Originally, I was going to write about this when the trade finally happened. How one of the bigger Roberto Luongo fans on NM was dealing with it. Some sage religious inference to being the self proclaimed "Bishop of The 1st Church of Luongod" and how I will need a new sig "church" now. ( Open to suggestions there. Perhaps something to do with the ascendancy of Jesus Schneider )
But with Mr Strombone1 making it through to the third day ( where it gets really serious ) at the WSOP, I get the feeling the trade may be delayed until he is done. The GM's involved know that when something is important to a player, to respect it. Unless its a "we are only offering you this for as long as we stay on this phone call Mike..." kind of deal, look for the trade to really heat up once our erstwhile #1 goaltender is eliminated from the Main Event. Playing until Thursday is very impressive for the first time in the tourney to begin with! ( good interview from today here )
After the break, a few musings on what deals are to be made ( without once quoting that self promoting tease "HockeyInsiderr". I guess if you say everything, you'll never be wrong! ), and how one of the biggest fans of the goaltender on his way out of town feels about the Canucks and their crease protectors.
I actually feel pretty good for the Montreal native and 2010 Gold Medal winning goaltender for Team Canada. I will still be a fan no matter where he lands, but it was time to turn the page. Not because he lost the spot. Because Cory Schneider earned it.
But m'Lord has to be praised, Luongod, hallowed will be thine name. The way he both orchestrated and suggested the break from the team, while seemingly sincerely cheering for the guy that was taking his job was very impressive to me. He did it just by telling the truth about what was happening. In a day and age where we hear plenty of BS from high priced athletes and how they "have it so bad". or "have to move to make my family happy" ( hello Parise and Suter ) or whatever else it is that drives their fans nuts, I cannot really remember a misstep in that regard after the team cleaned out their lockers from either goalie. Its a far cry from the days when a situation like this would play out with daily leaks to Tony Gallagher and Ed Willies, with increasingly ugly things being said by a blowhard GM that never met a headline he did not like. So, perhaps some praise for Mike Gillis and his deft handling of a potential bomb.
With humour, both in front of the cameras and from behind a now thinly veiled Twiiter account, Funny Bob has shown the haters in the Canucks Nation his hand while embracing them at the same time. I am sure when the deal happens, the final presser will be no less well done.
So, where and for what? Well, I am not going to get into the packages that much. The self appointed Twitterati have already filled that space with a dizzying array of choices. One thing I have noticed with a smile is how quickly fans of the Hawks have mostly embraced the idea of their favorite mocking nemesis donning the Indian Head. Personally, I don't want to see that, just because that makes a rival a bigger threat. Its why I think that if a deal occurs with Chicago, it will be for someone that some writer ( looking at you Damien Cox and Marc Spector ) will call a severe overpay while once again talking about "the contract" for the umpteenth time.
I will say, however, that the team will get better in one area, while putting a lot on the shoulders of Cory Schneider, that the loss of Luongo's Cap hit will help fill some spots. We know Mike Gillis has been linked to every damn free agent worth a shit. Thats how it is on a perennial contender. Players want to join you. Once again, ( unless Luongo's public persona is a huge sham, which I don't think it is... ), another player will be leaving the team while having nothing but good things to say.
Honestly? I am coming around to the idea of Toronto. I think it would be fun watching some of the professional Luongo haters in that market ( take that entire Fan590 drive time bunch for starters ) will react to having way better goaltending. I suspect any weak goal will be hyped to the Nth degree. Such is the power of hockey in a crazed hockey market.
The Panthers? If the Canucks can pry out a Bjugstad ++, with one of those being a goalie coming back (Theodore or Clemmenson would be a good back up for Schneids' ), thats fine with me. Either or, or any other team in the East, for that matter. Because even Luongo's haters will acknowledge the guy is an elite goaltender, and I'd prefer if my team did not play his that often. Certainly, while perhaps not to the degree of Chicago, if any West team comes with a serious offer, I want Mike Gillis to ask for more. Hell, if its the Sharks? Pillage their roster more than I want you to pillage the Chicago one Mike. Attack!!!!
What I wanted to muse on to finish this one up though, is how, in one fell swoop, the Canucks will silence ( at least for a while ) that braying minority I like to call the #CanucksTeaParty. You got what you wanted now guys. While you may still call the radio stations and boast of how smart you are now, with toxic amounts of "I told you so", just remember that there has not been a better statistical goalie to ever wear the Blue and Green. Cory Schneider knows he has big shoes to fill, and hopefully the TeaParty will cut him a bit of slack the first time he has a minor slump. As a lifelong Canuck fan, I have my doubts though. We are a fickle bunch.
I've perused the Twitters from the three above fanbases, chatted with friends at PPP and SCH, and there can be little doubt that Roberto Luongo will continue to be a polarizing figure to some. I was pleasantly surprised to read positivity from former haters all over the place. Well, except for Oiler fans. But according to them, the Canucks had better win the Cup in the next two years or just hang up the skates. Even there though, some of them have even mentioned how they would take Luongo on their team!
That is a respect from folks whose bile rises at the mention of Vancouver, let alone the hockey team! When you can get people that literally see their blood pressure rise at the mention of your team to praise the most polarizing player on it, thats honest respect.
Mr Roberto Luongo, thank you for the entertainment. Its too bad that those that would cast aspersions on you just realized that the poker playing, Funny Bob quipping, poop obsessed Strombone1 player they really like is actually the same one they wanted to leave.
Cory Schneider, I have nothing but confidence in you. The numbers last year were Top 3 in the NHL, and I do think he can do the same over the #1's workload that is in his immediate future. I was equally impressed with how he handled the situation as it came to fruition this past season.
So tip a glass, light a spliff, or whatever is your personal choice to Roberto Luongo. He has earned that.