Cory Schneider totally wants to steal Luongo’s job, but he’s too lame to say so

The Canucks’ goaltending situation is suddenly up in the air, with both netminders seemingly capable of taking the number one job (or just one, if you listen to Vancouver’s massive contingent of Luongo-haters). But, if there’s one element where Cory Schneider’s got Roberto Luongo beat without question, it’s in media dealings. Schneider’s absurdly good at providing quotes that can’t be misinterpreted, meaning there’s nothing for the media to blow out of proportion — meaning there’s nothing over which PITB can call out the media for blowing out of proportion.

It’s no fun for anybody, really.

Schneider’s so good at downplaying controversy that no one even batted an eye when he effectively said today that he hoped to take Roberto Luongo’s job.

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On Cory Schneider’s low-maintenance relationship with the Canucks

It’s hard not to think a little less of Cody Hodgson in the wake of agent Ritch Winter’s admission that the rookie centre’s camp was indeed pushing for more icetime prior to the trade deadline deal with Buffalo.

Sure, such requests may “happen all the time in the ordinary course,” as Winter suggests, and perhaps this whole icetime controversy ranks high on the molehill-to-mountain conversion scale, but the mere fact that these discussions have become public knowledge provides a stark contrast to the quiet servitude of Cory Schneider.

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If Cory Schneider isn’t getting traded, the Canucks had better be planning to use him

On Thursday, I discussed what Cory Schneider’s recent usage in big games didn’t mean. Now I want to investigate what it does mean. Here’s the thing: while Schneider’s starts in Boston and versus Chicago weren’t indicative that the Canucks trust him in big games more than Roberto Luongo, they were indicative that the Canucks trust him in big games, and that’s still a big deal.

In fact, if these so-called “important starts” mean anything, it’s that the team is preparing Cory to receive more of them. Don’t believe Jack “Don’t stat me your stats” Edwards — Cory’s not the official playoff starter. But he may be more than the official playoff backup.

At the beginning of the Edwards interview, Greg Wyshynski (who is a quality boss, by the by) posits the theory that the Canucks are planning to go to a two-goalie system in the playoffs.

This is worth a beard stroke. Many teams have used two or three different guys on the way to a Stanley Cup, but in most cases, their hands were forced by inconsistent play from their number one. Very few enter the postseason intending to share the workload between two netminders — the Canucks certainly didn’t last year. However, I’m beginning to wonder if this is what coaching and management are planning.

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Is Cory Schneider the new number one? Jack Edwards sure seems to think so

I worked in retail for five years, so I speak from experience (and deep emotional scarring) when I say that Boxing Day is the worst. It’s not just the long and frenzied day, either — it’s the day before, when the dread begins to settle in. Basically, if you have to work Boxing Day, Christmas is ruined because everything after lunch is mental preparation for tomorrow’s rumble.

I thought of this when Alain Vigneault announced that Cory Schneider was getting the start versus the Chicago Blackhawks, explaining that the decision was made before the All-Star break because Roberto Luongo, unlike Schneider, has a family. Some people scoffed, but it made sense to me. In effect, Luongo was able to enjoy his full vacation because he didn’t have to begin the mental prepwork before he left. As a Boxing Day survivor, this made sense to me, and as a Canuck fan that has witnessed Luongo burn out emotionally, it made even more sense to ensure his restful family time was as restful as possible.

Still, many read Vigneault’s decision very differently.

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Let’s get Cory Schneider to speak more often

While Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo have been putting up eerily identical numbers for a while now, it’s no secret to Canuck fans that one of the major differences between the two netminders is that Schneider is an ace with it comes to media dealings. Where Luongo resorts to ill-timed gallows humour and can occasionally get himself into trouble by misspeaking or underplaying his sarcasm (not to mention making some genuinely creepy faces), Schneider is well- and soft-spoken, and he makes his points clearly and intelligently.

That in mind, I was ecstatic when I heard that Luongo had made the exceedingly wise choice to plead the fifth when asked about Tim Thomas’s decision to opt out of the Boston Bruins’ White House visit, and I was pleased as punch when I learned that Schneider, on the other hand, had not.

Sure enough, Frecklesnoot had some intelligent things to say (and if you want an example of how correct he came, consider that the Globe’s Eric Wilbur also gnashed his teeth and agreed with the Canuck backup). So what did he say?

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Is Cory Schneider for sale? No, you have to pay retail

It seems a reasonable assumption that 2011 — which has, at the time of this writing, about twelve hours left to live — was the last full year in Schneider’s tour of the Vancouver Canucks organization. Most agree that he is ready to be a full-time NHL starter and, since the Canucks already have one of those signed well into the age of the flying car, Schneider’s increase in marginal utility will have to come elsewhere.

There’s very little if regarding a Cory Schneider trade — the suspense surrounds the when. Schneider is in the final year of a two-year, $900,000 deal with the Canucks, after which time he’s sure to see a raise to something a little more commensurate with his abilities.

While Mike Gillis and co. have never seen a cap challenge they didn’t love, I suspect they aren’t eager to pay their backup multiple millions. I also suspect that negotiations on Schneider’s current deal ended with an unwritten agreement that the next round of negotiations would be with a different management group.

It feels like we’ve been saying this for something like five straight years now, but Schneider will likely be moved by the summer draft. (Like Frank Sinatra.)

Still, by the draft is very different than at the draft. Will he be moved before it — like, say, at the trade deadline? That is a far more contentious issue, and with the deadline now less than two months away, the issue has begun to come up.

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Roberto Luongo gets new mask, talks old mask with The Score

Roberto Luongo debuted a new mask in Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Since the mask is meant to be paired with the Canucks’ third jersey that features their original stick-in-rink logo, it echoes the mask of former Canuck goaltender Curt Ridley.

Ridley’s mask combined four stick-in-rink logos for an eye-catching cross design. It’s a gorgeous design and with the Canucks bringing back the stick-in-rink logo it was just a matter of time before it was revisited. Thing is, Luongo’s not even the first Canuck this season to wear a Ridley-inspired mask. Cory Schneider’s been wearing one all season.

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I was listening to a sports radio station in Toronto the other day and the question put forth by the host was simple—if you ran the Vancouver Canucks what would you do with Roberto Luongo?   I thought he was asking a rhetorical question but no he actually wanted to know.   I thought it was rather [...]

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Roberto Luongo met with the media after Monday’s practice and everyone was eager to hear what he would have to say about Cory Schneider starting his sixth straight game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Luongo was unexpectedly poised and prepared, as he has frequently misspoken or said things in interviews that can be misinterpreted in the past. This time, Luongo wisely steered clear of any attempts at jokes and stuck with sincerity.

“The guy’s been working hard for two years and never said a word,” said Luongo, “so he deserves every minute that he’s getting right now and I’m one hundred percent behind him. He’s been behind me since the start and there’s no reason why I wouldn’t be behind him one hundred percent.”

If Schneider continues to play the way he has over his last four starts, Luongo might end up behind him for a while. Oddly enough, that doesn’t mean that he’s no longer the Canucks’ number one goaltender.

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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 topics that deserve mention.

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I Find This Photo Odd: Cory Schneider will kill you

We spoke earlier today about the Snack Goal principle, our explanation for that curiously frequent occurrence where the Canucks lose their shutout bid within the final ten minutes of games, and we made sure to point out that it wasn’t a Luongo-only phenomenon: Cory Schneider’s in on it too. Of course, that’s the only time during any game when Cory Schneider’s even remotely forgiving of shots in his direction. Try to score on him any other time, and he will kill you.

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Here’s a pair of video interviews from last week at the Fan Zoo’s Fan Appreciation Day, in which Fiona Forbes and Michael Eckford of Urban Rush chat with Alex Burrows, Cory Schneider and Maxim Lapierre. Both clips are humorous, relaxed, and definitely worth a watch.

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Cory Schneider’s first year as a full-fledged member of the Vancouver Canucks was a successful one. More than simply being a serviceable backup, Schneider matched the statistics of Roberto Luongo, giving the Canucks Vezina-quality netminding all through the season. The pair combined to allow the fewest goals against in the league, adding a Jennings Trophy to a long list of NHL awards won by Canuck players. It was impressive, especially because, prior to Schneider’s arrival in town, Canuck fans were used to spotty netminding from Luongo’s backup. It was also impressive because Schneider did it all while being habitually attacked by a shark.

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Considering the way that Mike Gillis is throwing around invites these days, you’d think he had just discovered Facebook events. Not long after word got out that the Canucks had invited former Bruin Steve Begin to training camp, word got out that Vancouver had reached out to former NHLer Manny Legace as well. What does Legace’s invite mean for the Canucks goaltending situation?

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Some of you may remember the above photo of Cory Schneider from about a month back, when we discovered it after game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. If not, get acquainted with it: it may be the most photoshoppable photo of all time. Heck, we’ve already had two full galleries of The Many Axes of Cory Schneider, and I’m still not satisfied that we’ve exhausted all the possibilities. By the end of the second gallery, the guitar angle had been relatively exhausted, but it was beginning to become apparent how perfectly Schneider was posed to handle a litany of different instruments. Keytar. Banjolin. Giant sub.

That in mind, I decided it was time to get all mavericky with the meme. And so, without further ado, I present a very special part III in the many axes of Cory Schneider series.

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Yesterday, we presented a funny little photo that depicted Cory Schneider in what appeared to be the the climax of a blistering air guitar solo. It was a sweet pic. We had some fun with it, soliciting photoshops from our readers that put the imagined axe into his hands. The results were, as the kids say, “cool beans.” So here are some more.

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After his spotty performance last night, much is being made today of Roberto Luongo’s mental fortitude. This time, unlike other times, it’s not entirely unfair. Pulled for the second time in the Stanley Cup Final after allowing three goals in under five minutes in a crucial first period of Game 6, the Vancouver netminder is getting shredded coast to coast.

But enough about Luongo. On the topic of fortitude and shredding, this photo of Cory Schneider from last night’s game is the epitome of both. Pressed into relief duty, the Bostonian backup apparently took the opportunity to act out his lifelong fantasy of playing the entirety of Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain (greatest guitar solo ever) before a sold out TD Garden crowd.

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In light of the Canucks’ disastrous trip to Boston, we expect some significant line-up tweaks from the occasionally esteemed Coach Vigneault. During the last Canucks’ meltdown (the first round near suicide swoon against Chicago), we threw out some ideas for roster changes (see our April 23rd posting where we recommended reuniting Ryan Kesler and Alex [...]

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In his early days in Vancouver, Coach Alain Vigneault was known to juggle his lines at the slightest adversity. Though as the Canucks have morphed into an elite team, his juggling act has reduced greatly.

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Let us step back from our book-stealing, cheerleader-tossing, muffler-biting, pool-flipping ways for just one moment and take stock of what we just observed: that was an incredibly exciting hockey game. It was a nail-biting, innard-twisting, heart-pounding thrill ride filled with unexpected plot twists. The Canucks, after two complete no-shows, returned to form and played well enough to win the game; unfortunately, due to a couple puckhandling errors, an unfortunate bounce in overtime, and the posts not counting as part of the net, they didn’t. That shouldn’t take away from the sheer entertainment value of the game, nor should it take away from the excellent play of the Canucks. But it does. It takes everything away. In these few hours since the game ended, I can’t shake the feeling that the game sucked and that the Canucks were terrible. Because I’m a reasonable human being, capable of logical deduction, I can convince myself that such is not the case, but the emotions remain. This game was both exhilarating and excruciating. I watched this game.

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For the third time in the last four years, the Canucks and Flames found themselves paired up for game 82 with little on the line. Considering the lopsided outcome of the previous two season-enders, with the Flames walloping the Canucks 7-1 in 2008 and the Canucks matching that goal total in a 7-3 rout last year, one might have assumed that this contest wouldn’t be lively or close. But it was. Like extramarital sex with a ghost, this one was a spirited affair. After falling behind by two, Vancouver needed a third-period comeback and an overtime marker from Christian Ehrhoff to head into the postseason on a winning note. I watched this game.

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The William M. Jennings Trophy is awarded annually to the goalies for the team that allows the fewest goals against. The Vancouver Canucks have allowed 181 goals this season, three fewer than the Boston Bruins, who have four games remaining to the Canucks three. If the Canucks can avoid ugly performances like Saturday’s flop, there’s a good chance that the Canucks goalies will take home the prize.

Or rather, Roberto Luongo will take home the prize.

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I Find This Video Odd: Cory Schneider just got Keslurked

At least he kept his shirt on this time, but I feel he’s overcompensating. All we ask, Kesler, is that you wear the minimum amount of clothing required to buy Doritos at a Chevron. Luongo’s mask is overdoing it.

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As though he weren’t already doing enough to make himself eminently desirable to other organizations, here’s Cory Schneider on After Hours, proving he’s a downright fabulous interview to boot. Turns out he’s as great in front of the camera as he is in front of the net. He’s open, he’s honest, and he’s funny. For [...]

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Canucks 4 – 1 Wild With tonight’s victory over the Minnesota Wild, the Canucks successfully staved off their first two-game regulation losing streak since November, when they went three straight games without collecting a point against Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Phoenix, in that order. Again: that was in November. This stat, incredible as it is, never seemed [...]

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