Even the editorial section is piling on Roberto Luongo

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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.

Penguins, Kings among teams with notable waiver moves

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If an NHL team wants to add a big winger with two Stanley Cup rings,* they merely need to make a waiver claim.

TVA’s Renaud Lavoie tweeted out Tuesday’s list of waived players, with the Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins making some of the most interesting moves.

In the case of the Kings, they waived Jordan Nolan and former Penguins backup Jeff Zatkoff. Here’s the full list, via Lavoie:

There are some bullet points that can sell Nolan, but the 28-year-old’s production was quite limited at the NHL level. Nolan’s never scored 10 goals in a single season; in fact, he’s only reached 10 points once in his career (six goals and four assists in 64 regular-season contests back in 2013-14).

Overall, it wouldn’t be surprising if a team targeted Nolan as a depth guy, even if his ceiling is limited.

While the Penguins’ entries seem notable for sheer volume as much as anything else, Frank Corrado is another name that stands out.

Corrado was often the catalyst for debates about his playing time (or lack thereof) with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it doesn’t seem like the defenseman is having much success catching on with the Penguins, either.

Zatkoff, meanwhile, fits in with quite a few other names on this list: possibly prominent in the AHL, only likely to get the occasional cup of coffee in the NHL, at this point.

* – Yes, it’s OK to think of Jaromir Jagr before that sentence ends.

Red Wings are ‘excited’ about Michael Rasmussen’s offensive upside

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The Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, but there appears to be something good that came from that.

Instead of drafting in the back half of the first round, the Wings were able to get a top 10 selection in last June’s NHL Entry Draft. With the ninth overall pick, they chose power forward Michael Rasmussen.

Rasmussen is listed at 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds. NHLers of that size are a rare breed. Add the fact that he’s gifted offensively, and it looks like the Red Wings may have a gem coming through the pipeline.

In his first three career preseason games, the 18-year-old has already picked up two goals. His play hasn’t gone unnoticed by the organization.

“I’m excited about him as a prospect,” head coach Jeff Blashill said, per MLive.com. “He’s big, he’s smooth, he’s got good hands, he’s got good offensive sense.”

With all big forwards, a lot of their success will be determined by their skating ability. In today’s NHL, it’s pretty clear that you need to be able to move if you’re going to have a long and productive career. But according to Blashill, skating isn’t a big issue with Rasmussen.

“I think he skates well. People have questioned that, but I don’t see that at all. I think he covers lots of ground in a hurry. I think he needs to move his feet a little bit more at times in the D-zone, but overall I’ve been happy with his play.”

No matter what he does between now and the end of training camp, it sounds like Rasmussen will be heading back to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, where he’ll look to improve his numbers from last year (32 goals, 55 points in 50 games).

Luongo pushes through ‘mental, physical grind’ in comeback from hip injury

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Roberto Luongo is back, taking part in the preseason for the Florida Panthers, in preparation for when the games begin to count in the standings.

However, his latest comments suggest he didn’t know if that would indeed be the case, after suffering a hip injury that resulted in surgery following the 2015-16 season and then shut him down in March last season.

“For a good two- to three-month period it was a battle mentally to just figure out if I could be able to ever come back,” Luongo told NHL.com. “I didn’t feel like I was getting better and it was constantly bothering me, so it was as much a mental grind as a physical grind from March until almost June if I could ever fully recover and feel good on the ice.”

Luongo is now 38 years old and the rigorous demands of playing that position for more than 960 career regular season games — not to mention playoffs or international duty — can surely take a toll on the body. The Panthers have a good tandem in net with Luongo and James Reimer, but what will be intriguing as the season progresses is how head coach Bob Boughner divvies up playing time between the two, with Luongo appearing to be healthier and as Florida looks to get back into the postseason.

The past several weeks, though, have been encouraging for Luongo. He returned to the ice well ahead of training camp and gave an optimistic report, saying there weren’t “any issues.” That was just over a month ago. He stopped all eight shots he faced during 31:26 of ice time in his preseason debut last week, which was a good start.

Auston Matthews puts on a show in preseason tilt vs. Habs

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Auston Matthews and William Nylander are showing no signs of any sophomore slump so far through the pre-season.

Matthews had a hat trick and an assist and Nylander had a goal and two assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 in an NHL preseason game on Monday night.

Matthews scored his first goal of the game 47 seconds into the first period. His wrist shot from just inside the blue line went over the right shoulder of Canadiens goaltender Al Montoya.

Matthews made it 2-0 at 4:56. Nylander’s initial shot went high, and Matthews batted down the rebound and into an open side of the net.

He scored his third goal in the third period. While on a breakaway, Matthews shot the puck between the legs of Montoya at 3:46.

Matthews has four goals and two assists in three preseason games.

Jeff Petry scored for Montreal while on the power play at 11:37 of the second period.

Nylander scored at 6:03 of the third period to give Toronto a 5-1 lead.

Patrick Marleau also had a goal for Toronto while Frederik Andersen made 20 saves.