**I apologize, this post is a little long but there was so much to address.
Roberto Luongo deserves better from you, VANCOUVER. There is one thing that all of Vancouver fans owe to one Roberto Luongo and that is RESPECT. If there is one thing he has earned, it is at least respect. The guy could never do anything right in the eyes of some whether the team was winning or losing. Did he let some bad goals at times? Yes…but so has every other good goalie. He took on the burdens the city and media laid upon him, .and in the media placing the blame or glory on him, the city followed suit. One day everyone would love him and the next people wanted him gone and so the pattern would go. Oh how soon most of you all forget the good things that he has done for this team and city.
Let me tell you a story, picture it: it was April 2006 and the Canucks were without a bonafide #1 goalie with Dan Cloutier injured and Alex Auld flailing to fill the void(he was supposed to be the back up BUT had to play as starter when Cloutier went down) and there would be no playoffs. The playoff miss brought with it change, not just in coaching but on the roster too. Marc Crawford[had been coach for 8 years!] was fired and Alain Vigneault was named head coach. In a bold move, June 30, 2006 the Canucks traded Todd Bertuzzi & Auld to Florida in exchange for Roberto Luongo and Lucas Krajcek. He brought with himself high expectations to win and the certainty that the Canucks would return to the playoffs.The following season was one filled with many expectations and it lived up to it…although it was a slow beginning…the play down the stretch was something special. Luongo led the team to become the 2007 NW Division champion & playoffs with 47 WINS(P.S. the team had 49 W’s total that year…!) and was nominated for the HART & the VEZINA trophies. Round 1 of the 2007 playoffs brought the Dallas Stars…7 games….it became a goalie showdown…it was incredible to watch…4 OT periods that first game before Hank scored…but game 7 LOU was amazing…and Linden sealed that one. It was his 1st ever playoff series experience and victory. The 2nd round was not our forte….but there were some great moments despite the loss and the blame cannot all be placed on ONE player so do NOT go there. The following season [2007-2008] brought some more great moments for our city….Loungo’s 1st 3 game + shutout streak in November…Linden’s last game but there were no playoffs this time, only the promise that the team would be better next season. The[ 2008-2009] season opened with the Canucks beating the Flames 6-0….that was certainly an amazing opening act. November brought Loungo’s 2nd 3 game+ shutout streak(I was at the 2nd game of that streak…it was incredible to watch!) in which he beat his record from the year before! Things were going well until Luongo was injured and there began an 11 game losing streak in January brought all the questions from the year before….what about playoffs? blame being placed everywhere….and then a game in early February….at home vs. Carolina…tied 3-3 with less than 5 minutes to play…the Canucks short-handed seemed destined to lose yet again…but a BIG save & even bigger goal by BURR snapped the streak. That win got the Canucks back on track and they played unbelievable down the stretch to win their 2nd NW Division title in 3 years and just like that the city became crazed in playoff dreams. The first round brought the St.Louis Blues and 2-0 series lead gained at home…including a shutout in game 2. ***let me just say that going to a playoff game is even more incredible than during the regular season…! The Canucks would go on to gain a 3-0 series lead with a chance to sweep..something they had never done before EVER and of course it came down to less than 20 seconds of OT[looking certain to go into a 2nd overtime] but who else but BURR gets to goal for the SWEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great goal-tending & an excellent PK won the series hands down….the next round brought out the Chicago Blackhawks….and well it started out great….1-0 series lead….2-1 series lead….a back & forth game 6 that looked briefly as thought the Canucks would win….but of course we all know what happened…they didn’t and this was the 1st heart-ache the Blackhawks caused me and also ignited a deep loathing of all things Chicago Blackhawk related. The [2009-2010 season] brought out special circumstances with the Winter Olympics being smack dab in the middle of February and requiring the NHL to pause their season for 2 1/2 weeks while many players represented their countries in the event. Luongo was supposed to back up Brodeur…and was given game 1 to play with the understanding that these would be Brodeur’s games. However when Brodeur faltered against the USA, Luongo was handed the reigns and never gave them back. Yes it was CROSBY that scored the GOLDEN GOAL but it was LUONGO that made that ridiculous save against Slovakia to insure that team Canada was able to play in the gold medal game.
Upon returning to the regular season Luongo led to team to their 3rd NW Division title in 4 years and HANK won the Art Ross. Luongo had 40 W’s. The 2010 playoffs brought more excitement to the city still high off the winning gold on home ice at the Olympics. Round one went back and forth with the Kings[some great glove saves on both sides..particularly that one LOU had on Smyth!]…but it was the lack of penalty kills and WAY too many penalties being taken that nearly cost this series…..I remember thinking just kill ONE penalty and stop taking more….and finally they killed one and then another and then a few big saves…and a game 4 won to tie the series..and suddenly they were in control of game 5…and game 6 WON! Round 2 once more brought the Blackhawks from the windy city…and once more it started out great…1-0 series lead….but then down 3-1…….and then game 5 WON…..and hope once more….but we all know what happened in game 6…..it wasn’t pretty. 2 years in a row….twice in 6 games the Canucks were eliminated by Chicago…twice they were the better team. It ignited an even greater dislike of all things Chicago Blackhawk related.
The [2010-2011 season] was special in many ways. Luongo set the bar even higher….becoming to most winning Canuck goalie….reaching his personal 300th career W….helping lead the Canucks to their BEST franchise record EVER…[54-19-9…earning 117 points to earn the Presidents trophy securing home ice for the entire playoffs] in which they led in all the important categories : #1 powerplay #1 penalty kill(*3rd by playoffs, still amazing), #1 in goals scored and #1in least goals allowed. They won the NW Division title for the 4th time in 5 years and won the entire regular season in the West & the East….the next best team had 109 points. This time it was DANNY that won the Art Ross. The Canucks opened the playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks…yes I know..3 years in a row…how is that even possible?! The Blackhawks were lucky to make the playoffs in 2011…but still they had a talented team. The Canucks knowing that if they were to go a long way MUST beat the previous Stanley Cup champion team. It was a fantastic 1st 3 games…the Canucks led the series 3-0!!..yes I know amazing…but then the Blackhawks started playing the way they always do…and got themselves back into the series…tying it 3-3….leading to the inevitable game 7…do or die. There were so many implications going into that game….and then it started…LOU opened with some great saves and then KES to BURROWS…SCORES!!!!!!!!! and the score remained 1-0 for nearly the entire game…a missed penalty shot….then there was a last minute powerplay which ended up with the Blackhawks tying it shorthanded rather than 2-0 it became 1-1. Overtime for all the marbles….Canucks take a bad penalty….SHARP goes for the goal…but STOPPED BY LUONGO….and suddenly the penalty is over. Campoli misses the clearing attempt BURROWS steals and SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the dragon has been slayed…or as Jim Hughson said it: “it’s a great day for an exorcisim, Vancouver!”.
The games that followed were an amazing run….and one of these days the Canucks will win the cup[every team will have their day]. This season we just had…maybe it wasn’t as amazing as the 2010/2011 season…but it was still a great one…that ended in a 2nd President’s trophy. BURR scoring & LOU standing tall to end the streak in Detroit….these two teams always play great against one another. And maybe there was no magical playoff run this time…but DO NOT place all the blame on #1….was it his fault that the Canucks couldn’t beat Quick? No. What is supposed to make saves and score too? That is illogical. It breaks my heart a little to think of how quick when things go wrong that the local media(The Province & The Vancouver Sun in particular) followed by the fans are to solely blame Luongo…even if the team in front of him struggled greatly…but all anyone ever mentions is the bad goal let in…or if he just stopped that one…..but what about if the defense had just blocked that shot? or if the forwards had just got that one goal? or if the powerplay clicked? I’m sick of it. In comes Cory Schneider…yes he’s a great athlete…yes he’s played 60 NHL games(peanuts compared to Lou) but he is not a bonafide starter and he could STILL benefit greatly from having LOU in tandem with him this coming season. Luongo holds most of the Canuck goalie records…or don’t you remember? I enjoy watching these two play and they make each other play better…it is not a coincidence that suddenly Schneider was playing amazing this year, but he has not yet earned the respect that everyone is so quick to give him. Yes he has earned the right at playing more and getting a chance…but he has NOT earned the respect of Lou’s experience. Luongo has given this team an amazing 6 years…5 playoff appearances….solidifying himself in the Canucks record books…5 Division titles…1 Western Conference Championship…2 Presidents Trophies…not to mention his work with Canuck Place, Canucks For Kids Fund, & his other charities…so do not start telling me to give Cory that same respect because he has not earned that just yet. Maybe he will, but he isn’t there yet. To me Luongo will always be a Canuck and I secretly(or not so secretly since I’m sharing it with all of you] hope that he stays in Vancouver this season and should Cory falter that LOU takes those reigns and does not relinquish them until the Canucks win their 1st Stanley Cup. What is so wrong with having potentially one of the greatest goalie-tandems in the league..I will answer you, nothing…it would be amazing. I have nothing but the greatest respect Luongo and always have…I will always LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU no matter where he plays but like I said I hope that he stays in my city with my team. #foreveraCanuck in my eyes!
So the next time you think about following the media’s standpoint on criticizing a player..just think back to what they have done for the team, the city, and the fans…do not just adopt their attitude present in their article because it is not always true.The fans should not be taken in by the media’s tirade on the team or their players…as a fan you should always root for your team and the players that make up your team.I would hope that the local media would report the accurate facts but also when things aren’t going well for the team instead of attacking the players and coaches and placing the blame that they would encourage the fans and the city to still cheer loud because positivity can go a long way. I will never understand the local media when things go bad can never find one decent thing to say about the team…but only the negatives…and if that is all the fans are reading…suddenly those become the thoughts they are thinking when a similar spiral begins and they too start sharing the same negative blame placing attitude. It is unacceptable and hopefully in the coming season things will change. How would you feel if every time you opened the paper there was a new article about how everything that is going wrong is yet again somehow YOUR fault….it would be ridiculous. The local media has become so absurd that I stopped by the local papers following this last season because it each day the excuses implied by them was that the blame all fall on one individual…and as we all know hockey is a TEAM sport…a TEAM game…and like any TEAM game…TEAMS win or lose TOGETHER.
That is all.
As always, until next time, nuck said.
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