The Emasculation of Roberto Luongo

I’m still scratching my head over Alain Vigneault’s decision to start Cory Schneider in game 6 over Roberto Luongo.

Yes, Luongo got shelled for 10 goals in games 4 and 5, but how do you blame him exclusively for those losses when the entire team in front of him didn’t show up?

Yet, that’s essentially what Vigneault did when he decided to give Cory Schneider his first career playoff start. In the most important game of the Canucks’ season at the Madhouse on Madison.

AV is known to say that he’ll play the players he thinks will give him the best chance to win. By starting Schneider over Luongo, he’s basically said that the Canucks can’t win with their former captain, their Olympic Gold Medal winner, and Vezina and Jennings Trophy winner.

And that’s not right.

Even with their losses in games 4 and 5, the Canucks still held a 3-2 series lead on the Blackhawks, a lead they built with Luongo in net when he won the first 3 games of this series. He was arguably the best player in a Canucks jersey in 2 of those games. He was easily the best Canuck in the first period of game 4 before the team’s collapse in the second period.

The Canucks may have had a tough time against the Blackhawks generally-speaking, but Luongo has actually played well at the Madhouse on Madison recently. Before allowing 6 goals on 28 shots in game 4, he’d won 2 of his last 3 starts there and had made 93 saves on 96 shots; going back to last year’s playoffs, he has a pretty darn good 4-1-1 record and 0.959 save percentage (188 saves on 196 shots) in his last 6 starts in Chicago.

Does this sound like a good reason to lose faith in your starting goaltender? And if you were Luongo, how would you react to the very real thinking that your coach had lost faith in you?

If the Canucks had won game 6 – and their first round series against the Chicago Blackhawks – perhaps AV would’ve looked like a genius for having the balls to start Schneider over Luongo.

Unfortunately, the Canucks did indeed lose, and now, I think I speak for a lot of Canucks fans when I ask, “Now what?

If AV didn’t think Luongo was good enough to beat Chicago just 24 hours ago, then how can he think he’s good enough to beat them tomorrow?

J.J. Guerrero

Founder and Executive Editor of Canucks Hockey Blog. Proud Canadian, hardcore Canucks fan. I would like nothing more than watching the Canucks win the Stanley Cup. Against the Leafs.

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11 Responses

  1. Gnmc says:

    B.S. It was a message to the Blackhawks – and they heard it loud and clear. Canucks played a great game last night. Even though the final goal got past Luongo – they looked like they can win Tues.

  2. John Andress says:

    My read on the situation was that AV wanted to make the situation about the team and not Roberto Luongo. All the pregame talk was about Luongo and how he was playing and the effect that the Blackhawks and Playing in Chicago was having on him. I think that AV wanted to put the focus back on the team rather than the individual. As Bieksa said after Game four, this was not a Luongo problem, it was a Canucks problem of which Luongo was only a part. So start Schneider and get the emphasis back where it belongs – on the group. Damn near worked too. The game is back and we’ll get them in game four.

  3. Scottjuly79 says:

    Roberto Luongo is a big steaming pile of crap…..

  4. Tom says:

    Luongo sucks! He’s a constant heart attack. The only reason he has an Olympic Gold Medal is because the team in from of him served it up on a platter. He SUCKS! And if you don’t believe me, take a look at the replay of last nights OT goal….nice fundamentals! The canucks will never win with that steaming pile of crap in net.

  5. Josh says:

    Actually it was the right decison to make and play Scheider in game 6 because if he did not get injured he probably would have won the game for us. Luongo was shaky in net again the shot that went in was a shot that bamtam hockey goal tender would stop! For the olympic win well lets just say ” look at the players he had in front of him” all hard working canadians its unfortunate that with Luongo and teh sedin sisters we choke so far in the playoff. They have one more game to play and show what they are made of.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad they put Schneider in. Luongo completely choked in the previous two games. What good is a backup goalie in the playoffs if he doesn’t have any experience in the playoffs? Schneider made a few mistakes, but he looked way more solid in net than Luongo did the past few games.

  7. Scottjuly79 says:

    Canada could have won that medal with Darren Puppa between the pipes!

  8. Martin Brodeur had that same team in front of him and lost to the US.

  9. Martin Brodeur had that same team in front of him and lost to the US.

  10. Chris Ross says:

    O wow thank you, haven’t seen much of this type of stuff. I wasn’t too happy with the decision to play Schneider instead of Luongo in game 6 either. It may not have been the wrong decision for the short-term but for the long-term I definitely think it is. There are so many questions that have to be answered and will have to be answered in future playoff scenarios when the dust settles. Win or lose in Game 7 the Canucks have some serious goaltending concerns with the future and I wonder what implications this decision will have on their franchise goaltender. It was an interesting choice and no matter who made the decision, I’m hearing more and more it was Gillis, I think they might have made a big mistake for their future. But really, I guess only time will tell.

  11. Dapuddle says:

    The point you miss, is that AV didn’t change goalies, he changed the team in front of the goalie. If you want a different result you must change what you are doing. Failure to do so, and expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity.

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