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:
Being a backup is a lot funner than I anticipated………
—Strombone (@strombone1) February 2, 2013
Or this, which came just before the Super Bowl coin toss:
Heads on the coin toss. Lock it in. I’ve won a few of those this week! #SB47
—Strombone (@strombone1) February 3, 2013
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: Cory Schneider, goaltending controversy, Roberto Luongo