The 2011-12 season has given rise to an infuriatingly lazy narrative: every start Roberto Luongo doesn’t get is now seen as evidence that the Canucks don’t have faith in his ability to win versus a certain team or in a certain building. Schneider gets the start in Boston? The Canucks don’t trust Luongo to win at the TD Garden. Schneider gets the start versus Chicago? Not only are the Canucks afraid to play Luongo in Boston — now they don’t even trust him to tend the pipes against their biggest rival!
Nevermind that Luongo has started in Chicago this season and only missed out on a second start because he was injured — every non-start is a condemnation. (I can’t wait for Schneider to get the start in the last game of the season. You know someone is going claim it’s a playoff tuneup.)
All this in mind, you had to know that, when Cory Schneider got the nod Thursday for the Canucks’ road game versus the Minnesota Wild, people were going to deduce that this was yet another showing of Luongophobia, especially with Funny Bob’s career numbers in the land of 10,000 lakes. From Jason Botchford at The Province:
Cory Schneider will get his fourth straight start in the Xcel Energy Center. Head coach Alain Vigneault said it’s just Schneider’s time to play, dismissing the idea he’s trying to avoid Luongo confronting his personal house of horrors.
Boston, you got nothing on this place.
Luongo’s lifetime record in Minny is 3-9-1. He has a 3.56 GAA and an .873 save percentage.
Botchford doesn’t explicitly claim that Schneider’s start is due to Luongophobia — he’s just making the suggestion. Damien Cox, on the other hand, is clearly a terrible Clue player, because he goes straight for the accusation:
(Typical Torontonian, always out to get Luongo… give Lu his assist!)
Now, Alain Vigneault asserted that the decision had nothing to do with Luongo’s road record versus the Wild, but Vigneault seems to find great amusement in misleading and alarming the media, especially when it comes to his goaltenders, so it’s hard to take him at face value. Plus, when you look at the numbers, it certainly makes a lot of sense. Sure, Luongo hasn’t surrendered a goal to the Wild in two games this season, but both shutouts came at home — that road record is truly abysmal.
But I don’t think that’s what’s going on here, especially because I don’t think Luongo has been the sole issue in most of these games. He’s awful in Minnesota, to be certain, but the Canucks play terribly as a team in the Xcel Energy Center and their recent record without him supports this.
For instance, despite presumed Minnesota Miracle Man Cory Schneider getting the start in the last visit to St. Paul, the Wild still won the game 5-1. Last season, Schneider picked up a 4-1 win in Minnesota, but that was only after the Canucks suffered a 4-0 loss.
Cory Schneider’s career record when starting in Minnesota: 2-3-0 with a 2.40 GAA and a .905 save percentage, and that’s including a 2-1 win in 2008-09, when he was called up from the AHL due to a Roberto Luongo injury and wound up collecting his first career NHL victory. It may not seem like that long ago, but consider that Willie Mitchell was the second star in that game and Jason Jaffray scored the game-winner. It was ages ago.
Over his starts since becoming the Canucks’ full-time backup last season, Schneider’s 1-3-0 with a 3.33 GAA and a .898 save percentage in Minnesota. Better than Luongo’s numbers, sure, but not by much.
In short, it doesn’t matter who’s in net versus the Minnesota Wild, and if Alain Vigneault is starting Schneider because he believes it does, he’s as foolish as the people driving this narrative.
He isn’t. This start has nothing to do with Luongo.Tags: Luongo, schneider