While Cory Schneider’s agent starts fires, Roberto Luongo inspires

We hesitate to criticize a Canucks’ player agent, especially considering the clustercuss that happened the last time we did something like that, but one has to wonder what Mike Liut, Cory Schneider’s agent, was thinking Monday when he spoke to Brad Ziemer regarding the situation in the Vancouver crease.

Certainly, this isn’t an ideal situation, but Schneider and Roberto Luongo have both given the impression they’re relatively at ease with it and capable of handling it professionally. “I don’t cry myself to sleep at night, I don’t feel bad for myself, I just have to work hard and be better,” Schneider said at the end of January.

Then Liut spoke up. ”Our concern is we were hoping that this would be the year that Cory would play 75 per cent of the games,” he said. Liut also brought up a worst-case scenario in which Luongo sticks around for the whole year and plays the majority of the games. ”If they are both there for the entire season, and it’s a 48-game season, and Roberto plays 40 games, that’s a disaster,” he said. “That’s an extreme and I don’t think that’s going to happen, but certainly the sooner the better [in regards to a trade].”

Liut’s right to be skeptical that this scenario occurs, especially considering that, at the time of the interview, Schneider had started 4 games to Luongo’s 5. People keep acting like Luongo’s gotten all the starts so far. He’s had one more than Schneider. Even if he is here all season, I’d expect he and Schneider to see something closer to a 50/50 split in goal.

But the fact that Liut is even positing worst-case scenarios — out loud and on the record, at that — is a new headache, both for the Canucks and for Cory Schneider. These comments add unnecessary fuel to a fire that initially seemed under control. More than that, they run the risk of making Schneider look like the bad guy, especially as the moods regarding Roberto Luongo begin to change.

Luongo’s done well for himself over the past six months through his Twitter account, which has demonstrated his ability to laugh at this entire situation. Who can’t love a tweet like this:

 

Or this, which came just before the Super Bowl coin toss:

 

Comedy legend.

But then there’s the perfectly-timed article that appeared in the Sun over the weekend, in which Leigh Maureen Thornton, a Victoria resident battling cancer, wrote a letter claiming Luongo had saved her life. She credited Luongo’s determination as an inspiration during her fight with illness. Here’s an except:

Why? Because while you kept picking yourself up each time you felt defeated, I watched you while I battled this evil existence known as cancer. (I purposefully did not capitalize the word cancer so as to not give it more power).

You see, I was knocked down so many times previous to this cancer that I was desperately seeking any source of possible motivation. I wanted so badly to pull through it but felt no strength inside me, however I watched you play hockey in such a way as if you were trying to save your life.

I drew strength from your strength.

When asked about the letter, Luongo responded in kind. I’m an inspiration? You’re an inspiration.

“Even though she says I was an inspiration for her,” Luongo told CTV, “I think after reading something like that I think she’s more of an inspiration for me. Those are serious matters that you go through in life and to fight like that and to conquer, it’s something that makes the stuff that goes on around here look silly.”

Great quote. Granted, it was fairly clear that the Luongo stuff was silly before the letter, but some extra perspective is always nice.

So basically, in the last few days, we’ve had Luongo lighting it up in goal, laughing it off on Twitter, giving poignant and self-aware quotes, and sharing mutual inspiration with a cancer patient.

Meanwhile, Schneider’s agent is positing doomsday scenarios and giving us the first sign of disgruntlement from his client’s camp. It’s not much, but it’s something. And with the love Luongo is getting from the fans and media all of a sudden — Liut runs the risk of turning Schneider into the bad guy here.

It could be worse, of course. Liut may have added fuel to the fire, but at least he didn’t let half of Schneider’s face get burned off in a fire, which practically guarantees a heel turn. (Schneider realizing Vigneault’s coin, like Dent’s coin, is heads on both sides, would probably do it too.) But the way this whole situation is trending, if Schneider and his agent don’t tread lightly, Schneider may see himself become the villain.

Tags: , ,

28 comments

  1. Beantown Canuck
    February 6, 2013

    You’d rather him die a hero?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      February 6, 2013

      Blast! Just when I thought that metaphor was air-tight.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  2. peanutflower
    February 6, 2013

    It always surprises me when agents grab a mike and start spouting off ill-advised comments. Like that’s going to make Gillis and Vigneault go oh, yeah, hey, we forgot, Cory is number 1. Thanks for reminding us, Mr. Agent Man. We TOTALLY forgot. As far as I’m concerned agents should be not seen and not heard. That’s just my perspective, of course.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +46 (from 48 votes)
    • junk
      February 6, 2013

      You are absolutely right. These agents are supposed to work behind the curtain at all times. Of course the job requires interacting with many different people at different levels, but you are supposed to do it all ‘quietly’. The moment you open your mouth in front of a microphone everything becomes all about YOU.

      There hasn’t been a situation where a player’s agent going public with his opinions helped. We all know MG and AV will not even blink with such a publicity stunt – Why doesn’t the agent? I feel bad for Cory and wish he doesn’t get any bad rep because of his agent’s stupidity. Cory deserves to start as much as Lui does – I hope I see Cory in net against Wild tomorrow.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +17 (from 21 votes)
    • Zach Morris
      February 6, 2013

      Schneider is Beyonce. Luongo is Taylor Swift.
      Liut is Kanye.

      IT BEGINS

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +23 (from 23 votes)
    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      February 6, 2013

      Indeed, more Milford men are needed among the sports agent ranks.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  3. Brent
    February 6, 2013

    Schneider just needs to get another gig on After Hours and do impressions of AV, Burrows, Hanson, etc and the love will come.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +19 (from 27 votes)
    • tj
      February 6, 2013

      Yes. What this all really shows is how much it is a popularity/public opinion contest. And now, folks are wondering if they’re running the wrong guy out of town?

      Sheesh. I don’t think Schneider’s any more the bad guy, than I thought Roberto was a crap goalie. Schneider signed a contract and was possibly sold with a promise to be starter. He has a right to be disgruntled. However, his agent–erroneously thinking he’s defending his guy–is making a tactical error. Here’s hoping Scneid’s savvy is more keen than Hodgson. I feel badly for Corey, actually.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +10 (from 14 votes)
      • warren
        February 7, 2013

        NO more players who’se first names begin with C!

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  4. betty
    February 6, 2013

    Schneider and Luongo don’t seem to be having ANY problem with it. “IF” they have, they have the Intelligence and self confidence, to keep it TO THEMSELVES. they have both stated
    , repeatedly,their positions. Too bad others keep trying to keep the “Rumor Mill” running.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +9 (from 11 votes)
  5. CanuckFanInSF
    February 6, 2013

    Of course the bad guy gets to have the curled mustache!

    I was definitely surprised when I read Cory’s agent’s comments. It is definitely out of turn given what management has done for Cory during the off season (contract) but his vison is so shortsighted. At this point in a truncated season it’s all hands on deck – winning by all means necessary. I wish he could’ve just shut his trap. It only has been 9 games FFS. Could he have at least waited for 15-20? Before griping about his client’s ice time?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 14 votes)
  6. Zach Morris
    February 6, 2013

    Can’t both of our goalies be lovabe? :(

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +22 (from 24 votes)
    • Daniel Wagner
      February 6, 2013

      No! One must always be hated, the other loved! WE KNOW NO OTHER WAY!

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +33 (from 37 votes)
      • J21 (@Jyrki21)
        February 7, 2013

        And annoying as it is, it’s this way in every sport that has a position filled by only one guy at a time. I still remember sitting behind a passionate Seahawks fan at a PRESEASON game in 2001 (when they opened the new stadium), screaming his guts out at how much he hated Matt Hasselbeck when the latter came in for Trent Dilfer.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  7. rvtBC
    February 6, 2013

    Liut found himself in a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation. If he simply offered a terse “no comment” then some members of the media would have jumped on that, saying that, “when approached, Liut only offered terse ‘no comment’” and started spouting off how there appears to be a growing discontent in Schneider’s camp.

    There was more to Liut’s comments that should be noted and which also place some of these reported comments in context. Liut did also say that he understood that the Canucks were in a unique and tight situation given the events, i.e., expiry of the CBA, the lockout during which no trades or official talk could take place, the new CBA rules and rules regarding long term contracts and a shortened, compressed season, coupled with Luongo’s stature as an elite goalie (with a big contract). His comments that if Schneids only got 8 starts or whatever as being a disaster, ring true to me.

    In short, let’s not too worked up about that.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +16 (from 20 votes)
    • Ablefish
      February 6, 2013

      Well said. As always, when taken in context, most ‘quotes’ lose some of their doomsday-scenario-positing-ness.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)
  8. garth
    February 6, 2013

    Testify Wagner!

    This is such a non-story. I can’t figure out why the media in this town feels like they need to ask about it every day. It is soooooo boring. Can we not spend time actually analysing what happens on the ice instead? There are 29 other teams in the league, maybe print something about what they are up to…

    I think the nucks, Lou and Schneider have been doing a great job of maintaing their professionalism through all of the media scrutiny and I hope that this little slip up and ensuing scandle-makering can be put to rest with a continuation of what we have seen from everyone in the nucks organization thus far.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)
  9. Flippin the Pool
    February 6, 2013

    Luongo, Schneider, AV, and MG have all been very professional and classy through all of this. They are probably asked about it every day and IMO they have all handled the situation with great poise and class. All parties involved – including the rest of the team’ – know what is at stake and they all understand the situation perfectly. The Vancouver media just can’t/won’t let this go. It’s the Vancouver media and fan boys of other teams that are creating this ‘controversy’ and as long as it stays outside the dressing room then it’s not really a controversy is it?

    Mt. Liut better tread carefully here. Not only does he risk making his guy look like the bad guy in the eyes of a very fickle fanbase but we all know what Mike Gilles thinks of annoying agents and what he does to their players (see Hodgson, Cody).

    If Mr, Liut thinks his player should get more ice-time then maybe he should tell his player to play better. The starting job was Schnieders to lose, and he lost it with poor play. Luongo is playing like he has something to prove and if Schnieder wants to get back into the crease he is going to have play better than Lu – which is a very tall order at the moment.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +14 (from 16 votes)
    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      February 7, 2013

      “The starting job was Schnieders to lose, and he lost it with poor play.”

      This is not accurate. The goalies were being rotated, as is smart to do in a compressed season. Luongo got on a hot streak, which Vigneault has been riding. To say that means Schneider has performed poorly (and was, essentially, the reason for being bumped to #2) is a very creative way of interpreting that.

      Schneider also went on a tear when Luongo went down last season and continued to start as long as he was kicking butt. That is not an example of “Luongo losing his starting job because of poor play” either.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
  10. chicken chick
    February 6, 2013

    this may be worth repeating:

    The bottom line when’s said and done
    Luongo’s still our number one
    And seeing that no trade was made
    Schneider may well feel betrayed

    For once they said the role was his
    But now instead the way it is
    The coaches say the job they’ll share
    Nobody claims that life is fair

    His missing four starts in a row
    It’s sure that Cory has to know
    He’s backup goalie once again
    And for a while may so remain

    Although that seems so sad to some
    He also knows his chance will come
    And when it does he will look to
    Prove he’s better than Bobby Lu

    And so will go this showing up
    Until they share Lord Stanley’s Cup

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +9 (from 11 votes)
  11. Lenny
    February 6, 2013

    If Schneider plays poorly on Thursday, he would be sitting on the bench for a while and his agent is gonna shove his tail back between his legs.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  12. Chris the Curmudgeon
    February 6, 2013

    This is so stupid because anyone with even a few fully functioning neurons can see that it’s a win-win-win situation. They get to either showcase Luongo for a trade, or get him some extended work to get his season going. The team is winning and in large part because of their goaltending, and the players go out there brimming with confidence in either of the two top notch goalies the team has. And Cory Schneider gets to accumulate far less mileage during his first full regular season as the nominal starter. I am counting on Schneider playing 16+ playoff games this year, and if he can be in “mid-season form” at that time, all the better. Liut and the idiot Canucks media are really reaching to find a negative here, especially with fewer than 10 games played (and an even split of starts).

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +11 (from 13 votes)
  13. Smokey
    February 6, 2013

    I love love love the Canucks goalie controversy, it’s by far the best part of the season so far – even better than horse mask guy. The entertainment value is off the charts, especially because you know that the fans/mob/chorus will eventually turn on Luongo again and guaranteed he will say something hilarious and everyone will be saying, “I always thought Schneider was better” and Gallagher will write that AV should be fired and so on.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
  14. zolltan
    February 7, 2013

    Look, I know it’s kind of unfortunate for the Canucks Liut spoke up, but the guy’s just doing his job. He doesn’t have to be a team player, cause he’s not on the team. His job is to make sure Schneider plays as much as possible and earns as much money as possible. That’s not Schneider’s job – Schneider’s on the Canucks, so his job is to make sure the Canucks do well, and he’s doing that. If he were out mouthing off about not playing enough it would be a shame.

    But for an agent, this makes sense. Liut having complained means we are closer to Liut’s goal of Schneider being the undisputed starter because (a) if MG thinks he can keep this double goalie thing going indefinitely, he will ask for more in a trade, thus he is less likely to get a trade, thus Schneider has to wait longer for an outright starting job and (b) if MG and AV think there’s no chance of souring relations with Schneider by continuing to play Luongo, this move assures them that’s not the case. So, too bad for the Nucks, but great for Mike Liut’s job. An agent who’s seen and not heard is the best thing for the team, sure, but then at that point he’s a terrible agent. I mean, the best thing for a team is for really great players to sign really cheap contracts so that they have lots of cap room – I’m pretty sure agents are there so that this doesn’t happen.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 8 votes)
  15. Carlo
    February 7, 2013

    Awesome post as always Harrison. Exactly when I was thinking when I heard about the news on TV. It’s pretty crazy and downright retarded for an agent to be behaving like that in a situation like this. How did he think people were going to react.

    On a side note, I am personally getting upset about the goalie controversy striking our town and our team. It’s a shame we have to talk and debate about this issue every single day when you look at how the St. Louis Blues handled themselves last year. I can’t believe nobody is bringing up the fact that both Halak and Elliot were #1s on that team and they were COMPLETELY fine. Both were putting up stellar numbers and almost led their team to a President’s Trophy if not for OUR tandem of #1s.

    If I could make the decision, keeping them both especially for this shortened season will benefit us all. Kes and Booth are coming back so we have no need to panic. HECK we’re 5-2-2, and that’s quite decent! POINTS TO THE MEDIA: please stop dividing our team for ratings’ sake.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      February 7, 2013

      Because both of them were career backups to that point, neither one had a celebrated high-profile contract, and both are the same age. It’s really not the same situation. It’d be more like Lack and Cannata emerging at the same time.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  16. Johnny5
    February 7, 2013

    I believe the agent’s name is MIKE Liut, not MARK. Just to point out the typo so that you can correct it. No negative connotation or “yelling” is implied by the capital letters, they are simply to accentuate the incorrect and correct names.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  17. TeeJay
    February 9, 2013

    You see, Rick Hansen was right about Luongo that he will be a Difference Maker himself that will inspire others.Have’nt you seen that video in YouTube?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)