Italian Stallion

Los Angeles Kings' Halpern runs into Canucks goalie Luongo during their NHL Western Conference quarter-final hockey game in Vancouver

Alright, so, the Canucks lost the last game. Everyone saw it, we all know the Canucks were the better team, so no need to get to worried. Plus if the lineup gets the expected Alberts-ectomy, that should take away the powerplays that give the Kings their only chance at scoring. More important than any lineup change has been the change in Roberto Luongo.

For a while it was a verboten topic. Luongo had lost his confidence. People didn’t want to admit it, but the fans, even his most ardent, die-hard supporters, had lost a little faith. With voices cracking, we’d say to ourselves "When it matters, he’ll be there" or "just wait for the playoffs, he’ll turn it around."  I was skeptical, dubious and any other adjective that shows doubt, but…….

Luongo has his confidence back. He looks in control. Hockey’s much more of a feel game than most, and Luongo’s feeling it. He’s positionally sound, and fully mentally engaged.  To play on his Italian heritage, he’s back to being a bad ass 1970’s Robert Deniro rather than playing like befuddled sitcomer Ray Romano. My Mom loves Ray Romano, and hates Deniro, but there are reasons she’s never been able to land a job with an NHL team. In the first two playoff games he’s carried himself like a prowling, brooding, powerful Michael Corleone. Post-Olympic Fredo looks to be dead and gone. We’ve traded in the hollow shell of the real life Sylvester Stallone and had him replaced with a hockey playing Rocky Balboa.

Just in the nick of time.