Goalie Soap Opera Only Beginning in Vancouver?
By Bill Kellett
- Photo Credit: Getty Images
No one in the city of Vancouver thought they would ever see Roberto Luongo in net again for the Vancouver Canucks. Yet, there he was between the pipes in the first game of the season.
He took over in relief of the newly anointed No. 1 Cory Schneider after possibly his worst game in professional hockey.
One game later, there he was again drawing the starting assignment against Edmonton in the second game of the season. None of this was how anyone, including Luongo himself, expected it to play out.
Luongo was supposed to be long gone to Toronto or Florida or Siberia or wherever the master destination was, but he certainly wasn’t supposed to be back here where he has spent the last six and a half seasons being “the guy” between the pipes for the Canucks.
Cory Schneider has shown flashes of a star in the making and the Canucks have decided to make him the heir apparent to the best goaltender this organization has ever seen (with all due respect to Garth Snow), but this soap opera, which has dragged on through the summer, into the lockout and now to the shortened season, unfortunately has only just begun. Mike Gillis added fuel to the inferno when he stated in an interview with Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun Newspaper that he had a “potential deal in place” that required the other team to “do something with a player”. This announcement came right when Luongo trade talks were beginning to die down but has kept this seemingly never ending circus afloat.
The sword Gillis is wielding right now is double-edge. On one hand, the Canucks can trade the greatest netminder in team history (Yes it’s true) and get what another team is willing to offer, hoping that it will bring the Canucks what they need. Or, on the other hand, Vancouver can hang on to him with the thought that they maintain one of the best goaltending tandems in the league.
It’s not an enviable position to be in, but one that Gillis needs to decide on. Keeping Luongo is not the worst thing that could happen.
Luongo is proven, he has shown his status as a Top-10 goalie in the league, and he has a very impressive resume. Staying one more season to mentor Schneider is hardly the end of the world, but…
If there is indeed a deal in place for Luongo, Gillis should start working towards completing it now. Not because of Luongo’s on-ice performance, but rather because of what he has done for this team and meant to this city. It would be a courtesy more than anything and something which Luongo has more than earned.
But the harsh reality is it’s time.
Time to move on and go with the young gun, the guy the team has invested so much time in developing and mentoring.
The soap opera continues……..