Roberto Luongo’s unrecognized assist: a severe injustice that will not stand

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.

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18 comments

  1. Zach Morris
    December 19, 2011

    THIS CANNOT STAND IN A FREE AMERICA

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    Rating: +24 (from 24 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      December 19, 2011

      Hahaha perfect.

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      Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  2. Kitty
    December 19, 2011

    Speaking of Luongo’s poor stickwork, does that actually hold up to scrutiny? The saves I remember Lu best for are all “oh shit oh shit” stick saves. The man must have the world’s strongest forearms.

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    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  3. Innovation
    December 19, 2011

    I got a kick out of Burkie’s disgusted look in the replay. Thanks for keeping that in the highlight!

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    Rating: +13 (from 15 votes)
  4. Rituro
    December 19, 2011

    I am outraged! This is clearly an atrocious, disgraceful, heinous, ignominious, opprobrious and outrageous attack on Luongo’s character.

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    Rating: +23 (from 23 votes)
    • peanutflower
      December 19, 2011

      opprobrious? that’s a first.

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      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  5. iLovePITB
    December 19, 2011

    WHAT? DEAD LAST, YOU SAY? WE CAN’T STAND FOR THIS!

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    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  6. TheOldFirm
    December 19, 2011

    The title of this article was so close to becoming an awesome The Big Lebowski reference. Instead, it’s just a title.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  7. chicken hawk
    December 19, 2011

    i gave him an assist on the leafs second goal

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    Rating: -2 (from 6 votes)
  8. J21
    December 19, 2011

    The only reason I won’t join the Twitter campaign is because 99% of the Internet™ is going to take it seriously and whine and groan about how much Vancouver fans whine and groan.

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    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  9. Reece
    December 19, 2011

    THIS IS A DEEP ROOTED CONSPIRARCY! DON’T THINK FOR A SECOND THAT MIKE MURPHY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS. HES GOT IT IN FOR THE CANUCKS AND YOU KNOW HE’D DO ANYTHING TO KEEP LUONGO DOWN. HIM AND MIKE MILBURY ARE THE BIGGEST LEAFS HOMERS AREOUND SO YOU JUST KNOW THEY HAD THERE DIRTY FINGERS ALL OVER THAT NON ASSISST. THIS LEAGUE MAKES ME SICK. RON MACLEAN TOO. IT SEEMS LIKE THE ONLY ONE WHOS GOT THEIR HEART IN THE RIGHT PLACE THESE DAYS IS DON CHERRY. HES THE ONLY ONE WHO SEEMS TO STAND UP AGAINST THIS OBVIOUS CONSPIRACY CUZ HES THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS HOCKEY.

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  10. Steeeve
    December 19, 2011

    Burrows only just established himself? It took beating the Toronto Maplecraps in the ACC (aka Maplecrap Gardens), in front of HNICs royal delegation? Again?

    Because call me Susan but did not this Burrows guy score the only two goals, and the biggest goal, in the most important win in franchise history? Without either of his usual linemates on the ice?

    I think you got sucked into the Torontuniverse vacuum for a second there, Harrison. Welcome back.

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      December 19, 2011

      THAT’S what you took out of this article? Awesome.

      Go back and read my IWTG. The Leafs backed off on him in fear of giving the Sedins space, and because they, like many, underestimated his elite skill. And he killed them.

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      Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
      • Steeeve
        December 19, 2011

        Couldn’t agree more.

        Just don’t think it took beating the Buds (again) to prove it :)

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        Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
        • Harrison Mooney
          December 19, 2011

          Fair deuce. *bro hug*

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          Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  11. Nee
    December 19, 2011

    Ahahaha, this article is so awesome. The faux outrage is fantastic. Though I see from twitter that some people don’t understand your sarcasm, Mooney.

    It is kind of annoying though. WHAT’S A MAN GOT TO DO TO GET SOME CREDIT?

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    • J21
      December 20, 2011

      “I see from twitter that some people don’t understand your sarcasm, Mooney.”

      In this respect, I draw everyone’s attention to my posting from yesterday, above. (These things need a time-stamp). :)

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  12. warren
    December 20, 2011

    Fun article – again. Just watched the replay again – that goal almost makes one tear-up its so pretty.

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