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What do Arturs Irbe, Sean Burke, Garth Snow, Felix Potvin, Johan Hedberg, Dan Cloutier, Curtis Sanford, Andrew Raycroft and a slew of others have in common?

They are all members of the growing "Goalie Graveyard" that is Vancouver, British Columbia.

Since the days of yore and Captain Kirk, Vancouver was in a constant dark stage of quality tenders coming in and not playing to potential. They had some great teams through the years, but I'm sure everyone remembers Dan Cloutier and the beachball.
Some moved on and enjoyed success on other teams, but several others were never the same after playing there.

Enter Roberto Luongo.

Finally the Canucks had the bonafide #1 starter they needed to get them to where they
wanted to go. The only thing seemingly missing from the Canucks being a contender was a goalie. The only thing seemingly stopping Lu from winning damn near every game was a team in front of him. It was a match made in heaven...seemingly.

In the past 4 years with Luongo in net Vancouver has basically dominated the regular
season winning 4 Northwest division titles, 2 Presidents trophies and also had an appearance in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The only thing missing is that elusive ring.(I guess Olympic gold is a decent consolation prize.) But somehow, once again it seems as if another netminder will leave Vancouver(Likely the best in franchise history to date) as a different player.

Is it us, as fans? Is it the media? Is it too much pressure from the owners to perform?
Is there actually a stigma behind playing net as a Vancouver Canuck?

We may never know the answer, but one thing for sure is by the start of next season,
Vancouver will either have continued the investment into Bobby Lu, or he will be another teams hopes for a cup. I still believe Luongo is one of the best goalies in the game, buthe gets mentally fatigued when its all on the line. In Florida, he didnt have to win, just play his best so the pressure wasn't as bad. It's a little different in Tampa Bay, but rumor ishe could be headed south.

Which gets me to my other point...the "Backstopper Birthplace."

Over the years the Canucks have drafted some quality players that are now a part of our core. Sedins, Kesler, Edler and Bieksa all come to mind. Even some others that never played there.(Neely, McCabe amongst others) Never has Vancouver drafted and developed goalies like they seem to be doing as they are now.

Cory Schneider is one of the top young goalies in the league, and no matter where he playsnext season he will be a #1 and the team that owns his rights will be happy. He doesnt crack under pressure and is positionally as sound as anyone in the game. This kid will win a Vezina one day.

Eddie Lack was one of the top AHL goalies last season and will probably be Vancouvers
backup next season, pending a miracle where both Bobby Lu and Schneiderman stay. He's Big at 6"4, so he covers alot of net and had a highly respectable .925 Sv% last season on Chicagos AHL Wolves.

So can Vancouver finally change its luck and continue bringing talent in net into the league, or will they follow the past and keep on keeping on?

We may know by the start of the 2012/13 season.
May 19, 2012 9:46 AM ET | Delete
Correction...McCabe, played, but not much. And I know that and the Neely example were long ago.
May 21, 2012 1:32 PM ET | Delete
Nice writeup. Good to have 2 great starters (potentially 3), now. I wouldn't throw Raycroft into the goalie graveyard list, though. He was a pretty decent backup, and enjoyed some success in that role while he was here. Canucks actually had a few decent backups even during the dark ages. Essensa, and I think Irbe actually outplayed the starters.
May 21, 2012 6:15 PM ET | Delete
Thanx...first "blog" Ive ever written lol. I agree Raycroft was solid for us when called upon. I mainly used him as a name people would recognize as he was recent and we still never enjoyed the ultimate success with him.
May 21, 2012 9:47 PM ET | Delete
Oh, I agree. He definitely has more name recognition than say Martin Brochu, Corey Schwabb, or Peter Skudra, and I guess it's fair in the sense that Raycroft has pretty much sunk into oblivion since he left.
May 21, 2012 10:25 PM ET | Delete
Irbe at one point was a great goalie, as was Potvin. I was essentially a kid when they both played in Van, but I remember being highly excited about both.
May 22, 2012 3:47 PM ET | Delete
Never expected Irbe to join the Canucks, as he'd been the Sharks' saviour for a few years. I became a fan quickly. Loved his mask. There was definitely some excitement over Potvin, but it didn't last long. He never really lived up to the hype produced by his rookie season. It was quite the revolving door for a few years. Most fans who give Luongo so much grief probably forget those times.
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