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. Video: Teravainen’s beautiful pass leaves Blackhawks fans beaming

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

    Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    It’s tremendous even if it was in a prospects game.

  2. Red Wings’ tryout invite Robinson is fully conscious after being hospitalized

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:49 PM EDT

    redwingslogo

    The team says he has “full movement” following a boarding hit.

  3. Habs’ Price expects to be 100 percent to start 2014-15

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT

    Carey Price AP

    Some optimism about how his knee is feeling.

  4. With camp looming, DeKeyser’s anxious to reach deal with Detroit

    Sep 15, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Danny DeKeyser, Matt Bartkowski AP

    “I still think something will get done before camp.”

  5. Report: Jets invite veteran goalie Taylor to camp

    Sep 15, 2014, 2:52 PM EDT

    DannyTaylor

    Former Kings, Flames netminder lands in an interesting spot.

  6. Detroit bringing Rome to camp on PTO

    Sep 15, 2014, 1:37 PM EDT

    AaronRomeDallas Getty Images

    Veteran guy, but not the righty Mike Babcock was looking for…

  7. Will the NHL publicize divers?

    Sep 15, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT

    Tomas Fleischmann, Kevan Miller Tomas Fleischmann, Kevan Miller

    Because it hasn’t yet decided if it will.

  8. Report: NHL, Epix network to partner on Winter Classic reality series

    Sep 15, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT

    Gary Bettman Gary Bettman

    Also includes a similar series dedicated to the Sharks-Kings outdoor game.

  9. Report: Wild co-owner contemplating stake in Isles

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT

    Philip Falcone Philip Falcone

    That’s businessman and former Harvard hockey player, Phil Falcone.

  10. Kuemper’s ask? One-way, for $850K

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    Darcy Kuemper AP

    The Wild want the flexibility of a two-way deal, however.

  11. Habs to play without captain for just second time in franchise history

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

    Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov, PK Subban, Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov, PK Subban,

    P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty will all serve as alternates.

  12. MacTavish: Oilers can only go up after last season’s ‘debacle’

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:01 AM EDT

    Craig MacTavish AP

    If you think he might blame coach Dallas Eakins for Edmonton’s struggles in 2013-14, think again.

  13. Devils re-sign Gelinas (one year, $900K); Komisarek invited to camp

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:49 AM EDT

    NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 15: Eric Gelinas #22 of the New Jersey Devils skates in an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings at Prudential Center on November 15, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Should be an interesting next few days in New Jersey.

  14. Snider: Bobrovsky told Flyers he wouldn’t re-sign with them

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Sergei Bobrovsky Getty Images

    Just one part of the Ilya Bryzgalov “fiasco.”

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. R. Johansen (1156)
  2. R. Malone (1149)
  3. S. Bennett (1145)
  4. J. Drouin (1127)
  5. K. Timonen (1125)