Every week, Rob the Hockey Guy drops in to let us know what he is thinking. We like to call it “Rob’s Thoughts.”
In the most anticipated Tuesday night Devils-Canucks game in history, Cory Schneider will play his first game against his old team and his old friend Roberto Luongo. It’s been just over three months since the Canucks traded Schneider for the ninth overall pick (Bo Horvat), which elevated this drama to soap opera status here in Canuckland. Here are my thoughts:
What a whirlwind. Cory Schneider was the goaltender of the future when he was drafted in 2004. When GM Dave Nonis acquired Roberto Luongo in 2006, Schneider was never expected to play a game or at least never become a starter in Vancouver until 2012. In April, 2012 Schneider took over the number one job in the playoffs and was supposed to become the team’s franchise goalie going forward until June 2013 when Mike Gillis shocked the hockey world and traded him to New Jersey. My head hurts.
Conventional wisdom 12 months ago was that once a trade was made, both Luongo and Schneider would be happy. Instead, it appears they’re both not likely to be very happy. Luongo wanted to move on (but didn’t) and Schneider wanted to become a number one goalie. Schneider still has to wrestle the number one job away from a living legend, Martin Brodeur.
Schneider is New Jersey’s best goalie, but may not get played as such. The politics over keeping Martin Brodeur’s ego in check will be interesting to monitor. Brodeur is arguably the best goalie in NHL history, but he’s also 41 years old and has significantly worse numbers than Cory Schneider in the past three seasons. Yet Cory Schneider has to prove himself, again.
Luongo and Schneider are good friends, but don’t think for a second that there won’t be something extra at stake in their first matchup against each other. Schneider is out to prove himself (still) and Luongo will want to prove that he was the top goalie all along. In a way, they’re both out to prove Mike Gillis wrong.
The spotlight will be on. TSN will broadcast the game nationally and the Luongo-Schneider soap opera will take a new twist. By now, nothing should surprise us. If we are to expect anything, we should expect the unexpected. What next? Maybe one of them scores an empty net goal.
Image: Jeff Vinnick / NHL via Getty Images