He’s one of the best goaltenders in hockey, the captain of their team and depending on the results of an MRI on Monday; Roberto Luongo may be on a rather extended vacation.
Five minutes into the first period, the Canuck captain suffered what appears to have been a serious groin injury on Saturday afternoon, after a shot he was about to handle unexpectedly changed direction requiring him to shift his body and then fall to the ice in obvious pain.
With Luongo, down and out, Curtis Sanford entered the game and picked up where he left off a few nights before, providing another solid performance in the Canuck net when it was needed the most.
With the Canucks picking up their play to render assistance to the suddenly popular Sanford, they held on to a 3- 1 victory and kept the high flying Penguins to but 19 shots on goal for the day.
While they celebrated a rather impressive road streak, reality was quick to cloud their thoughts again with the prospect of losing Luongo for a lengthy period of time. Groin injuries are particularly troublesome for goaltenders, providing for some a long recovery period.
Its unknown as to the severity of the Luongo injury yet, that will be determined in the days to come, but time and the schedule won’t stop for the Canucks just because he’s not around.
For now it’s the Sanford show, providing the backup some lengthy on ice time in the centre of the spotlight. His fellow team mates were saying all the right things about him on Sunday, expressing complete confidence in his skills and explaining they were more than ready to pick up their game to keep the positive vibes moving along.
The first test of the Luongo intermission will be Monday night and a visit from the Detroit Red Wings, a bit of schedule timing that doesn’t exactly ease Sanford into his new starting role.
Much of the start of the Canuck season so far has been a pleasant surprise for Canuck fans, the team off to a good start, the new names meshing well with those that survived the recent changes.
Now the folks at GM Place and watching along Sportsnet Pacific and TSN will see if the Canucks can handle adversity when it comes calling.
The knock on that door came on Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh; the length of the visit is to be determined later this week.
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks face mixed emotions
Vancouver Province-- Canucks beat Pens 3-1 but lose Luongo
National Post-- Canucks dump Pens, but lose Luongo
CBC Sports-- Canucks beat Pens, lose Luongo to injury