From 1997 to 2006, the Vancouver Canucks must have used around a million different netminders, and never found a clear #1 since Kirk Mclean. What I mean by this is they never had a goaltender after that, that was "the guy", well, they did have Dan Cloutier who was probably one of the better regular season goaltenders out there at the time, but at best good for a round in the playoffs before his traditional meltdowns. Other than him, if you look at the list, it was stockpiled with failed projects such as Felix Potvin, Alfie Michaud, Johan Hedberg, Corey Schwab, the famous Martin Brochu, Petr Skudra with his giant marshmallows for goalie pads, and Kevin Weekes, who now puts audiences across Canada to sleep with his right hand man Mark Lee on the late game on Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts.
Fast forward to October 2011, six years after the Canucks traded for Roberto Luongo, who was single handedly winning games in a Florida Panthers uniform. In his time as the Vancouver Canucks starting goaltender, he's drawn unfair amounts of criticism and hate from the city of Vancouver, which was known as the "Goalie Graveyard", and still might be. Luongo's gold medal at the 2010 Olympic Games here in Vancouver caused quite the discussion around the water coolers in the city. It was almost like people here didnt credit Roberto on the big win, but came to the conclusion that he was just playing on a team that was stacked with star players and just rode behind the team to victory, after filling in for Martin Brodeur who was playing like he had Kay Whitmore syndrome.
I dont know, so many Canucks fans are divided when it comes to Roberto Luongo, you either hate him or love him and defend him, and this is within the Canucks fanbase. I am a huge Luongo fan and was hoping this guy would be a Canuck as far back as 2004, and in 2006 my dream came true, we had a star and a legit #1 goaltender, FINALLY! His hard work and determination to get to the Stanley Cup finals was tarnished in Game's 3,4, ,6 and even 7 of the finals in which the Canucks patchwork defence and depleted forward lines were unable to find any offence, while Roberto Luongo's margin of error in Games 1,2 and 5 was minimal, he still posted 2 shutouts to lead Vancouver to 1-0 victories, but of course, he still sucks right?
This guy has given the Canucks the best opportunity to win, and you can say alot of that also has to do with the fact the Canucks do have some of the best players in the game today upfront in Daniel and Henrik Sedin, along with Selke Trophy winner Ryan Kesler, who is probably the best two way player in the game today, but you cant dis-credit the achievements Luongo has had here, from posting 3 straight shutouts in back to back seasons, to even a 72 save performance in his first ever playoff game back in April of 2007, which went 4 overtimes. His save % and GAA are amongst the best in the league every season, but still, Luongo haters will only magnify the goals he lets in, not the ones he stops. If the Canucks would have won Game 6 or 7 vs Boston, theres a good chance Luongo still somehow would not get the recognition he would deserve after winning the cup, but thats just Vancouver for ya.
Now onto his backup, Cory Schneider, who is arguably the best backup in the game, and would be a bonified #1 starter on pretty much 3/4 of teams in this league. For Luongo haters, the goals that go in on Cory were "poor plays by the defence", "real good shots that no one else would stop", and of course my personal favorite, "if Luongo was in goal it would be 7-0 Red Wings!", uuughh, make it stop. Cory's stellar play though has caused a huge massive debate now for a year or so, to trade Luongo and keep the young american instead. Roberto does of course have a 12 year contract worth 64 mill, but that contract is frontloaded, which alot of morons I run into dont point out. Can you believe some people still think he's getting paid 10 mill this season?? Heck, some people think its 10 million a year for 12 seasons, and you wonder why some of us have grey hairs? Uknowledgable hockey fans in this city are a topic of discussion for another time, but right now, I am defending Roberto Luongo, cause quite frankly, he doesnt deserve the amount of hate and negativity thrown his way.
In conclusion, Im gonna say that if Luongo was traded and won the cup with another team, I would cheer and gloat, not for the team he played on, but for him, cause it would be quite the topic here if Roberto did lift Lord Stanleys cup, with this team or another.
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