Alain Vigneault announced this morning what everyone already expected: Cory Schneider will start in the Canucks’ must-win game four in Los Angeles. While he faced fewer shots in Sunday’s game three than Roberto Luongo faced in games one or two, the fact remains that Schneider allowed just one goal, played solid, and deserves the chance to repeat his performance.
I’m thrilled for Schneider, who has had a phenomenal season, finishing second in the league in save percentage and third in goals against average, with a 20-8-1 record. He’s hard-working, has a great personality, and has been an exceptional teammate, so it’s great to see him rewarded. At least, it’s mostly great.
For the same reason that it’s been hard to enjoy his success this season, it’s hard to enjoy seeing him rewarded, because every success for Schneider has been treated like a failure for Luongo.
Every time that Schneider made a fantastic save or won a big game this season, I couldn’t enjoy it on its own merits. In the back of my mind, I knew that it just meant I was about to see articles from the mainstream media invoking a goalie controversy and a number of fans on Twitter calling for Luongo to be traded. Instead of being able to appreciate having two of the best goaltenders in the league on the roster, I felt that I had to constantly defend the best goalie the Canucks have ever had.
There’s no arguing that Luongo is the best goalie in franchise history: he holds the franchise record in wins, shutouts, save percentage, and goals against average and helped lead the team to their third Stanley Cup Final, posting two 1-0 shutouts in the seven-game series. Thing is, Schneider may prove to be even better. While he doesn’t have the proven track record of Luongo, he has been consistently fantastic this season.
I like Schneider. I really do. But I can’t stand that every time he plays well, all that anyone can talk about is Luongo. As soon as Schneider was announced as the starter for game four, Twitter erupted with speculation about Luongo asking for a trade, or what the cap implications would be of buying him out, or what teams would be interested in acquiring Luongo.
Let’s remember that this season isn’t even over yet. There will be plenty of time in the off-season to discuss the future of Schneider and Luongo in Vancouver. For the moment, can’t we just appreciate them both? Why does every success for one have to be treated as a failure by the other?
Does Schneider give the Canucks the best chance to win game four? Perhaps, though it is far more dependent on the Canucks picking up their offensive game and powerplay, things that neither Schneider nor Luongo can do anything about. So, for the moment, let’s put aside discussions of trades or controversies. Let’s avoid comparisons to Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price. Let’s just cheer on the Canucks as they take the ice tonight.
Including Cory Schneider.Tags: Cory Schneider, Roberto Luongo