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Luongo’s solid, but no hero amid goalie controversy

Jan 21, 2013, 12:28 AM EDT

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 20: Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks coveres up the puck before Jordan Eberle #14 of the Edmonton Oilers can get his stick on it during the second period of NHL action on January 20, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) Getty Images

Roberto Luongo wasn’t bad, but he did get bested by Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky in the shootout as the Edmonton Oilers went on to earn a 3-2 victory on Sunday. More importantly, he wasn’t able to be the hero Vancouver was looking for after its rough loss on Saturday.

“We deserved to win,” said Luongo, according to Sun Media’s Hosea Cheung. “Both (regulation) goals, I could have done a better job.”

Vancouver defied expectations by entering the season with Luongo and Cory Schneider, despite the fact that Schneider inked a three-year, $12 million contract in the off-season. The result is that the Canucks have $9,333,333 million of their annual cap committed to their goaltenders, which will be particularly problematic when the cap goes down to $64.3 million next season.

Still, in the short term there are some benefits. Having two elite-level goaltenders could prove to be critical due to the condensed schedule. It gave them the flexibility to go with Schneider on Saturday and Luongo on Sunday.

Of course, that hasn’t worked out for them yet and the Canucks are down 0-1-1. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault has a lot on his plate and more than one issue he’ll need to address going forward, but the one with the most intrigue is this: Which goaltender will get the nod on Wednesday against Calgary?

Will he go back to Schneider despite his rough outing in the season opener or will he stick with Luongo, who was an improvement on Sunday? Or will Luongo get traded in the coming days and force the Canucks to fully embrace the Schneider era?

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