The Biggest Difference Between Luongo and Schneider

Thomas Drance
February 23 2012 02:28PM

When it comes to technique, Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider are extremely similar goaltenders. They're both large, athletic goalies who play a reasonably aggressive, technically sound butterfly style. They both like to challenge shooters and cut off the angle, and both have an elite catching mitt, making both of them tough to beat glove side. Schneider is somewhat quicker post-to-post than the older Luongo, and Luongo is somewhat more conservative in his movements - but stylistically, they bring a similar approach to the net.

In terms of their differences, there are the obvious ones. Luongo is from Montreal, Schneider from Marblehead. One came through the QMJHL, and played in the memorial cup - while Schneider is the product of College Hockey, and played in the Frozen Four with Boston College. Schneider is a ginger with an Eisenhower era haircut, while Luongo sports long, flowing Romance novel locks, that seem to be perpetually covered in grease. Luongo is one of the highest paid goaltenders in the NHL, Schneider makes less than a million per year on his second pro-contract. 

But the thing that really stands out between the two is their proficiency with words.

Click past the jump to read on!

On the one hand, Schneider is incredibly well-spoken, a go-to guy for reporters in need of a quote. He can wax eloquently about politics, he'll defend his teammates convincingly, and he can even discuss the intricacies of the salary-cap and the business side of professional hockey. In most of the interviews Schneider gives - he strikes one as intelligent and self-aware in the extreme.

Today NHL.com's Brian Hedger asked Schneider about a possible postseason matchup - for a fourth straight year - between the Canucks and the Blackhawks. Here's what Schneider had to say:

I know some people lost years off their lives last year, so it's great drama. It's great hockey. As much as we don't like each other, we have a ton of respect for one another.

That's a perfect answer. It captures what makes the rivalry between the two clubs awesome, and yet, doesn't give the Blackhawks anything even remotely resembling "bulletin board material."

On being a starter eventually elsewhere, Schneider told Hedger:

[I don't really think about it] It's out of your control. That wouldn't be fair to this team. [But] I'd like to think that I've earned an opportunity. Right now, if Lu's playing well, he's going to be the guy. He's proven he can win in the playoffs and got us that far last year.

Those are not easy questions to answer, but Schneider's responses were pitch perfect, and still insightful. While it's clear that Schneider's commitment to his current team comes first, he also conveys the hunger and competitiveness that has got him this far as a pro-goaltender.

On the other hand, you've got Luongo who - to continue with the extremity metaphors - perpetually has his foot in his mouth. Here's what he told Province reporters about looking forward to today's Detroit Red Wings game

We were hoping they'd still be undefeated by the time we got there, so it's going to be fun. I was talking to the guys two or three weeks ago, hoping Detroit would hold on till we got there. That's what's fun about playing the game, challenges like this. As a group, we're excited about it and we're going to step up to the plate.

Now in fairness to Luongo, there's nothing wrong with those comments. Luongo, despite his reputation, is a gamer who relishes playing in tough games on the road. Nothing wrong with that on a surface level...

Except, somehow, his statement got misinterpreted as him guaranteeing a win tonight and today, he was asked to clarify. Seriously. So Luongo was asked why he wanted the Red Wings streak to be alive when the Canucks rolled into town, and responded with:

Just because it’s fun, It’s a great challenge for our team. We’re excited about it and I think guys want to put out a great effort tonight to try and break the streak. I didn’t say we were going to beat them, I said it was a challenge for us to come here and try to beat them. I mean, I think guys are excited about that. I never said we were going to come in here and win. I just said we were excited about the opportunity and that it’s a great challenge for our team to try and do something special.

Oy vey. You know what Luongo needs? He needs to get an adult bike with hand-breaks so he can stop back-pedaling.

To some extent this is a reputation moment - Luongo didn't even come close to "guaranteeing" a Canucks win tonight, and it got spun that way partly because of who Luongo is. That said, while Canucks fans were also hoping to see their team get a shot at breaking the Red Wings streak, for Luongo to express that sentiment does come off as cocky. 

And this is the major difference between Luongo and Schneider - Schneider uses words in a thoughtful and inscrutable way, while Luongo puts, maybe, a bit too much emotion and personality into his.

Luongo is an extremely funny guy, with a great personality that shows through a bit too much at times. While I'm convinced he'll one day make a peerless sports broadcaster, as an active player, his words too often get him into trouble. Schneider on the other hand seems like a funny guy too, but he's able to convey his thoughts and opinions in an impressive, balanced fashion and never rubs anyone the wrong way. Luongo may one day be a great hockey broadcaster, but Schneider is the guy with the chops to end up in an NHL front-office when his playing days are done.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Cam Charron
February 23 2012, 03:46PM
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Luongo's first language isn't English, unfortunately, and reporters just love it when he turns a phrase in a way he didn't intend.

This leads to dickbag reporters like Joe Haggerty who bring tire pumps to Stanley Cup games in the press box.

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#2 John Andress
February 23 2012, 05:11PM
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I am an admired of the work of Thomas Drance (in general) but I had to chuckle as the reaction to his post about Schneider's and Luongo's differing styles of answering media questions started to come in. I can imagine Luongo's big grin and empathetic pat on the back as he says 'See? Now you know how I feel." I imagine that you thought that it was a simple, straight forward and non-controversial proposition until the reactions began. Did you want to add anything about pumping tires, Mr. Drance?

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#3 dan lortimer
February 23 2012, 03:10PM
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Now your picking on a goalie's words - really??

The media narrative in Vancouver is inaccurate - Luongo can't play in the playoffs etc etc.

The fact is Luongo is a potential hall of fame goalie, the best of his generation. His quality starts % is one of the highest as is his even strength save %

Oh yea, his goal support has been pathetic Vancouver has 2.3 gf in 53 playoff games!

By comparison Fleury has had 2.77 GF with Pittsburgh in playoffs. Also he had 14 Qstarts last year more than Fleury in 09,Niemi 10.(both cup winners)

His bad games have all been against elite offences(Chicago 09,10,11) Boston 11.

He has also done this without a top defenceman

(see Stevens/Neidermeyer -Brodeur, Pronger-Anaheim, Chara -Thomas, etc etc).

His consistency is remarkable (see Miller 11)

The only fair way to evaluate is to compare with his peers over a complete body of work.

He is clearly been the best goalie of his generation.

One would hope we can focuse on what's important - on what wins hockey games.

So Schneider speaks well - so did Kevin Weeks (aka goalie of the future) Schneider is unproven/ his sample set is far too small to say what he will be (see Reimer, Barbara, and Mason).

Can he play 25 in a row,65 a season with travel with scrutiny of number 1 ?? odds are he can't.

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#5 danceraldi
February 23 2012, 04:32PM
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@Cam Charron

Great point Cam! Italian language and culture is rooted in Hyperbole,Drama, exaggeration (i.e. Opera) Second -language speakers often have similar issues.

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#6 danceraldi
February 23 2012, 04:37PM
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@Thomas Drance

You are taking a run at Luongo that is irrelevant.Patrick Roy was allegedly a 'jerk' and never took responsibility for bad goals, same as Belfour. What is the point of your post? How Luongo speaks to media is irrelevant? and in my opinion a cheap shot- especially given Cam's point.

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#9 Dan
February 23 2012, 07:23PM
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@Thomas Drance

Your characterization of Luongo's comments as unwise is just your 'take' and not a "reality" as you state. It is your preference - you prefer Schiender's style to Luongos. I prefer Luongo.All you have revealed is your own personal bias. .

This is again another example of the media 'reading into Luongo's comments'.

For the most part sports media dislike 'cocky' talented star players because they have failed at sports themselves in their life.

Luongo singlehandedly turned the attitude around in Vancouver. He was the first to state we are going to try and win the cup and demonstrated the amazing work ethic to achieve it(all the time Nonis and AV were meekly saying our goal is to simply make the playoffs maybe win divison).

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#10 V
February 23 2012, 11:05PM
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@Dan

Do you even understand what he's trying to express here? He's not trying to pick on Luongo at all, and your personal bias is showing because it's preventing you from even understanding his statements. You should stop being so defensive.

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#11 Lortimer
February 24 2012, 10:52AM
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@V

V

Yes I have a bias.(duh?) If you 'understood' my post you would see that at least I can state it and understand it as such.

I am simply "challenging" The MMM narrative about Luongo ( which the author reinforces) and this article, where its clear that the author is stating his preferences as fact.

(A common error)

The article is loaded with bias and judgments that are not supported.

Your reaction (and the authors) to a simple challenge just shows how deep rooted these collective views are.

I 'prefer' players/commentators who speak with emotion and confidence and aren't controlled and measured.

The truth is there are pros and cons to both styles.

A better and more intelligent article would be to examine the advantages to differing styles and citing past examples.

(eg. Don Cherry/Brett Hull/ John Torterella, eg2. Steve Y)

The real issue is why isn't the MMM (and this author in particular) not able to widen their narrow viewpoints to include diverse personalities.

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#12 mike
February 24 2012, 11:53AM
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that lou can never hold on to the stick when he is in butterfly

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