Hey, alright, here comes Lou! I hope we won't have to choke down any spilled ink on the long list of past...darn. Nearly finished that sentence too.
Since Luongo is the easy focal point when glancing across the ice (and to a lesser extent old pal Willie Mitchell since he was the least hate-able member of those Kings teams) do you mind if I turn it instead towards Jacob Markstrom, the heir apparent for the throne that was
Luongo's Schneider's Lack's Miller's .... curls into fetal position sobbing?
I mean, it's only fair since the two were traded for each other less than two years ago. Speaking of which, remember trade toss-in Steve Anthony who joined Luongo on the flight out of town? He's been plenty busy.
Anyway, @canuckclay shared this happy screengrab on Saturday:
The knock on Markstrom when he arrived in Vancouver, with that sub-.900 career NHL save percentage, was that pucks were going through him, all the time. With those big limbs of his, as he reached out to make plays, and cut across the crease, it would create huge openings which were exploited often enough by NHL shooters.
The plan in Vancouver to rebuild his game had him tighten his arms to his body, creating a more compact goalie who made fewer grand gestures and as such fewer goals went under his wings, or through him.
Just as a point of reference try pinning the elbow of your glove hand to your mid-section, instead of having it away from your body.
Of course, it’s harder to make saves from that starting point on pucks going high glove.
The results speak for themselves. Markstrom is sitting on a .919 save percentage for the season.
First, I hope you read this like I did and physically tried to pin the elbow of your catching hand to your rib cage and pretended to stop a puck. I did AND the imaginary snipe still beat me high. Stupid brain.
Secondly, and we may not be great at this as a fan base, but let's keep this all in perspective. We're eight years off from when Markstrom went nuts in the SEL that gained him all the NHL attention to begin with and we're only a few years off from when Markstrom was Florida's goalie of the future which, as an aside, take it from Vancouver fans, NEVER ACTUALLY WRITE THAT TERM OUT. The guy is only 26 and tonight marks the second most starts he's had in NHL over the past five seasons; his most career games came in lockout-shortened 2012-13 on a Panther's team that finished dead last in the league. Oh and that .919 S% mentioned above? Yup, career best ignoring his six games in 2011 because #SampleSizesMatter.
Still a lot to like about this guy as we watch him evolve as a player. Much like the soon-to-be-without-Chris-Higgins-because-youth!!1 roster in front of him, a bit of patience is necessary until all cylinders start pumping at once. For now, as a team trying to stay relevant in the worst division in the league (wait, wasn't that a Florida attribute not long ago !) Markstrom is doing great by keeping them in the hunt and...damn it, I just tried again and missed the imaginary shot over my glovehand. Mondays, amirite?
Human Guinea Pig Formations
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Radim Vrbata
Emerson Etem - Linden Vey - Jake Virtanen
Brandon Prust - Jared McCann - Derek Dorsett
Alexander Edler - Chris Tanev
Matt Bartkowski - Alex Biega
Ben Hutton - Yannick Weber
Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr
Brandon Pirri - Nick Bjugstad - Logan Shaw
Jussi Jokinen - Vincent Trocheck - Reilly Smith
Shawn Thornton - Derek MacKenzie - Corban Knight
Brian Campbell - Erik Gudbranson
Dmitry Kulikov - Aaron Ekblad
Willie Mitchell - Alex Petrovic
With the exception of Vey, I'm loving that top nine. A little bit of everything.
Fun fact: during the Panther's ridiculous winning streak, only one team - filled with kids and lead by a giant stache - managed more than two goals on them. Pretty remarkable when you consider Vancouver usually can't score even when they try very very hard to.
All good things come to an end and that goes for Florida's happy streak tonight. It's the least Luongo can do for Vancouver since they're partly subsidizing his success down there; $800,000 a year buys a lot of sandals.
I don't know how or even why, but let's say Etem factors in on Vancouver's GWG just so AV has to click his browser tab closed in utter disgust. That's right, I live to see that man suffer. Do you disagree? I care not...