After being questioned last season, he posted some of the best statistics of his career during the regular season and received a nomination for the Vezina Trophy. During the playoffs, he came up huge in Game 7 of the first round winning the game in overtime and overcoming his playoff demons by defeating his hated rivals. Throughout the postseason, he posted 4 shutouts, including 2 in the final round. He backstopped his team to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. And won.
Yes, I’m talking about Tim Thomas in that paragraph above, but up until those final two words, I could have been talking about Roberto Luongo. So why isn’t anyone in Boston calling for Thomas to be traded?
Luongo was incredible for the Canucks this season, leading the league in wins, finishing second behind Thomas in goals against average, and fourth in save percentage. With Cory Schneider, he won the Jennings trophy for having the lowest overall goals against in the regular season. He was nominated for the Vezina, but will likely lose it to Thomas. In the first round of the playoffs, he bounced back from the embarrassment of a Game 4 shellacking and a Game 5 benching with two solid games, including a superb Game 7 performance. That performance led to an overtime win that was supposed to erase the doubts over whether Luongo could be a “big game” goalie.
And yet the doubts remain. Somehow, losing in the Stanley Cup Final has become Luongo’s fault, despite the offense in front of him contributing a measly 8 goals in 7 games. Heck, only 5 of those goals were meaningful, with the remaining 3 recorded after games were already out of reach. Despite posting two 1-0 shutouts in the Stanley Cup Final, Luongo is being questioned. Fans are asking whether the team can trade him. Media are asking whether the team can trade him. Jason Botchford has somehow interpreted going to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final as continuing a negative trend. Heck, some callers to the Team 1040 were wondering if he could be buried in the minors like Wade Redden or Sheldon Souray. Is everyone insane? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!
It is absolutely baffling to me that the most successful season in Canucks history is leading to this many questions about their starting goaltender. Could he have been better in the Stanley Cup Final? Of course. He was simply not as good as he should have been. Would it have made a difference? Probably not. Without anyone scoring goals, the Canucks were not going to win this series. If not for Luongo shutting the door in 3 of the 7 games, this could have been a Boston sweep. Everything I’ve seen from Luongo in his time in Vancouver gives me every confidence that he is not done. Like the Sedins, he constantly battles to improve and become a better player. Next season, he will have something to prove and he will play like it.
If it weren’t for the fact that Canucks fans participated in an actual riot after Game 7, the fans calling for Luongo to be traded would be the ones I’m most upset with and ashamed of. The two previous goalies that led the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final are held up as legends in Vancouver. Don’t be so quick to throw Luongo under the bus. Take some time. Gain some perspective. Stop being stupid.
Tags: Canucks, featured, Luongo, Off-Season Blues, Seriously?, there are some stupid people in the Canucks fanbase