Schneider Sign

Schneider will start seventh straight, but is it a controversy?


“Who’s calling it that? Well, again, who cares? That’s not being said in this room. We had two good goalies last year and it helped us in a lot of games. I don’t know why it’s being spun into a bad thing.”

Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa on Vancouver’s “goaltending controversy“.

Cory Schneider will start his seventh straight tonight while Roberto Luongo backs him up (for the fifth straight time). It looks and feels like a hot story. Yet somehow, it’s not the hot story.

The hot story is how to classify the story.

Or, if it should be classified at all.

At the moment there are two predominant opinions about Schneider, Luonogo and the current state of Vancouver’s goaltending. The first is that it’s a full-blown controversy. The other is move along, nothing to see here.

Those of the first opinion are ink-stained, coffee-breathed pencil pushers from mainstream media (or sweatpants-wearing, Doritos-munching basement dwellers from the blogosphere).

They’re churning out headlines like:

Is there a ‘goalie controversy?’ The Canucks don’t think so

Cory Schneider’s play keeping Luongo on the bench

Daily Debate: Best net option for Canucks?

Would the Canucks have won Tuesday with Roberto Luongo in net?

Canucks goalie controversy: Schneider has won five straight

It’s not like the controversy theme has been pulled out of thin air. Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault acknowledged the potential uneasiness looming with every Schneider start (and Luongo non-start.)

“I understand how unpleasant it could become,” Vigneault told the Vancouver Province. “But at the end of the day, he’s [Luongo’s] a professional, it’s part of his responsibilities and knowing him, he wants to win, and the team is winning right now.

That said, there are plenty of people holding opinion No. 2 — that there is no goalie controversy.

Bieksa is one of those people. So too is GM Mike Gillis, who told TEAM 1040 radio in Vancouver that “there’s no controversy,” and that “the controversy is in the media.”

Put Schneider and Luongo in this category as well.

“We just do what we normally do,” Schneider said. “It’s not awkward.”

“He never complained and was always 100-per-cent behind me,” Luongo said of Schneider. “The same thing goes for me. He deserves what he’s getting right now. There’s no doubt that he could be a starter in this league. It’s about the Vancouver Canucks winning games.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record

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When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.