. Just the way you want to face them, tired after a tough loss with them very well rested. I am giving serious thought to starting to drink now, just so I can handle the reactions should they lose (the defence let Cory down!!) or win (Schneider is better! Controversy!!!!). This one ain't gonna be pretty folks, unless the Canucks do a serious tightening up defensively.
Last Night's Leftover Spaghetti...
How do I feel better about last night's loss? A lil Bruins schadenfreude, anyone? Am I a bad person because I laughed? So what. You know you did, too... Speaking of bad people, the Flyers fans booing the Hockey Fights Cancer commercial last night? I am torn... part of me thinks this is blown out of proportion, but part of me would also like to see even a TINY part of their fan base denounce this. Seriously, who in the hell boos cancer fundraising efforts, regardless of who's involved? Can't their fanbase stop collectively being a dick for one minute and just be cool?