Saturday, April 21, 2012

A changing (of the Guardian de but) in Vancouver?

With three days in between games (hope everyone enjoyed the Coldplay concert) the Vancouver media  (joined in by the National media this time around) has once again focused on their favourite topic of late, the fate of Roberto Luongo.

To read their interpretations and listen in to the always charged sports talk shows, the music on the Canucks dressing room iPod should be that Francis Albert standard, My Way.

And now the end is near 
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this I did it my way 

Of course, the Canucks aren't really inclined to get involved in all of this preamble to the post season, rather they would like everyone to know they still have some thoughts on extending their series with the Kings, one game at time.

The introduction of yet another round of goaltender controversy isn't on their agenda, and particularly not with Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, both of whom seem to understand the concept of team first, egos second.

The decision to switch Luongo for Schneider in LA by had coach Alain Vigneault and his coaching staff, described as gut wrenching by assistant coach Rick Bowness, has set the Luongo watch into red alert, with amateur capologists doing their own math to find a way for the Canucks to shift some of the lengthy and richly remunerating contract.

The Canucks made their move seemingly more as a shake up of the rest of the roster than any particular concern over Luongo, in fact in the two games in Vancouver, even the worst critic of Bobby Lou would have to admit that it was only through his goal tending that the games were remotely close, such was the lack of effort from the rest of his team mates and the litany of stupid penalties in those two early games which put the Canucks in their hole. Contests which clearly have emboldened the Kings in the series.

Still, when you shift your declared number one out of the rotation and onto the bench, people are going to talk, wonder and dig up any number of bizarre scenarios, add on the three day gap and well goal tending, which hasn't been the Canucks problem of late is the number one topic, go figure.

It's taken the pressure off the lack of offence and the glaring defensive errors thus far and maybe that's the design of Alain Vigneault, but in a market where the media can at times be like sharks at a feeding frenzy, the focus on Luongo, his playing status,  his contract and his future seems to be the only talking point these last few days.

We're not sure if indeed this will be Roberto Luongo's last season in a Canucks uniform (though if the drums that are beating are any indication it very well may be) whether on the ice or on the bench, but no one can really pin the blame on this years playoff slide on him, he held up his end of the bargain in those first two game, his team mates not so much so.

He has had moments through the year where we saw shades of some of the trouble of last year, but then he would shake them off and offer up some solid play, never more so than in the first two games of this series.

Cory Schneider is obviously a very good goaltender, surely destined not to be anyone's back up, the Canucks will make that decision in the off season, for now it's seemingly up to Schneider to make sure that the decision is deferred until the end of June.

For his part, Schneider has been nothing but class throughout the year, never the bad team mate, willing to bide his time, perhaps knowing that he is destined for much more in the NHL, whether as the Canucks goaltender of the future (and the now it seems) or elsewhere.

As for Luongo, if indeed he is destined to move on, we're not sure that as Francis Albert said, this is the final curtain, it may be but intermission, he may never again get as close to a Stanley Cup as he did last year, but he no doubt still has some playing time in him yet.

Vancouver's fans and the media collective may want to throw him under the bus, but the Canucks problems this playoff year didn't start in the nets, regardless of which goaltender was between the pipes.

Sun Newspapers-- Schneider gamble pays off

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