Roberto Luongo, Cory Schneider

Schneider to start, Luongo done in Vancouver?


Cory Schneider will start in goal for Vancouver tonight in Los Angeles, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault announced today.

In a related story, the Roberto Luongo era might be over in Vancouver.

But we’ll get to that in a bit.

Schneider started Sunday’s Game 3 of the Canucks-Kings series after Vancouver lost the first two games at home with Luongo between the pipes. The 26-year-old stopped 19 of 20 shots in a 1-0 defeat – a performance that earned him tonight’s nod, this time with the Presidents’ Trophy winners facing elimination.

“This one is do or die for us,” said Schneider. “I’m ready for it and I’ll be ready tonight.”

But the ramifications of the team’s decision go beyond the present. Clearly Luongo isn’t the undisputed No. 1 anymore. Not that’s he being blamed for the Canucks’ current predicament, but he’s not being asked to help them get out of it either. And that wouldn’t sit well with any starter.

Luongo is 33 years old and his contract runs until 2021-22 with a cap hit of $5.3 million. However, the notion that he’s untradeable is specious.

First off, he still boasted among the best numbers (.919 SV%) in the NHL this season. He’s played in numerous big games, and while not all those big games went well (and that’s putting it gently), a lot of them did. If not for Schneider’s exceptional play, we wouldn’t even be talking about this.

Secondly, Luongo’s contract only technically runs until 2021-22. There’s no guarantee he’ll play the last three years when his actual salary is minimal.  It’s still a lengthy commitment, but we’ve seen teams take on these risks before.

So far as potential destinations go, Toronto could be one. Tampa Bay could be another. Ditto for Columbus and New Jersey. Florida always gets brought up, but the Panthers have Jacob Markstrom waiting in the wings.

No, Luongo hasn’t been traded yet.  But since he came to Vancouver in 2006, he’s never been closer to leaving.

Julien says Lundqvist’s acting ‘doesn’t need to be on the ice’

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The goalie interference penalty called on Brad Marchand late in Friday’s Thanksgiving Showdown didn’t sit well with the Bruins.

Marchand, whistled after making contact with New York’s Henrik Lundqvist midway through the third, said he thought “it was a bit of a weak call,” adding “[Lundvqist’s] out of the crease, and he lightly gets touched.”

While Marchand took issue with the call, his head coach took issue with King Henrik.

(In Julien’s defense, Lundqvist does have a pretty lengthy IMDB page.)

The interference penalty was nearly disastrous for the Bruins, as J.T. Miller scored on the ensuing power play to given the Blueshirts a 3-2 edge.

However, Boston replied with a power-play goal of its own — Ryan Spooner, at the 16:14 mark — which set the stage for David Krejci‘s dramatic game-winner with just under two minutes to go.

So, to recap: Today’s game had the Beleskey hit on Stepan, the Marchand-Lundqvist theatrics and a dramatic come-from-behind victory for Boston.

And so, to answer your next question:

These two teams next meet on Monday, Jan. 11, at MSG.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Video: Peluso, Gabriel throw down in spirited heavyweight tilt

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The big boys got after it early in Minnesota today.

Wild forward Kurtis Gabriel — all 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds of him — picked one of the toughest opponents in hockey on Friday, throwing down with Jets enforcer Anthony Peluso early in the first period.

And it was a pretty good tilt.

Peluso, one of the league’s most feared fighters, was coming off two pretty heavy scraps — one against Columbus tough guy Jared Boll, and another in which he landed some serious shots on overmatched Canucks d-man Luca Sbisa:

Of course, Gabriel’s no slouch.

He had one previous fight in the NHL this year (against Peluso’s teammate, Chris Thorburn) and five in the American League, where he’s spent the majority of this season.

Given the fisticuffs that occurred earlier in the Bruins-Rangers game, it seem the NHL has really gotten into the spirit of Black Friday.

(All videos courtesy

Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Matt Beleskey, Derek Stepan

Alain Vigneault remembers a late hit that happened in Boston one time.

The Rangers’ head coach referenced it today after one of his top centers, Derek Stepan, was injured on a check that the NHL may need to review with a stopwatch.

“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” Vigneault said, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

For those that need their memories refreshed (nobody in Vancouver does, that’s for sure), here’s Rome’s late hit that knocked Nathan Horton out of the 2011 final with a concussion:

Now here’s the hit that Matt Beleskey put on Stepan:

According to Vigneault, Stepan has some broken ribs and is out indefinitely.

Over to you, Department of Player Safety.

High-flying Bruins (sounds weird to say) beat Rangers for fifth straight win


Somebody tell the Boston Bruins there’s a goal-scoring crisis in the NHL.

This afternoon, for the 14th time this season, a Bruins game featured at least six goals. The final score was 4-3, as Boston came back to beat the Rangers in a wildly entertaining Thanksgiving Showdown on NBC.

David Krejci scored the winner with 1:43 remaining. Krejci’s goal came just 2:03 after teammate Ryan Spooner had tied it on the power play.

The win was the Bruins’ fifth straight. Though the defensive mistakes remain…

…Claude Julien’s troops have been finding ways to overcome them.

The running and gunning Boston Bruins.

When was the last time you could call them that?