canucks

The Last Line: Vancouver Canucks Roberto Luongo under the spotlight

We Are All Canucks

Starting during the 2008-09 season, the Vancouver Canucks dropped the “We Are All Canucks” campaign on their fans.

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Over time, the marketing department may have gone in different directions, but at the end of the day, the team still wants us to feel that we are the seventh man on the ice.

Last week we turned the spotlight on Henrik Sedin, a player deserving of a little shine, this week, we look at a man who alternates being blinded by the spotlight and sitting alone in the darkness, Roberto Luongo.

Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, even Mark Messier, none of the three were put under the microscope and had the sack of expectations laid upon them that Luongo has had since coming over to the Canucks in 2006.

Almost immediately, Bobby Lu had the label of “Cup or Bust” stapled to his back.  

Throughout his six years with Vancouver, Luongo has flirted with greatness, but aside from his role in winning Olympic gold in 2010, the story of Luongo has been good, not great.

On a nightly basis, when the Canucks win, it is because that is what Luongo is paid and expected to do, regardless of how the players in front of him play.

Roberto Luongo

Roberto Luongo Under The Spotlight

When Vancouver loses, the fingers are immediately pointed at the man in net, regardless of the lack of scoring.

After failing to etch his name on hockey’s holy grail last season in a roller coaster of a playoff run, expectations for Luongo have reached a level that few goaltenders have ever had to deal with in NHL history.

With his traditionally slow start this season and the improved play of backup Cory Schneider, the backlash started immediately.

With Canucks fans riding on the Cory Schneider wagon, and many more trying to jump during Schneid’s impressive starting stint during mid November, due initially to Luongo being on the mend and then providing backup service, the call for Luongo and his heavy contract to be traded grew louder.

With the opportunity to regain his hold on the 1A goaltenders spot following Schneider’s rough start against Nashville on December 1st, Luongo has posted an impressive record, posting an impressive four game winning streak, before dropping an overtime shootout loss to Columbus.

As he did last season, Bobby Lu quickly shook off the OSL and two days later recorded a 5-3 victory on Hockey Night in Canada against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  

Although it is far from the ultimate goal, posting convincing victories in his hometown of Montreal and Toronto allowed Luongo to finally be seen in a positive light after his early season darkness.

Looking at the week ahead, the Canucks play host to three games (Wild, Red Wings, Flames) before Santa makes his trip and one to the Oilers on Boxing Day.

Based on Alain Vigneault and Mike Gillis’ philosophy of playing the hot hand and the fact that there is a rest day in between, do not be surprised to see the #1 standing between the pipes for at least three of the four games.

Roberto Luongo Profile:

Position: Goalie
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 217 lbs
Birthdate: April 4, 1979
Years Pro: 12
Draft: 1997 – Round 1, 4th overall by New York Islanders

LAST FIVE STAT LINE:

Canucks Record:  4-0-1   SHUT OUTS:  1  SA: 120  SV:  112  SV%:  .933

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About Steve Lee

Steve is a 12 year writing vet, and writes for a number of sports sites, offering a unique and abstract look at the games we love. He still hopes the Grizz + Sonics return to the Northwest, and has been a Lakers fan since "Showtime".
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