It’s natural to envision better things for a good player on a bad team. Sometimes it even works out. Just look at Kevin Garnett winning a title with the Boston Celtics if you need a solid example. For years, Roberto Luongo toiled away on horrible teams and put up great numbers. This made many believe that Luongo was just a good supporting cast away from stardom.
So far it’s looking like that conventional wisdom was half-true and half-false. He’s been solid each regular season as a member of the Canucks, with save percentages ranging from 91.3 to 92.1. Unfortunately, things have fallen apart a bit in the postseason, as his playoff save percentages dropped from an excellent 94.1 to a very good 91.4 percent and now a mediocre 89.2.
Hockey scribes have taken notice of his struggles. First, here’s Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun.
But on a night when the Vancouver Canucks needed him most, all Roberto Luongo could offer was mediocrity, and plenty of it. And if that sounds more than a little familiar, congratulations: you can remember all the way back to the night a year ago right about now when the Chicago Blackhawks closed out the Canucks by scoring a converted touchdown on their goalie.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun used to be “a Luongo guy” but hasn’t been impressed by his recent performance and thinks that the “statute of limitations” on him delivering in the clutch is up.
Can’t say I’m a Luongo guy anymore. I’ve seen too many flaws. I’ve seen too many nights he was supposed to great and wasn’t. I’ve seen too many playoff series like this one, where he doesn’t rise to the occasion.
This is not the next Patrick Roy or Martin Brodeur. The statute of limitations has run out on that happening. You can’t allow 11 goals against in two home playoff games and expect to win anything, let alone be anything.
Luongo leaves you expecting more, wanting more. The great goalies win games when it matters most. He doesn’t.
Regardless of public sentiment, Vancouver committed to him completely in both tangible (a lifetime contract) and intangible (naming him their “captain”) ways.
How do you feel about Luongo? Is he a legitimate star? At least a solid No. 1? A possible bust? Let us know in the comments.
The ‘Canes made a fairly big coaching splash on Tuesday, announcing they hired New York Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson to become the new bench boss in AHL Charlotte.
“Ulf has built a very strong coaching resume during a decade behind the bench in the AHL, NHL and Swedish league,” Carolina GM Ron Francis said in a release. “He has a proven history of helping to develop young players and understands the organizational culture that we are building here.”
Samuelsson, who won back-to-back Stanley Cups with Francis in Pittsburgh during the 90s, has spent the last three seasons as Alain Vigneault’s right-hand man in New York, helping the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final in ’14 and the Eastern Conference Final last season.
Prior to joining the Rangers, he spent two seasons as head coach for Modo of the Swedish Hockey League.
Samuelsson will replace Mark Morris in Charlotte, after Morris accepted the head coaching gig at St. Lawrence University. Morris had only been on the job for one year, having inherited the position from former ‘Cane Jeff Daniels.
It sounds like Patrick Marleau won’t be suspended for his hit on Penguins forward Bryan Rust (top) in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
After the game, Marleau told reporters that he was pretty confident he wouldn’t be suspended and it sounds like he’s right.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan didn’t see things the same way.
“It’s a blindside hit to the head,” he said. “[Marleau] gets a penalty and I’m sure the league will look at it.”
Marleau was given a two-minute penalty for an illegal hit to the head on the play.
Rust played a single shift after taking the hit, but he went to the locker room after that and didn’t return. Sullivan said he’s day-to-day. It’s unclear if Rust will practice with the team on Tuesday.
Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Rick MacLeish passed away on Monday night. He was 66-years-old. The organization confirmed the news early Tuesday morning. MacLeish was battling meningitis as well as kidney and liver problems, per Philly.com.
“With the passing of Rick MacLeish, the Flyers have lost one of their legends,” Flyers President Paul Holmgren said in a release. “A good father, grandfather, teammate and friend, Rick will be missed by all who were fortunate to come and know him over the years. His happy and friendly demeanor was front and center everywhere Rick went. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Rick’s wife, Charlene, his daughters, Danielle and Brianna along with his grandchildren. May he rest in peace.”
MacLeish first put on a Flyers jersey during the 1970-71 season. He would go on to score 349 goals and 759 points in 846 NHL games with Philadelphia, Hartford, Pittsburgh and Detroit. MacLeish also scored what is considered to be the most important goal in Flyers history when he netted the opening goal in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final against Boston. The Flyers would clinch their first Stanley Cup that night.
He won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Flyers and was named an NHL All-Star three times in his career.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
—Pascal Dupuis wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune.
—Matt Cullen also wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune called “Hockey Dad”.
—Dainius Zubrus is making his third trip to the cup final, but he still hasn’t won one. (Puck Daddy)
–Watch the highlights from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Top)
–Here’s the Punjabi call of Nick Bonino‘s game-winning goal. (Streamable)
–Speaking of Bonino, he’s been pretty clutch this postseason:
–The NHL still wants to play an outdoor game on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Ottawa Sun)