We need to make a bigger deal of Roberto Luongo’s save of the season

One of the main reasons I love sports is that they have the power to surprise. The absurd and unexpected are almost commonplace, particularly in a fast-paced and chaotic sport like hockey. Roberto Luongo provided one of those absurd and unexpected moments on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.

I expected much more fuss to be made of his incredible save on Colin Wilson, but it seems to have passed by largely unnoticed. In my mind, it’s the save of the season.

I honestly don’t have much to say about it. It was so flabbergasting a save that I can only point at it repeatedly while saying, “Look! See? Do you see it?”

With Luongo down and out after a mad scramble in front of his net, Roman Josi smartly passes the puck across to the wide open Wilson. The shot is about as good as it could possibly be: it’s headed directly to the top corner of the net, right under the bar. It looks like Luongo has no chance to make a save.

But somehow, incredibly, he gets his left toe on it. He makes a toe save on a shot labelled for the top of the net. That’s not supposed to happen. A kick save is meant to happen along the ice.

Luongo evidently plays by his own rules, according to which kick saves can happen anywhere now. At some point this season he’ll likely break up a rush in the neutral zone with a kick save. I expect he’ll quarterback the powerplay from the point, kick saving the puck to Henrik Sedin on the half boards. Did Keith Ballard just flip the puck directly out of play for a delay of game penalty? Nope, Luongo just scaled the boards and made a savvy kick save.

There are a three things about this save that elevate it from great to incredibawesome. First, it kept the game tied at 3, giving the Canucks a chance to win the game in the shootout. If this save happened in a 5-2 win or a loss of any kind, it would be a great save, but ultimately meaningless.

The second thing is that it’s clearly intentional. All sorts of stupefying saves happen in every NHL season where the goalie has clearly just gotten lucky. Sure, they may have made some incredibly athletic maneuver, but then the puck just happens to hit them, or the shooter sends the puck directly at their outstretched stick/glove. On this save, Luongo clearly sees where the shot is going and gets his foot up to stop it. You can tell because he gets his glove up at the same time.

The third thing is that it’s such a sexy save, it bears a striking resemblance to Burt Reynolds’ classic 1972 Cosmopolitan centerfold. Uncanny.

In conclusion, this save deserves more attention. Look! See? Do you see it?

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24 comments

  1. peanutflower
    February 9, 2012

    I’m surprised at no “freakishly long legs” comment by Cheech. That was an incredible save.

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  2. Cookie Monster
    February 9, 2012

    Me write this headline for Daniel.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 9, 2012

      Ha. Yikes.

      Don’t blame Daniel. This one’s actually my fault. I changed the headline this morning when I got up, long before I put the coffee on. Gross.

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  3. aidanbc
    February 9, 2012

    If I could add item 4 to the incredibawesomeness, it’s that, unlike most pad stacks where a goalie can use his momentum to get the pads up, Lu gets the leg up from a pretty stationary position. Maybe he’s taking lessons from Gina Luongo, aerobics instructor: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0ddCjfQBRf8/TfspDsPlfNI/AAAAAAAACi0/pfkbbkEjyL8/s1600/11.jpg

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  4. Pukeko
    February 9, 2012

    I agree. For a guy who lives under the microscope this act of larceny has gone frighteningly unnoticed. I was looking at the NHL website yesterday- and was astounded to see that, of all the 65 minutes of play and 6 shooters he faced, they had decided to showcase not a save but his gaff on the Weber/Fisher carom shot in a segment “hiply” titled titled “My Bad”. Roberto’s leg has no business being under the crossbar. None.

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    • stathead
      February 9, 2012

      I also thought it was weird that they showcased that so much. I actually was looking for a recap of the game and couldn’t find one anywhere on NHL.com, but they managed to find headline space for this one mistake all day, over a day later. I guess the guy who picks out the highlight videos has a kindergarten crush on Luongo.

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  5. yobbei
    February 9, 2012

    shouldn’t have linked to the reynolds’ pic

    that’s just wrong.

    i’m mentally scarred for life.

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    • aidanbc
      February 9, 2012

      If Harrison had written it, you can virtually guarantee a link to a peen-shot. Count yourself lucky.

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      • Harrison Mooney
        February 9, 2012

        True that. I average 1 dong per post.

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  6. Doug
    February 9, 2012

    Have to say the “scorpion” save by Kipper as it was named by the play-by-play guy in the Calgary game last night was pretty damn impressive too – at least it wins points for the uniqueness!

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  7. Doug
    February 9, 2012

    Have to say the “Scorpion” save by Kipper as it was named by the play-by-play guy in the Calgary game last night was pretty damn impressive too – at least it wins points for the uniqueness!

    Glad to see that even with his ocasional beach-whaled impersonation in the crease, Lu is not giving up on pucks which is a refreshing change when I think back to that breakaway goal against him in the finals last summer.

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    • Steven Ray Orr
      February 9, 2012

      I have to second Doug on this one. Kip’s “scorpion” was mind-blowingly good.

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  8. Cathylu
    February 9, 2012

    That amazing save plus his recent shoot-out victories should have Lu feeling pretty good.

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  9. akidd
    February 9, 2012

    save of the season?!? he was down and out and lifted his leg. well done of course but not as good as many others he has made this year.

    personally i prefer it when he’s not so down and out.

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    • peanutflower
      February 9, 2012

      Yes, but you could also argue that while Luongo may have been down he wasn’t out. Out = missed save. My Luongo cup is always half full.

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  10. REM
    February 9, 2012

    Have to agree with akidd. It was incredible, but with a large helping of luck. He’s down and out and all he can do is throw up a leg and hope for the best. His prayer got answered but I think he’s made a lot better saves (intentionally, with no element of luck) this year.

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    • Nick
      February 9, 2012

      That save was not as impressive as others he had in the game. He lifted his leg in desperation and hoped the puck would hit it. Roberto’s a good goalie, but PITB can be a little over the top with their tire pumping.

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  11. madwag
    February 9, 2012

    Danielson

    Backhand Shelf had an excellent post on this save. Perhaps, given it’s Luongo, it’s just a “ho-hum” save. I mean, considering how great he is, one is not surprised when he makes such a stop. Nor is one shocked when he manages to score on himself. Such is the nature of the beast we love and know as “Number One.” But you’re almost right: it was “a” save of the season and well worth remarking on.

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  12. shoes
    February 9, 2012

    Luongo has been playing incredible hockey for the last 2 months and the microscope has been turned off. It only arrives when he lays an egg.

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  13. BS
    February 9, 2012

    Not even close to Schneiders save the other day against Chicago when he was down and out and got his glove on the shot. What was Luongo doing flopping around like a fish anyway?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 9, 2012

      Are you serious? Schneider with a brutal giveaway desperately diving in front of the net and Morrison being unable to roof the puck – that’s a brilliant save with no questioning of what Schneider was doing giving away the puck and flopping down on his belly. Luongo ensuring that he was covering the net throughout a crazy scramble in front and getting his toe on a shot labelled for the top corner – that’s flopping like a fish. Really?

      Both of them were fantastic saves, but the narrative you’ve constructed around them reeks of the narrative trumpeted by the lowest end of Team 1040 callers. It’s fine to think that Schneider’s save was better, but to hold it above Luongo’s save because Luongo was “flopping like a fish” is simply unbelievable.

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  14. JDM
    February 9, 2012

    The reason it isn’t getting the attention it deserves is the lack of a really good camera angle that shows how ridiculous it was. The save by J.S. Giguere about a week ago was given “save of the season contender” status, and rightly so, but it’s because of the camera angle in front of the net that lets you see very clearly how insane the save was. Here, the best angle is from up top, which doesn’t give the full picture and as a result doesn’t become as jaw-dropping a highlight.

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    • JDM
      February 9, 2012

      … Also Shorty kind of fumbled the play call on it. We really needed Hughson for this one.

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  15. TJTHEDJ
    February 9, 2012

    Okay settle down there big fella it was a good save in a game that he had allowed two bad goals in already on that he actually kicked into his own net so he only in my mind made up for some of his own mistakes that put the team in the place where they had to win it in the shootout

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