Even the editorial section is piling on Roberto Luongo

17 Comments

As documented right here on Pro Hockey Talk, it’s been a rough week for Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo. It began on Tuesday night, when Bobby Loo got the ol’ Bronx cheer after allowing four goals to the Rangers.

That was bad, but Luongo’s response made it worse. He told reporters the Bronx cheer was no big deal.

Why no big deal?

“It has happened so many times, I’ve gotten used to it,” he said.

And just when it seemed the situation couldn’t get any worse…it got worse. Yesterday, the Vancouver Province — a daily tabloid that once featured a very handsome Canucks blog — ran a scathing review of Luongo and suggested he be traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for Vincent Lecavalier.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, as the Province sports section has been known to break out the torches and pitchforks on occasion.

But this article didn’t run in the sports section.

It was an editorial.

Patience has clearly run out, especially with backup Cory Schneider appearing to be the better player.

Many people say the Canucks made a huge mistake in signing Lou to a 12-year, $64-million no-trade contract in 2009 because it makes parting with him impossible. So here’s our solution.

Trade Luongo straight up for Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who has a similar, $85-million, 11-year no-trade deal. With Steve Stamkos in Tampa, Lecavalier is no longer top dog and could use a fresh start as much as Lou.

Tampa needs better goaltending; we need a power forward. Lou’s wife could finally be closer to her family, and Lecavalier could play hockey again in a city that actually cares about his sport.

It’s a win-win-win-win (Lou, Vince, Cory, fans) solution.

Traditionally, newspaper editorials are reserved for opinion pieces on politics, pertinent social matters, letters and hot-button issues. Then there’s Vancouver, where they use it to debate who the starting hockey goalie should be.

Unsurprisingly, the Province’s Editor-in-Chief, Wayne Moriarty, caught some heat for running this piece. Today he took to Twitter to defend it:

source:

And herein lies the problem with playing sports in Vancouver. It’s a bare market. There’s not much else to distract the natives — there’s no baseball, there’s no football (well, there’s Canadian football), the Grizzlies left for Memphis years ago and the soccer team plays soccer.

Plus, Vancouver doesn’t have much experience with polarizing sports figures. The most contentious athletes in Vancouver history are Luongo, Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Bure and…that’s it. Some would throw Mark Messier in the mix, but he only played in Vancouver for three seasons (and left over 10 years ago).

Compare that with Philadelphia. In the last two years alone, its sports teams have acquired Michael Vick, Allen Iverson, Pedro Martinez, Chris Pronger, Vince Young and Jaromir Jagr. Repeat: all those guys have been acquired over the last two years.

Now there’s a city that knows controversial athletes.

Crosby: Penguins ‘probably deserved better’ vs. Senators in Game 6

3 Comments

If you didn’t know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be awfully cruel, then the last week or so of action should make it pretty clear.

The Nashville Predators lost top center Ryan Johansen to a scary ailment few would have seen coming. The Anaheim Ducks fell in both games to the Johansen-less Predators, even after dominating significant chunks of Game 6. At least one Ducks player wondered if the better team won.

Much like in life, “fair” and “deserve” only matter so much. Sports have a scoreboard to serve as the ultimate deciding factor.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have similar thoughts after falling 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators tonight, extending the Eastern Conference Final to a decisive Game 7. You can nitpick questionable penalties and missed chances, but really, how negative can you be after Craig Anderson puts forth a blazing 45-save performance (with no overtime)?

Mike Sullivan and others echoed such thoughts.

” … Obviously, we’re disappointed in the result, but I don’t think we can get discouraged by that,” Sullivan said. “I think we’ve got to take the positives from it, and we’ve got to build on it, and we’ve got to become a more determined team for Game 7.

That’s not the sort of take that’s going to make the Senators angry in Game 7. The tone of the Senators’ discussions was likely very different after they lost Game 5 by a 7-0 score, yet maybe there was similar self belief.

Anderson puzzles Penguins as Senators force Game 7

10 Comments

Who could blame fans for chanting “Andy” tonight?

The Ottawa Senators said they would choose to fight in Game 6, and Craig Anderson truly battled in this one, refusing to allow this unlikely run to an end on Tuesday. They wouldn’t roll over, even after a 7-0 humiliation in Game 5.

The underrated goalie continued his memorable (and emotional) 2016-17 season with a brilliant performance, making 45 saves to help Ottawa manage a gutsy 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With that, hockey fans get a true treat: the Eastern Conference will go to a Game 7 on Thursday.

The Senators opted for a “bend but don’t break” strategy for much of the contest, possibly to Guy Boucher’s preference. Even so, the Penguins managed to grind their way to a 1-0 win thanks to another hard-work goal from Evgeni Malkin.

Mistakes would come back to haunt the Penguins, however, as Bobby Ryan broke Ottawa’s lengthy power-play drought to tie things up on a 5-on-3.

With their season in question thanks to a 1-1 tie in the third period, Mike Hoffman sent a booming shot by Matt Murray, and that ended up being all the Senators needed to tie the series 3-3.

Anderson was the standout, but Erik Karlsson was a hero in the way his detractors might not expect.

You can watch Game 7 on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports App.

Report: Avalanche get permission to speak with Leafs assistant GM Dubas

Getty
1 Comment

Could one of the most hapless possession teams of this more analytics-leaning era nab arguably the most promising analytics-leaning executive in the NHL?

It’s a reasonable question, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Colorado Avalanche asked for and received permission to speak to Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas.

Current GM Joe Sakic recently got a vote of confidence and also cleaned out some of the coaching staff around Jared Bednar, so this is certainly a time of change for the Avalanche.

It will be interesting to see what kind of role Dubas would receive if he did join the fold in Colorado. Would he still be considered an assistant GM, only with more sway with what would likely be a smaller group of decision-makers? Could we see Sakic move up and give Dubas the full GM title (or eventually transition that role to the young upstart)? Might there be some other factor that would qualify as a more “outside the box” idea?

One thing seems clear: the Avalanche might want to be decisive, as demand could be significant for Dubas if he’s even somewhat on the market.

This could be interesting, especially if you’re a nerd for team-building storylines.

Video: Senators score twice to take 2-1 lead in Game 6

6 Comments

The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

Update: Mike Hoffman‘s booming shot gave the Senators a 2-1 lead in the third. We’ll see if Pittsburgh can tie it up.