Canucks Army Postgame – A Luu-sing Performance

It’s probably a horrible cliche to describe Roberto Luongo’s return to Vancouver as “storybook” for the goalie, but that’s really how the night was. The man who once helped lead the home squad to their most successful seasons ever gave a vintage Luongo performance, stopping 32 of 33 shots and earning first star of the night honours to the honest cheers of a road crowd. The Canucks 3-1 loss almost seemed secondary tonight as the Vancouver crowd finally received their chance to send Luongo off the way he deserved.

Read past the jump for a recap of what became Luongo night at Rogers Arena.

Highlights

And, of course, the Luongo tribute video:

Quick Hits

chart (4)

[Canucks.com Recap] [Willie Desjardins Postgame] [Official Event Summary] [Faceoff Summary]

[War-On-Ice Stat Pack] [NaturalStatTrick Stat Pack]

  • First of all, a big thank you to the Vancouver Canucks for hosting us in their Save On Foods Social Suite night (gotta work in that #branding, you guys). We had a great time actually watching the game, though it was a bit traumatic without our spreadsheets at hand. The reception for Roberto Luongo was pretty spectacular first-hand, and it was fantastic to see him post a vintage Luongo performance in front of the Vancouver faithful, even if it did result in a Canucks loss.
  • One of my favourite sub-plots to the night and to the last few days has been watching Florida Panthers beat writer Harvey Fialkov get literally everything about Vancouver’s relationship with Roberto Luongo wrong:

  • Though to his credit, Fialkov eventually figured it out:

  • This man is basically McScoop the News Dog.
  • One thing that doesn’t really come across with the lack of depth to a TV broadcast is just how tightly the Canucks collapse in their defensive zone. The centre is really low and both wingers are below where the ringette line would be, with the weak side winger actually standing in the strong side faceoff circle. This is great for out-manning forwards down low, but it essentially leaves 75% of the ice in the defensive zone uncovered, especially up high.
  • This setup leaves the opposing D completely uncovered most of the time, which is dangerous if your opponents have a guy as talented a puck mover as Brian Campbell. Campbell was a +2 on the night, and a game-high +9 Corsi as well (62.2%), and I thought he and some of the other Panthers were able to generate some quality shot attempts by moving Vancouver’s tight box-plus-one laterally, then reversing the play to catch them off guard. Here’s a good example from Nick Bjugstad and Shane O’Brien:

  • It should be mentioned that Campbell and Ekblad were able to do most of their damage against the Horvat-Dorsett tandem, going +10 against each. Horvat was also above only Tomas Fleischmann in Corsi% on the night, and the only Canuck in the 30% range at 31.6%. This was Horvat’s 39th game of the season, so Vancouver can still preserve one more RFA season should they decide to send him back to London this season, otherwise he’ll become a UFA one year sooner. I would bet on him staying though.
  • Derek Dorsett looked to get under Roberto Luongo’s skin tonight, and Luongo took exception, throwing blocker shots at Dorsett in a 3rd period scrum. Either that or Luongo, like me, still has hard feelings towards Dorsett and Willie Desjardins about the 2007 WHL Finals Jordan Bendfeld incident, chronicled here by Steve Ewen. Not mentioned in that article: Dorsett allegedly biting fingers and allegedly making fun of Milan Lucic’s scoliosis.

Conclusion

Vancouver’s next game is on Saturday night when they play host to the division rival Calgary Flames on Hockey Night in Canada. After an unexpectedly hot start to the year, undoubtedly fueled by grit and heart and truculence and leadership, regression has been paying a visit to the Flames of late, as they’ve picked up just 9 of a possible 20 points in their last 10 games. Vancouver will surely be looking to help them fall out of the playoff race even quicker by handing them another regulation loss.

    • Mantastic

      Why are you here, Troll00? Is your life that pathetic that you have to troll Canucks fans – the team you claim you’re a fan of? I guess working at McDonalds has made you snap.

      It was a nice night for Lu. Canucks are in tough and their holes were exposed once again. Hopefully the front office makes a couple of savvy moves.

      • Mantastic

        NM00 emerged as a necessary evil in this community precisely because I came to terms with the decline of the franchise before the majority of rubes on here.

        I am as surprised as you are that the community now looks at NM00 as a prophet.

        Because you all still sound as silly, delusional and reactionary as the day I first met you…

    • Mantastic

      Hey at least we didn’t sign a 34 year old goalie on the decline for $6 million a year x three years and instead opted to sign a 28 year old goalie in his prime for $6 million a year for six years.

      It’s all coming up Millhouse

      • Mantastic

        In retrospect, maybe it would have been better if Sundin had accepted the 2nd year on his 2 year contract offer.

        The Sedins may very well have tested free agency, signed at a market rate that the Canucks were ill-prepared to match and Lou would have only wasted 4 years in the lower mainland axis of mediocrity…

      • andyg

        “Schneider is just an average goalie.”

        Only by the measures of the delusional.

        “So get over it!”

        If you don’t understand how to read NM00 by now, you are better off going into a corner and conversing with the Teds and Pheensters of this blog…

      • andyg

        So when Tortorella rides Lack into the ground to try and save his job we blame the coach but when DeBoer does the same thing with Schneider we blame the goalie? Schneider remains an excellent goalie stuck with a TERRIBLE team and given no support (either in days off or actual defensive help). NJ is an awful team but their problems hardly start with Schneider. Interestingly some of their fans have started to question not only all of the rest of Lamoriello’s dumb signings and Canucks-level awful drafting of late but also the trade for the 9 pick.

        I wouldn’t try in your efforts to swat back at NM00 by proving that you’re delusional by attacking Schneider. I’d take him in a heartbeat over Miller for age, style and contract.

  • orcasfan

    The game was a great close-up lens on the true wek spot for the Canucks! I’m talking the so-called D corps. It was made very obvious in this game that the team (without Hamhuis) really has only two reliable D men – Edler and Tanev. Bieksa’s game has deteriorated to the extent that he should only be used as a 3rd pairing. That also applies to Stanton, Sbisa and Weber. That leaves Edler and Tanev doing all the lifting. I don’t know how long those guys can carry on playing nearly 25 mins per night. Especially against every team’s best.

    No wonder Willie has the forwards playing so deep in the defensive zone! And, in these circumstances, I don’t know how useful it is to assess a player based on Corsi. It all depends on which D pair they are on the ice with.

    We have to assume that the situation will improve somewhat when Hamhuis returns. But, even then it is not a pretty picture for the future in Vancouver. I would say that Sbisa, Weber and Stanton are expendable. At their age and experience, they are unlikely to get any better. I would include Bieksa in this, but his contract and his “truculence” make him unmovable! Maybe at the trade deadline, Benning will take the opportunity to off-load some of this dead weight for some (valuable) draft picks. I hope so, but I doubt he is willing to make such “radical” moves.

    If he did, it would be a great opportunity to bring up guys like Corrado and Sanguinetti to show their stuff. It would be worth the risk (in losing) to see what we’ve got!

  • andyg

    Hate to make a comment with the flavour of heartnacity being the issue, but… did it not seem to everyone, watching that third period, “here is a team that doesn’t really mind losing tonight?” I never got any sense of urgency from anyone other than a couple of bottom sixers. You’d at least expect them to look frustrated, but they generally appeared apathetic and resigned. It’s just the worst.

    As for Horvat, it’s clear that he can’t play at this level without the puck. He has made some good plays with it, though, and has demonstrated an aptitude for chip and charge plays. But the good moments are dwarfed by the results when on ice, so I’d agree with sending him back, not that they will.