Tonight while watching Luongo masterfully ply his craft I had a sudden realization. Well, not a realization exactly, since i've always admired the way Luongo plays goal, but at the very least I had a change in perspective. A change in perspective that needed some time to brew if you will.
There's a long list of ways this organization has shot itself in the foot and naming Luongo captain may subtly rank up there with the worst of them.
Luongo started his career with the Canucks with a playoff run that turned him into a superhuman in most fans eyes. Of course he couldn't play up to that standard for the rest of his career and the following year the blame was easily (and rightfully) transfered to a roster in transition. So, what does this franchise do that off-season? They go against conventional wisdom and name their goalie the captain. Up until tonight I had always thought of it the same as most people: that the whole thing was overblown. What does it really matter who the media talks to after the game? I mean, they're going to try and talk to the star goalie first anyway, right? But here's the thing I never considered. How much added and unneeded pressure did that put on a player playing a position that already gets far more finger pointing than it deserves? Forget about the off ice stuff. Suddenly, this player is expected to lead this team to victory every night on the ice. I mean that's part of the captains job, right? And we all know Luongo took that job seriously. So here we have this guy who we can all tell is more passionate than the average goalie. If you need proof of that just watch how emotional he gets after playoff losses. Then we put this guy in the most pressure packed position in hockey. Then we put him in one of the most pressure packed hockey environments in the world. As if all this isn't enough, this organization in all it's wisdom decides to make the guy captain. It's no wonder he at times seemed to falter under the pressure. It's too much for anyone, let alone a goalie. I would submit that we lost a few years of prime production from this all world goalie.