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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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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Roberto Luongo issues veiled threat to Cory Schneider; I’m coming for you, he basically says

With the lockout over and the Canucks’ season slated to begin January 19 at home versus the Anaheim Ducks, the roster has reassembled for a brief training camp. And, since Roberto Luongo remains on said roster, he too has had to return to Vancouver.

He did so Thursday afternoon, arriving to an airport welcoming party of reporters looking to grill him on the awkward situation. (But the most awkward situation came during the scrum, when Jason Botchford asked, “Do you think it’s been a distraction at all?” and Luongo responded, “We’ve been in a lockout, so…. in regards to what?” Awkward.)

Now, while Luongo is here for the moment, he isn’t expected to be here long. But he might be. After all, who knows with Mike “Patience is a virtue” Gillis? And if he is here for awhile yet, Luongo is willing to accept that (not that he has a choice). “Whether it’s a couple of days, a week, two weeks or the end of the season, I’m totally fine with it,” he said.

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Roberto Luongo is willing to waive his no-trade clause; will Mike Gillis ask him to?

For what it’s worth, I’m not so sure that Roberto Luongo’s willingness to waive his no-trade clause if asked is all that big a deal. With a few exceptions (Down Goes Brown bitterly reminds me of former Canuck Mats Sundin), no-trade clauses aren’t an insurmountable obstacle.

The fact is that an NTC is simply there to prevent players from being blindsided. If you have one, you won’t ever have to worry about answering your phone, only to be told you’ve been moved. That’s a nightmare call for anyone, and you can’t begrudge players looking for a guarantee that they’ll never have to receive it, especially as they attempt to lay down roots.

But if someone told me they didn’t want me, I wouldn’t force them to have me. And that’s what it comes down to with Roberto Luongo. He may have veto power, but the moment he needs to exercise it, his relationship with the Canucks changes forever. In effect, the decision here belongs to Mike Gillis, despite Luongo’s contract stipulating that he be consulted on it.

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The suspected Roberto Luongo Twitter account is mocking us

Now, despite plenty of convincing evidence, we can’t say for certain that @strombone1 is the Twitter account of one Roberto Luongo, but this no doubt how the Canucks’ netminder prefers it. Considering the way Canuck fans treat him these days, not to mention the way they chased Mike Duco off Twitter, or the horrible, misogynistic garbage they said to Theo Fleury and, more recently, Brittany Carnegie, you can understand why Luongo might choose to keep his Twitter account shrouded in mystery.

It’s also just funnier that way, and Luongo knows it.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks, April 3, 2012

Tonight, the Canucks hosted the Orange County team formerly known as the Mighty Ducks in a game stuffed with hyperbole. The greatest one of all time and space was in attendance (Mooney was there too), there was a first period penalty shot (only the most exciting play in hockey), eight pucks heroically rippled the mesh, Jonas Hiller made several acrobatic glove saves, and Henrik Sedin and the puck played a masterful sixty minute game of Cat’s Cradle.

Oh. And somewhere along the way, the Rogers Arena’ faithful chose to serenade Roberto Luongo with a loud chorus of Luu’s. After all, it’s his birthday! But he’s been so good for so long that the birthday boy deserved the appreciative support of the fans, who gave it to him even though he had a rocky outing. At least I think it was a compassionate, grateful crowd that was Luuu-ing, because anything else wouldn’t make much sense!

As a staunch proponent of hockey math, I usually miss out on this sort of drama. I trust the numbers, so there’s no real need to tune into the contests. Tonight, for Wagner and Mooney, I made a rare exception: I watched this game.

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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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