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Tuesday Tire Pump: Roberto Luongo

Dec 20, 2011, 4:40 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo Getty Images

Every Tuesday at PHT, we’ll pump a player’s tire. Because every player likes it when nice things are said about them.

This week’s tire pumpee: Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Everyone knew the inspiration for the TTP award was going to win it eventually. Not because he’s the reason the award exists, but because he’s had myriad hot streaks throughout his career.

Luongo’s latest run features a 6-0-1 record in Vancouver’s past seven games. His save percentage over that stretch is .949 — a marked improvement from October when he went 3-3-1 with a .869 save percentage and there were calls for him to be traded, or possibly even shot into outer space.

Last night at Rogers Arena, Luongo shut out the Wild for his first perfect game of the season. He was especially good in the first period when Minnesota outplayed a shaky Canucks side.

“Obviously, we came out and execution wise we might have been a little bit off,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “But that’s why you’ve got a great goaltender. He kept us in and (enabled) us to find our legs and find our hands.”

Roberto Luongo, everyone.

  1. polegojim - Dec 20, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Luongo is a winner.

    All the critics should be ashamed….most of whom have probably NEVER logged a MINUTE on the ice..

    • drewsylvania - Dec 20, 2011 at 4:49 PM

      This is really amusing considering his epic choke job in the last playoffs.

      • joeyjojoshabadoo - Dec 20, 2011 at 6:07 PM

        The idea that he choked in the finals has always seemed silly to me. He was the reason the Canucks won all three games they did win. It looks like he choked because the Canucks were favoured going into the series, but the team was badly outplayed, scoring only 8 goals. The Bruins scored a lot in the games they won, but its not like the Canucks were putting up goals, and were deflated by bad goaltending.

      • drewsylvania - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:14 AM

        The Bruins scored 21 goals in their four wins–over five goals a game. That’s choking.

      • drewsylvania - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:15 AM

        Pulled twice, too.

      • polegojim - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:18 AM

        @drew – small mind, small memory. You’re talking ONE series. Try taking those blinders off.

      • drewsylvania - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:31 AM

        Yes, one series. The contention is that “Luongo is a winner.” To which I respond with: If you’re going to couch the discussion in “winning”, well, he hasn’t “won” a Cup.

      • drewsylvania - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:32 AM

        Oh yeah–your insults aren’t warranted but are weaksauce. GFY

      • danphipps01 - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:36 AM

        Alright, so let’s talk about the first round, too. He let in fewer goals only by virtue of the team he was up against being a much-weakened Blackhawks roster. Still forced game seven overtime against the supposedly-best team in the League. Sure, other players did poorly. Both the losses against Chicago and those against Boston were team efforts – or rather, the distinctive lack thereof – but don’t say Luongo didn’t play a big part in those losses. The goalie’s responsible just like everyone else. He let in plenty of weak goals and got pulled multiple times on account of repeated bed-shitting. Was his defense playing poorly, letting guys walk in? At times. But when the Boston D-men coughed up golden chances, Tim Thomas stopped the damn things. Luongo didn’t.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:02 AM

        @Drew — I’m not a big Luongo defender but you have to consider he won gold at the Olympics. That’s a pretty big stage. He doesn’t choke all the time…just sometimes against Chicago.

      • drewsylvania - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:23 AM

        You’re right, winning gold at the Olympics is pretty big. Though the notion of “Luongo: winner” should consider the NHL more, since that’s where he’s spent the vast majority of his time and what this article is about. I’m not a Luongo hater…more someone who gets annoyed when people such as polegojim make blanket statements that they proclaim as undeniable fact when there’s gaping holes in their arguments.

      • blomfeld - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        The notion that Luongo “won gold” is completely misleading, as I’m actually hard pressed to think of another team in recent times, which was as highly favored going in as that 2010 Canadian team ? … in fact, I’d venture to say that just about any “1st string” NHL goalie could have delivered the goods, given the sheer talent and firepower of that particular team …

  2. govtminion - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    Dare we pump the tires on the man who made the meme happen in the first place?

    The hockey world jumped the shark this day. I approve.

    Oh, and I’d still be looking to dump him off somewhere for a good defenseman or a high draft pick, and roll with Schneider the rest of the way. Not that Lou is a bad goalie of course, but that’s a high price tag for someone who is- let’s be honest, Canucks fans- very inconsistent. Schneider is a much lower price tag for the same basic results.

    • davebabychreturns - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:22 PM

      Depends how you want to define consistency; since the lockout Roberto Luongo has been inside the top five in save percentage for guys with 25 or more games more times (three) than he has been outside the top ten (two) with his worst finish being 17th out of 46 goaltenders with that many appearances. Simply put Luongo is at his best far more often than he is at his worst.

      As for his poor playoff performances the sample size is simply too small to draw meaningful conclusions from and as an avid Canucks fan I can only remember one or two games where Luongo was bad despite receiving support from the team in front of him – it’s tough to pin all the blame in an 8-1 loss on the goaltender. And anyway even considering all of these he’s still got a respectable .917 career playoff save percentage (good for 9th among active goalies with 15 or more games).

      Corey Schneider is a great young player who I hope the Canucks hold onto for as long as possible. But right now he’s got one good season under his belt, and still people are talking about cutting the starter loose when he’s got the 7th highest cap hit in the league and is a good bet to be at least the 7th best goaltender year in, year out.

      • polegojim - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:19 AM

        AMEN…. I bow my head in reverence to your reason

  3. charlutes - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Luongo threatened to retire when the NHL made goalies stop wearing rediculously oversized pads. I play net, I know what size pads are needed to protect the human body. The NHL was smart to make a restriction, not only to increase scoring, but also to end the trend of “blob goalies” ruling the NHL.

    A blob goalie is a guy who is physically huge, wears huge pads, he’s not terribly athletic, but he’s able to take up large portions of the net and cut off the angle, effectively stopping puck without moving much. Hense, blob goalie.

    Luongo seemed to me to be threatening to retire before the new, smaller pads outed him as being a glorified Giguere, a blob goalie. He takes up a lot of net, and the puck hits him.

    I argue that he doesn’t have great eyes, reflexes, agility, or speed.
    He’s weak in the shootout. His numbers are awful this year, on unarguably one of the top 5 teams in the NHL. Yes he goes on hot streaks, every goalie in the NHL does that from time to time. Luongos numbers look so good when he plays a few decent games because his team is incredible in front of him almost every night.

    On top of all this, Luongo seems to be a headcase. Not the good kind, like Patrick Roy talking to his posts. Luongo has shrunk away in numerous playoff AND Stanley Cup games, to the point where the Canucks might have 1 or 2 Cups by now if it wasn’t for his blunders in the playoffs. Sure he had great regular season numbers, but 2 dozen other guys might very well have been able to take those teams just as far.

    The only reason he is still the number 1 goalie on that team: His contract.

    Its huge, and long, so you either have to bury him in the minors to get it off your salary for cap space, while still paying Luongo to not play, or you loose him to waivers for nothing, either way if you try that you look like a jerk for signing him so long term in the first place, and you’re admitting that it’s the Luongo contract that cost the team some trophies. He probably has very little trade appeal given his contract so what else can you do?

    There’s only 2 other options. You can make him the worlds richest backup goalie, or you can continue to roll with him and hope your skaters are good enough to cover for his less than advertised skill set.

    The Canucks have obviously chosen the latter option so far. They have 0 cups, and 1 riot to show for it.

    • davebabychreturns - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:25 PM

      Luongo actually threatened to retire if the league increased the size of the nets, which is the kind of reaction you could expect from pretty much any purist.

      As for the rest of your comment, well I don’t know if you are just way off base or if you are colossally biased against this player. I’ll give you some credit and just assume it’s the latter since you seem to find a way to credit the Canucks and blame Luongo at every turn.

    • blomfeld - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:00 PM

      The only reason he is still the number 1 goalie on that team: His contract …

      “Bingo bongo, Roberto Luongo” as former Canucks colourman Tom Larscheid used to say ! … yes Charlutes, that’s “exactly” the reason why this guy is still here … and that’s exactly the reason why he likely isn’t going anywhere for at least 7 more years … as puck-stoppers go, he is admittedly “decent” and should be counted as one of the top 10 “regular-season” goalies in the league … but when it really counts in the playoffs, this unlikable, Florida-based, narcissistic, poker-addicted, Michelin Man has shown himself to be a complete bust ! … even the arsonists and vandals here in Vancouver know that in their hearts … on the bright side however, the replacement of Luongo as team captain by Henrik Sedin has been an absolute Godsend and the contrast between the two is as wide as the Grand Canyon ! …

      ps: should the Canucks fail again this spring, then I see Luongo and his fat contract somehow being dealt to one of the Florida teams … of course certain things would have to happen, but that is what I sincerely see transpiring …

  4. pastabelly - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    He played lousy in every Finals game in Boston. There’s no way to spin that otherwise. Mentally, he was a wreck. Not a bad goalie but an overpaid one.

    • dhudhwala - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:56 PM

      He had 2 shutouts though?????????????????????????????

      • pastabelly - Dec 20, 2011 at 11:03 PM

        Yup, two shutouts at home and was pulled twice in three games in Boston and awful in all of them. What does that tell you about him?

      • danphipps01 - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:52 AM

        Two shutouts… and two pulls. Don’t count one if you pretend the other isn’t also true. Yeah, the shutouts were great and all, but let’s not forget, Boston played relatively poorly in the first two games, at least when you contrast them with the next five. Solid defensively, very solid, but couldn’t get their guns firing. As soon as they clicked in the third game (on account of a combination of the Horton hit and what I personally like to think was an enraged Zdeno Chara threatening to devour them if they failed him again), Luongo started letting goals in.

        So, yeah, you can count those two shutouts and say he played well. But that’s an intentional oversimplification. Yeah, he got two shutouts. So did Tim Thomas. Difference is, those shutouts came in 1-0 victories, and Luongo’s other win was decided 3-2 in overtime. Get it? One-goal games, the lot of them. Contrast with two 4-0 shutouts, a 5-2 win and an 8-1 win for Thomas. At no point was Tim Thomas not an invincible death-engine. Luongo? He was the definition of hit and miss. And sure, while his team played questionably in front of him at times, they generally played well right up until Boston built an insurmountable lead. I mean, the forwards never quit. Thomas ate more shots than any goaltender ever. They did NOT stop trying. But it’s a little disheartening, you know, thinking that you’ve got to get four back on the guy because they’re scoring almost every time they see your end of the ice. That’s not on the other Canucks. That’s on Luongo. I mean, who else do you hold accountable for a seven-goal loss? Everyone played a part, but Luongo played the biggest. Accusing anyone else of being more responsible for that disaster is just insulting them.

  5. bobwsc - Dec 21, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    polegojim – Dec 21, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    @drew – small mind, small memory. You’re talking ONE series. Try taking those blinders off.
    try saddling the sanctimonious act, polesitter.

  6. haterzgonahate - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    Theres a lot of players in the league i hate… Still i wont write multiple comments in one story on said player to express my hate. Thats some serious dedication and perhaps a sign of deeper psychological issues.

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