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Has the hockey world soured on Roberto Luongo?

May 9, 2010, 1:45 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for 2-luongo.jpgIt’s natural to envision better things for a good player on a bad team. Sometimes it even works out. Just look at Kevin Garnett winning a title with the Boston Celtics if you need a solid example. For years, Roberto Luongo toiled away on horrible teams and put up great numbers. This made many believe that Luongo was just a good supporting cast away from stardom.

So far it’s looking like that conventional wisdom was half-true and half-false. He’s been solid each regular season as a member of the Canucks, with save percentages ranging from 91.3 to 92.1. Unfortunately, things have fallen apart a bit in the postseason, as his playoff save percentages dropped from an excellent 94.1 to a very good 91.4 percent and now a mediocre 89.2.

Hockey scribes have taken notice of his struggles. First, here’s Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun.

But on a night when the Vancouver Canucks needed him most, all Roberto Luongo could offer was mediocrity, and plenty of it. And if that sounds more than a little familiar, congratulations: you can remember all the way back to the night a year ago right about now when the Chicago Blackhawks closed out the Canucks by scoring a converted touchdown on their goalie.

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun used to be “a Luongo guy” but hasn’t been impressed by his recent performance and thinks that the “statute of limitations” on him delivering in the clutch is up.

Can’t say I’m a Luongo guy anymore. I’ve seen too many flaws. I’ve seen too many nights he was supposed to great and wasn’t. I’ve seen too many playoff series like this one, where he doesn’t rise to the occasion.

This is not the next Patrick Roy or Martin Brodeur. The statute of limitations has run out on that happening. You can’t allow 11 goals against in two home playoff games and expect to win anything, let alone be anything.

Luongo leaves you expecting more, wanting more. The great goalies win games when it matters most. He doesn’t.

Regardless of public sentiment, Vancouver committed to him completely in both tangible (a lifetime contract) and intangible (naming him their “captain”) ways. 

How do you feel about Luongo? Is he a legitimate star? At least a solid No. 1? A possible bust? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Frank Rekas( - May 9, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    He is one of the most overrated players ever. He cannot win the big one as he has so brilliantly showed. As a Blackhawks fan first, and a Panthers fan and blogger second, I was happy with his departure out of here.
    I wont go as far as saying bust, but he certainly isn’t what everyone thought he was. In his contract negotiations and demands with the Florida Panthers, then general manager Mike Keenan was not about to be bullied into anything after offering lots of money and a long term deal. Keenan commented about Luongo, he hasn’t won anything yet, but wants Brodeur type status? Forget it.
    Thank god the Panthers aren’t stuck with a 12 year deal.

  2. Dani Toth - May 9, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    You would have thought with a better line-up in front of him, he would do better but you are correct in pointing out that he stats are in a performance decline. This year the D is not a good example of a good defence lineup, but at least last year I expected a better performance. Did he only look like he performed well when he was peppered with 40 shots a night?
    Lifetime deals are tricky, and does the city now regret the deal? Some do I’m sure. But does the city regularly throw it’s players/team under the bus? All the time. Time will tell if this contract will work out for the Canucks.
    As a Canucks fan I haven’t forgotten about the Cloutier days (which were horrific), so I’m not ready to give up on him yet.

  3. H - May 9, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    Hey O’Brien, you first. What do you think of him? This is the last I heard:

  4. len ully - May 9, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    He has certainly disappointed me. You want the big check you have to come up with the big saves. He has a great team in front of him as I see it and that makes him look even worse. Get out of the deal somehow because it will cost you even more in the long run.

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