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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Meet Loango, the most appropriately-named Mangabey monkey in all of Paris

You’re looking at an infant, crown male Mangabey monkey that was born at the Jardin des Plantes’s zoo in Paris on March 5, 2012. The little guy is being bottle-fed because he was rejected by his mother at birth. Why is this on a Vancouver Canucks hockey blog?

The monkey’s name is Loango.

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According to reports, Roberto Luongo requested a trade; why did we hear about it?

Earlier this week, I argued that Roberto Luongo’s professed willingness to waive his no-trade clause if asked didn’t mean what we thought it meant. No, it wasn’t Luongo requesting a trade. It was simply Luongo admitting that he wouldn’t stand in the way if GM Mike Gillis purposed to move him. The decision remained in Gillis’s hands.

That take reached obsolescence in less than 48 hours. According to reports, Luongo has requested a trade after all.

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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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Spitballin’ on Chris Tanev’s glove, the creepiest Sedin video ever, and Luongo’s future

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 chats, does impressions, and stands up for redheads on After Hours

After three consecutive weeks chatting up Canuck skaters, it was Cory Schneider’s turn to take the chair to the right of Scott Oake on Hockey Night in Canada After Hours, and the Red-Headed Stop Child didn’t disappoint. Schneider has earned a reputation around these parts as a well-spoken, likeable and funny guy, and he did nothing during the interview to dissuade us from such characterizations.

Dressed in what appeared to be one of Kevin Weekes’s suits, Schneider handled questions about the Canucks’ goaltending situation with the usual class and tact that we’ve come to expect from him.

But it wasn’t all business as usual. Unlike previous After Hours interviews, this one yielded a lot of new stuff. Over the course of the 22-minute interview, Schneider filled us in on some tweaks to the Canucks’ goaltending, spoke out against a certain slang term for redheads, showed off his bag of impressions, and dropped a preponderance of quality one-liners.

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Girlfriends of Cory Schneider and Milan Lucic engage in the most confusing turf war ever

We’ve seen some bizarre battle combinations in the ongoing rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand versus Sami Salo. PITB versus Touch & Wilbur. Shawn Thornton versus 88 guys, Kill Bill-style, followed by a round with end boss Tony Gallagher. But now, it would appear, that we have another unlikely dispute: Cory Schneider’s girlfriend versus Milan Lucic’s girlfriend.

According to Lucic’s girlfriend, Brittany, Schneider’s girlfriend told her off at a recent game just for wearing her Bruins hat. This tell-off even included the taunt of English archers. How do we know? Because Brittany took to her Twitter account to voice her disapproval.

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Roberto Luongo is pretty awful in Minnesota, but so are his teammates

The 2011-12 season has given rise to an infuriatingly lazy narrative: every start Roberto Luongo doesn’t get is now seen as evidence that the Canucks don’t have faith in his ability to win versus a certain team or in a certain building. Schneider gets the start in Boston? The Canucks don’t trust Luongo to win at the TD Garden. Schneider gets the start versus Chicago? Not only are the Canucks afraid to play Luongo in Boston — now they don’t even trust him to tend the pipes against their biggest rival!

Nevermind that Luongo has started in Chicago this season and only missed out on a second start because he was injured — every non-start is a condemnation. (I can’t wait for Schneider to get the start in the last game of the season. You know someone is going claim it’s a playoff tuneup.)

All this in mind, you had to know that, when Cory Schneider got the nod Thursday for the Canucks’ road game versus the Minnesota Wild, people were going to deduce that this was yet another showing of Luongophobia, especially with Funny Bob’s career numbers in the land of 10,000 lakes.

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Drance Numbers: What do we know about NHL goalies after fifty games?

Drance Numbers is the silly research wing of PITB. While Messrs. Wagner and Mooney blog nationally and solve mysteries, Drance Numbers will look into the minutiae of quantifiable NHL data and bore you with it every Friday. Today, Drance looks at what Cory Schneider’s first 50 games tell us about his future in the NHL.

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If you’ve been out of the loop since the final horn sounded versus Columbus, here’s the latest in The Redhead and the Redheaded Stepchild (my title for the Highlander-esque saga involving Cory Schneider, Roberto Luongo, and the fact that there can only be one starting goalie): after yet another fantastic performance versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, Schneider has been declared the starter for his seventh straight game.

The decision caused many in Canuck nation to do a double take, especially with how quickly after the game the announcement came. Clearly, Alain Vigneault felt the decision to be something of a no-brainer, because he wasted very little time thinking about it.

But that’s because it likely didn’t take that much thought.

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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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On Sunday night, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault shocked the hockey world when he made the last-minute announcement that backup goaltender Cory Schneider would be starting game six in place of Roberto Luongo despite a previous announcement to the contrary. The move was hailed by some and criticized heavily by others.

Schneider played a strong game when he was in the net, but he directly caused two goals against with his puckhandling outside of it. Then, after being beaten by Chicago forward Michael Frolik on a penalty shot, he suffered a leg cramp and had to leave the game, forcing the netminding duties to revert back to Roberto Luongo. Luongo would summarily give up the game-winning goal to Ben Smith in overtime.

There was a time when Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider were a Net-minding tandem on par with the apostles James and John. Times have changed. These days, neither of them has been quite able to give the Canucks a fourth win and end this series. As a result, we now anticipate tomorrow night’s game seven tomorrow. But who starts? Alain Vigneault has already declared Roberto Luongo his guy, but he’s not as reliable a source as he once was.

A case could be made for both. A case could be made for neither. Come with us as we examine these cases:

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