Luongo should get his due from critics
By Tony Gallagher, Postmedia News May 31, 2012 6:20 PM
VANCOUVER — There is so much ridiculous information surrounding Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo and his future these days, one doesn’t really know where to begin debunking some of this stuff.
The Bleacher Report, which is normally pretty solid, ran a list of ‘players who sucked’ in this year’s playoffs, and despite playing very well in the Canucks’ first two losses at home against the Kings, Luongo was fingered on the basis of his goals-against average and save percentage. In two games? A player who sucked? Sure he gave up that goal from the side of the net to Mike Richards on the power play, but that was a tremendously smart play on the forward’s part and it’s amazing more players don’t try it. And this is to ignore all the outstanding saves he made behind a team that didn’t look prepared to start the playoffs.
After what may have been the second- or third-best year in his career whereby he helped a genuinely struggling team in the second half of the season win another Presidents’ Trophy, his name is still somehow chopped liver and he’s being compared unfavourably to the likes to Tomas Vokoun.
It’s as though the tremendous play of Cory Schneider has somehow depreciated what Luongo has done with this team this year.
Granted he has committed the unpardonable sin in Canada, and now, increasingly so, in the U.S. as well. That is, he’s actually been good enough, long enough to become highly paid and we all know that can’t be allowed. It’s being portrayed as though his cap number of $5.3 million US is somehow way too high, out of line, and you have people like Steve Yzerman indicating he’s not interested when the two goalies he has couldn’t even fill out the guy’s jersey.
This isn’t to say Luongo hasn’t had his failing moments in Vancouver. But without the goaltending he and Schneider provided this season, one can’t really be sure where this team would have finished the regular season, even playing in the hamburger pision they did. Yet somehow the media around the league has this perception that Luongo is going to be given away to anyone who might be so stupid as to have any kind of sincere interest.
It’s been reported in lots of different places that Canucks GM Mike Gillis has been contacting general managers around the league about the possibility of moving the veteran goalie without yet having signed Schneider. Not surprisingly, he insists that is absolutely untrue.
“I haven’t contacted anyone with respect to Roberto at all,” Gillis said Thursday. “I’ve had people call me and ask about him and I’ve told them that we haven’t made any decisions at all about the future of our goaltending. And that’s absolutely the truth. We’re going to have our pro scouts in over the next seven to 10 days, have our meetings and then we’ll come out of that with a firm plan on how to move ahead.”
Gillis has had one conversation with Luongo and over the next few days he’ll have another on the phone with the goalie to see if he feels the same way as he did right after the season when they first talked.
“He basically said to me the exact same thing he said to you guys that if it (a trade) was something that would help the team, he’d consider it,” said Gillis. “But I’d like to get his feelings now that he’s had a little time to think it over. There’s no rush here. There’s no need to get into anything too quickly because that’s when you’re likely to make a mistake. I was at the GMs’ meeting this week and you can ask all 29 other guys whether I talked to them about trading a goalie and they’d tell you ‘no’ because it just hasn’t happened.”
Gillis is confident of signing Schneider, the first logical step in any procedure, and there’s plenty of cap space to get that done, at least in the interim period between now and the Sept. 15 expiry of the old collective bargaining agreement. The team has one, soon (Gillis hopes) to be two, goalies signed and then seven defencemen and 10 forwards all under contract in a pretty lean free-agent market, so they feel they’re in pretty decent shape relative to many teams.
For the moment at least, Luongo is one of the big reasons they feel they’re in that situation.
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Edited by The Situation, 31 May 2012 - 07:02 PM.