Strombummer Avoided?: Roberto Luongo Injury Update


It was during Saturday night’s evisceration at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings that more than just a regular season game was lost by the Vancouver Canucks. Early in the 3rd period, Dustin Brown acrobatically spun into Roberto Luongo following his rebound of a Justin Williams shot, acquainting his right skate with the goaltender’s head. Luongo stayed down for a while, and got looked at by the team’s trainers, but was eventually deemed OK to stay in the game.

While he went on to surrender a goal later on in a losing effort, there was nothing in his movement or play that struck me as glaringly awkward. I personally didn’t really think twice of the incident after the fact – other than about how big of a scumbag Brown is, of course – but then news broke on Sunday that he was unable to dress as Eddie Lack’s backup against the Ducks (enter, Rob Laurie). There were rumblings that it was a high-ankle sprain which was keeping him out, and Mike Gillis did nothing to throw water on the fire.

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It sounds as if a full-blown crisis may’ve been averted, however. While we’ve yet to hear any definitive news from the team regarding the extent of the injury, James Duthie is reporting some good news for Luongo, the Canucks, and Team Canada. I assume that Duthie wouldn’t be tweeting this without having spoken to someone in the know, so it appears that you can all finally exhale..


Good news. It’s looking like this was probably more of a scare than anything else.. but boy what a scare it was, for multiple parties.

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For Luongo personally, it would’ve been a major bummer given how well he had been playing sandwiching the minor groin strain he had just come back from. He had saved 204 of 216 shots he had faced in December prior to the flare-up v. Winnipeg, good for a .944 save %. He also showed no ill effects in his return v. LA, stopping 46/48 shots during an absolute barrage by the Kings. Even more impressive than the actual numbers themselves was how calm and sound he looked in net.  Given everything that has transpired I think it would’ve been awfully cruel for him to be sidelined for an extended period of time.

For the Canucks, it would’ve meant potentially having to trade for a goaltender, the thought of which has quite an ironic flavour to it. Eddie Lack has done everyone possible thus far in his young career to instill confidence that he’s capable at the NHL level, but having to carry the load that comes with being "the guy" for weeks is a completely different animal. Especially considering the competition he’s set to face (the Penguins, Blues, Yotes, and the California buzzsaw.. again).

Combine that with the fact that their position in the Western Conference playoff standings is anything but secure, and I think it would’ve been a sketchy proposition to roll with 2 guys that have 11 career starts between them at this level (the second of which is Joacim Eriksson, who was called up yet again). A potential option would’ve been to call the Carolina Hurricanes, who are rolling with 3 goalies at the moment, but the price tag were they to go down that road would probably be too rich for Mike Gillis’ blood. The pickings are pretty slim in the world of reliable backups currently available (at least ones that are any good).

Then there’s the cloud of the Olympic games hanging over this thing, with Team Canada set to announce their roster tomorrow morning. The scary truth is that after Luongo, their options in net get real ugly in a hurry. If you’d feel comfortable with the potential of Mike Smith flopping around all over the place like a fish out of water with the Gold medal on the line, you’re kidding yourself. Or you’re Sean Burke and you’re paid to brainwash yourself.

Lastly, there this:

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What a guy. It truly is kind of remarkable how many times one person can find themselves involved in some sort of "accidental" interaction, which just so happens to end horribly for the other party. More remarkable though is that someone could defend him. I mean, we’re building up a large enough sample size at this point to know what’s really happening here. I know Jaden Schwartz is well aware of what Dustin Brown’s intentions are. As is Tomas Hertl. I think Tom Sestito is as well..

The Canucks and Kings play again on a week from today in case you were wondering.

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      • Dimitri Filipovic

        If you’d feel comfortable with the potential of Roberto Luongo flopping around all over the place like a fish out of water with the Gold medal on the line, you’re kidding yourself.

    • JCDavies

      Hard to take seriously an article that includes Holtby in a serious conversation about Sochi. Or trotting out the tired old “meltdown in the SCF” narrative (as opposed to the skaters providing precious little offense and dealing with serious injuries but whatever, we’ll go with the old ones about the invincible Thomas etc).

      Price, Luongo and Harding sounds right. I wouldn’t trust Reimer or Bernier, simply because it’s hard to really assess what being a good goalie on a terrible team means.

  • JCDavies

    Price is the obvious next guy down the totem pole, then it goes something like “plug in any half decent goalie Canada has” because that’s all they have left after Price. The days of Roy and Brodeur are long gone.

    I still think this team has nowhere to go but down though, which is why I’m in favour of blowing it up now. The Sedins will decline. Kesler has peaked. Luongo is getting older. Our defense, as vaunted as its been for its depth, has been wildly inconsistent…

    I’m ready to enter NM00’s camp: the window has closed.

    • andyg

      There is slim chance of this team going any distance in the play offs with the current group but blowing it up will put us 10 years away from seeing a cup contender again. A few changes can make a all the difference. The loss of Malholtra and injury’s to Kess took us from a cup contender in 11 to making an early exit the next 2 years. One change this year a ufa next and some youth stepping it up and things could look completely different.

      A player like Manny would have been handy to have in the last 2 games.

        • JCDavies

          “Most of the thoughtful and intelligent discussion on this site has been replaced by “window” talk. *sigh*”

          It’s quite amusing that you placate the “don’t be negative!” folk, yet have not taken any issue with the groupthink homerism on here.

          You are welcome to research how much ink has been spilled on here about window closing (and similar sentiments) and compare it to the amount of ink spilled about completely unrealistic, fanboy nonsense.

          There’s quite a large disparity between the (misguided) optimism on here and the pessimism (AKA realism).

          What you’ll notice is that most attempts to challenge the discourse (such as the “scary truth is that after Luongo, their options in net get real ugly in a hurry” fairy tale) are pushed aside in favour of more fanboy homerism.

          It’s particularly amusing that TD was praising Boyle’s work just before his Sochi article…

          Delusions about Grabovski/Horton/Clarkson and the rest have been privileged over the “look at the salary cap” crowd.

          Tortorella is given wizard status even though it’s hard to see how the Canucks are doing any better than they were with the old middle manager.

          The fancystats that make the Canucks look good without anybody looking at the “why” (how often the Canucks had played from behind, riding their stars, most all of the top players playing every game, the strength of opponent) are privileged so fans can take comfort in the 2012 LA narrative.

          You are free to placate the groupthink homerism.

          But don’t expect everyone to drink the Kool Aid or pretend this organization is any better than it is.

          The fanboy stuff and attempts to censor do nothing to improve the discourse…

          • JCDavies

            I’m glad that you are amused.

            I am amused that you took my comments as an attack on dissenting views. Which was not the case. There is no reason dissenting viewpoints cannot be new, interesting and thought provoking. It doesn’t require any thought to re-post the same or similar comments over and over and it does nothing to improve the discourse…

          • JCDavies

            “Most of the thoughtful and intelligent discussion on this site has been replaced by “window” talk.”


            This isn’t open to multiple interpretations champ.

            It’s a baseless claim that, in reality, ignores how much the scale tips in favour of groupthink homerism and glosses over dissenting views.

            Not that you are the sole evaluator of thoughtful and intelligent discussion by any stretch…

          • JCDavies

            Please, tell how much thought it takes to post the same comments repeatedly. Do you have to come up with “the window is closed” or “Delusions about Grabovski/Horton/Clarkson” every time you type it? We have all read them many times. Why not come up with a new way to get your point across, Champ?

          • JCDavies

            Not surprised that the ad populum ramblings appealed to the deputy sheriff of the troll patrol.

            JC would back up what he originally said if it were actually “well said”.

            Instead of shying away and simply looking for some reason, no matter how tangential, to not be wrong…

          • JCDavies

            Speaking of rambling…

            Anyway, enjoy the game tonight. I’m sure you’ll be sure to find whatever the opposite of silver linings might be regardless of the outcome.

  • JCDavies

    There are quite a few very good goalies Canada could call on for the Olympics – Bernier and Reimer have been great all year for the Leafs, Price has been excellent in Montreal, and Josh Harding has been lights-out all year for Minnesota.

    If I was picking it’d be Luongo/Price/Harding, with one of the Leafs goalies stepping in if one of those three can’t go. Luongo’s been great this year and he has far and away the most experience of Canada’s options.

    Regarding the Canucks and injuries – have their been any updates about any of the other players who have been injured? The team is really starting to show the effects of missing two top-six forwards, two top-six defenceman, and several depth pieces, and it’d be really nice to know how much longer the team’s going to be without guys like Burrows and Edler (and Stanton and Schroeder and Alberts and now maybe Higgins and Kassian… ugh)

  • Brent

    Fine, advocate for going down the same road as Calgary, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
    Calgary made the playoffs in 04-05, lockout, a few mediocre playoff appearances, and then fell off the face of the earth.
    The Canucks? Made the finals, a couple terrible playoff performances sandwiched by a lockout, and they don’t project to beat any team they have a chance at meeting in the playoffs.
    We’re just lucky that Nonis was happy to dump the old core like he did, otherwise they Canucks wouldn’t have been so competitive. Could you imagine if we had kept Bertuzzi, Morrison, and Naslund around for years and years because it made us feel good, warm, fuzzy and nostalgic?
    The Canucks are not and will not trend up with the core they have. They NEED a base of good young talent.

    • JCDavies

      There wasn’t a playoffs in 04-05 as there wasn’t a season.

      This team isn’t analogous at all to the 05-06 Canucks and it’s certainly not analogous to Calgary over the last few years.

      Ask the Oilers what happens when you trade any veterans you have for picks and then spend years trying to build through the first round of the draft exclusively.

        • JCDavies

          I’d like to congratulate you for jumping ship just in the nick of time.

          There will be a lot more people accepting reality in the coming months and years…

        • andyg

          Or ask the Islanders, the Panthers, the Jets, or the Blue Jackets how picking high year after year has worked for them.

          I’d rather Gillis and ownership modeled Vancouver after Detroit, Boston, Montreal, or San Jose – successful organizations that make the playoffs almost every year. None of those organizations have ever given up and traded everything for a rebuild. They’re smarter than that. They scout well, they make good trades, they make good free agent signings, and they remain relevant. You can’t compete in the playoffs unless you’re in the playoffs, and for all the moaning and belly-aching and hand-wringing that’s been going on in the comments section here, Vancouver remains a top-10 team in the NHL. I wouldn’t put money on the Canucks winning this year, but if they’re healthy and clicking when the playoffs roll around they’ll have a much better shot than Calgary or Buffalo or Winnipeg or Edmonton or Columbus or Florida.

        • Peachy

          Or you could ask the Islanders, Panthers, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Sabres, Thrashers / Jets, etc.

          What’s the real “success” rate of tanking a team to build up that talent? And what does “success” look like?

  • JCDavies

    On a different note, how is it that Brown ends up with less of a reputation for being a dirty player than Cooke, Downie, Kaleta, Scott or any other? He really is a bastard.

  • andyg

    The difference between teams like Pittsburgh, Anaheim, Chicago and LA is that their rebuilds included defense coming into the equation.

    Of course rebuilds don’t work if you just keep taking the best forwards and throwing them out on the ice at 18. Teams that stress defense will always have the leg up. That’s why, despite the decline of many Canucks players, their emphasis on defense allows them to burn so many teams below them.

    Teams like Winnipeg, Edmonton, etc, etc, constantly focus on throwing the next big forward out there, and give him a huge leash to be terrible defensively. That’s a recipe for disaster, and it’s why Cody Hodgson was moved. The kids have to learn defense first. It’s why Toews and Datsyuk are the premier forwards of the NHL and why Ovechkin and his Capitals have never made it very far in the playoffs.

    One of my pet peeves is with these “offensive” defensemen. If you can’t play defense, I don’t care how much offense you can contribute, you’re a 6th defenseman at best. It’s why Weber was the odd man out. It’s why Schultz is overrated, and Edmonton still sucks despite the fact they landed him. He might help them offensively, but he’s not shutting anyone down.

    What I’m saying isn’t that we have a bad core, it’s that we need to sell high. If we wait a few years, their value will fall and fall and continue to fall. It does not project to go up.

    • andyg

      That is why you do not blow a team up. You need vets for the youth to learn from.

      Trades have been difficult for any team to make the last year or so. As teams get used to the fact that the cap is going up we will more than likely see things loosen up.

      There is no use in moving core players unless there is a solid return.

    • andyg

      If the organization goes down the path of rebuilding, it could be Chicago or it could be one of the many teams that piss away their rebuilds (like Edmonton has been doing the last year or two).

      Though some of the teams mentioned (Florida, Atlanta/Winnipeg) have different (hockey) market sizes that aren’t good comparables for a city like Vancouver.

      Atlanta, in fact, never really “rebuilt”. They are an expansion team so it’s a poor analogy.

      The same goes with Columbus and Florida.

      I’m not sure why anyone thinks Vancouver is comparable with those cities and franchises.

      The Canucks don’t necessarily have to full-on rebuild.

      However, it’s insanity to believe they can keep doing what they’re doing with the same old core and expect better results.

      And it’s pretty unrealistic to expect the current farm system to produce the multiple frontline forwards this team needs to get back up the top of the mountain while the Sedins & Kesler are still frontline forwards.

      The Canucks are simply wasting time (not unlike Edmonton) right now instead of opening a new window…

      • andyg

        “The Canucks don’t necessarily have to full on rebuild”

        Wow, are you feeling all right?

        So you think Edmonton needs to start a rebuild of their rebuild?

        • Brent

          Fact is, Brown ran right in to Luongo on purpose. The Kings will mask that as him “driving to the net and hard work leading to this injury. Nothing more.” But everyone knows that is B.S.

          Brown intentionally ran Luongo. Whether Luongo was injured or not is really not the point. He ran him to make a point — and score a goal. If you don’t run the goalie, and hard, then the other team has an advantage. I though this core would have learned that lesson in 2011. It seems to still be lost on them, sadly.

          • Brent

            Completely agree. The passiveness of this group in the face of liberties being taken against key players has always bothered me – even when they were an elite team.

            Vancouver is one of the few teams in the league that allows our goalie to be run while guys on the ice stand around with their hands in their pockets. Bieksa in particular should be ashamed of himself.

  • Brent

    “Hearing specialist has confirmed no real damage to Luongo’s ankle. ”

    So why are we believing anything a hearing specialist has to say about Luongo’s ankle?

  • Brent

    So on a more serious note, I an not totally convinced the window has completely closed. Not sure what is up with the Sedin’s right now, but mayby one of them is the rumoured Canuck needing off season surgery? rather than Hansen? Henrik seems a little more contact adverse lately. Kesler is having a great bounce back year. I doubt we will go far this year, but with a couple of moves in the off season, Bo, Hunter and Corrado maturing for next year, and Kassian playing a bit older and wiser, there may be hope for next year. Sure we don’t have that many great prospects, but Gillis has been better at finding some diamonds in the rough in un-usual places. Don’t lose hope yet. But keep expectations low so you don’t get to disappointed.

  • JCDavies

    Kerry Fraser’s blog C’MON REF on TSN breaks down the Kings and Ducks games with the Canucks. He comments on the Brown hit in the Kings game and the Perry hit in the Ducks game.

  • islander

    good thing there’s not a gif at the top of the page to show Santorelli hitting Brown into Luongo. otherwise, it might look as though he did it on purpose!

    you don’t have to like it, but ya do have to see it.