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Ugli Fruit

Defense = Major Cause of So-called Luongo Breakdowns

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The way I see it, you are only a choke if you fail ALL or MOST of the big games. Luongo has won, even single-handedly, many big games. Therefore, we can establish a theory that Luongo is not actually a choke, but there is an outside factor that causes these breakdowns.

Defensive support is possibly the most important thing a goaltender needs to be successful. The NHL nowadays have so much talent that you will see back-door saucer passes and slap-pass tip-ins night in and night out. Not only that, but goaltending has evolved into more of a positional game than a reactional style. If you don't believe me look at the size of the pads now and 20 years ago.

Luongo is fine in the regular season, sure. That's not because he's only good in the regular season, but it's because his D plays the right way and isolates many of the point-blank chances (ie. rebounds). The Canucks D do this job very well, and though it's not tangibly provable, I and a number of other CDC'ers have come to notice the strange difference in effort in the Canuck players when Schneider plays (perhaps this inflates his numbers).

So everything is good, up until April. What happens? Luongo doesn't let in 4 or 5 every game. He has some insane games and some horrible games. Sometimes he lets in 1 or posts a shutout while sometimes he posts a stinker with 4 or more. Why does this happen?

Unless you are actually suggesting that the April weather suddenly destroys his consistency, there is no other plausible explanation other than the theory that the defence COMPLETELY changes their game. This is in fact provable.

You will notice that the Canucks team vamp up their physicality by a tremendous amount, so much that sometimes the hit is prioritized over simple defensive plays. This is specific to players such as Bieksa or Edler since they are big-minute eaters and love to hit.

What will happen then is that because the Canucks D change their game and how they operate, the rhythm completely breaks for Luongo. Suddenly there are ridiculous point-blank chances appearing all around him:

These highlight-reel saves are often from the playoffs, because Luongo is forced into these situations. The D are often found not marking key players who are WIDE open, so Luongo has to bail them out. When he gets them, he posts those miniscule numbers. When he doesn't, the GAA climbs up.

And, when Luongo's got the defensive support (Burrows checking MacDonald), he makes the saves.

Now obviously I took a small sample of the many videos out there, but as you can see, the main point I'm trying to make is that in the playoffs, the defence leave holes and gaps that normally are covered in the regular season. This creates make or break chances that Luongo must deal with almost alone.

I also feel that Schneider's playoff numbers are inflated partly because of tighter defensive coverage provided by the team. It's not like Schneider is often beat on a goal where the defense hangs him out to dry, because the defence plays tighter when he's in goal. Conspiracy? Maybe, but the theory is there.

Thoughts?

Edit: Before the haters come in to accuse me of trying to find an excuse for Luongo, I would like to say that doing so would prove to me that you cannot find an appropriate counter to the theory that the D is in fact partly responsible for the breakdowns. Think about that before simply posting "QQ Luongo sucks!!1!".

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Can you cheer for a different team please? Your making us look bad..

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Of course the defense all around is at fault for a handful of Luongo's goals. Anyone with half a brain knows this.

I, for example, just don't have the time to dig up every clip of this. Or those clips don't exist.

... and of course people choose to see what they want to see.

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Really well put together post.

There is a large % of hockey fans (especially in this market) that don't understand/can't see the defensive gaps that sometimes occur in the playoffs. I am glad you pointed out that this is often due to the physicality level rising. I tihnk this needs to be a coaching adjustment to ensure that players (not just the D) are not sacrificing positional play for physical play.

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If people can't see the difference in the defensive support Quick got in this years playoffs and the defensive support Luongo got in certain games vs Boston and Chicago then they simply don't know hockey.

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Shootouts don't cause breakdowns in the playoffs, and it is in the playoffs we must judge Luongo (given his regular season success).

I think the theory makes sense, and if it is true then it should be provable. We just need to decide which games we are labeling as 'blowouts' in the playoffs, look at every goal scored and see how the defensive support was on those plays.

Two things to look for, did the defense make a gaff (ie very dangerous sniper left completely open), and did the defense change from their usually strategy (this might not mean they made a mistake, only that Luongo would be confused as to what they are doing and might misread the play through no fault of his own).

I agree with you, of course goals are let in by defense. It's not like the defense just lets the opponents walk in. But the good goalies make key saves in these situations to give the team a chance to win.

This thread is basically saying teams are eliminated because they faced a better team, goals are scored because of the forward. Why state the obvious is my question to? What Luongo lacks is that important save during the playoffs to keep the team from going down 3-0 etc.

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If people can't see the difference in the defensive support Quick got in this years playoffs and the defensive support Luongo got in certain games vs Boston and Chicago then they simply don't know hockey.

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Shootouts don't cause breakdowns in the playoffs, and it is in the playoffs we must judge Luongo (given his regular season success).

I think the theory makes sense, and if it is true then it should be provable. We just need to decide which games we are labeling as 'blowouts' in the playoffs, look at every goal scored and see how the defensive support was on those plays.

Two things to look for, did the defense make a gaff (ie very dangerous sniper left completely open), and did the defense change from their usually strategy (this might not mean they made a mistake, only that Luongo would be confused as to what they are doing and might misread the play through no fault of his own).

The goalie making a crucial save is very important, and yes, Luongo has to be able to do this. However, what if the defense makes 3-4 terrible gaffs in a game (over and above normal scoring chances), you absolutely want Luongo to get one of them (that proverbial important save) but the others wouldn't be his fault.

When you make the demand that the goalie must make the game-breaking saves, then you must also demand the defense to limit chances with enough effectiveness that making that one great save actually does make an impact. You can't demand one without the other.

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Every goalie has nice save highlights, even backup goalies too. Show his shootout goals and explain that. Your being bias showing only certain saves.

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