Feb 14, 2014, 3:34 PM EDT
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. “
Sep 15, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT
It’s tremendous even if it was in a prospects game.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:12 PM EDT
Frank Corrado gets ejected for that check.
Sep 15, 2014, 9:49 PM EDT
The team says he has “full movement” following a boarding hit.
Sep 15, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT
Some optimism about how his knee is feeling.
Sep 15, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT
Sep 15, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
More training camp invites.
Sep 15, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
He’s reportedly talking to several teams.
Sep 15, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
“I still think something will get done before camp.”
Sep 15, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT
Potentially adding some depth.
Sep 15, 2014, 2:52 PM EDT
Former Kings, Flames netminder lands in an interesting spot.
Sep 15, 2014, 1:37 PM EDT
Veteran guy, but not the righty Mike Babcock was looking for…
Sep 15, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT
Because it hasn’t yet decided if it will.
Sep 15, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT
Also includes a similar series dedicated to the Sharks-Kings outdoor game.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT
That’s businessman and former Harvard hockey player, Phil Falcone.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
Medvescak Zagreb, which now has a boatload of ex-NHLers.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT
The Wild want the flexibility of a two-way deal, however.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT
P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty will all serve as alternates.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:01 AM EDT
If you think he might blame coach Dallas Eakins for Edmonton’s struggles in 2013-14, think again.
Sep 15, 2014, 9:49 AM EDT
Should be an interesting next few days in New Jersey.
Sep 15, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
Just one part of the Ilya Bryzgalov “fiasco.”
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- Report: NHL, Epix network to partner on Winter Classic reality series 15
- Habs to play without captain for just second time in franchise history 16
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman 44
- Devils post-Martin Brodeur era about to truly start 9
- Report: Rangers expected to announce captain on Thursday 12
- Snider: Flyers not hiding behind ‘horrible mistake’ of signing Bryzgalov 21
- P.K. Subban: ‘I’m not trying to change the game of hockey’ 24
- Demand for Canucks tickets plummeting according to broker 39