Recently, I found in the deep, dark recesses of my iPod a podcast of the April 18/2012 edition of SportsTalk, the night the Canucks beat the Kings to stay alive in their first-round series. Luongo had lost the first 2 games of the series, with Schneider losing the third, and AV's choice to go with Schneids in game 4, with the season on the line, prompted Russell to proclaim (repeatedly), "The unofficial end of the Luongo era has started."
Guest Brook Ward took him to task on this assertion, and here is some of the heated exchange that ensued between the two (Stu Walters was also there, but was barely able to get a word in edgewise):
W: We might not have seen the end of Luongo in this playoffs. We have in this series...
R: If Schneider wins this series, Luongo’s not playing anymore.
W: Ya, he could...
R: Based on what?
W: Schneider's performance in the next series. If you move into the next series and Schneider has problems and the Canucks are looking for another change, Luongo could get new life...
R: ...all things being equal, Schneider, if he wins this series, he’s on his way. He’s all of the sudden not going to play poorly...He hasn’t played poorly yet as a Vancouver Canuck.
W: But he could.
R: Well, yah, but I could also start singing on stage next week at the Queen E, but it’s not going to happen.
W: We’ve been through this before, when we’ve talked about Luongo and the regular season as an example, and what’s going to happen in the playoffs, and we’ve had this discussion before, and then he imploded.
R: But with Luongo, he’s had his ups and downs. Schneider has never had his downs.
W: So, there could be one coming; we don’t know.
R: If it happens, it will happen in this series, in all likelihood.
W: He’s the guy who’s playing...for the rest of this series. But into the next series...
R: You cannot forecast him to play poorly.
W: I can’t forecast him to play well. He could stumble, Russ. It happens...
R: What are you basing that on? Just a guess?
W: He could. Because he could. You don’t know. We don’t know...
R: Well, show me any time he has. With Luongo, you can say that. Luongo...you know he has stumbled.
W: Well, you haven’t seen Schneider stumbles...he’s had...3 starts in the playoffs in his career. He can stumble...He could play great, but the Canucks could lose 2 or 3 in a row...Luongo could have an opportunity. You can’t say he won’t.
. . . .
R: We've got to advance this to another point: "Is the era of Luongo over when they don’t choose him?"
R: Well, sure it is.
W: No, it’s not.
R: Well, how can it not be?
W: How can it be? Why is it over?
R: Well, because you didn’t choose him for the biggest game of their season.
. . . .
R: How can you keep going back to Luongo when you keep shunning him?
. . . .
R: They don’t think they can win a big game with Luongo.
(It would be interesting to hear Russell's take on this issue now. . .ten months later.)