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Luongo and the Captaincy


bobbyluongo1

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Roberto Luongo is the only goaltender in the league who is the captain of his respective team. A captain has the responsibility of talking to the referees during the game regarding penalty calls or concerns they have, and to face the media every single day. A goaltender cannot leave the crease to talk to referees, and talking to the media every day takes a toll on someone that has a lot to focus on. So should Luongo be captain or not?

A goaltender is a unique position in hockey. It is a team sport, but the position is largely based on individual performance, and as an ice hockey goaltender myself, found that it takes a lot more focus and an introvert personality to be successful. Bobby Lou is an emotional person, and he takes the game extremely seriously and practices as hard as anyone in the league, something that coach Vigneault and GM Mike Gillis thought would rub off on his teammates, and named him team captain. I full heartedly believed that it was the right decision, even though it shocked me at first. The Canucks had players such as Ryan Kesler, Mattias Ohlund and Willie Mitchell that can fill the void left by Markus Naslund when he left for the Rangers 2 years ago. The players in the dressing room were all up for it, and the feeling around the league was the same. It seemed like a move GM Mike Gillis would pull off, something out of the ordinary.

As time went by however, the negatives started to show, particularly this season. Luongo was not performing up to his capabilities, and the responsibility of facing the media everyday seemed like it was weighing down on him. Most goalies only address them post-game, but Louie had to pre-game as well, and it could effect his preparation. Goaltenders have to get ready physically and mentally, and having to face some tough questions did not do him any good.

Another negative of him wearing the C is the feeling that he's throwing the team under the bus when he reflects on a bad game from the team. Again, the position is individualized compared to forwards and defensemen, and when he says things like "The guys in front of me didn't do a good job of clearing the rebounds tonight, and we have to tighten up for next game" sounds like he's criticizing everyone but himself. If someone like Kesler were to say that, it's just another comment from another player. I'm not a part of the team, but it could become a distraction when reporters report it as a "selfish remark" and the team gets questioned about why their goaltender and captain is throwing the team under the bus, when he's only giving a fair assessment of the game, which can turn into a distraction for the whole team at the worst of times.

Should Luongo keep the C and stay Captain Canuck? I believe that he should let go of the position and give it to someone else, but it will all come down this summer. Lou is a competitive player, and he loves challenges and works extremely hard, but I feel like the captaincy is more than he can chew, not because of who he is as a person, but because of the position that he plays. There's a reason why Ryan Miller or Martin Brodeur aren't captains for their teams, because they cannot handle the duties of being the number one goaltender and the responsibilities that come with the C on the chest, or mask in this context. As a Canucks fan, I can only hope that Luongo admits defeat with this issue, and hands it to someone else on the team to become the leader on the ice and dressing room, something he cannot deal with as a goaltender in a pressure-packed city.

Make sure to check out my regular blog, PUCKS AND BUCKS, where I talk everything hockey and business.

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Very well written article. Sometimes we have a tendency to defend our favorite players -as I do with Kesler himself . You have shown great restraint and objectivity regarding Lui and therefore get a full thumbs up.

There is no reason why Lui cant be the off ice captain or 'honorary captain' and be left to concentrate on playing between the pipes.

Cheers

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Agreed, well written & insightful. The question is who would the Canucks name as the new Captain? I hate to sound superstitious but I believe only one European Captain has ever won the Stanley Cup (Lidstrom 08), the vast majority have been Canadians.

So, what other Canadian on the Canucks could wear the "C"?

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Agreed, well written & insightful. The question is who would the Canucks name as the new Captain? I hate to sound superstitious but I believe only one European Captain has ever won the Stanley Cup (Lidstrom 08), the vast majority have been Canadians.

So, what other Canadian on the Canucks could wear the "C"?

Good points. It's become clear that a perfect storm for stress is to put a C on any goalie. Moreso in Vancouver.

Why not try something just as justifiable: don't make anyone captain, let all the players share the responsibility. Make a checklist of responsibilities of the captaincy, give the list to each player at the beginning of the season & again at the mid-point, & again just before they go into the playoffs. Each time, get him to mark the responsibilities he is ready & able to take up. Then you know what strengths you have to work with & who you can share the load with on a particular responsibility. Some guys would be able to do more, & others less, but everybody would be able to do something to help out.

Our team is pretty well knit together, they're strong as players relating to one another, and this would be another strength to unite them further. It would also keep the press & emotionally fragile public from harrassing one player for being captain. It's working for the Canadiens. I think it has helped them to stay loose in the games because nobody gets all the pressure alone, & nobody has to worry about one guy getting beaten up by the media & public.

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Agreed, well written & insightful. The question is who would the Canucks name as the new Captain? I hate to sound superstitious but I believe only one European Captain has ever won the Stanley Cup (Lidstrom 08), the vast majority have been Canadians.

So, what other Canadian on the Canucks could wear the "C"?

Im not a big believer in racially profiling guys due to their nationality. I think that its the person , not which country they were born in.

Henrik (Sweden) Ryan (USA) could easily become captain or even co -captains.

p.s.

Derian Hatcher won the cup as a USA born captain in 1999.

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That's a pretty good article. I completely agree, Luongo isn't getting any less valuable for the team even if he gave up captaincy. It would be best for the team if he just handed the "C" to someone else (Kesler!!!) and focus on being the brick wall he was.

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That's a pretty good article. I completely agree, Luongo isn't getting any less valuable for the team even if he gave up captaincy. It would be best for the team if he just handed the "C" to someone else (Kesler!!!) and focus on being the brick wall he was.

yes i totally agree with that.

very good Article Bobby, congrats. :D

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Fruition, you have many great points like suggesting Luongo has the make up of a great captain, because I agree full heartedly that he does, but I just do not think he can handle the pressure of wearing a C while being a starting goaltender in a city like Vancouver.

An interesting point you suggest is that he is "able to convey encouraging and game-changing advice to other teammates."

Have you been in the dressing room yourself and heard whatever advices Luongo was giving to his team?

To clarify, other than the post game interview after game 6, I never said Luongo had a bad attitude. I just believed that if he were to say such phrases like "The guys in front of me didn't do a good job of clearing the rebounds tonight, and we have to tighten up for next game", it SOUNDS like he is blaming everyone but himself, when it is actually a fair statement, but when a goaltender says those kinds of words, the media always seems to twist it and turn it into a negative, something the team shouldn't have to deal with on top of the crazy media in Vancouver.

As for Luongo's play declining, you must be watching a different game than me if you think his play down the stretch was anything like the Luongo of the 06-07 season when he single handedly beat the Dallas Stars in the 1st round of the playoffs. I truly do believe he's a top 3 goaltender in the NHL, and there's not a chance that I'm questioning the abilities of a gold medalist, but I believe that he'll be the franchise goaltender we expect in the crease when his duties as a captain is given to someone else.

Who do I think the Canucks should give the C to? I really believe that Kesler is the front man for the job. I'm not giving him excuses, but he was playing with a bum shoulder during the playoffs, and as hard as I was on his performance, you can't deny the intensity he brought to every game in the regular season, and he is noted as one of the more vocal guys on the team. Vocal doesn't mean much, but his play and work ethic on the ice should speak for themselves too.

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I think a major thing is goalie burnout, I know a few teams have done otherwise. But whether Detroit, Pittsburgh, or the Oilers of old those teams almost always had two regular season goalies. If your playoff guy only plays say 50-55 games in the regular season he is going to be a lot fresher. I see Luongo as a very Fuhr type player, a player who is highly emotional and when on his game always makes one more important save than the other goalie. I also think the Captaincy thing is too much just because he doesn't need to be in front of the media all of the time. I think in this Chicago series we didn't learn our lessons about having a killer instinct DEFENSIVELY. Nothing wrong with shutting down a team and waiting for them to make a mistake especially in the playoffs. With this attitude we would have won game 2, and probably not been taken apart after coming back into a couple of other games. We left too many holes whilst pushing up ice.

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Fruition, you have many great points like suggesting Luongo has the make up of a great captain, because I agree full heartedly that he does, but I just do not think he can handle the pressure of wearing a C while being a starting goaltender in a city like Vancouver.

An interesting point you suggest is that he is "able to convey encouraging and game-changing advice to other teammates."

Have you been in the dressing room yourself and heard whatever advices Luongo was giving to his team?

To clarify, other than the post game interview after game 6, I never said Luongo had a bad attitude. I just believed that if he were to say such phrases like "The guys in front of me didn't do a good job of clearing the rebounds tonight, and we have to tighten up for next game", it SOUNDS like he is blaming everyone but himself, when it is actually a fair statement, but when a goaltender says those kinds of words, the media always seems to twist it and turn it into a negative, something the team shouldn't have to deal with on top of the crazy media in Vancouver.

As for Luongo's play declining, you must be watching a different game than me if you think his play down the stretch was anything like the Luongo of the 06-07 season when he single handedly beat the Dallas Stars in the 1st round of the playoffs. I truly do believe he's a top 3 goaltender in the NHL, and there's not a chance that I'm questioning the abilities of a gold medalist, but I believe that he'll be the franchise goaltender we expect in the crease when his duties as a captain is given to someone else.

Who do I think the Canucks should give the C to? I really believe that Kesler is the front man for the job. I'm not giving him excuses, but he was playing with a bum shoulder during the playoffs, and as hard as I was on his performance, you can't deny the intensity he brought to every game in the regular season, and he is noted as one of the more vocal guys on the team. Vocal doesn't mean much, but his play and work ethic on the ice should speak for themselves too.

I just do not think he can handle the pressure of wearing a C while being a starting goaltender in a city like Vancouver.

...And yet Canucks management seem to think he can

Have you been in the dressing room yourself and heard whatever advices Luongo was giving to his team?

...Have you ever been in the dressing room and listened to Luongo talking to his team?

it SOUNDS like he is blaming everyone but himself, when it is actually a fair statement, but when a goaltender says those kinds of words, the media always seems to twist it and turn it into a negative, something the team shouldn't have to deal with on top of the crazy media in Vancouver.

...You believe that Luongo should not be captain due to the fact that when he calls out his team, that the media might take it the wrong way?

Who do I think the Canucks should give the C to? I really believe that Kesler is the front man for the job.

...You believe Kesler should be the man for the job? You have spoken with the coaches and players about this obviously...done some interviewing? Because you know MG and AV chose him on a whim...

By that rationale, you shouldn't be allowed to write for CDC anymore because:

A ) I don't think you can handle the pressure of writing as you obviously have other duties to attend to during the day - I'm sure it would wear you down over a period of time - I'm not questioning your talent, just your ability to do more than one thing.

B ) When someone reads your article, they may take something you write the wrong way and may see the Canucks in a negative light. People have a tendancy to twist words, we wouldn't want that to happen to you

C ) There are other quality candidates who deserve a shot at blogging here.

Sounds weak doesn't it? But that is the same argument you are using against Luongo here. You praise Lu for being one of the best in the league, but question his work ethic? All of the qualities you wrote about Kesler, aren't they the same reasons that Lu is the captain?

/rant

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