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Pumping Roberto Luongo's Tires

OK, so I had to throw a dig at Roberto in the title for his unfortunate comments in the Cup Finals, but in all seriousness I want to give him some praise in a hockey market that is hard on its goaltenders. I really don't know why Roberto comes out of the gates slow in October but he sure has a way of making us forget about his slow starts by some point in December. Two months into the season Roberto's stats were in the bottom half of NHL goaltenders. His goals against average were over 3.0 and his save percentage well below .900. People wanted his head on a platter and trade rumors / desires were rampant. Much of the media cab be wankers. Yeah, I questioned him too. He was struggling to find his game. He did not look sharp. He looked unnatural between the pipes.

Today, Luongo is

10th in the NHL with 19 wins in 33 games, 12th in the NHL (goalies who have played more than 20 games) with a 2.37 goals against average, and 17th overall (goalies who have played more than 20 games) with a save percentage of .917. His average stats have gotten better and better as he continually rises out of the "depths". Remember though, goalie stats are tied to team play most of the time, so I am just giving you the stats with that in mind. If you look at his most recent game stats here you can see how mediocre team play can kill a goalie's stats, even when he's playing stellar. Luongo has been the most excellent Canuck in recent outings yet his mates didn't help him out on several of them.

So, a big thumbs up to Lou for his recent efforts. He now looks very confident in goal and the resulting visual is nearly opposite of what we saw in October-November. Perhaps having Cory Schneider pushing him helped this time around.

But the biggest pat on the back for Luongold this weekend is for passing Kirk McLean on the Canucks' all-time goaltending wins category on Saturday. Luongo achieved 212 wins in only 364 games. It took Kirk McLean 516 games to win 211. It's fair to not include Murray Bannerman and Rob McVicor here (because each only played one game as a Canuck) and say that Luongo currently has the best goals against average in Canucks history. Lou (.919) and Cory Schneider (.922) are currently battling it out for the top save percentage in Canucks' history, and no I will not throw Tyler Moss a bone.

Dan Cloutier recently said about goaltending:

"Even in midget you will hear parents saying the goalie should have had that one. The only other position in sports like it is the quarterback. You're on an island."

Yup. It's true. So while there is a lull in the Luongo hate foolery because he's kicking butt....sometimes it's ok to forget about a guy's faults past or present and just give him some positive recognition and well, pump his tires. Enjoy the video gallery, and be happy with this pleasant goaltending scenario we have here, which is the best in the team's history.

Top 5 saves:

Suck it, Crosby:


Some grand theft against the Hawks:

OK, how about a breakaway save on Patrick Sharp?

Teddy Purcell sheds a tear or 3:

Ah yes, I remember this one on Lehtinen:

Barnes doesn't know whether to cry or wind his watch:

Oh my god!

This is a solid Lou montage from his earlier years with Van:

I think this is my fave Lou save in a Canucks uni:

The Roberto Luongo story Part 1:

The Roberto Luongo Story Part 2:

Finally, the lighter side of Lou:

Great job, Lou! Keep up the solid work!