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. Under Pressure: Brandon Saad

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Brandon Saad Getty Images

    Columbus bet heavily on him this summer.

  2. Poll: Will Columbus win its first playoff series?

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Ryan Johansen Getty Images

    Just making the postseason would be seen as a good season, but perhaps the Blue Jackets are in position to do more.

  3. Looking to make the leap: Sonny Milano

    Aug 29, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Sonny Milano Getty Images

    This will be his first full season as a pro.

  4. Tributes pour in for Al Arbour

    Aug 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

    “We did lose a great man.”

  5. Blue Jackets ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Scott Hartnell Getty Images

    The Blue Jackets have to hope for better health this season.

  6. It’s Columbus Blue Jackets day at PHT

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Ryan Johansen AP

    Looking to bounce back after an injury-ravaged campaign.

  7. Calder runner-up Stone says injured wrist is ‘100 percent’

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    150829_MarkStone Getty Images

    You know, the one injured on “that” slash from P.K. Subban.

  8. Pens sign prospect Sprong to entry-level deal

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Draft - Portraits 2015 NHL Draft - Portraits

    The club’s top pick at this year’s draft.

  9. Kings bringing veteran goalie Budaj to camp on PTO

    Aug 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    Peter Budaj Peter Budaj

    Former Avs and Habs goalie spent all of last year in the AHL.

  10. Detroit adds analytics specialist to front office

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    Yet another NHL club hiring a fancy stats guy.

  11. Stars re-sign Eakin: four years, $15.4 million

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars

    Scored a career-high 19 goals and 40 points last year.

  12. Sharks’ biggest question: Does DeBoer make a difference?

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    San Jose Sharks Name Peter Deboer Head Coach Getty Images

    Former Panthers, Devils head coach takes over a team that “hit a little bit of a rut.”

  13. Looking to make the leap: Mirco Mueller

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    After an up-and-down rookie year, he’s looking to solidify his spot.

  14. Hall of Famer Al Arbour passes away

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Legendary Isles coach had been battling Parkinson’s and dementia.

  15. Poll: Who will be San Jose’s next captain?

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Joe Thornton Getty Images

    Bit of an issue last season, if you’ll recall.

  16. Under Pressure: Martin Jones

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Canada v Germany - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Getty Images

    From little-used backup to clear-cut No. 1.

  17. San Jose Sharks ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

    Alex Stalock Getty Images

    It all comes down to goaltending.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1799)
  2. P. Kane (1384)
  3. S. Matthias (1233)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1100)
  5. D. Carcillo (1097)