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Roberto Luongo: ‘We’re devastated … but we’ll be back’

Jun 16, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

Roberto Luongo AP

When you look at things from the perspective of a substantial chunk of hockey fans, Roberto Luongo is a failure. They forget how strong he was in Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks, remembering the trouble that came before that triumph. Their memories gloss over some great performances against the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks while likely deleting Luongo’s two shutouts and three home wins in the Stanley Cup finals, fast-forwarding straight to his four (often ugly) losses.

To them, Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals told the whole story about Roberto Luongo.

Yet if you try to get inside of the man in Vancouver’s net, the perspective changes substantially. He came into the league with some high expectations – and according to some metrics – he’s backed up his high draft status with big league results. After being traded from the New York Islanders and toiling away with the Florida Panthers, Luongo might tell you he’s made good on the hype that followed him around once he became the Vancouver Canucks go-to goalie. (He also has that gold medal from the 2010 Olympics to soothe his soul, by the way.)

There are plenty of Canucks fans who will call for Luongo’s head (and probably the matching noggins of the Sedin twins as well) after that 4-0 embarrassment, but his expensive contract will make a trade very unlikely. Despite that brutal loss, Luongo seemed resolute when talking about the team’s future while his teammates came to his defense.

“We’re devastated, but we’re a good team and we’ll be back,” said the dejected Luongo, his voice breaking slightly as he fought back tears.

(snip)

“As a team if we all could have stepped up a notch, starting with myself, we could have got the job done,” Luongo said. “We’re devastated as a team. We worked all year to get to this point and to fall short like that is a tough one to take. It’s a team game, we’re not going to point fingers at one individual.”

Luongo certainly doesn’t shoulder all the blame.

Canucks captain Henrik Sedin had one point in the Cup finals, twin brother Daniel had four, and the winners of the last two scoring titles were on the ice for all four goals in Game 7. Both came quickly to Luongo’s defense.

“We scored zero goals today,” Daniel Sedin said. “So if you want to blame guys, blame all the guys, or blame us, it’s not all up to him.”

Expect more discussion of the Canucks’ future today and as the beginning of free agency approaches on July 1. Whether Canucks fans like it or not, Luongo will almost certainly be part of that discussion for several years to come.

  1. warpstonebc - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    I tend to judge hockey fans by how they assess their goalies. Bandwagoners always blame the guy in net. They don’t see the blown assignments or turnovers that lead to most goals. They just whine after every mistake, real or imagined.

    There are 28 other starting goalies that would have killed to be in Luongo’s position last night. The real problem for Vancouver is that the one other goalie left in the equation was Tim Thomas. :)

    • hystoracle - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:36 AM

      Hard to win scoring 8 goals in 7 games and only 1 in the last 3.

      • warpstonebc - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:43 AM

        Exactly. It’ll be interesting to see how teams try to solve for Thomas next year. I worry that we’re going to see goalies getting run a lot more in the regular season.

      • galuple - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:17 PM

        There were a few games in the East Final where both teams had to score buckets. It’s not like a game where your goalie lets in 3 goals is unwinable.

      • hystoracle - Jun 16, 2011 at 3:23 PM

        Very True -galuple – very true! There was one game the Bolts gave up 5 in 2nd period and almost came back to win in the 3rd if not for Thomas standing on his head.

  2. canucks18 - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    Lets look at a couple of interesting facts.
    1. Tim Thomas at 36 lost his job last year (injury/bad play etc) to a young Tuuka Rask. Everyone thought he was on the way out.
    2. He comes back healthy in 2010/11 with something to prove and does the job by getting the Vezina nomination.
    3. Plays stellar in goal making save upon save of a spectacular nature and each and every one that wasn’t deflected off the boards etc.
    4. Tim Thomas is an elite goaltender that came to the NHL the hard way and when a guy like that gets on such a huge role and is having pure fun while doing that is going to be tough to solve.
    The Canucks took a lot of shots but Tim Thomas was up to the task.
    We should always win with class but even more lose with class.
    Congrats Boston Bruins.

  3. nickr214 - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    @Canucks18 at least some Canucks fans have class but most don’t (booing bruins at end, throwing shit on the ice, rioting) but I appreciate the few.

    • hystoracle - Jun 16, 2011 at 3:24 PM

      They actually threw feces on the ice? Now that’s gross!

    • warpstonebc - Jun 16, 2011 at 3:55 PM

      @nickr214 I don’t think you got the context. I thought the fans in the rink were very gracious. They cheered the last minute to show support. They cheered for the Thomas getting the Conn Smythe and they cheered when Chara and then the other Bruins took turns lifting the cup.

      They did not cheer for Bettman. That was the booing. You can even see a beer hit the ice 10 feet away from Bettman on the CBC broadcast. Quite frankly, I can’t think of a single NHL fan who doesn’t want Bettman roasted. :)

      The also booed Boychuk lifting the cup due to Raymond’s fractured vertebrae.

      I don’t see anything particularly un-classy there. I don’t have any sympathy for Bettman and can understand the hard feelings towards Boychuk, At least, it’s not much different than what most fans have done in previous years.

      Outside the arena though… yes, the rioters where stupid #$%^!. But I wouldn’t tar all Canucks fans with it. There is a certain gonzo contingent in Vancouver that try to disrupt most major events. The Olympic gold medal game went off well in part because such a-holes were already put in jail by that point.

  4. nickr214 - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Suppose your right but from the tv it sounded
    Like they were booing at bruins but I guess I’m wrong. And yes I know almost all the Canucks fans wouldnt do such a stupid thing like the drunk idiots did. Either way I thought both teams played a good series and I’m glad my hometown boys are bringing home the cup

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