Early yesterday evening, Mike Gillis confirmed Cory Schneider has come to terms with the Vancouver Canucks. The deal, rumoured to be worth $12 million over 3 years, didn’t shock anyone. With it, the organization has made it clear that they wanted Schneider to stick around.
But the deal is also most likely the final nail in Roberto Luongo’s Vancouver career.
The long-brewing goalie controversy has not divided the two goaltenders, who by all accounts have nothing but respect for each other. As soon as the deal was announced @strombone1 tweeted, “Well deserved, really happy for him. He will be a star in this league.”
Unfortunately, the majority of fans aren’t as rational as their goalies.
Twitter has taught me one thing: there is no fence sitting in this debate. You’re either a Luongo supporter or a Luongo hater. And being a Luongo supporter means not giving Cory one ounce of credit or support.
As soon as the Schneider deal was announced, several Lu supporters were angrily tweeting that “idiot fans” will drive Schneider out of Vancouver “the way they did Luongo”. Let’s be clear here people – Luongo was not driven out of Vancouver by fans. He did not request a trade because fan criticism was too much to handle. In fact, we don’t even know if he even requested a trade at all. What we know is that he agreed to waive his no-trade clause if the Canucks organization asked him to, and that Schneider’s agent and Gillis have publicly stated they could bring both goalies back.
Others like to hide their blind and irrational Luongo love under what they think is a smart veil of concern. Tweets about Cory being unproven ran rampant last night. No, he’s never handled 65 games. He only played in 33 games this past season (a career-high) and started 28 of them, but he stood on his head in every one of them. He stopped almost 94% of the shots (0.937 save%, 2nd in NHL) he faced, including every single penalty shot. He won against the Boston Bruins in Boston. That he was in net in the Stanley Cup playoffs would lead me to believe that he’s probably done enough to earn the team’s confidence. I don’t have the proof but I’m fairly certain Vigneault does not play a drunken game of Rock Paper Scissors with Rollie Melanson to decide these things.
This ‘You’re Either With Lu or Against Him’ mentality has gone on all season long and it makes me want to scream a line from A League of Their Own, “There’s no crying in baseball!” Because guess what? Same thing applies to hockey. Just like all professional sports, it’s a business. Even with the cap increasing, it isn’t a smart business move to spend $9 million in goalie salaries so logic dictates one of Luongo or Schneider needs to be moved. In the end, going with the younger option with a stronger technical game and mental focus seems the smart business decision.
Coming to this conclusion in no way takes away from the fact Luongo gave us his best and won us many games, the most any goaltender has in this franchise’s history. He was brilliant when he was brilliant. Do I think Luongo can win us a Stanley Cup? No. I don’t think any one player can win a Cup for an entire team. But I also think that if we’re going to go the distance any time soon, we’re going to do it with Cory Schneider.
This does not mean I hate Luongo. I once slept on the couch because I was so furious at my husband for saying Luongo didn’t earn his gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, so there’s your proof. I will never boo him when he comes back as the visiting team and I will always be grateful for all the games he won for us.
All Canucks fans should be a little forlorn that it has to end this way. But accepting it doesn’t mean you hated the guy.