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Of Wolf And Man (And Suspect Goaltending)

11:01 AM ET Update - Well that solves that mystery: Sanford joins Luongo on the IR. Labarbera and Schneider it is. Wow, talk about a trade in the nick of time.

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Somewhere Dan Cloutier wept silently, again being passed over as the next big thing to man the Vancouver pipes. Ah, Danny Boy...

Yes, your GM won't tell you anything more about sir Roberto (who practiced yesterday by the way) but the fact that they went out and spent a 7th round pick on Antonio Jason Labarbera suggests three things: either Luongo is going to be playing coy with his groin for another month, management thinks the Cory/Curtis tandem is frightening or a trade is in the works. Maybe all three?

LaBarbera doesn't have stellar numbers, but the sheer majority of his 98 NHL games have been wearing LA purple which is where, like the aforementioned Cloutier, goalie dreams go to die. His exit was hastened by the play of rookie Jonathan Quick so Labarbera gets to come home (he grew up in Langley, awwww) and help warm the bench where Schneider used to sit. He also likes Metallica though we don't know if it's pre-Cliff Burton or not and, believe me, that makes a hell of a difference.

Schneider, for all his efforts, made it a game last night in the 3-2 loss to Philly. I guess he had no idea that while he gave it his all on the ice Labarbera basically signals a trip back to Manitoba for the golden boy.

So, a query: is this team anymore reliable with Sanford/Labarbera then they were with Sanford/Schneider? And how bad is this groin strain that Sanford apparently suffered yesterday morning (but played anyway?! Great call med staff!). Maybe the tandem will be Labarbera/Schneider by default, giving Vancouver the absolute best AHL netminding duo this side of the Hartford Wolf Pack.

And while Vancouver takes their goaltending mess on the road for a quick two game trip to Nashville and Atlanta (also both places where dreams go to die), the big man on campus will not be joining them. The best estimates are that the chrome krona will play sometime next week, perhaps in time to lose to Edmonton for a third straight time.

Yes, I am being cynical. I'll start with last night's game in which Vancouver deserved a far better fate but still couldn't bury the chances when they had them. That includes Bernier, Mitchell and Demitra, all of whom had Biron down and beaten only to sail the puck wide or right into his glove each time. Meanwhile the Flyers had no problem feasting on defensive mistakes: Hartnell skated around pylon-ish O'Brien for the second goal and Kalinski scored the winner on an Edler turnover.

Secondly, this goalie news is troubling. Antonio is a big guy sure but the lack of lateral mobility is troubling (hey he's only a NHL goalie, who needs mobility?).

Come back Luongo, please. Sundin won't make a lick of difference if this back end parade continues.

And, with that uplifting passage, I bid everyone a happy new year. Remember champagne hangovers are the absolute worst so stick to beer. Plenty of it.