Feb 162010
 

There are two ways to read into Team Canada coach Mike Babcock’s decision to start Roberto Luongo tonight against Norway and then Martin Brodeur against Switzerland on Thursday.

Babcock explained that he was giving Luongo the first start mostly because he wanted to pay him the courtesy. But perhaps more telling, Babcock said: “Marty has played a lot of hockey and this gives him a couple of days’ breather. Marty will play against Switzerland [on Thursday] and after that I will make the decision. That’s what we came up with.”

First, the Olympic tournament is such a short tournament that I don’t think Team Canada would start a player simply as a courtesy. With only 3 round robin games and a bye to the quarterfinals at stake, I would imagine Team Canada would want to get off the gates fast and field their best team right off the bat. If you subscribe to this line of thinking, then you have to think that Team Canada has tabbed Luongo as the man to lead them to Gold.

Or, we could take this decision at face-value. Maybe Team Canada brass has decided that Brodeur is its starter and they do really want to give him a few extra days rest before letting him run the table starting on Thursday.

Normally, I would have subscribed to the latter. Even as a Canucks fan, IMHO the starter job belongs to Martin Brodeur. His credentials certainly justify it. That said, none of the three Team Canada goalies have been particularly great since being named to the team on December 30th, and of the three, Luongo has posted the better record and the better stats since then.

Stats since Dec. 30Roberto LuongoMartin BrodeurMarc-Andre Fleury
Record12-5-110-11-27-5-3
GAA2.502.593.02
Save %0.9180.9060.909
SO240

When you add the fact that Luongo is 21-7-1 at home this season with a 0.928 save percentage and a 2.13 GAA, then I’m not so sure anymore.

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