Iain MacIntyre brought up a good point during the first intermission of last night’s game against the St. Louis Blues. During the segment, Iain, Jason Botchford and Dan Murphy chatted about Cory Schneider’s extended break.
Iain mentioned that part of the reason for Luongo’s string of 8 consecutive starts was to help get him through a rough patch of play. There’s merit to that argument as you certainly want to make sure Luongo is playing as well as possible going into the playoffs. For better or for worse, the Canucks’ playoff wagon is hitched firmly to Bobby Lou.
But what happened to all that talk about keeping him fresh?
It’s been 3 weeks now since Schneider’s last start. Whether he starts on Wednesday at home against the Anaheim Ducks or on Sunday on the road against the Edmonton Oilers, it will be almost a month since his last start on November 15 against the Buffalo Sabres.
Part of the reason for that has been the Canucks’ schedule. The team has had plenty of little breaks in the last 3 weeks. This week they have a 2-day break before playing the Ducks, and after that, another 2-day break before Naslund’s jersey retirement game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Next week is much the same with a couple of 2-day breaks in between just 3 games. Ditto the week after that, though they do have back-to-back games against Detroit and Columbus but both of those games come just before the Christmas break.
If the plan was to keep Luongo fresh during the season, the schedule has made this possible despite him starting the last bunch of games.
This all changes after Christmas. By the Christmas break, the Canucks would have played 33 games and would have had ten breaks of 2 or more days in between games. After Christmas, the Canucks have 49 games and only eight breaks of 2 or more days in between games (including the All-Star break). Particularly, in the stretch from December 31st to the All-Star break, they play 15 games in 27 days, including three back-to-backs.
For now, fret not for Schneider’s lack of starts. If the schedule dictates, in part, when he plays, he’ll get his opportunities soon enough.