Cory Schneider will start his sixth straight game tomorrow night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
This is uncharted territory for Schneider, fresh off earning the NHL’s second star of the week. Though he’s been with Vancouver since 2008-09 and started 22 games last year, he’s never rattled off this many consecutive appearances.
(Ironically enough, one of Schneider’s longest consecutive games streaks came in the opening round of last year’s playoffs against Chicago. He relieved Roberto Luongo in Games 4 and 5, then started Game 6. Moving along…)
The always even-keeled Vancouver media is treating this development as you’d expect. The Vancouver Sun ran a column about how Luongo makes for an excellent backup goalie while a local TV journalist made a “Luongo should change his name to Wally Pipp” joke.
Overreactions aside, it is a big development. The Canucks have had reasons (or, excuses) for riding Schneider lately — Luongo was coming off an injury, they needed to string together wins, they weren’t in a playoff position — but those reasons (or, excuses) don’t fly anymore. Luongo is beyond healthy. They’ve won four straight and seven of 10. They’re in the thick of the playoff pack and two points out of the Northwest Division lead.
Plus, Tuesday night’s game is against Columbus. The worst team in hockey. There might not be a better opponent to ease Luongo back in, but it’s also a terrifying prospect. Imagine if Luongo starts against Columbus and stinks the joint out. What happens then?
Ergo, the Canucks will continue employing the “Vegas Philosophy” with Schneider (as coined by Canucks play-by-play man John Shorthouse): You might only get on a heater once, so make sure to ride it as long as possible.