May 132009

It seems everyone and their dog has an opinion on what to do with Luongo. Most recently the goalie graveyard theory has resurfaced and now everyone and his dog has a package deal in their head in which they want to get rid of Luongo now while he has value (in the order of one year left on his contract) and get something good for him.

Ed Willes provides an interesting take on trading Luongo. But his oversimplification and general bandwagon stench makes it clear that he and Iain MacIntyre get together and sulk in a corner on weekends.

I may have gone off on Luongo in my post after the last game of our season, but I still stand by him. He’s done more in his 3 seasons with the Canucks that other Canucks goalies have taken their entire careers to do. I don’t think he’s done yet. He’s had two playoff appearances as a Canuck in 3 seasons. In the first playoff appearance he can’t be faulted. He single handedly won us the first round, and the team is completely at fault for not supporting his play. This year in his second playoffs he can be held a little more accountable for his actions. I certainly hold him responsible for what happened in game 6.

BUT I don’t think it’s time to throw in the towel with Luongo. How many seasons did we give Cloutier? We gave Cloutier 5. The only thing Cloutier has done that Luongo hasn’t is play more games in a single playoffs.

Luongo has a lot to prove in this next season. Especially after what he said about signing on with a contender after his contract is up. I know by not trading him we run the risk of losing out on his worth through a trade, but we also run the risk of him turning up his game during the playoffs and making a deep run. Everyone knows what a contract year does to players. Look what it did to Khabibulin in Tampa Bay and now again in Chicago?

While the Bandwagon castrated and hung Luongo out to dry, I’d like to say that what I wrote about him does not mean I’m ready to slash his throat. I’m not part of the bandwagon that are patrolling Robson with pitchforks and torches ready to burn and pillage anything Luongo they can find. He will stay in Vancouver, and he will resign next year if not sooner. Gillis likes to make statements of reaffirmation in his players. It wouldnt surprise me if even in the offseason Luongo signed a contract extension.

May 132009
May 122009

I’ve defended Luongo all season. There are people that are saying that I’m completely out of line for what you’re about to read, there are people saying that were it not for Luongo, we would never have gotten where we were. There are people that say it was the defences fault and that he is not to blame.

When the regular season is done, it’s gone. What happens in the regular season means nothing. It’s over. Don’t believe me? Look at the San Jose Sharks. Slam dunk case. ln an elimination game, all stats go out the window. Nothing matters but the final score. It doesnt matter how Luongo played to get to where we were, all that mattered was how he played in Game 6.

I’ve seen the tears before. We saw the tears from him when he cost us the elimination Game 6 against the Ducks, we saw the tears when we missed the post season and he blamed himself last year, and again we see the tears this year when he blames himself for letting in 7 goals. Count it – 7 goals. What gives me the right to come down on him? The fact that he spited Canucks fans by strongly implying he wouldn’t resign with us when his contract was up because we weren’t a contender.

“I think we have a team with a chance to win the Cup. At the end of the day, the only thing that’s going to enter my mind for the [contract] decision is winning. That’s why I play. I’ve played 10 years in this league and haven’t had much success. I think I’m deserving of having a chance to win the Cup, and hopefully that comes with Vancouver.”

The fact that when the game that mattered most came around, he was no where to be seen. When everything is on the line, you need your best players to be your best players. There’s no doubt that everyone came to play last night, except Luongo. He was fantastic in the first 5, maybe 10 minutes. After that it’s like Cloutier was back in net. The Canucks upped their shot totals, they had their powerplay click, their penalty kill was alright, and on a night where they managed to fix most of the problems they’d been having all series, the one part of their game which was usually their cornerstone, collapsed.

At the end of the day I’m not in Luongo’s head. I don’t know what was going on, and why he came up with the performance he did. He was inconsistent all series, and certainly didn’t live up to the billing he earned in the first round and the second half of the regular season. The man who’s supposed to be our captain, the man who’s supposed to be our leader and come through in the clutch picked a horrible time to have his worst game of the entire 82 game regular season and their 10 game post season. Dont give me the “He’s human, he makes mistakes and has bad games too excuse.” Nobody makes those mistakes with their backs against the wall.

May 122009
May 112009
May 082009
May 062009

Game 3 boasted a Canucks team that we hadn’t seen since the St. Louis series. They were defensively responsible while playing offensive hockey. But just because it was better than games 1 and 2, isn’t reason to go crazy just yet.

Public enemy number one right now is Dustin Byfuglien and that’s no secret. He’s their secret weapon at the moment and about the only part of that team’s game that’s clicking (other than game 2 the ‘Hawks have looked awkward and out of place). He’s placing himself in front of Luongo and having his way in the crease. The Canucks absolutely cannot allow that. On replays of the first and only Chicago goal Byfuglien was given liberties. Edler stood there like he was afraid of Byfuglien, the screen ensued, and the rest is history.

Windy City Canuck commented on an earlier post saying, “I was at the game last night and I don’t know if this was ever caught on TV but every single timeout, Byfuglien would jump off the bench and skate up to Luongo as Luongo was going to the Canuck bench and start yelling at him. It was comical.”

The Blackhawks know, as do all other teams, that Luongo is the key to the Canucks. That’s why the Blues tried snow showering him all series, heck even the Blackhawks are trying that. The bad news is that Byfuglien is finally getting to Luongo. After several whistles Luongo was in B-Fug’s face showing for the first time all playoffs that people can get through to him. Edler, Mitchell, whoever’s on crease patrol, has to assert their presence. We all saw Bieksa hulk slash Backes stick out of his hands towards the end of one game when Backes was near the crease. Where’d that go? What are they afraid of Byfuglien?

The Canucks defence have to do everything they can to prevent the Blackhawks from harshing Luongo’s mellow. When Luongo is on his game we’ve seen the miracles he can perform. The Blackhawks have been taking liberties with the Canucks, it’s time to return the favour. Byfuglien should not have an all access pass to the crease, and incase Pyatt, Sundin, Bieksa, or any of the other big boys that park themselves in front of the net forgot, we can mess with Khabibulin too. Time to fight fire with fire.

Blog Song: Public Enemy vs Benni Benassi – Bring the Noise –

May 052009
May 042009
May 022009

As the bandwagon spills over the edges there are several things which were a bit worrisome in game 2, but there was one or two things to take away from the game.

Luongo can now say he’s had his bad game. Get that out of the way, I’m positive he’ll come back stronger and make a statement on the road at the United Center in Chicago. What worries me the most is that with the loss of Salo the defence collapsed quickly. That being said, we’ve seen the Canucks play well during the long stretch he missed during the regular season, and with the veteran play of Mitchell they have the depth to pull together and move on until he returns.

Salo, the Canucks 2nd leading scorer in this year’s playoffs proved how important he is to the power play’s success again tonight and there’s no doubt Khabibulin is hoping he doesn’t have to face that shot in game 3. Lets be realistic though. The Canucks (as much as we’d like and hoped for) were not going to go 16-0 through the playoffs. The Blackhawks weren’t going to take the series lying down, and the Canucks had to lose at some point. I’m glad they lost when they did. There’s never a good time to lose, but losing the first game would have put them in a hole deep. The fact that they’ve split the first two puts them at square one with this now becoming a best of five.

Certain things were inevitable in this series. The Canucks were going to lose at least once. Khabibulin was going to win and finally break his 11 year losing streak versus the Canucks. The Canucks were going to falter.

Now that the reality check has set in, it’s on, it’s a new series. The fact they won game one despite blowing a 3 goal lead didn’t do the trick. They looked flat and the loss of Salo (who is day-to-day with a lower body injury) seemed to hurt. This year though, we’re not as bad off as we would otherwise be. Edler is stepping up nicely, Ossi Vaananen has proved he can be a consistently solid defensive replacement, and this is exactly what Gillis brought him in for.

While it looks like there’s not a lot to take out of this, the fact that we lost is like getting a monkey off our back. It lowers the bar of expectation which was getting a little high, and taking the Canucks a notch down which is never a bad thing. They weren’t getting cocky and overzealous, but they needed to stay down to earth and keep things in check. If nothing, that’s one of the biggest things to take out of this game. While a loss is never something you want, it can be a blessing in disguise. The Canucks don’t want to be Cinderella this year and losing that first game is one of the steps to making sure that doesn’t happen.

The ship’s not sinking, it’s just leaving port. The series is starting fresh, and we should have some great hockey ahead.

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