Skip to content

Luongo feeling ‘pretty good’ after shutout win… so, who starts vs. Finland?

Feb 14, 2014, 3:34 PM EDT

LooGetty Getty Images

Roberto Luongo didn’t make Mike Babcock’s life any easier on Friday.

The Canadian head coach, already lamenting tough lineup decisions — “it’s no fun,” he said of having to scratch players — now has another difficult one to make for Sunday’s clash against undefeated Finland.

Who starts in goal: Carey Price, or Luongo?

Babcock artfully dodged answering after a 6-0 rout of Austria, saying Saturday’s off-day would give him time to think, but it’s clear Luongo gave Babcock plenty to mull over after pitching a 23-save shutout against the Austrians, his first win in nearly three weeks as Vancouver entered the Olympic break on a seven-game winless skid.

“I feel pretty good after tonight,” Luongo said, when asked how he felt about his game. “Obviously, coming in we had lost seven in a row as a team. It’s tough to feel good about yourself. But I’ve been working hard this week, trying to work on my game as much as I can, especially with the adjustments on the wider ice, and I was happy with the results tonight.”

It’s worth noting that, when asked to evaluate his game prior to Sochi, Luongo replied “I don’t know.” He said it was tough to gauge because Vancouver was losing so much.

Funny what a win can do.

Luongo’s improved mental state could end up playing a role in Babcock’s decision because, as far as Canada’s opening two game went, there wasn’t much to analyze. Norway and Austria are the minnows of Group B and posted relatively low shot totals (and even fewer scoring chances). On paper, you could argue Luongo’s shutout was superior to Price’s 19-save effort against Norway, a game in which his puckhandling error led to the lone Norwegian marker.

But that’s on paper.

Looking back, it’s clear Luongo has an edge in big-game experience. He’s played in a gold medal game (which he won, in OT) and a Stanley Cup Final Game 7 (which he lost); Price, meanwhile, has never made it past the Eastern Conference Final and is making his Olympic debut.

Luongo said he’s learned from playing in pressure situations, but noted there’s a catch.

“Unfortunately, you learn more from the bad ones than the good ones,” he explained. “You just have to relax out there, have fun and enjoy the game. Sometimes things are going to happen and you can’t control them, but if you start thinking too much, that’s when bad things happen.”

There was some thought the Canadian brass wanted Price to take the No. 1 gig in Sochi and run with it, thus explaining why he was given the tournament-opening start. Luongo has, if nothing else, now given the decision makers something to think about — but to hear him explain it, both he and Price are ready to put aside personal desires for the benefit of the team.

“It doesn’t matter. We’re both ready. We both want to play,” he explained. “But at the end of the day, it’s their decision and whatever that is we’re fine. We’re not here for our personal agendas.

“We’re here to play for Canada. We’ll do whatever it takes to help them win. “

Latest Posts
  1. Oh, shoot: Devils drop 18th shootout in a row

    Oct 24, 2014, 10:44 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    The Dallas Stars get the extra point.

  2. Lightning lose Brown, Connolly for the night

    Oct 24, 2014, 10:29 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Calgary Flames Getty Images

    Injuries continue to … strike Tampa Bay.

  3. Ondrej chases Ondrej: Jets’ Pavelec gets the hook

    Oct 24, 2014, 10:13 PM EDT

    Winnipeg Jets' goalie Ondrej Pavelec, of Czech Republic, stands in front of his goal before playing an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver, British Columbia on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck) AP

    Update: Vladislav Namestnikov was credited with the last goal.

  4. Report: Hamonic might miss Isles’ Saturday game

    Oct 24, 2014, 9:59 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v New York Rangers Getty Images

    On the bright side, Michael Grabner may resume skating soon.

  5. Video: Drouin scores first NHL goal, shows early chemistry with Stamkos

    Oct 24, 2014, 9:19 PM EDT

    J.T. Brown, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin AP

    Unfortunately, Tampa Bay might face another injury in J.T. Brown.

  6. Columbus activates Milano from IR, gets McElhinney back

    Oct 24, 2014, 8:13 PM EDT

    Sonny Milano Getty Images

    They send their 2014 first-rounder to the OHL.

  7. Struggling Sharks bump Pavelski down to third line

    Oct 24, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

    San Jose Sharks v New York Rangers Getty Images

    San Jose’s enjoyed such center depth before.

  8. Ghost Time: Flyers recall Gostisbehere from AHL

    Oct 24, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Highly-touted rearguard on his way to the bigs.

  9. With 3-on-3 overtime, only two out of 16 AHL games have gone to shootout

    Oct 24, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    AHLlogo

    Hey, maybe the NHL should try 3-on-3 overtime.

  10. BizNasty signs with the Devils (the ones in Wales)

    Oct 24, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT

    Paul Bissonnette Getty Images

    Returns to the Cardiff team he played for during the lockout.

  11. Goalie nods: Gibson returns for Anaheim

    Oct 24, 2014, 3:32 PM EDT

    John Gibson Getty Images

    All the news and notes from the blue paint…

  12. Trotz calls Healy’s comments on Ovechkin (and Ovechkin’s mom) ‘disrespectful’

    Oct 24, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT

    Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

    “Anytime you go personal with family…to me, that’s very disrespectful to the player and our profession.”

  13. Roy ‘not nervous about Xs and Os,’ says slumping Avs need to be better individually

    Oct 24, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    Patrick Roy Patrick Roy

    “Everybody understands the system, everybody knows what we expect.”

  14. Hextall: ‘There’s not a lot out there’ to bolster depleted Flyers defense

    Oct 24, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT

    Flyers Draft Hockey AP

    “We’ve got to do our research here and come up with the best solution we can.”

  15. Dallas getting greener on D, but Ruff says issues are on him

    Oct 24, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

    Lindy Ruff Lindy Ruff

    “I’m going to focus on the good and try to clean up the bad parts. That’s my job.”

  16. Chara has PCL tear, out 4-6 weeks

    Oct 24, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    Click to see Boston’s schedule through the end of November.

Featured video

Caps' 'culture change' proving positive

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Spezza (3497)
  2. E. Kane (3007)
  3. P. Stastny (2951)
  4. P. Datsyuk (2739)
  5. M. Gaborik (2714)
  1. V. Hedman (2713)
  2. E. Staal (2700)
  3. J. Drouin (2626)
  4. S. Varlamov (2466)
  5. J. Franzen (2333)