The Good and the Bad of this past week.
It’s Friday. So we close out the "Week That Was" with our latest volume of… "Cheers and Jeers!"
This week, it’s a special edition of Cheers and Jeers, dedicated to the greatest, tire-pumping goalie the Vancouver Canucks have ever had.
JEERS to anyone who suggests or thinks that the fans are the ones who pushed Roberto Luongo out of town. As the Vancouver Canucks look to the future of the club, the days appear to be numbered on Luongo’s time with the Canucks. He has almost assuredly played his last game in Blue, Green and White and rumours abound that he has given Gillis and co a trade list (more on that later). That said, there is a strong contingent of people that insist that it is the fans’ fault for driving Luongo to want to leave. NO. NONONO. here’s why Luongo is willing to leaving Vancouver – Cory Schneider’s amazing play. The reason why Luongo is willing to leave is because Cory Schneider emerged as an elite-level goaltender, taking the reins of the net away from Luongo. Luongo is not a hyper-sensitive shrinking violet, begging to leave the team because his "merciless" fans are driving him out of town. No, it is Cory Schneider’s stellar play this year (and his age) that have Luongo looking for a team.
CHEERS to the best goalie that the Vancouver Canucks have ever had. With a minimum of 75 GP, Roberto Luongo is the Canucks’ franchise leader in Wins (224), Save Percentage (.920), Goals-Against Average (2.35), Shutouts (33). Granted, the Canucks don’t exactly have a storied history. Sorry, let me correct that. The Canucks goaltending has historically been absolutely hideous. They’ve had only 10 goalies who’ve played more than 100 games, and only 4 goalies that have played over 200 games. Also, if you look at the Mendoza line for goalie save percentage at somewhere around .910, the Canucks have had, in their history, only 5 goalies with a save percentage better than .910 – and only two of those goalies played more than 25 games (hint… those two goalies are still under contract with the Vancouver Canucks). In fact, Cam Charron has a great post today that gives you the full breakdown on the history of Vancouver Canucks goaltending. So, the bar for Luongo to be the best goalie in Canucks history was sadly low. But Luongo, has leapt over that with both feet without breaking a sweat. Now… if you ignore the 75 GP minimum and look at all Canucks goalies that played more than a single period … the best Save Percentage (.928) and Goals-Against Average (2.24) in Canucks goaltending history both belong to one Cory Schneider.
JEERS to the rumours of "The List". Canucks GM strongly denied the fact that he and his management team has received a list of teams to which Luongo would accept a trade. In fact, Gillis said yesterday on TEAM 1040 that he and Luongo haven’t even talked yet, let alone have they discussed a possible trade. It’s therefore a bit strange that such a list would exist and would also be leaked to two such credible sources. What makes it even more strange is the set of teams mentioned so far. The teams on that rumoured list include the Maple Leafs, the Lightning and the CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS, this according to TSN’s Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun. THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS. Would Roberto Luongo really accept a trade to a team and a market that have both ridiculed Luongo, sometimes mercilessly? Yeah, he probably would, because if you put a top-tier goalie on that time right now, they would easily light up the Western Conference. Luongo wants to win and be an undisputed starting goalie. Chicago would certainly fit that bill. But MAN… that’s a bitter pill to swallow if that’s true.
CHEERS to 11 straight seasons of .913 or better. Not only is he the best goalie in Canucks franchise history, Roberto Luongo has also proven that he has been the league’s most consistent top-tier goalie over the last decade and shows no signs of slowing down. In his worst year as a pro, Luongo posted a 2.97 GAA and a .914 Sv% with 4 SO’s, despite playing 75 games. That was his WORST year, which happened to be his last season in Florida… 7 seasons ago. He has put that year well behind him, and shown that he is an elite goaltender in the NHL year after year.
JEERS to potentially cheering for the Maple Leafs or Blackhawks?! WHAT?! Well, the fact is that I will root for Luongo, no matter where he goes. As a result, I’m gonna pull for whatever team acquires him, even if that is the Blackhawks (gross!) or the Leafs. The odds of the Canucks trading with the Blackhawks in a blockbuster-type deal are pretty damn low, so thankfully I don’t really see that happening, despite the Hawks need to drastically improve their goaltending. But the possibility of a deal with the Maple Leafs is a pretty high, given the Leafs need for a great goalie and the strong ties Luongo has to Francois Allaire. It’s gonna be tough for a LOT of Luongo fans to cheer on their boy while he wears the Blue and White. REAL tough. But I’ll let you in on a little secret – I don’t actually dislike the Leafs. How can you dislike those lovable little losers? It’s like hating Ziggy.
CHEERS to @strombone1 and the wonderfully surreal relationship he has with @NotBobbyLu. In case you didn’t know, @strombone1 is strongly rumoured to be the Twitter account of Roberto Luongo. A quick stroll through strombone’s timeline enlightens you to how funny, self-deprecating and witty Luongo is (again, assuming it is him). What makes it even funnier is that he’s picked his pseudo alter-ego NotBobbyLu as a sort of Twitter confidant. He sends public messages to NBL (as he wants to call him now) answering daft questions and offering little pep talks, as though he’s talking to himself out loud. Now, there is still a little doubt that it is in fact Luongo behind strombone1. However, if it is Luongo, then it is the funniest, wittiest, most well-run athlete account you will find anywhere on Twitter.