Stick in Link: Schneider is no longer Luongo’s problem; Manny Malhotra update

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Tuesday and Thursday. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs New Jersey Devils, October 8, 2013

This may come as a surprise, but Tuesday’s game at Rogers Arena was not a actually a battle between Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. Unexpectedly, the two goaltenders brought teams with them. Given the hype heading into the game, I was expecting Luongo and Schneider to engage in some sort of 1-on-1 competition. Basketball, maybe?

Instead, they played hockey. And I watched them do so when I watched this game.

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Fearful symmetry: Schneider, Luongo, Tortorella, Vigneault all debut with three-goal loss

In a bit of fearful symmetry from Thursday night’s games, the key components of the two biggest stories of the Canucks’ off-season all lost by three goals in their first games with their new teams. Note that I’m including Vancouver as a new team for Roberto Luongo, because he was basically off the team before Cory Schneider got traded.

Opening night for the Canucks, Devils, and Rangers all fell on Thursday, so Luongo and Tortorella made their season debuts on the same night as their counterparts in New Jersey and New York.

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Sober second thoughts on Cory Schneider’s trade to the New Jersey Devils

If the Vancouver Canucks’ plan was to quell the surge of negativity that began to surround Roberto Luongo after 2011, and somehow redirect public opinion squarely back into his corner, then the events of Sunday afternoon were the final, remarkable moments in one of the most brilliantly orchestrated long cons in the history of the game.

When the Canucks’ goaltending disaster finally saw its coup de grace and it turned out to be not Luongo on the way out but Cory Schneider getting an Amtrak ticket to Newark, nearly everyone in Vancouver saw Luongo as the pitiable victim of a raw deal.

That he completely is. And considering the last two years have been a raw deal borne of another raw deal — his contract — this thing is three raw deals deep. That’s a raw deal with a capital R, like The Score’s broadcast contract with the WWE.

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Alain Vigneault: Schneider has a ‘body injury’; but what is the body, really?

The playoffs are just a couple games away, which means it’s time for teams to get vague about injuries. While NHL teams are maddeningly non-specific about injuries at the best of times, the playoffs bring out the slimy politician in every coach, as no one wants to give the opposition any clue as to what injury a player has suffered, lest they target that injury in subsequent games.

A player could blatantly break his leg, with the bone sticking out through his hockey pants, and his coach would describe it as a “lower body injury.” A player with a literal hole punched out of his chest wouldz have an “upper body injury.” At one point, after Rick DiPietro suffered a clear head injury, his coach diagnosed him with “general body soreness.” Seriously.

But Alain Vigneault took the next big step in ambiguity on Wednesday: when asked about Cory Schneider’s injury that will see Luongo start Thursday, backed up by Joe Cannata callup, he refused to even say if the injury was to the lower or upper-body. It was just… to the body.

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Cory Schneider day-to-day after hurting his undisclosed; Roberto Luongo draws in

For much of this season, the primary talking point about the Vancouver Canucks has been the soap opera in their crease, where they have the champagne problem of two number one goalies, and the actual problem of only being allowed to start one at a time.

As a result, it’s been a rough year for Roberto Luongo. The whole thing reached a zenith at the NHL trade deadline when nothing happened, which was, in and of itself, a pretty big happening. You’ll recall an emotional Luongo saying some fairly quotable things about his pernicious contract before taking a deep breath and resigning himself to spending the rest of the season as the backup.

And that’s where Season 1 of The Young Goalie and the Restless Goalie ended, with Season 2 scheduled for the instant the postseason comes to a close, because there couldn’t possibly be another twist in this saga until — hold on, what’s that now?

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Roberto Luongo runs over Cory Schneider, literally, in the battle to be number one [VIDEO]

On Wednesday night, James Duthie tweeted out a mysterious picture of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider posing with a dummy that appeared to have a partially or mostly severed head. If not for the other people milling about in the photo, it would have looked like Luongo and Schneider were deranged serial killers grinning madly after practicing their garrotting techniques.

Instead, it was just a preview of James Duthie’s latest comedic collaboration with Roberto Luongo, which TSN showed at the first intermission of the game between the Canucks and Predators. TSN went behind the scenes and found out that the two goaltenders’ class and professionalism is just a front, revealing just how immature their antics truly get.

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I Find This Photo Odd: Cory Schneider finally snaps

Just how much more can Cory Schneider take?

Two years after the Canucks used their first round draft pick on Schneider in 2004, Dave Nonis traded for Roberto Luongo. Seven years later and Schneider still hasn’t surpassed Luongo on the depth chart. Nearly nine years ago, he was drafted to be the Canucks’ goaltender of the future and that future still hasn’t quite arrived yet.

It seemed all but certain that Schneider had taken over the Canucks’ net permanently when he was named the starter for game three of the 2012 playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings. Schneider was superb in all three games he played, making 97 saves on 101 shots, including 43 in the Canucks’ only win of the series. Luongo reportedly requested a trade and the speculation on his destination began.

Only, Luongo didn’t go anywhere. And now, after outplaying Schneider so far this season, Luongo looks likely to take back the number one job, or at least 1A, demoting Schneider to the dreaded 1B.

Would anyone be surprised if he just lost it? Actually, it looks like he already has.

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Roberto Luongo has outplayed Cory Schneider: should he be getting the bulk of the starts?

Last season, Cory Schneider wasn’t just good — he was phenomenal. He finished second in the NHL in save percentage, third in goals against average, and second in winning percentage. Combine that with his previous season, when he finished third in save percentage, fourth in goals against average, and first in winning percentage, along with his solid performance coming into a difficult situation in last year’s playoffs, and it becomes pretty easy to see why everyone thought he was ready to take over the number one job from Roberto Luongo.

So far this season, Schneider has certainly proven that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender, but he’s fallen short of proving that he’s one of the best goaltenders in the league. As we reach the halfway point of the season, it’s clear that Luongo has outplayed Schneider, raising the question of who will get the bulk of the starts over the second half.

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Big Numbers: Freaky Sedins, Offensive Hamhuis and Identical Goaltenders

Every now and then we like to take a break from all the words and just post some numbers. And some words describing the numbers, as otherwise it would just be a whole bunch of numbers with no context, which would be really weird. Here are some odd and interesting numbers and statistics from the Canucks season so far.

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The Dreaded Two-Goal Lead: Cox on Luongo, mask on Schneider, and Jensen on the way

Canucks news comes fast and furious, and sometimes we find ourselves playing catchup. Thankfully, the Dreaded Two Goal Lead – often called “the worst lead in hockey” – is super easy to come back from. Everybody knows it’s a guaranteed death sentence for those that hold it. Well, much like an ice hockey team coming from two goals down, PITB will now effortlessly catch up.

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Humour: the language of winners, but only when they’re winning

In sports, the secret to keeping the media off your back is simple: play well. Like, really well. Do that, and there’s really nothing anyone can do to criticize you. Heck, stupid as it sounds, the things you do and say that would otherwise be criticized will probably be held up as a reason you’re succeeding.

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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.

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Alain Vigneault rides the point thief as Luongo gets third straight start

In an interview with the Vancouver Sun’s Cam Cole back in mid-January, Mike Gillis was candid about the state of his team early in 2013. “The way we were constituted to start this year,” Gillis said, referring to the absence of ice-tilters Ryan Kesler and David Booth, “We just needed to get through this first 2-3 weeks.”

In the same breath, Gillis added, “and neither of our goalies was particularly sharp in the first two games.”

That’s your Rosetta Stone to the Canucks’ current goaltending controversy. Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault know that, without a second line and without all-situation influencer Ryan Kesler, the team isn’t strong enough to win every game on merit and skill. But fortunately, they have two goaltenders capable of making up the difference.

Schneider and Luongo may not have shown it in that first weekend set, but they certainly have since, and when they have, they’ve stayed in goal. It really just makes sense. If someone is stealing you points during a time when you admittedly need points stolen, why would you turn around and start the other guy?

You wouldn’t, and Alain Vigneault hasn’t. Wondering why Luongo is getting his third straight start Friday versus Chicago? For the same reason Schneider got his third straight start Sunday in San Jose. Vigneault is riding the point thief.

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How will we know when there actually is a goaltending controversy?

Roberto Luongo will start his second game in a row tonight against the Colorado Avalanche, a move that seems to contradict any assertions that Cory Schneider is the number one goaltender for the Canucks. If Alain Vigneault were just riding the hot hand, it would make sense: Luongo has been, objectively speaking, the better goaltender to start the season, posting a .917 save percentage and 2.21 goals against average as compared to Schneider’s .897 and 3.13.

The issue is that Vigneault has claimed that isn’t his strategy. Supposedly, he and Rollie Melanson mapped out the two goaltenders starts well in advance and it’s entirely possible that Luongo was slated to start against the Avalanche right from the start of the season. Accordingly, this wouldn’t be the sign of a goaltending controversy or any indication that the Canucks lack confidence in Schneider.

So what would? How do we know when there actually is a goaltending controversy in Vancouver?

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Cory Schneider signs with Ambri-Piotta of Switzerland’s National League A

Cory Schneider has played a large role in the ongoing CBA negotiations as a member of the NHLPA’s bargaining committee, putting his three years of studying finance at Boston College to good use. Last Monday, however, he began voicing his frustration with the process and discussed heading overseas to play in Europe if negotiations didn’t progress.

Apparently Schneider doesn’t see bringing in mediators as progression, as he signed today with Ambrì-Piotta of the National League A, the top tier of hockey in Switzerland.

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The 10 best pictures of Canucks as kids

There is no better hockey-related Tumblr account in the entire world than NHL Players as Kids. Seeing pictures of big and tough hockey players as adorable, cherub-faced children is inherently hilarious. Making it even better is how many of them haven’t changed in the slightest and look almost exactly the same as they did when they were kids.

There are several Canucks represented on NHL Players as Kids and many of their pictures are awesome and need to be shared. So here I am, sharing them with you. That’s just how we roll here at PITB.

Without further ado, here are the 10 best pictures of current and former Canucks as kids:

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Canucks may need both Luongo and Schneider for compressed schedule

After the NHL faced the PR disaster of their market research focus group documents going public on Monday, they needed to do something quick to fix their image among hockey fans. The announcement of a new, seemingly reasonable CBA proposal with the aim of saving full 82-game season? That ought to do it.

While there is still a lot of work to be done in negotiations and time will tell how truly reasonable the offer is, the fact remains that this is the first real glimmer of hope that a deal could get done in time to save the 2012-13 season. The key for the owners, however, is that this offer is contingent on a deal being reached within the next 9-10 days, as they want a full 82-game season and all the revenue that entails.

In order to cram all those games in, the NHL schedule would need to get a lot more compressed, meaning more back-to-back games, more fatigue, and more risk of injuries.

Which means Mike Gillis might not want to trade Roberto Luongo after all.

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Ask it to Bulis! on no European Canucks, knifing Cory Schneider, and Wonder Woman

It’s time once more for Ask it to Bulis, where two incredibly intelligent, witty, handsome, and humble bloggers answer your questions about life, the universe, and everything, but mostly the Vancouver Canucks. Side effects include enlightenment, rationality, and gangrene.

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Spitballin’ on stolen ice time, charitable giving addict Dan Hamhuis, and snubbing Jan Bulis

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

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Cory Schneider re-ups with Canucks for 3 years, $12 million

Mike Gillis may have a Twitter account, but he’s not exactly active. Prior to today, he hadn’t tweeted for 5 months. Before that, there was a 4-month gap. His tweets are generally perfunctory, safe, and uninteresting. While he promised to be “active and update every few days” with his first tweet back on November 10, 2010, he has a grand total of 53 tweets in over one and a half years.

His Twitter account isn’t exactly a must-follow, is what I’m saying. But today he had something interesting to say that every Canucks fan wanted to hear: the Canucks and Cory Schneider have agreed to a new contract.

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What does the Anders Lindback trade mean for Cory Schneider’s value?

After Dwayne Roloson’s disastrous performance last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning desperately needed to acquire a goalie in the offseason. In fact, Tampa Bay was one of the top destinations for a potential Roberto Luongo trade, according to a legion of armchair GMs. After all, Luongo has family in Florida, right? It made perfect sense.

Instead, Steve Yzerman went a completely different route and traded for Anders Lindback of the Nashville Predators, Pekka Rinne’s still-unproven backup, to fill their number one spot. The trade has ramifications for both Canucks goaltenders: first, it removes a potential destination for Luongo, and second, it sets the bar for Cory Schneider’s trade value.

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Cory Schneider spends day with fan, reminds everyone that Canucks have two personable star goaltenders

Roberto Luongo has been spending the off-season (allegedly) letting everyone know that he’s a quick-witted and funny guy through his (alleged) twitter account. Combine that with the rumours that he has (allegedly) been traded to Toronto and you end up with a lot of Canucks fans who are suddenly (and allegedly) sad that Luongo might be leaving Vancouver. We only just now are finding out what a goofball he is and now he might be taking his talents to Sunnyside Beach.

It’s like people suddenly forgot that the Canucks’ other really good goaltender also has a great sense of humour and is an all-around nice guy. Thankfully, Cory Schneider stepped up to remind everyone that he is also a good dude by being his normal charming self during a day spent with a contest winner and his family. The contest ran through Panini America, who make trading cards, and the winner was a young man named David Almeida, who is a pretty big fan.

A fan of sports cards, that is. David Almeida is from Boston, so it’s not overly likely that he’s a Canucks fan. The video of the day is a little dry at times, but it definitely has its high points.

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One lingering concern about keeping Cory Schneider

Just three days ago, Roberto Luongo indicated that he would be willing to waive his no trade clause, if he was asked to. I thought this was a mature, magnanimous response that was a further indication of his professionalism, but didn’t think much else would come of it. It was good to know that he wouldn’t hold the team hostage if they found the right deal, but to me it didn’t mean all that much.

It didn’t mean that Gillis had asked him to waive his no trade clause, nor did it mean that Gillis would ask him to do so. I certainly didn’t think it meant that Luongo himself would ask for a trade.

According to reports, however, that’s exactly what he did. Nick Kypreos reported that Luongo said in his exit meeting that he wanted out, while James Duthie and Dan Murphy started tweeting teams that were on Luongo’s list of eligible bachelors. It was a startling revelation that Mike Gillis denied, albeit weakly. So, unless the reports are erroneous or some sort of ploy, it seems that we already have the answer as to which of the Canucks’ two very good goaltenders will be traded.

But I have to admit that I do have one big concern about keeping Cory Schneider rather than Luongo. The issue is fairly simple: there have been a lot of young goaltenders in the NHL that have experienced tremendous success in their first full season in the league, then faltered badly afterwards.

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Enjoying Cory Schneider’s success has been difficult this season

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.

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