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.
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:
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.