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In Vancouver’s second big rivalry game in a month, Schneider starts over Luongo

Jan 31, 2012, 1:40 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo, Cory Schneider AP

The last time the Vancouver Canucks faced a heated rival – Jan. 7 in Boston – backup goalie Cory Schneider was named the surprise starter over Roberto Luongo. It was a decision that drew derision from those in the Beantown media, at least one of whom accused Luongo of being scared to face his TD Garden demons.

Tonight at Rogers Arena against Vancouver’s other main foe, the Chicago Blackhawks, Schneider will once again get the start over the team’s supposed number one.

Allow Canucks coach Alain Vigneault to explain why.

“We talked about it a couple of times and it just made sense,” said Vigneault, as per The Province. “If I told him (Luongo) in advance enough, I know that he would work out while he was (on the break). Louie’s got a family and this was a good mental break for him. Cory doesn’t have a family yet and he can work out during the break.”

OK, there’s a trace of logic in there.

Schneider also hasn’t started since Jan. 10, so he was due to get the nod at some point.

That said, the optics are what they are. Tonight isn’t just another regular-season game for the Canucks. It never is when the Blackhawks are involved. It certainly wasn’t just another regular-season game against the Bruins, no matter what was said by those Vancouver fans who were scared to admit it.

In the past, tonight would’ve been an automatic Luongo start. Now you can’t help but wonder, come playoff time, how will the Canucks handle their goaltending situation? Is it still Luongo or bust? Or, has his leash grown shorter with the emergence of Schneider, not to mention Luongo’s history of awful – not just bad – playoff performances?

Related: Vigneault wonders how Blackhawks-Canucks rivalry can get more intense

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 31, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    They’re obviously looking to see if Schneider can beat their top two rivals. If he can, they’ll feel a lot more comfortable trading Luongo. At least I hope that’s the case. I stand to win some beer if he gets shipped out.

  2. yettyskills - Jan 31, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Nothing to people who follow hockey, because its just a mid season game

    Everything to bloggers and pseudo-journalists.

    • bigtganks - Jan 31, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      I totally agree. It’s a reguar season game. Sure, show him off so his trade value increases this offseason.

      Once Schneider starts back-to-back PLAYOFF games, then I’ll start to read into a goalie controversy.

  3. pepper2011 - Jan 31, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    It means they paid Luongo way too much money, for way too many years for a goalie who is soft between the ears. They are scared if he lets in a few soft ones against the hawks or B’s he will fall apart. I think they know Schneider can play- that is why they used a first round pick for him and have yet to trade him. They are playing him against the rivals because Luongo is a baby and Cory gives them a better chance of winning. The Canucks would love to trade Luongo, but nobody would want him – he’s an average goalie getting paid like a top 3. As a B’s fan Schneider scares me more; he’s better; he not a head case. The only team they may be able to deal him to is philly because they have a goalie contract that is equally as bad. if you don’t think he average here are the guys I would take over him going into a 7 gave series
    1) Thomas 2) Price 3) Howard 4) Quick 5) Rinne 6) Fleury 7) Lundquist 8) Ward 9) Halak 10) Rask 11)Elliott 12) Kiprusoff 13) Miller – the question to ask is – deadline day if your team traded Luongo for any of these guys would you be upset? Elliott is questionable and I’ll even give you Rask (although you are wrong, he is far better).

    • salmon90 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      Let’s use logic and stats to look at ‘your choices’. Just to remove any bias fpor those objective viewers!

      Luongo’s career #’a in the postseason:

      32W – 27L, 2.50 GAA,, .917 Save %

      Played in Stanleycup final, 3 Western Semi-finals, Olympic gold-medal winner (5-0 1.76 GAA for those you claim they won despite him!)

      Definitely not mind-blowing playoff stats but we’ll see how he stacks up:

      1. Thomas – can’t argue with you there
      2. Price – 8-15 lifetime with a 2.84 GAA ..alright then
      3. Howard – average postseason stats in – Luongo’s got slightly better but about 3 times the experience. Never been past 2nd round.
      4. Quick – never been past first round with a GAA of 3.32..he’s all yours!
      5. Rinne – the guy Luongo beat out last year? sure take him
      6. Fleury – OK you got me there. His numbers are about the same but he’s won and has a lot of experience.
      7. Lundqvist – he seems to be the on-form goalie right now but he’s never done anything post-season. He does have better hair though.
      8. Ward – can’t argue with the Stanley Cup/Conn Smythe but on-form?
      9. Halak – had a good run but his numbers are no better than Luongo and has far less experience.
      10. Rask – he’s your goalie, having a great year but never done anything significant in the playoffs.
      11. Elliot – you can have him and his 4.14 GAA in the playoffs. Come on man! Had you even heard of this guy before this season?
      12. Kipper – Had a brilliant run……………….8 years ago.
      13. Miller – pretty decent post-season numbers. No better than Luongos and not as much experience.

      So the real question is….what are you basing this on? Post-season experience?…hardly….post-season stats?…..apparently not. Form right now? I think for some of them (Elliot, Ludqvist etc).

      • Ralphie - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:47 PM

        Salmonella, you? Objective? Bullshit, you need to recuse yourself from this babbling blogathon because Luongo’s nuts are bouncing off your chin like a speed bag.

        I am sadly impressed however that you took over two hours out of your day to write that enlightening stream of consciousness.

        That is all.

      • salmon90 - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:25 PM

        Only about 15 minutes Ralphie boy….right off NHL.com too! I had two windows going and everything. Too much factual info for a ‘babbling blogathon’? Maybe. Just thought it was interesting that somebody wanted to choose less experienced goalies with worse playoff numbers and poorer overall career stats. I guess that makes me want to ‘get with’ Roberto. OK? Wasn’t really aware of the connection there. If that’s the case I can only imagine what you picture yourself doing to Timmy Thomas.

        And really why so aggressive Ralphie? Are you in trouble at school again?

  4. cowboys282 - Jan 31, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    When Luongo falls apart in the playoffs again Vancouver should look back in the regular season and wonder why they never started him in any of those big games. They have no confidence in him or his fragile psyche.

    I remember the excuse for the Boston game was because it was a homecoming for Schneider and now more excuses. When he chokes out of the playoffs will Vancouver finally run out of excuses?

  5. dougcan - Jan 31, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    If they sit Luongo for the Detroit game on Thursday then blog and comment away as I don’t think anyone could argue against the optics of it – until then it remains a non issue regardless of how hawks and bruins fans would like to spin it.

  6. charlutes - Jan 31, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Luongo’s not afraid, he’s comfortable with choking. His coach would like to win the game this so in goes Schneider. Luongo’s Jerry Curl is only enhanced by the lack of sweat when he’s on the bench, so it’s a win for all parties. except the blackhawks.

  7. bigtganks - Jan 31, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Did you haters even read AV’s explanation and why the start for CS?

    Each of them were playing a game today and Thurs vs Detroit. Isn’t Det a big game?

    Makes perfect sense after what AV said.

    • bigtganks - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      It also gives CS a shot to avenge his Nov 16 BLOWOUT loss at HOME to Chi (22/27 .815). Or as the haters wanna call it “exorsize HIS demons” too!

      Luongo’s already handled Chicago IN the MADHOUSE,

      Keep hatin haters…

  8. davebabychreturns - Jan 31, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    It’s meaningless, but it does feed nicely into the goalie “controversy” storyline I suppose.

    The bottom line is that until this year Corey Schneider has generally been protected from the better teams in the league – it’s time to see whether he can perform against top teams in tough games no matter what the peanut gallery infers that to mean about Luongo.

  9. pepper2011 - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    it’s not hate, it is amusement. his barely above .500 winning % in the playoff is enough. Also, it’s not a controversy – Luongo is average – Schneider is probably better, but doesn’t play enough. no controversy, facts.

    • bigtganks - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      It’s a regular season game.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      You realize winning percentage is a team stat and that .500 in the playoffs for a career is nothing to sneeze at, right? It’s actually comparable to or better than most of the goalies you mentioned above.

      Heck his career playoffs save percentage is still a respectable .917 despite getting absolutely obliterated in about six or seven games (and there’s only really a couple of games, two and a half years ago now, where you could blame Luongo entirely for the collapse).

  10. pepper2011 - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Tim Thomas .937% 26W17L.
    Also- .500% is not so good – that is not a winning mentality. also, if you want to play the ‘if you remove’… how about removing his 05-06′ (age 27 not 32) playoff when he was actually good with a .941 save % in 12 games. Notice how you didn’t answer the question, who from that list would you chose Luongo over? Carey Price, Ryan Miller, and Pekka? It’s nice that you like your team, but lets be realistic.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      Some guy spent 20 minutes debunking your post further up the trail, I’m not stupid enough to waste that kind of time on this junk.

      Luongo doesn’t have numbers like Tim Thomas and didn’t turn in a Stanley Cup Finals performance like him either; if that’s the standard by which goalies are judged there are about five guys in league history who have a hope of stacking up.

      The bottom line is that in a given year he is at least as likely as about 10 of the goalies you mentioned to turn in a great performance; the difference is that while Luongo in a terrible year still posts numbers that are about average for a starter.

      I don’t recall arguing that Luongo is a hall of famer or anything even close to that – he is simply a very good goalie who is paid like a very good goalie; neither that nor the fact that he is not starting 75 games a year anymore are scandalous or controversial in any way, despite what some think.

      • bigtganks - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:51 PM

        No kidding. We’re talking about a regular season start here. AV explained it. Detroit is coming up Thursday. AV’s just extending Luongo’s all star break as he’s logged a lot of minutes in the past and the goaltending situation IS 1a and 1b.

        He’s a very good goalie and anyone with perspective knows that. He’s been a Vezina finalist for years AND has earned his reputation as Jekyll and Hyde in the playoffs because he throws up a shut out or gives up 5-7 goals and it’s tough to know lately what you’re getting. He’ll have to overcome that. But that start in April.

        Regular season he’s great, and YES regular season doesn’t matter, Pres trophy doesn’t matter. No one says it does

        This article isn’t about a Game 7 or Luongo’s HOF induction vote. It’s about a couple more days off and playing a 1b goalie.

  11. hibackhand - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Perhaps overlooked here is GM Mike Gillis showcasing Schneider on the big stage as trade bait.

  12. kitshky - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Wait Im confused …what does this have to do with Tim Thomas!?

  13. canuckdude82 - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Don’t you think that Luongo “exercised” some of his demons in his Game 7 victory over the Hawks last year ?

  14. bigbadbruins1968 - Feb 1, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    LEBRONGO!

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