I Watched This Game: Canucks at Calgary Flames, April 5, 2012

With the New York Rangers’ loss in Pittsburgh, the Canucks found themselves in a position to take a stranglehold on the Presidents’ Trophy race with a single point. And, after the second period ended with the boys in blue up one, it looked like they had it in the bag. The last time this team failed to collect at least one point when leading after two periods was in October of 2009.

But the Canucks let the cat out of the bag, allowing three third-period goals and watching their stranglehold evaporate. On the bright side, what were the Canucks doing trying to strangle a cat in a bag? How incredibly inhumane. Gosh, thank goodness the Canucks blew this lead. I’d hate for them to be responsible for the death of a cat. I love cats. I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 3 Flames

  • Would have been pretty clutch if Cory Schneider could have held on in the third, huh? Instead, he clutched up, and it wouldn’t be the first time. In his only playoff start, Schneider left the game in the third period with cramps. You know who has neither left a game with cramps nor failed to convert a third period lead into points in the two years since Schneider’s been here? Roberto Luongo. Also, Andrew Raycroft. #BringBackRaycroft
  • On two separate occasions, when a Canuck was escorted to the penalty box, a fan behind the glass taunted him with a creepy, plastic, purple baby. Why was this baby purple? Did this baby need oxygen? My concern was that the infant was one of those simulator babies high-schoolers are given in home economics, and the man had taken his son or daughter’s class project to the game and inadvertently killed it. Every time I saw it, I found myself yelling for the man to attempt to dislodge the blockage with back blows.
  • We’re only a short ways in and already we’ve discussed the suffocation of babies and cats. Did I wake up evil or something?
  • Sidenote: A Glengarry Glen Ross reference is especially pertinent in a game where the Canucks showed they can’t be trusted with the leads. (NSFW: Language)
  • Ryan Kesler had a game-high 6 shots in this game but he continues to struggle to score. I wouldn’t worry too much just yet. Kesler may look like he’s playing hard, but he isn’t playing midsection-explodingly hard just yet. For example, he completely looked off Jarome Iginla’s second period invitation to fight, something you know he’s not doing if the game matters a little more. Let’s wait this one out. Playoff Kesler, like the jeep in Jurassic Park, has a higher gear.
  • With his 2-assist performance, Dan Hamhuis finished the night one off his career-high. But, in typical Community Man fashion, he did set a new career-high in assists with 33. And that number is twice as high if you count friends he’s helped move.
  • With so many assists, you wonder when Hamhuis will be given a shot on the first-unit powerplay, which needs a serious boost right now. He should be pretty good at directing traffic, especially since he does it all the time during power outages.
  • Byron Bitz was a bit of a nonentity in his return to the Canucks’ lineup. He played the game on Kesler’s wing, but was disappointingly ineffective. On the bright side, this means he didn’t look out of place.
  • One of the reasons the Canucks typically don’t blow third-period leads is that they don’t make brutal defensive mistakes late in games. Such was the Kevin Bieksa gaffe that allowed Michael Cammalleri to tie the game early in the third. Bieksa simply stopped defending Cammalleri at the half-wall to watch the play, and Cammalleri darted to the net to score. Poor Bieksa. This is what happens when you spend a week in the press box; you get used to watching. Somewhere, Keith Ballard is banging his head against a wall, which is unfortunate since that’s how he got his concussion.
  • But Bieksa wasn’t the only one feeling generous, as Henrik Sedin made a giveaway to Curtis Glencross in front of Cory Schneider that was behind Schneider in less than a second. I loved Henrik’s frustrated but understated kick of the puck after the goal. He was like, Aw, fiddlesticks.
  • Not long after the Flames made it 3-1 in a goalmouth scramble, Jannik Hansen made it 3-2 on a goalmouth scramble. It was a typical Hansen goal, as the Danish Ninja camped out stealthily at the side of the goal then pounced on a loose puck and nunchucked it into the net. Stealth ninja rebound goals are where Hansen excels. Two-on-ones are not. The guy is an underrated passer, so far be it from me to suggest that he shoot for once, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen keep on the odd-man rush, and he telegraphs every single centring pass. Seriously, who telegraphs anything anymore? It’s 2012. Communication is so last decade.
  • Marc-Gragnani finished the night a minus-2 and was probably the biggest culprit on the Flames’ third goal. First, he tripped over Schneider. Then he failed to clear the zone, flipping the puck right into the glove of Mark Giordano. Then he lost his man in front of the goal, then he got outworked by the goal-scorer Cammalleri. Okay, probably may not have been a strong enough adverb. I meant abso-flippin-lutely. That’s a benchable shift, and with Gragnani having reached the 80 games necessary to qualify as a restricted free agent, it only seems appropriate to end this writeup with Three Degrees classic, When Will I See You Again.
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49 comments

  1. Known2StateTheObvious
    April 6, 2012

    Should have started Lu.

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    Rating: +15 (from 31 votes)
    • Nick
      April 6, 2012

      The 3rd Calgary goal was a point blank howitzer from the slot after Henrik bobbled it and flubbed it away … Cory deserves a pass on that one.

      His game was similar to Roberto’s on Tuesday … one stoppable goal, and two because of breakdowns in front of him by guys who screwed up.

      Probably wouldn’t have made much difference which goalie played, because everyone else didn’t starting playing until there was just a few minutes left in the game and they started to realize that they probably just crapped away the conference title.

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      Rating: +6 (from 8 votes)
      • Brent
        April 6, 2012

        I think it was a joke, since when ever Lou loses, all the anti-Lou forces say Schneider should have started. Well I think that is what Mr. State the Obvious meant.

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        Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
    • Shand
      April 6, 2012

      Luongo > Schneider

      Suck it, haters

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      Rating: 0 (from 18 votes)
  2. chicken chick
    April 6, 2012

    Cory Schneider let in three
    In last night’s loss to Calgary
    Other losers in the news
    The New York Rangers and the Blues

    Mayhap now it comes down to
    The Oilers versus Bobby Lu
    Even then as you well know
    It still could be win place or show

    Forehand backhand in the net
    Burr short-handed a goal did get
    All the rest is best forgotten
    Like my first wife and Johnny Rotten

    Or Mason Raymond on his keester
    Hope you have a happy Easter

    Chicken Chick

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    Rating: +8 (from 18 votes)
  3. Zach Morris
    April 6, 2012

    Well, now that both our goalies suck forever, what do we do?
    I tolju guys all along, Lack shoulda been our starter.

    Can we just call this an off game?

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    Rating: +33 (from 33 votes)
    • Zach Morris
      April 6, 2012

      I mean, seeing as it’s too late to trade everybody…

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      Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
    • Wagman
      April 6, 2012

      Joe Cannata, anyone?

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      Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
      • sgolesor
        April 6, 2012

        Let’s just get Manny Legace back. Or better yet, see if Dan Cloutier is willing to come out of retirement.

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        • Jordan Oram (@maplemusketeer)
          April 6, 2012

          What about Weekes? We know he’s available. Plus he and Cory can swap suit tips! :)

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          Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
          • J21
            April 6, 2012

            Don’t rush Weekes — he’s still the Canucks’ Goalie of the Future (TM).

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            Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  4. Andre
    April 6, 2012

    Your description was more interesting than the game.

    Regrettably, AV will not ice you guys while the team sits on the bench watching the outcome. Too bad: entertainment trumps final scores, except during the playoffs.

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  5. madwag
    April 6, 2012

    thanks immensely for the al pacino monoloque!

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  6. Wagman
    April 6, 2012

    With cats in mind, may I suggest #BringBackPotvin.

    It seems to me that the ‘Nucks are not really that serious about the President’s trophy. They are putting in a decent effort, but I bet the “fun” will be done a week from now when the team is pure focus. Home ice would be nice, but that assumes both the Blues and the Canucks make the third round, let alone the Canucks making the finals. Let’s not get ahead of things. I would love to see the ‘Nucks in the finals again (minus the riots), but it takes 12 wins to get there. One game at a time… It still needs to be determined who we play in the first round (personally, I like San Jose, but am not picky)!

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  7. Brent
    April 6, 2012

    Like Hansen said after the game, they should have buried it in the first when they totally dominated, but they didn’t, again.

    Hopefully they can work on the power play before the playoffs start. There were a couple of times Burrows received the puck pretty close to the slot and seemed to have a clear lane, but then passed it back to the point. Why? I think when things are not working, shooting isn’t a bad idea. But then, what do I know about hockey?

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  8. John Andress
    April 6, 2012

    A very disappointing result under the circumstances and the sloppy defensive play, the lack of five-on-five scoring and a non-existent power-play are certainly cause for concern. Concern, I said. Not panic. But the real problem I had with last night’s game was the unfairness of the whole “goalie controversy” thing. I suppose I must be unhealthily fixated on it but how deafening would have been the screaming had Roberto Luongo been the one to blow an opportunity to wrap up The President’s Trophy and first place in the Conference by blowing a lead and giving up three goals in the third period? Given the schedules both the President’s Trophy and the Conference title are now unlikely. An Olympic gold medal and posting two shut outs in the SCF doesn’t seem to earn Roberto a respite from criticism so why should Cory get a free pass on this one? I like Schneider. I know with absolute certainty that last night’s defeat was not his fault and I have no doubt that he is going to be a good, perhaps great, goalie in the NHL but the Calgary loss was a mirror image of so many games this year that Roberto Luongo has been critically mangled for losing. Again, this is not about Schneider but about the blinkered prejudice of those who believe that for one goalie to be appreciated as good the other must be stigmatized as bad. The Luongo bashers should be prepared to offer the same leeway to Roberto as they do to the current flavour of the month. A goalie, no matter how talented, can only do so much behind defensive play that coughs up puck after puck and allows opposing forwards to skate unmolested into the crease or a powerplay that refuses to score no matter how many opportunities they get. Welcome to Luongo’s world Cory Schneider. Don’t let the “can’t win the big game” tag get you down. With any luck the rest of your career will be played out somewhere that is not quite as much of a goalie abattoir as Vancouver is.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      April 6, 2012

      Agreed.

      Also: this comment was produced by Phil Spector. #WallOfText

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      • Matt
        April 6, 2012

        Good point–it is River Deep and Mountain High

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    • Phileo99
      April 6, 2012

      zing!

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  9. Dougster
    April 6, 2012

    Anybody notice Cody’s stat line in a must-win game for Buffalo? Zero goals, assists, and shots with over 2 minutes of PP time. just saying that we won’t miss him in the playoffs…

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  10. TubaNat
    April 6, 2012

    After laughing uncontrollably for 5 minutes and awkwardly stopping all conversation in the room, I have regained the composure to thank you for the link to the Jurrasic Park theme. Sometimes music just speaks to your very soul.

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    • stathead
      April 6, 2012

      It got me nostalgic for the Wilson Phillips link you guys posted in the last few weeks, too. So after Jurassic Park finished, I went right ahead and opened up that “Hold On, Baby” link.

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    • The Bookie
      April 6, 2012

      For sheer randomness, I give you the Jurassic Park theme, slowed to 1000% !

      http://soundcloud.com/birdfeeder/jurassic-park-theme-1000-slower

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  11. sarah
    April 6, 2012

    There’s been some suggestion that Booth and Raymond’s troubles are stemming from playing with Kesler. Both Burrows and Higgins thrived once the were moved off 17′s line. Time to bring back “Kesler did this’?

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  12. Phileo99
    April 6, 2012

    Nice ITWG, but I’m going to have to disagree with your previous article about MAG being understood. I watched him tonight, and there is nothing to misunderstand about his play. It’s just bad. So bad that Alex Sulzer must have hurled his 8point breakfast when he saw MAG flail around on the Flames third goal. Unfortunately, Schneids was made an untouchable, so MAG could not find another scapegoat this time. I can already picture Sulzer on the phone thanking MGGM profusely for making him the true winner in the CoHo trade, and Darcy Regier sending MGGM the Golden Fleece awards, along with a fleece jacket.
    Why in the name of cocoa puffs are the fans not cheering MAG when he gets off the ice ? Surely the body of evidence that he`s submitted in the past 10 games deserves the Bronx Cheer more than the best goalie the Canucks ever had. Watching him is like getting a constant nag that we got fleeced. It`s almost enough to make any sane person flip a table, then flip the pool. Thank goodness that we won`t see him in the playoffs. John Garrett even commented that MAG`s probably dropped behind Connaughton in the depth chart on the Flames 3rd goal.

    PP is 2 for 41, Kesler has 1A in past 10, 2nd line is the walking dead begging to be euthanized, and the fans are still whining that Schneids needs to be the starting goalie in game1 of the playoffs?
    Focusing on improving the PP and finding a stable 2nd line I think will give us a much, much, much better chance to win than figuring out whether the best goalie the Canucks ever had, or the goalie with the best stats should start in goal.

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    • the real bob
      April 6, 2012

      MAG was PPG in the playoffs last year (albeit only in 1 round), maybe that’s why GMMG wanted him. Anyways MAG gets the last laugh why Sulzer gets to go golfing

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        April 6, 2012

        Yep, and Buffalo bowed out of that round post-haste, did they not? Frankly, I’m feeling that even the press box is closer to the ice than I want MAG to be come playoff time.

        This was a disturbing game to watch: no effort outside of the first and last 5 minutes seemingly, against a team that already had their suitcases packed for the Caribbean, knowing that another President’s Trophy and first overall seed was basically waiting at the engraver’s. A 7 game winning streak seems to be able to mask a lot, including a gawdawful power play, complete lack of secondary scoring and suspect defence. Instead of spending the last while trying to integrate players that don’t really fit, it’d be nice if the team actually started to look in tune for the playoffs. AV and the boys have a little bit of work to do, perhaps the last bag skate of the year is in order.

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  13. Tamara B
    April 6, 2012

    Bieksa simply stopped defending Cammalleri at the half-wall to watch the play, and Cammalleri darted to the net to score. Poor Bieksa. This is what happens when you spend a week in the press box; you get used to watching. Somewhere, Keith Ballard is banging his head against a wall, which is unfortunate since that’s how he got his concussion.

    GOLD!!!!

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  14. hockeyispretty
    April 6, 2012

    I watched this game. With the Calgary announcers. I will only say that one of them remarked that Henrik Sedin is “snakebitten”, not having scored a goal in [however many] games. Henrik Sedin, the man who secretly feels guilty whenever he scores a goal instead of passing. 7 assists in the last 3 games, buck-o. He’s not snakebitten.

    I hope we get that guy from the Dallas stars, Razor, for our playoff games… he’s funny, and appreciates all players and teams, and not stump-dump.

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  15. J21
    April 6, 2012

    Glengarry Glencross?

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  16. hockeyispretty
    April 6, 2012

    The Mike’s Hard Lemonade three stars fan-vote selections on the Canucks home page lists Cory Schneider as second star. OK, I wouldn’t pin the whole loss on him, but… second star? Over Jannik Hansen?

    Forecast: collective man-crush will continue for some time.

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
    • shoes
      April 6, 2012

      I have simply started slapping fellow Vancouver fans that open their mouth to criticize Lou after every goal. And of course the same guys, who know pretty well everything, praise Schneider to the rafters and of course lay blame squarely on the D’s shoulders in a game like last night.

      It has got faintly ridiculous and I am starting to wonder how much the fan and media criticism contributes to Luongo having the odd meltdown in big games. Chicken and egg scenario for sure.

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      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
    • Nick
      April 6, 2012

      Hansen really has been one of their best players since the trade deadline. I’m impressed with him more and more every game. His line was the only one that was a threat to score in Calgary, and seemed like the only line that didn’t just mail this one in.

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  17. shoes
    April 6, 2012

    Its a good thing that all teams have let down games or the Canucks would not be tied for 1st overall. Not sure they win the President but you can bet your booty that Washington will play against the Rangers tomorrow like it is their Stanley cup Game, because it is …..win and they may play Florida first round, lose and they get those same Rangers. In the West the Canucks have another chance and against the Oilers and St Louis has to win back to back against the Yotes and Stars. Should be either 1st in West or 1st overall, but it doesn’t matter that much and the team knows it.

    The PP is missing Danny big time…..I was expecting announcement about him today.

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  18. Nick
    April 6, 2012

    AV’s a good coach. But the way he and Bowness handle the defense pairings is mystifying sometimes. It’s like they think defense pair chemistry is overrated, and that it’s far more important that all D should have a ton of experience playing with every possible partner.

    I thought the Canucks missed steady Chris Tanev in Calgary.

    And, for a game at least, Bieksa seemed to be inspired by and began morphing into Gragnani.

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    • obituary mambo
      April 7, 2012

      Considering the fact that these games don’t really matter, I’m at a loss as to why AV and the coaching staff wouldn’t experiment with defensive pairings and line combinations while they have the luxury of doing so. Best to get these things sorted out now rather than wait for emergency to strike and be forced to deal with it at an indeterminate future time.

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  19. Timmy Wong
    April 6, 2012

    The penalty box baby was symbolic of the Flames’ season:

    *choking*

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    • Steven Ray Orr
      April 6, 2012

      Wow.

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  20. akidd
    April 6, 2012

    i think that schneider letting in 3 goals in the third completely absolves lou of his playoff exit meltdowns the last three years. schneider is obviously a terrible goalie which means that lou is a wonderful goalie. schneider losing last night means that canuck fans should be 100% confident that lou won’t cave under playoff pressure for a 4th consecutive year.

    you guys are completely off your rockers.

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    • Nick
      April 6, 2012

      well said

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  21. iceman
    April 6, 2012

    Just imagine what would those self-conscious Vancouver hockey fans and media be screaming today, had Cory shut the door and we won 1-0 last night: “Cory won us President’s Trophy and he’s our #1 goalie! Let him start game #1! Park Luongo in the press box and call up Eddie Lack!” As luck would have it, in large part due to the defensive gaffe in front of him, Cory blew a chance to stir such a goalie ‘mayhem’.

    Now please don’t get me wrong. I love Cory and I have no doubt that he is destined to be a very good starting goalie – here or elsewhere. I hope I can hold my tears if we end up trading him during the offseason.

    What I can’t stand is the the double standard that some of this city’s fanbase and media employ at their convenience, against their own goalie. And what bothers me even more is they seem to think it’s oblivious to the others, especially to those who are being subjected to it. What makes them think Cory will choose to stay with us if we trade Luongo? Do they really think Cory doesn’t see through the kind of treatment Luongo has been getting in this market, even after becoming the winningest goalie in the franchise’s history and surpassing Kirk Mclean in many other statistics?

    Nah, Cory’s a smart kid. He sees and knows the moment he becomes Vancouver’s #1 goalie with a hefty contract, the same fickle fans and media can’t wait to see him fail, drive him out of town and bring up Eddie Lack. Seriously, the only goalie we deserve is Dan Cloutier.

    My advice for you this offseason, Cory: Run away and never look back. The only way you can continue to be loved by this city is signing with another team and keep playing solid like you have been for the past couple of years. We’ll certainly miss you, but at least you won’t.

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    Rating: +10 (from 22 votes)
    • akidd
      April 6, 2012

      double standard? one guy imploded(and broke hearts) 3 years in a row. the other guy didn’t. unless there’s been an epidemic of amnesia in this city i shouldn’t have to explain this to people.

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      • iceman
        April 6, 2012

        Right. We have this ONE guy who was off of his game in the last playoff game we played for each of the last 3 seasons. That ONE guy allowed the other team to score more goals than we did, in the last playoff game we played for each of the last 3 seasons. It is also that ONE guy who is solely responsible for each and every loss in the playoff game he played, for each of the last 3 seasons.

        Sounds reasonable so far? Okay, here’s a question: Last time I checked a hockey team usually dresses 20 players for each game. So what were the other 19 guys on our team doing? Did the ONE guy somehow made them all take a nap or something?

        The other guy didn’t because he couldn’t and because he wasn’t in those games. Too bad hockey only allows 1 goalie in net while there are 6 defencemen and 12 forwards. We should be able to put 2 goalies at the same time to measure their performance in real time, side by side, shouldn’t we?

        Yet, hindsight is always 20/20 so I guess you could say we would have won 3 Stanley Cups already if we had the other guy in net all these years. I can’t really argue with that assertion.

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      • hockeyispretty
        April 6, 2012

        akidd is right Remember how we blew completely out of the playoffs early last year after barely qualifying? Luongo totally couldn’t take the pressure.

        I heard about one goalie who stopped 59 out of 61 shots in the finals for a win during one game against the Bruins. If only we had a goalie like that, and not this damnable Italian heartbreaker. (After that game, no d-men were asked, “why the deuce did you guys let the other team get 61 shots off?” But almost the first thing the goalie was asked was: why did you let that second goal in? Wasn’t that a judgement error?)

        We need someone who can get us to game 7 of the finals! Oh wait, Luongo did that last year. I shouldn’t have to explain this to people.

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        Rating: +5 (from 11 votes)
        • akidd
          April 7, 2012

          so it sounds like you were happy with lou’s perfromance in the scf’s. would you like to see the same kind of performance this year too complete with an away .778 sv% and 8.02 gaa? didn’t think so.

          look, all i’m doing is stating the obvious, that lou has melted down to exit the playoffs 3 years in a row. to say anything else is just revisionism. ask lou what he thought of his performance in the scf’s if you like.

          i’m not saying that it’s all lou’s fault nor that it’s not possible for him to overcome his demons. i’m just explaining why fans have different ‘standards’ for lou than schneider. i think that’s pretty basic stuff isn’t it?

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    • peanutflower
      April 6, 2012

      I’m not really sure why you’re getting so many thumbs down here, unless it’s because people don’t like to hear the truth. That’s probably it. I’ve been a Canuck fan since the very first game and I find it pretty embarrassing to see how “fans” treat Luongo, bad games or not. At the end of last season Luongo is number 21 on the list of all time regular season wins, he’s 6th in the number of playoff wins and tied for 6th in the number of playoff shutouts. There isn’t another Canuck goalie even in the top 50. I hope the Canucks win the Stanley Cup as much as the next person, but really, Luongo is treated shamefully by the fans and you’re right, if Luongo goes and Schneider stays it won’t be long before the fans begin to eat their own with him too.

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      • iceman
        April 6, 2012

        Come to think of it, perhaps that’s all they care about: Stanley Cup, the holly grail of hockey. Nothing else matters. Whatever you have done for the team, the fans and the city if you can’t deliver the Cup single-handedly you deserve to be ridiculed and treated like a dirt, fair or not.

        Yes I’m fully aware we have never won the hockey’s ultimate prize and want to see our team lifting the cup as badly as anyone. It was hard for me getting over the game 7 loss against Boston last year because we were so close. I definitely don’t want to go through another letdown like that this year.

        Having said that, though, hockey means so much more to me. Winning it all is every hockey player and fan’s dream but it doesn’t have to be the only reason. First and foremost I am grateful we have a NHL team to talk about, cheer for and get angry with. The team is probably the only thing that keeps me endure this city’s dreadful rainy winter every year. Of course I get pissed when the team loses after playing like a crap and can’t hide my smile when they win (fortunately they have been very good for the last few years so I had more jolly days than not.) Even then I’d rather have a crappy team than not having a team at all. It’s a privilege to live in a city where there is a hockey team. I know there are many other cities who would burn their taxpayers’ money just to have a NHL team.

        Only 1 out of 30 teams can win Stanley Cup each year. Does it mean the other 29 teams end up wasting their season for nothing? I guess you’d say “Yes!” if you are one of those ‘Cup or nothing’ people…

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  22. the real bob
    April 6, 2012

    I half expected the flames to play the game with their shiny new golf clubs

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  23. obituary mambo
    April 7, 2012

    Is MayRay’s evilness contagious in the same way Higgins’ zombieism is? If so, it may explain your trip to the dark side.

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