May 182011
 

I think Jason Botchford (Vancouver Province) is bang on when he points out:

Luongo is the goalie who can’t seem to win, even when, well, he’s winning. His goals-against average this postseason is 2.23 and his save percentage is .918. These are remarkable numbers if you consider he got shelled in two of his 13 starts.

Luongo is 9-5 this postseason, and just three wins away from getting to the Stanley Cup final. But there exists an unhealthy amount of negativity and criticism which follows him.

Sometimes I wonder about fans’ – Canucks fans or hockey fans – expectations of Luo.

He owns franchise records for wins and lowest GAA in a season. He’s been with the team for five seasons and he’s backstopped them to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs three times, and of course, to at least the Western Conference Finals this season.

About the criticism that he can’t win the big games?

His GAA and save percentage are virtually identical in the regular season and playoffs. He’s only 8 playoff wins back of Kirk McLean and he’s played in 20 less games than Captain Kirk; his career playoff save percentage is also better than McLean’s.

He’s won at the World Championships, the World Cup, and of course, the Olympics. And while some of his critics point out that any goalie could have won playing behind Team Canada’s players at the 2010 Olympics, those same critics conveniently ignore that same version of Team Canada lost earlier to the US with Martin Brodeur in net. Those same critics love to point out the Zach Parise goal Luongo let in to tie the game late in the third period while conveniently forgetting Luo’s stop on Joe Pavelski right before Sidney Crosby’s golden goal.

Sure he hasn’t a Stanley Cup, but neither had 22 of the other 24 goalies who have appeared so far in these playoffs. And you don’t hear them criticized as much as Luongo has.

In fact, like in the Olympics, there are some assertions that the Canucks have somehow made it to the Final Four, not because of Luongo, but in spite of him.

“He never gets really a fair shake in this city and this league,” Cory Schneider said Monday. “If we win it’s not because of him and if we lose it’s his fault, it seems like. It’s kind of a lose-lose proposition for him. But he’s ignored all the criticism, all the pressure and all the questions.

“I don’t know what more people want from him.”

Certainly he hasn’t been perfect. But he’s been good when it matters the most, and perhaps more importantly, he’s been able to bounce back even when he’d been bad.

When you look at the numbers, you’ll see the Canucks have the 3rd lowest GF per game (2.36) out of the 16 playoff teams. You’ll also see the Canucks have the 4th best GA per game (2.50). For those counting at home, you’ll figure out the Canucks have won the most number of playoff games in 17 years despite not being able to put the puck in the net.

Of course the team’s deep defense and the forwards’ commitment to play hard at both ends of the ice deserve credit for this, but you can’t ignore Luongo in this equation.

Or you could, until he wins the Stanley Cup, which it seems what it would take for him to get some respect in this city. And even then, it may not be a guarantee he’ll get it.

  • peanutflower

    Well said.  Luongo needs some lovin from the fans and the media.  History has made Captain Kirk bigger and better than he was.  If any goalie could have won with “the team in front of him” it would have been that 1994 run.  The numbers don’t lie, Luongo is the best goalie the Canucks have ever had.  Good for Schneider to back him up, literally and figuratively.  Come on, Canucks fans!  Give Bobby Lu his due! 

  • peanutflower

    Well said.  Luongo needs some lovin from the fans and the media.  History has made Captain Kirk bigger and better than he was.  If any goalie could have won with “the team in front of him” it would have been that 1994 run.  The numbers don’t lie, Luongo is the best goalie the Canucks have ever had.  Good for Schneider to back him up, literally and figuratively.  Come on, Canucks fans!  Give Bobby Lu his due! 

  • alviator

    Two words: Goalie Graveyard. 

  • http://stantonsspace.blogspot.com/ John

    He is damn good but the media has tagged him as an underachiever, and every time someone scores against him they wonder if he’s about to have a mental meltdown. When the media chooses how to portray someone, there is no changing their collective mind, no matter how off base they are. It’s not fair, but it’s the way it is.

  • Dirtyjoel

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Anyone tooting the Luongo horn unconditionally and bashing the realists is delusional and looks like a Leafs fans. Luongo isn’t a bad goalie but between his salary and his average play he is no way the best player on our team.
    In the 2011 regular season we were the best team in the league. Most goals for, least against blah blah blah. Yes, we are in the western conference finals now but considering the year we’ve had with the best team ever assembled anything short of Lord Stanleys cup is a failure. Who are we? The San Jose Sharks?Comparing Luongo to McLean? In 1994 the Canucks seeded 7th in the playoffs finishing 27 points behind league leading and future Stanley Cup champions New York Rangers. You want to know the stats? In regular season McLean had a GGA of 2.99 with a .891 sv% which is pretty average for a goalie playing on a team squeaking into the playoffs. But guess what? In the playoffs, during that historic 1994 Stanley Cup run, McLean stole it. The numbers might be shocking considering he was just a blue collar goalie who finished one win away from hoisting the Cup.McLean in 1994 playoffs – 4 SO, 2.29 GGA and .928SV%Luongo so far in 2011 – 2 SO, 2.28GGA and .917SV%To me those stats look pretty similar until you compare the caliber of player each one of these men are and the team in front of them. We (2011) have one of the best defences you could ask for and we have the best TEAM in the playoffs.At the end of the day Luongo gets all the criticism because he is in a position to get it. No one asks for a perfect outting every single game but this is the NHL. The players are already at the top of their game. It can be said Lou IS the top but it is EXPECTED he makes saves. That’s his job! It’s the giving up the bad goals that is worrisome. We were one goal away from not even being in this tournament and Nashville scored the most ridiculous goals game after game. Not from good plays but from exploiting what they knew. Nashville at times seemed to score more goals from behind the net than in front.Love the Canucks and love Luongo but when the game is close and you feel that tightening of your anal sphincter remember that you have reasonable doubt Lou will let in a joke of a goal because he has. And more than once.I cheer for the Canucks and I cheer for Bobby Lou but I will get mad, yell and point out the ridiculous play when it’s warranted. Whether it’s the forwards, defence or god forbid Roberto Luongo. Take off the blindfold and give your head a shake. 

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