It seems to me the trigger point for the polarized fans is Luongo’s melt-downs he had in the play-offs. When these result in the Canucks being ousted, the fan venom spills forth. This has occurred on several occasions dating back to the first Chicago series.
The other part of this equation seems to be Luongo’s 12 year $64 million contract and the expectations that brings. This contract amount is in the Superstar category and with it Luongo is supposed to play like Marty Brodeur in his prime.
So, instead of trying to make the argument of who’s better and why, let’s look at the following comparison of Luongo, three other current goaltenders, and one from the past, using Brodeur as a guideline:
Now I realize these goaltenders have all played varying amounts of seasons and I have omitted some other very good goaltenders, but time being short – these will have to do for now.
What I’m trying to display here is that Luongo has been a very good goaltender, still is, and no matter which other goalies you decided to use, as long as they have played at least 5 seasons on a regular basis, you would find Luongo within the top five.
So with that in mind, why did Luongo, who is the best Canucks goaltender they’ve had in their history, deserve to be booed in the third period of the Rangers game this past Tuesday?
It’s clear that the team in front of him has not been playing well. I mean, do you really need the NHL stats of Vancouver’s 15th ranking on the Power Play, 24th on the Penalty Kill, 25th in GAA, to tell you that the team as a whole is playing poorly in those areas?
Hockey is a team sport, and if the players in front of the goaltender are not doing their jobs, allowing the opposition to have Grade “A” scoring opportunities, today’s NHL scorers will do just that – score goals.
If Luongo was not a competent elite player in his position, he would not be in the NHL.
Furthermore, why is Kirk McLean placed on such a pedestal, and for what? Take a look at McLean’s stats and you will quickly see that his stats don’t even come close to Luongo’s. Adding to that, it’s not as if McLean won a Stanley Cup either. Both goaltenders helped their team to the Stanley Cup Finals – and both lost.
In my opinion, if Luongo ever leads this team to a Stanley Cup win, then he will quickly be pronounced as the Canucks best ever. The ‘Nucks Nation will be drooling all over him, praising him like he was a demigod, cheering him like there was never an issue and he would supplant McLean on that pedestal.
I just hope that Luongo can last that long, because there is a long list of goaltenders that have come to be buried in Vancouver’s goalie graveyard.
If there’s anyone that needs to be booed, it would be the Canucks as a team!
Ice Chips: Luongo will start tonight against Nashville and it looks like Marco Sturm may replace Mikael Samuelsson.
Watching the game against the Rangers on Tuesday night, I didn’t see a lot of highlight reel saves from Henrik Lundqvist. What I saw was a lot of shots hitting him from all angles, which made the 40 seem like a lopsided contest.
Have to give Lundvqist credit though – you can see by his play why he is among the top five goaltenders in the NHL.
Add in the number of shots that were blocked, or missed the target, and that was by far the best effort of the young season from the Canucks. Once this team starts finishing and playing their defensive system properly, they will be fine.
But like the Tweeting Straithenator said about tonight’s game – “stay off the street if they lose …the 99 percent will not be amused!”
Photo Credits – AP, Getty Images, Google Images and Yahoo Sports!
Video Credits - YouTube
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