Roberto Luongo Deserves Better (Part TWO)

In the summer of 2012 I was forced to confront the idea that my favourite Canuck, Roberto Luongo would be traded as all of the drama with Schneider had evolved and it led to this writing this post that August:

Today I am forced to confront the reality that Roberto Luongo has indeed been traded and being led to write yet another post about the respect that he deserved and still deserves.

The writing has been on the wall but that does not mean I am not sad about the outcome. My heart slightly broke when the news was revealed but I am glad for Luongo that he gets a fresh start. Vancouver did not appreciate what they had in Luongo or respect him particularly well in the last three years. From many of the fans to the local media, it somehow became lost just how much Luongo has done for the Canucks franchise and somewhere along the way this city decided that they no longer supported LU.

How could everyone forget what Luongo did for this team? Shall I remind you? 6 division championships(6 playoff berths), 2 President trophies, 1 Western Conference Championship, 1 Stanley Cup Final appearance (all the way to game 7!), oh and did I mention his 2 Olympic GOLD medals?! In 439 regular season games with the Canucks Luongo posted a 252-137-50 record while posting 38 shut outs. He is the franchise leading goal-tender in wins and shutouts and will go down in history as one of the BEST Canucks players of all time.

No matter what the media would write or dictate the fans to think, Roberto always found a way to put his best game on the ice. When he was winning this city loved him and erupted in endless LUUUUUU cheers…but if he lost or let in a bad goal the love turned to taunting and saying things like he was not dependable. His ability to win big games came into question until the 2010 Olympics came calling in his very own Canuck rink. Think back to overtime in the gold medal game…LU makes a big save, Sid scores the BIGGEST goal of the tournament and the LU and Crosby cheers that erupted in the arena were deafening.

The season that followed the gold medal season…the 2010-2011 season was magical and nearly perfection with the exception of the final game of the Stanley Cup final. It was the most thrilling ride that any Canucks team has taken the city on since the spring of 1994 and Roberto Luongo was at the center of it all. It was incredible to watch as it happened…but in the aftermath of game 7,  all eyes of the media placed the blame not so much on the team as a whole but on one individual…Luongo took it all. Hate to break to everyone but as much as you need saves from your goalie which they did get…you also need goals from the team in front of you which they did not get in that last game.

It was not the perfect storybook ending that we had all hoped for…but it was an incredible run. The following season Luongo and the team repeated as President Trophy winners BUT instead of an incredible run were met with an upset from the LA Kings in the first round. It was the end of that series when the team chose to start Cory Schneider for the final three games that the writing seemed to be on the wall that the end was not only near but was here for Luongo. The hints had started to come earlier than the playoffs when the crowd jeered Luongo more than once at home in favour of Schneider.

The summer began with Luongo being willing to waive his no-trade-clause and Schneider being re-signed to a 3-year contract. It seemed very clear the direction that was going to be taken…and then the 2012 lockout happened putting everything on hold. No one knew if there would even be a season. The powers that be between the NHL and the NHLPA finally came to an agreement that saw a shortened 48-game regular season begin in late January 2013. The season started with the rotation of Schneider and Luongo and AV’s infamous coin…but eventually it became the Schneider team and Luongo seemed once again to be on his way out. The trade deadline came and went…the season once again ended with an early exit and no change had come.

Luongo expected that he would not be returning to the Canucks and a trade seemed inevitable with Scheider in prime position again. The draft came and a trade finally happened…but it was not Luongo that was traded…Schneider was sent to the New Jersey Devils. The end of the saga seemed to have arrived. Fast forward to this season…Lack signed on to backup Luongo. Both goalies had some great moments…and all seemed fine…until Luongo was injured not once but twice and Lack was put in the spotlight. That spotlight around Lack started to get bigger (not of his own choosing) and Luongo unbeknownst to himself was slowly being forced back into the corner he previously shared with Schneider.

That corner became ever more evident when it was revealed that Lack would be starting in the Heritage Classic game over the franchise goalie Luongo. Fans while they support Lack, were disappointed in the mistreatment of Luongo who more than deserved to play in that game. I love Eddie Lack and his playing style and he has been the absolute epitome of support and class to the team, fans and Luongo. He did not ask for the game…all he did was play when told and was forced to face the fans first dislike of him in the net…during the Heritage Classic as the entire arena chanted WE WANT LU. That was the end of the line. Fast forward to two days later and the trade that everyone had expected for nearly three years finally happened. Roberto Luongo was traded to the Florida Panthers in exchange for goalie Jacob Markstrom & forward Shawn Matthias.

Yes it was a trade that we all expected to happen at some point but that does not mean it does not make me sad. It is the end of an era. Luongo did a lot  of good for this franchise but was never properly appreciated by this city or the fans. Luongo deserved better and I hope that in Florida, he gets the respect that he has always deserved. All the good things he did, seemed to have been forgotten by many in all the drama that unfolded in the last few years. Roberto Luongo deserved better in Vancouver and he definitely still deserves better from this city. He has more than earned the respect of his peers and fans for everything he did for the Canucks franchise. All I can say is thank-you, to Roberto Luongo for an incredible 8 seasons and being the epitome of class through the good times and the bad. Thank-you also for helping me love this crazy game called hockey even more than I already did. I will still cheer LUUUUUUUU every single time Florida plays and #1 is between the pipes. You will be missed in Vancouver, but you deserve a fresh start. All the best to #1 as he begins a new chapter with the Panthers.

Here’s a few tributes to my favourite former Canuck:

I will also miss Lu’s hilarious sense of humour:

One last note. In his leave, Luongo advised to Vancouver to take care of Eddie Lack and I hope that this city actually listens. Lack like Luongo, deserves respect. Lack had the utmost respect for Luongo. It has not been an easy few days for Eddie as he never expected this moment and it must have been one heck of a shock to see his mentor sent to Florida. The weight of an entire city is now on Lack’s shoulders…that is an insane amount of pressure in his rookie season. I suggest, that we take Luongo’s advice from the very beginning of Eddie’s tenure by supporting our goalie in way that this city never has before. It sounds like a refreshing approach no?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Game 4 Recap: Canucks vs. Devils

Cory Schneider returned to Vancouver for the first time since the unexpected trade and the long winded goalie controversy came to an end. Every sports broadcaster dubbed the game “Luongo vs. Schneider” as if to spark a new controversy. Both Luongo and Schneider spoke very highly of each other leading up to this game and acknowledged it was a strange position to be in. It was definitely strange to see Schneids on the opposition.

All eyes were on the two goal-tenders from the morning media scrum to the final buzzer. Two incredible athletes who promised to put their best game on the ice for their respective teams.

The first period saw chances on both sides and both goalies made some great saves. Momentum shifted from Vancouver to New Jersey when the ever reliable Jaromir Jagr opened the scoring late in the first period to make the score 1-0. Regardless of his age [43] you cannot deny the guy’s skill set.

The second period began with once again chances on both sides. New Jersey scored again to take a 2-0 lead. Some may complain about that goal as it first hit the refs skate BUT regardless the goal gave the Devils a two goal lead. No lead is ever safe in hockey and no team knows that better than New Jersey this year. Cue Torts making line changes! Vancouver pushed back and just 1:28 later had pulled within one thanks to a goal from Daniel Sedin. The Canucks seemed to carry a little momentum on their side following that goal out-shooting the Devils 14-7 and eventually tying the game 2-2. The tying goal came on a great play by who else…the Sedins who dished it to a rushing Edler for his first goal of the year.

The third period came with no answers found other than each goal-tender keeping their teams in the game and hoping to secure two points. This was a disciplined effort as there were only 3 penalties called between the two teams. Both teams were secured a point with overtime looming for the second straight game. This is one game I really didn’t want to see in a shootout but it seemed like it might be destined to end in one. A point shot from Garrison hit SANTORELLI in front 2:18 into OT saved everyone from the shootout and secured the two points for Vancouver. For the second straight game, the comeback was complete in OT.

All eyes were on Luongo and Schneider from the morning media scrum to the final buzzer and despite the media’s pushing they only had nice things to say about the other. Here’s a few quotes from the two who were most scrutinized in this game thanks to the media and the last two years:

To quote Luongo: “Schneids kept them in it, made some big saves throughout the whole game. It was fun, it was nice to battle it out. Somebody has to win, somebody has to lose. We both got at least a point for our teams.”

To quote Schneids: “With Louie at the other end, you have to match him save for save because he’s not going to give you much. It was fun playing against Luongo, he’s a great goalie, I have always said that. I’ve learned a lot from him and he’s been put through a lot but his resiliency and how hard he’s worked through it. I think he deserves everything he gets. It was fun seeing him at the other end for the first time.”

All in all it was a good game by both Luongo and Schneider and BOTH deserve success this season. I’m happy Luongo got the win and I really do wish all the best to Schneids except of course when he plays the Canucks!

Next up for the Canucks, will be quite the challenge as they meet the as of yet undefeated San Jose Sharks. The Sharks are coming off a BIG 9-2 win against the Rangers in large part due to rookie Hertl’s 4 goal performance. San Jose has outscored their opposition 17-9 in three games. San Jose has presented a challenge for the Canucks in recent history and they will be looking to change that when the puck drops tomorrow night. The Canucks will need play a disciplined game and stay out of the box, tighten up defensively and support Luongo by providing some offense. Hopefully they rise to the challenge and surprise a few people. Best of luck tomorrow boys!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

2013 Draft thoughts…

The NHL draft began with the Canucks needing to trade ONE goalie and possibly gaining a top 10 draft pick. It ended with them achieving this exact feat, just not the way ANYONE thought it would go down. Yes the Canucks gained the 9th overall pick and yes trading ONE of their goalies. It was not the anticipated movement of Roberto Luongo that everyone assumed it would be, but rather Cory Schneider that was traded to the New Jersey Devils. Cue the social media bonanza as everyone seemed to have an armchair GM opinion to share as the news broke.

It was a controversy that began last spring when this city seemed to turn on their solidified number one goalie Roberto Luongo in favour of the younger and less intimidating contract Cory Schneider. To be honest I am not shocked in many means that it worked out this way, perhaps the Canucks brass should have asked for more return value in the trade but it is what it is and we cannot go back. Cory Schneider is longer part of the Vancouver Canucks organization and the Roberto Luongo deserves A LOT of apologies/explanations from the Canucks brass as he is still a Vancouver Canuck despite what everyone predicted.

Best of luck to Cory in NJ. Schneider will once again be mentored by one of the best goalies in NHL history in Martin Brodeur. With Brodeur being near the end of his career, it makes sense that the Devils would target someone younger that is capable of being great in the near future. That being said, it will be a battle to take the net from Marty who despite his age is still an incredible goal-tender. It will be an incredible opportunity for him to play with Brodeur and to play in a new city. Best of luck Cory, you will have an incredible career!

Roberto Luongo despite endless predictions of being traded to an East Coast team, remains a Vancouver Canuck. I hope that the Canucks brass can mend the fences that were smashed when this city and many fans turned their backs on Luongo last spring. It really makes my blood boil the way this city turned so quickly and supported Cory who had yet to prove his worth. YES Schneider is an incredible athlete and will probably achieve some great accomplishments in his career but he has NOT earned the respect the Luongo earned long ago but is never given. The organization owes Roberto so much more than an apology for the last year and then everyone else needs to let it go and just let the guy play the game he loves. He proved last season that he is MORE than capable of being number one and an absolute consummate professional. I hope that Luongo comes to training camp in September and proves all his doubters wrong next season and they all see the incredible athlete he still is and helps the team once again go on a long playoff run. Please @strombone1 do not let all those doubters voices be the ones you listen to, you do have MANY real fans that will support you.

I don’t think any Canucks fans thought it would be Cory on the chopping block, but we need to accept it happened and move on. We still have an INCREDIBLE bonafide number one goal-tender that just two years ago took this team to ONE game within the Stanley Cup. You never know what the future holds and these are two players that both deserve to play in the games that matter.

Moving onto other Canucks news the team picked up some great prospects today in the draft: Bo Horvat, forward Hunter Shinkaruk, centre Cole Cassels, defenceman Jordan Subban, defenceman Anton Cederholm, defenceman Mike Williamson and Miles Liberati. Welcome to the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks organization!

Draft day has officially come to a close and now we wait for the madness of free agency to begin. Are you prepared for the craziness to begin?

One last question, are we really SHOCKED canuck nation that Gillis did not trade Alex Edler? Really? His contract is a steal in comparison to recent contracts being signed by top NHL defencemen [Weber, Letang].

Hockey does not end in June. The NHL has 4 seasons: the pre-season, the regular season, the post-season, and the off season. The off-season is sure to hold a few surprises yet. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Here’s looking to #LOUKID

Have the Canucks been struggling as of late? Yes, but that does not mean you immediately fire the coach and make rash trade decisions! A four game skid is hardly the time to panic. Now, that everyone has started to relax due to the Canucks much needed victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Let’s look at it like this: last night marked Game 25 for the Canucks, their official start to the 2nd half of their season, and 1-0-0 to start.

The win in Columbus finally put the Canucks over the 30 point mark. Did anyone think that the talk heading into last night’s game would be about the Columbus Blue Jackets being the hottest team in the NHL over the last 7 games? No, because hot streaks just do not encompass the Blue Jackets of old. Beating Columbus is not as easy people seem to think it used to be or should be. Despite them being 13th in the conference, they have just had 8 straight games with a point [5-0-3].  And even though the Blue Jackets are slightly under the .500 level of wins, in 5 games vs. Detroit this year they have gone 4-0-1, pretty impressive for a team everyone expects to beat. Not too mention their goal-tending from Bobrovsky has been incredible as of late. Enough about Columbus. Did you hear Chicago lost 2 in regulation in a row? [yes I know, no big deal for a team that already has 45 points!] Or how about the fact that Sidney Crosby is leading the scoring race with 45 points & counting?[he seems to picking up right where he left off before his concussion]. Or how about Steven Stamkos yet again being the first forward to surpass the 20 goal mark?

Rumors are getting louder in regards to the Flames, Iginla and Kiprusoff. Rumor has it is not whether Iginla will be moved but a matter of WHEN he will be moved. Buzz is also surrounding Kiprusoff’s long-term status with the team. The problem with the these rumors are that if the Flames ever moved Iginla, not only would their fans want to riot, but it would extremely disrespectful to the face of their franchise. Iginla has been with the organization for his entire career [nearly 18 years!]. The other major issue with moving either of these players is the question of their asking price and what other teams would be willing to give up in exchange for Iginla or Kipper.

BACK to BUSINESS:  Last night also marked just the 2nd start for Roberto Luongo in two weeks. Yes that Detroit game was a debacle and the Calgary game was anything but pretty. Luongo was the first one in both of those games to admit he was not at his best in either game, but then again where was the rest of the team in BOTH of those games? It was not just that Luongo was shaky in those games, it was the fact that the ENTIRE team seemed to disappear in both. It made sense that Cory Schneider would get a chance to build off his victory against LA following those games, but instead of rising to occasion what followed was 3 straight losses which exposed some major inconsistencies to Schneider’s game. Yes I know shocking to think that the ever praised Cory should struggle when called upon, but true. The thing is all those fans who demanded for Luongo to be sent packing[and are now begging him to stay!] were so certain that Schneider would be the answer. I admit the guy is a great athlete, but he has not played anywhere near the level he was at last year. This season has been a constant ‘be kind, rewind’ year for Schneids as his play has been consistently inconsistent much to the chagrin of his fans. There seems to have been this false belief that he could and would never fail built up, so when his struggles began it was hard for his major fans to understand. Relax, the guy is human, and humans much to our chagrin are prone to making a few mistakes.

No one is perfect, but alas that is problem yes? That is the same thing that has been plaguing Luongo since he started playing for the Canucks…every time he plays brilliantly EVERYONE loves the guy, but heck a few bad games and the ENTIRE city turns on the guy!  The city has not completely turned on Schneids, but more and more cries for Luongo to stay[for atleast this year] are getting louder. I still cannot understand the rush to send the guy away. Do Canucks fans remember the last time we had a goal-tender of Luongo’s caliber? It was back in 1994. Since Luongo began his tenure in 2006, the Canucks have only missed the playoffs once[2008], won 5 division titles, 2 presidents trophies, 1 Western Conference Final, and took the home team to game 7 of the Final. Not to mention him winning an Olympic Gold Medal in 2010 in front of the home fans. When Luongo arrived, he brought with him a winning attitude and the drive to push himself and his team mates to be better. Coming into this season, even though the media decided that he was now the backup net minder that did not deter his work ethic, he spent 7 weeks in Florida training with all-star goalie coach Francois Allaire. With all the attention thrown at Schneider, Luongo has been very patient and never uttered one negative word towards his friend, simply being supportive. Both Luongo and Schneider have dealt with this media perpetrated controversy with a high level of maturity. Schneider has not had to deal with any real negative press until his inconsistent play this season. It is easy to talk to the media when you are playing well, but extremely difficult when you are struggling. Last year Schneider was not the starter and always coming in to play hero as the back up, so there was no pressure whereas this year he was supposed to be the undisputed starter. That is not what happened as his season began with less than stellar play. Luongo knows the pressure that comes with playing in the hockey crazed Vancouver spotlight and all the ups and downs that come with it. When you’re on a roll, the whole city is behind you but start to go on a skid and suddenly the whole city is calling for your head. Maybe its the pressure, maybe its something else that is responsible for Cory’s struggle for consistency this year, but now is not the time to go for the gamble, it is time to go for consistency on a nightly basis. Cory has been given many many chances to secure himself as the number one, but thus far has been unable to do so, which has paved the way for Luongo to provide the consistency the Canucks are in need of. I don’t know about you, but I am glad that the Canucks were not in hurry to  give Luongo away with the way the season has gone [not too mention just about every team in the league this season has depended on the play of BOTH their goalies]. Here’s to an intriguing second half!

A closer look at Cory & Lu’s stats thus far:

In 14 starts Cory Schneider is 6-5-3 [15 points earned]. In that span he has earned 1 shutout, sports a 2.63 GAA and 0.910 SV %. in 14 starts, 7 times Cory has allowed 3 or more goals.

In 11 starts Luongo is 6-2-3 [15 points earned, earning points in all but 2 starts]. In that span he has earned 2 shutouts, and sports a 2.08 GAA[yes even with that debacle in Detoit!] and a 0.917 SV %.  If you take away the Detroit game, his numbers improve to somewhere near the neighborhood of 1.63 GAA and a  0.943 SV%.

Tomorrow is #gameDAY!  Cannot wait to see my #Canucks take on the red hot #Predators live at Rogers Arena tomorrow for my birthday! My birthday wish for tomorrow is for Luongo to get the start, Bieksa to return & the Canucks to get a HUGE win at home! We will have to wait and see what AV’s coin reveals tomorrow, but for now: #GoCanucksGo!

25 games down, 23 to go.

Here’s looking to #LOUKID!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.


Are you ready hockey fans? After a lockout that lasted 113 days, it is officially time to say GAME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you feel the energy around the league? Every where I look the team colors are taking over the city. The media and fans whispers get louder with each game that occurs and each goal scored. Has your team played yet? Can you hear all the things people are saying following opening day? Did you watch Coaches Corner? Did you see Don Cherry call Ron McLean’s nightly theory stupid? Did you see many rivalries re-ignited? Did you see any of the highlights or perhaps watch a game or two? I must admit, I missed hockey and may or may not have watched more than one game yesterday. Hockey is back and the possibilities are endless. I cannot wait to see what  happens as the season unfolds.

Was opening day everything you hoped it would be? If you are Canucks fan, the answer will be NO. The Canucks did not get the victory, not even close. There was this guy on the other team, named Teemu Selanne…that got 4 points….and lets just say that no matter his age, he has not lost a beat.  All of you who thought Schneider was the answer…well he did not play his best, not even close. It amazes me that people were so quick to jump on the bandwagon for Cory, and as soon as he had a terrible game, they all began to jump off saying they all want LOU to stay. Maybe Cory will be able to rebound, maybe not, but in moments like last night, I appreciate that the team has two great goalies. Cory earned the chance to play in the season opener, and unfortunately he had a bad game. Both Cory & Lou are class acts, and both own when they have an off game, and both deserve better than the boos of bandwagon fans. You cannot win every game, but in a shortened season each win is that much more important in the standings. There were 13 games last night, 26 teams played, but only 13 could be victorious. The LA Kings, and Washington Capitals joined the Canucks in big losses [LA lost 5-2 on their banner night & Washington lost 6-3] in their opening games, but rest assured all three will be making a turnaround.

I am not a bandwagon fan, nor will I ever be. I am simply a Canucks fan through and through. Nuck said.  The Canucks will get a clean slate today, as they face off against Edmonton tonight at 6PM [pacific time]. I will be watching the game, cheering louder with each goal they score. The Canucks may not have won their opening game, but they did have a few [yes just a few] great moments….such as the #Sedinery on display with Danny’s goal. I look forward to seeing more of those moments in the coming weeks [and perhaps one or two tonight]! Go Canucks Go!

oh how I have missed game days & putting on the this jersey! Welcome back boys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look what I found hiding in my closet??oh how I have missed game days & putting on this jersey! Welcome back boys!!!!!!! I’ll be seeing you in the arena Jan.23!! #GoCanucksGO #OTOW

Win or lose, fans will continue to support their teams. This fan will ALWAYS support my team, no matter what crazy things the media or bandwagoners say.  I am happy to report that I will be going to the game on Wednesday with my sisters! The Canucks play Calgary…it should be a great game! There is nothing quite like going to a live game…having 18,000+ fans cheering & yelling with you in unison.

There are bound to be many many more headlines that will be revealed in the coming weeks as the season progresses. Time will tell as teams push to get into playoff form. Once again today is game day, and you know what that means! Shake off the negativity from yesterday and get ready for tonight’s game! Good luck boys! As always, until next time, nuck said.

January 20th #GameDay #Canucks vs. #Oilers

Sarah E.L.

P.S. ALEX EDLER signed a 6-year extension with the Canucks late Friday January 18th. The contract has a $5 million cap hit per season [$30 million over all]. Edler definitely deserved this raise. This is a great deal for the Canucks as they could have lost him to the off-season market in July if they had not got this deal done. Edler probably could have gotten more money had he waited until July to see what other teams might offer him.