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Roberto Luongo has a rather toxic relationship with Canucks fans

Oct 19, 2011, 12:35 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo Getty Images

Roberto Luongo has to start making some saves. He admits as much himself. Whether or not it’ll make a difference with Vancouver Canucks fans is the question.

Luongo heard the jeers last night in a 4-0 home loss to the Rangers in which the goalie at the other end, Henrik Lundqvist, was perfect. None of the goals Luongo surrendered were of the horrendous variety, unless you’re talking about the other Canucks on the ice.

So why the jeers?

Ed Willes of The Province sums it up perfectly.

The dissatisfaction expressed at Luongo on Tuesday night wasn’t because of a so-so outing against the Rangers. It’s not even about the first four games which has left him with a 1-2-1 start, a 3.70 GAA and an .856 save percentage.

It’s about last year’s Stanley Cup final. It’s about almost blowing a 3-0 lead to Chicago in the first round. It’s about back-to-back meltdowns against the Blackhawks the previous two post-seasons.

It’s about the accumulated baggage of the last three years. And that baggage looks like it’s starting to weigh him down.

Luongo’s advocates will be quick to note he’s a perennial slow starter. However, that doesn’t change the fact he could string together 82 straight shutouts in the regular season and many Canucks fans would still doubt his ability to perform in the playoffs. And it’s tough to say they’re wrong to doubt him. Luongo has had some great playoff performances (think Game 5 of the Cup final), but his bad outings have been downright nightmarish.

If there’s a professional athlete whose story is most similar to Luongo’s, it might be former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Great numbers in the regular season. Almost always led his team to the playoffs. Even came within a game of winning a title. But it was the disastrous playoff outings that made his relationship with Philly fans toxic. The three consecutive defeats in the conference championships, the worst coming in 2003 when the Eagles lost at home to the Carolina Panthers and McNabb threw three interceptions. Then, when the Eagles finally broke through the next year and made it to the Super Bowl against the Patriots, McNabb again threw three picks in a losing effort, after which he had to deny throwing up in the huddle late in the game. Philly fans still debate whether he did or not.

That Cory Schneider is the back-up in Vancouver only gives Luongo’s detractors more ammunition. This despite the fact Schneider has just one postseason start to his résumé – Game 6 against the Blackhawks in last year’s first round – and he cramped up in it and had to be replaced by Luongo.

Stay tuned on this one.

  1. mgp1219 - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    He just needs to have his tires pumped and he will be fine.

  2. titknocker - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    good thing he’s only signed for like 9 more years!!

  3. danphipps01 - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Thing is, three years of spectacular failure when the pressure’s on really ARE enough to make a final judgement. Hell, people figured he’d exorcised the demons when they beat Chicago last year – despite the fact that he personally lost two of the games in that series – and what’d he do with that newfound confidence? Went out and blew three games in Boston, and blew them as spectacularly as his losses to Chicago. He’s like Alex Semin or Jason Spezza – when the pressure’s on, he’s the first to quit. He’s the goalie equivalent of the entire Capitals team – overwhelming in the regular season, but never gonna win the Stanley Cup with that quits-easy attitude in the playoffs when things get tough. He’s immensely skilled, but he has no will.

  4. comeonnowguys - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    “Roberto Luongo has a rather toxic relationship with Canucks fans”

    Proluonged exposure destroys Canucks fans’ will to watch hockey.

  5. Nowhere Man - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Bring back Kyle Wellwood!

  6. prolibertate85 - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Still better than Auld, Cloutier, Irbe, Skudra, Potvin, Essensa, Weekes, Snow, Hirsh, and post 94 MacLean.

    Is he better than Schneider tho?

  7. babar61 - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    The whole team failed to show up in the finals. You can’t win when you don’t score. I think most Canuck fans forget how horrendous goaltending was before Roberto Luongo.

    • davebrownspiral - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:15 PM

      They also forget the absolute no-show by the Sedin twins

    • imleftcoast - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:20 PM

      Save Percentage – 2011 Playoffs vs Boston

      Game 1: 1.000

      Game 2: .933

      Game 3: .789

      Game 4: .800

      Game 5: 1.000

      Game 6: .625

      Game 7: .850

  8. canucks18 - Oct 19, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Typical Infamous Canucks fans! Vancouver fans are notorious for being brutal towards their players! It wasn’t too longago that all you turds were talking about how the Sedins weren’t going to be successful in the NHL… You are turds

  9. eagles512 - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    A bit of a reach in some of the mcnabb “facts.” His 3 INTs vs Carolina were a result of his receivers getting pushed around. One of his picks in the super bowl hit LJ Smith right in the hands. He led some teams with poor offensive talent to the final 4 in his sport. By winning in the playoffs every year. Only once did he lose in the first round. Luongo has not done nearly as much.

    • prolibertate85 - Oct 19, 2011 at 8:38 PM

      It’s closer than you think. Luongo had 2 shutouts in the finals and the canucks (who were the highest scoring team and had the best powerplay) scored 8 goals in a 7 game series, yet Luongos meltdown will be all anyone remembers. Well, that and the riot I guess.

  10. tommytd - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    …and a couple years back they made this guy their CAPTAIN so what does that say about the rest of these Canuckleheads! The guy’s loaded down with baggage…time to groom a new netminder before it’s too late.

  11. imleftcoast - Oct 19, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Tommytd, they have a great goalie in waiting that they are going to trade or let walk out the door. How much will that lighten the burden? The truth is that Luongo cannot take responsibility and that his coach continues to give him starts after bad games. The Canucks went from up 3-0 to a Game 7 overtime against the Blackhawks. If Patrick Sharp had scored in OT, Loungo and Vigneault would be gone.

    It’s collosally bad management. Luongo’s contract is second only to Garth Snow’s deal. I can’t say that on the Canucks or Province because there are pretty boy, pinhead Canuck writers who actually will argue that it’s a good deal and he’s only paid $6m this year.

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