But don’t overlook the great #68
There’s almost as much anticipation for tonight’s Devils and Canucks game as the one back in 1987 when Kirk McLean and Greg Adams faced their former team in those sweet Christmas coloured jerseys.
Ok – tonight might have a little more hype to it.
And no, I’m not talking about the emotional return of Steve Bernier to Vancouver.
For years, Cory Schneider was an incredibly patient solider for the Vancouver Canucks. He spent three long years in the AHL, surviving Winnipeg winters with the Manitoba Moose and when he finally got his shot to back-up Roberto Luongo he was excellent.
In fact, he was maybe a little too excellent.
Schneider supplanted Luongo as the starter and we all know what happened next. The Canucks tried (unsuccessfully) to trade Luongo and were left with no other option but to deal Schneider to New Jersey for a first round pick.
A trade that I feel didn’t get the proper return, especially for a team that wants to win now.
And that brings us to today, with Schneider and Luongo squaring off on the ice for the first time ever. It’s a great storyline and it should be interesting to see what kind of reaction Schneider gets.
It’s not like Schneider wanted to leave, it was all about Luongo having literally no trade value.
But for as good as Schneider looked in the regular season, just like Luongo, he never truly proved his worth in the playoffs. He might have been injured last year against the Sharks, but if that’s the case – why did Alain Vigneault play him?
He looked bad against San Jose and the numbers echo that fact.
But despite all the hype, keep in mind this is a regular season game in early October. It’s a nice little highlight in the schedule but a bad performance by either guy isn’t the end of the world.
Another storyline I’m interested in is that it could be the final trips to Vancouver for two all-time greats – Martin Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr. When the NHL ridiculously didn’t schedule East-West games for a few years the biggest losers were the fans.
As a result, we were deprived of seeing stars from the Eastern Conference but thankfully that all changed this season. But it might be a little too late for Brodeur fans.
Schneider is starting and barring some sort of miracle that sees the Devils and Canucks meet in the Finals, this is Brodeur’s last ride in the city where he lost the Olympic starting job.
Ironically, he’ll be on the bench.
In the case of Jagr, he just might play till he turns 70.
The speed may not be there but the hands definitely are and his hockey IQ is off the charts.
Jagr still knows where to position himself and when he gets the puck it’s almost impossible to knock it off him.
Despite almost always playing in the East, Jagr does have some interesting connections to this city. Vancouver is where Jagr originally was drafted way back in 1990 – remember the Canucks took Petr Nedved that year *cough*.
Just based on hairstyles alone, I think it was painfully obvious that Jagr was the better pick.
Vancouver is also where Alex Ovechkin crushed Jagr in the Olympics – one of the few highlights in 2012 for the Capitals star.
While everyone will be watching Luongo and Schneider, make sure to take a moment to appreciate Jagr. Sure, he may not have the glorious mullet anymore but he’s still a lot of fun to watch.
It all gets underway tonight at 7 p.m. on TSN. And if the Canucks lose, the hand wringing of the entire Schneider deal will occur directly after the game and continue for years and years.