Now that Roberto Luongo is ready to settle back into his starting job in Vancouver, you’d think fans and media alike would be ready to rally around him.
You’d be sorely incorrect.
After spending the past two years in limbo and wanting a trade out of town, he watched Cory Schneider wind up being the guy sent packing and columnist Tony Gallagher of The Province wants Luongo to quit being so dramatic about the entire situation.
Gallagher lays into Luongo for being a diva about the whole mess and says it’s time to put it in the past in his own special way.
There are those who would argue that Luongo is the totally blameless, aggrieved party in this whole sorry mess. And reading into his long period of silence, maybe Luongo was buying into that type of thinking as well, and in his heart of hearts, perhaps he still is.
But enough. Cut the melodrama already.
Yes, he mentally had checked out at the end of the season, and was expecting a trade, and that didn’t happen, and we understand that.
Fair enough, it was tough and very unusual. But couldn’t he have rolled with the punches a little better? Couldn’t he imagine he’d been traded — to Vancouver? After all, with Alain the goaltender roaster gone, there will be a whole new direction to this team, and some new, young faces.
Cutting the melodrama is a good idea, isn’t it? Ahem…
So let’s see: Luongo plays at an elite level, one that isn’t good enough to some in Vancouver despite taking the Canucks to within one win of the Stanley Cup, loses his job to Schneider and sees the writing on the wall that he’s eventually the odd-man out and wants to get out of town and he’s the problem here?
Tough to agree with any of that.
Related: Luongo finally speaks — and reveals he tried to void his contract
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.
As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?
If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.
Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.
Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.
The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.
On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.
Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.
The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.
You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.
At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.
Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.
(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)
As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.
Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.
For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.
Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.
Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:
Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.
Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.
The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.