Against the LA Kings, Roberto Luongo returned to the site of the end of his career as the starting goalie for the Vancouver Canucks and showed exactly why he has frustrated fans for years.
After what may have been one of the best keeper performances of the season – and keep in mind, Luongo was brilliant in this hockey game – the Canucks gave up another goal and ended up losing in a shootout. History fascinates us because unless we learn from it we are endlessly doomed to repeat it. Watching Luongo on Monday brought all of that back to me, his flopping and his brilliance were on display. And then the Canucks gave up the goal with less than a minute left and there was no chance they were going to win.
Does the blame rest with Luongo?
Not necessarily: you can see he was screened; you can argue the Canucks played back with the lead; second / third line scoring has been insignificant this year for the Canucks and has been a problem in years past.
Yet the question and frame I pose is this one: how secure is any lead for the Canucks? In the Luongo era how many 3-1, or 2-1 or 1-0 or 3-2 leads have the Canucks given up? You can look at the stats or you can rack your memory and discover that Canucks fans often state things like “Three to one leads are the worst leads to have.”
We, as Canucks fans, have had to put up with a lot of losing seasons. We have had to put up with a lot of losing. Time and again there has been astounding disappointment. Twice we have lost winnable game sevens. Twice we have given away the Stanley Cup.
Could the problem rest with the Canucks system? Has the problem been with the coaching and the Canucks lack of attack when they have the lead? Have we lacked the ability to successfully defend? At times our blueline has appeared shaky, however…
One of the major reasons the Canucks made the swap to Schneider is not due to Luongo’s inability to be a star keeper – it is because of his inability to be our star keeper. Luongo and the Canucks have gone as far as they possibly can together and we both deserve that chance for a fresh start. Since we lost Game 7 two seasons ago things have never been the same and there has always been a wariness between the fans and the tender. Schneider may not be an elite goalie on the same level but he gives the fans the ability to relax a bit more in the final moments of tight games because we will not automatically go to a pessimistic place; sure we are going to give up a lead.
So thanks, Robbie Luo, you deserve a fresh start.
And so do we, the fans.