The Goalie Conundrum
I supported picking Brodeur as the starting goalie despite enough reasons to justify Luongo being put in net, so at this point I don’t even feel slightly bad about tearing Brodeur a new one. Throw every cliche you can at the game and it’ll in all likelihood make sense. The one I like right now is “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” Last night Team Canada played a heck of a game. They were for the most part all over the American team, but Brodeur let them down.
I thought Brodeur’s puck handling was going to be to his advantage and yesterday he proved it was to his detriment. Brodeur plays the puck like a defenseman, and when he’s on the Devils his blue line know to go out when he handles the puck, not collapse to the net. One of the key things is that the blue line doesn’t know Marty’s style of play, but that doesn’t excuse the nonsense we saw from him in net last night. I have never seen a goalie go down on so many shots, and flop around like I saw Brodeur last night. Not even Dominik Hasek has had a game where he’s flopped around in net as much as Brodeur did.
Brodeur’s puck handling was ridiculous at best and it all culminated in his baseball bat, derek-jeter-ground-out swing that cost Canada the goal. That robbed us of momentum, that basically sealed the deal. With that in mind though it was clear from the beginning. His poor decision making and puck-handling less than 30 seconds into the game cost us the game’s first goal and from there it went down hill.
With that being said everyone’s calling for Luongo. Brodeur had his chance, and I thought even against the Swiss he had a shaky game at best. I still believe Luongo knows this ice better than anyone, regardless of opponent he posted a shutout against Norway, and he looked solid. My worry is that without the trapezoid he’ll play the puck into even more awkward situations than he already does on the Canucks, but at this point anything is better than Brodeur.
Canada next plays the Germans in qualifiers. So you give Luongo the start and he wins. Guarantee this city is going to be preaching the good word according to Lu. That in itself might be the problem. Lets be honest, a half concussed, one armed Fleury could take down the winless Germans. The test comes in the game after which will be the Russians. Tuesday’s qualifier against the Germans is going to be a good indicator of how Luongo feels getting the start. Brodeur had his chance and the Germany game should be a good way to ease Luongo into this. That being said, come the quarterfinals, if Luongo’s given the start, it’s all on him to save this country’s hopes of a gold medal.
This is Luongo’s chance to prove to everyone, on the biggest stage of them all, that he can be a “big game goalie”. Don’t blow it Lu, no pressure.