Lets Talk About Twins
(and not the ones that usually run in my Love Em Hate Em game reviews).
The Vancouver Canucks have a lot of them.
They share the same mental telepathy the Sedins do, just watch highlights from Monday.
Or Sami Salo and Alex Edler, the Scandinavians who speak softly and carry a big shot?
Way back in the faraway time of October, Roberto Luongo struggled out of the gate.
Everyone knew it was going to happen, we’ve seen it happen before and the whole team was hungover. This was the same time that Jannik Hansen looked like a meat carcass instead of the vicious Honey Badger he has become.
And yet, we still crucified Luongo. Mainly because he wasn’t doing himself any favours. His Stanley Cup experience was a bit of a debate during the summer (understatement?) and the October start was helping his case.
Look at this box score from the second game of the year and look at the timing of the goals he allowed relative to the goals that got Vancouver back into the game.
It was beginning to feel like Groundhog Day.
Cory Schneider, aka the new hotness, didn’t have the best October either, going 2-3 in a stretch where the Canucks got shutout twice. But somehow still, this was all Luongo’s fault because Luongo forgot to tell the Sedins to score goals or for Kesler to look like he was in playoff form after missing training camp or something.
So we all looked forward to November and the Canucks opened the month by pounding Calgary before dropping two in a row to Minnesota and St Louis before anyone realized how good they were.
And then Aaron Rome mania hit and the team started winning again and during the 5 days that the #vote4rome campaign lasted, Luongo got hurt.
So Cory Schneider came in and got shelled by Chicago before going streaking Will Ferrel style. He even got starts when Luongo was back and healthy, as backup goaltenders tend to do.
Somehow, this turned into a goaltending controversy.
Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider had become Edward and Jacob and everyone in Vancouver was doing their best impression of a 14-year-old girl with attitude problems.
Roberto Luongo came back on December 4. He has played 10 games since and lost one in regulation and one in a shootout. He looked shaky in the beginning in Montreal and allowed a backbreaking Backlund goal against Calgary and that’s been about all the criticism you can level at him since returning.
Going into a matchup with the San Jose Sharks, Roberto Luongo holds a 15-7-2 record with a 2.47 GAA and a .917 sv pct with one shutout.
Cory Schneider‘s numbers are better at 2.17, .931, and two shutouts but he’s only 7-5 and has faced some cherry-picked opponents.
It’s a similar situation to the one in New York right now where Marty Biron is playing well enough to allow the Rangers the luxury of resting Henrik Lundqvist when needed. Torts calls them his 1A and 1B.
I cannot stress the word luxury enough. Having two goalies like Luongo & Schneider is a first place problem.
There was a time when the Canucks playoff hopes rode on Dan Cloutier.
Luongo has had some playoff meltdowns but none quite like what Cloutier pulled off against Minnesota or Detroit.
When Cloutier went down prior to a first round match with the Flames, Alex Auld was the new number one. Cory Schneider is no Alex Auld.
These are two guys who shared the Jennings Trophy last year only because Luongo made sure Schneider got his 25 starts.
The Canucks didn’t get where they are today by making rash decisions and rocking the boat.
The reality of the situation is simple when you put down the NHL12 controller.
Roberto Luongo is here to stay because he has a no-trade clause.
There are clauses to allow Luongo to request a trade after the 5th year, or in 3 years, and the Canucks to trade him freely after the 7th year, or in 5 years but there is obviously a lot of hockey to be played before we get to that point.
Extraordinary circumstances could arise, but the team and the player both seem to be happy and Mr. Aquilini has famously stated that he doesn’t care about the opinions of “dishwashers from Surrey”.
Cory Schneider meanwhile is a blue-chip prospect stuck in the toughest position to crack. There is no doubt that many teams are interested in him but the goaltending market has traditionally never been a seller’s market.
There were rumours that the Avs were targeting him before acquiring Sergei Varlamov but the Canucks weren’t interested in either the first round pick or seeing him on a divisional rival.
They’ll wait until a deal comes along that makes sense and offers immediate help, whenever that may be.
Until then Canucks fans will just have to suffer with two of the more talented goalies the team has ever seen (it’s an admittedly easy contest).