In the battle of the backups, Curtis Sanford is gone and Jason LaBarbera won the right to sit in the best seats in the house for most of the rest of the regular season.
The Canucks put the likable Sanford on waivers Wednesday morning, a move that had to be made to get Luongo on the active roster. If he clears waivers after the 9 a.m. Thursday deadline, Sanford will be re-assigned to Manitoba.
Luongo will start in Thursday’s home game against Phoenix. Good thing, because the Canucks have been on a two month slide without him, having gone 9-12-3 in his absence.
Really, I have no bad thing to say about Curtis, especially given how he’s well-liked by his teammates and the coaching staff. It can’t be easy playing behind Roberto Luongo and Curtis embraced this role. He did okay too, I might add. In 35 total games over a season and a half with the Canucks, Sanford put together with an 11-11-2 record, a 0.903 save % and a 2.69 GAA.
The Canucks picked LaBarbera probably because they feel he has a bit more to offer. While he’s not as good technically as Sanford, he makes up for it by covering more of the net with his bigger frame. Not too long ago, the LA Kings thought he could be their goalie of the future so there’s a bit of upside to him as well.
Did the Canucks keep the right goalie?
To answer that question with another question, does it matter? Of the Canucks’ remaining 37 games left, only 3 are in back-to-back situations. As long as Luongo stays healthy – knock on wood – that’s probably how many games LaBarbera will play the rest of the season. Let’s hope he can handle that. And if he plays a lot more than that, then something bad has happened and we’re screwed anyway.
[update: 01/15/2009, 10:38 AM]
Per TSN.ca, Curtis Sanford cleared waivers and is Manitoba Moose-bound. Our December goaltending tandem is now the goaltending tandem down on the farm.