There wasn’t much to complain about when the final horn sounded in Vancouver’s satisfying 5-3 road win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night. It what turned out to be among the most exciting games of the year, the Canucks scored five times, Alex Burrows established himself as more than just a third-liner with good linemates, Mason Raymond continued his strong play since returning from back injury, Roberto Luongo played incredibly, and Jannik Hansen posterized Dion Phaneuf.
And yet, amidst all this, a severe injustice was done: on the Jannik Hansen solo dash, an unassisted tally according to the scoresheet, Roberto Luongo was absolutely robbed of an assist.
Let us return to the play in question, and not just because it’s all sorts of satisfying.
There are three people involved in this play: the first is Jannik Hansen, who pounces on a loose puck at the Maple leafs blueline, and then blows by Dion Phaneuf, who inexplicably takes a line to the puck that allows him to. Phaneuf is the second person, compounding the issue by playing Hansen softly, going so far as to get out of the Danish winger’s way when he cuts inside, no doubt concerned with taking a penalty. Hansen, meanwhile, accepts this second act of defensive generosity and wrist the puck over Jonas Gustavsson’s glove.
The third person, however, is Roberto Luongo. Without him, Hansen never gets this opportunity, because Luongo passed him the puck.
I mentioned this briefly on Saturday, but I assumed that the scoring play would be changed to recognize Luongo’s integral contribution to it. Two days later, however, Jannik Hansen’s goal remains unassisted, and I remain unimpressed.
It’s open and shut case. Not only does Jim Hughson note that this puck squirts free after deflecting off Luongo, which should be enough for the assist right there, but we can also observe that Luongo directs this puck forward with his goal stick. Here’s a screen capture:
It’s tough to see because Joffrey Lupul (#19) is standing directly in front of Luongo when it happens but, after Tyler Bozak centres the puck, Luongo gets low on the ice and pushes it puck away from the goalmouth with his stick.
Granted, it’s easy to forget about this subtle moment with all the fancy skating and bad defense that follows it, but this is as clear a tip-pass as you’re ever going to see. How is this goal unassisted.
It’s especially egregious when you examine Cory Schneider’s lone assist from this year, which came in the sixth goal of the Canucks’ 6-0 rout of the Colorado Avalanche. Like the Hansen play, it began when a puck was thrown toward the goalmouth and Schneider redirected it out towards the goal line. Except there’s one minor difference:
He kicks it. So let me get this straight, NHL scorekeepers: as a goaltender, you can kick a puck to the blue line and be awarded with an assist, but if you move the puck to the blue line WITH YOUR STICK the goal is unassisted? THIS MAKES NO SENSE.
Clearly, there is some conspiracy here to sully Roberto Luongo’s reputation and make Cory Schneider look good, JUST LIKE ON ALL CBC-BROADCASTED GAMES. Luongo constantly gets harped on for his poor stickwork and yet, here, when he makes a good stick play, it just goes unrecognized? It’s bogus.
Henrik Sedin should be especially upset about this. How many of his assists come on tip passes? Was he undeserving of an assist on Daniel Sedin’s famous between-the-legs hat trick goal? Because that was little more than a redirect as well. Did I mention this was bogus?
BECAUSE IT IS INDEED BOGUS. I’M WRITING IN ALL CAPS, THAT’S HOW MAD I AM.
If Jonas Gustavsson makes this play, he gets an assist. EAST COAST BIAS.
This is a severe injustice and we shouldn’t stand for it, which is why I’m launching the #GiveLuHisAssist campaign on Twitter. I urge you to make some noise until the NHL awards Roberto Luongo the assist he is due.
This is a severe injustice that will not stand. That assist is the difference between being locked in a two-way tie for first place in Canuck goaltender scoring and languishing in dead last. DEAD LAST, YOU GUYS.Tags: Give Lu his assist, Luongo, severe injustices that will not stand