If there was a moment to be suspicious of scripted hockey, this is it. But odds are that the Tale of Two Goalies is real and the story is proving to be dramatic. A last-minute switch to Schneider and a third period injury reflect a story that started since the beginning of the regular season.
Mind you this more emotional to fans than it is to statistics, but we can’t help but be moved by the dance that Luongo and Schneider are playing on the ice. It’s hard enough to be a goalie: the fans will blame you for the loss-then thank you for the win-and the team dynamic is known to be affected by the goaltender’s play. This author doesn’t have the credentials to tell you the “analysis” on Canucks’ play, but this strange dynamic between Luongo and Schneider is capturing us all in an unusual way.
In the first start of the season, Cory stopped 32 shots in a 5-1 win. What mattered was not the statistic but the discovery of this ginger-wonder that Vancouver wanted more and more. This came after a short drama of Luongo’s review of his 12-year contract that asserted him as the Canucks number one (no pun intended). Throughout the season Schneider’s play has gained the trust of fans, and the fans have started pitching the two against each other. But we will never understand the true attitude in the locker room.
So what is fueling this fascination for the Tale of Two Goalies? Luongo on the whole has been generally loved by Canucks fans. We shout “Luuuuuu” on every big save. But we also have the tendency (perhaps mistakingly) to label Roberto as emotional when he shits the bed. We’re like a disappointed girlfriend keeping options open and Cory’s appearance might be more opportunistic than realistic. But fast forward to the Game 6 we experienced on Easter Sunday and there is nothing fictional about the last-minute switch to start Schneider in goal after Vigneault’s earlier speech that Lu would be starting the game.
Schneider’s injury against Blackhawks’ Michael Frolik was what made this Tale all the more interesting. We have stigmatized Luongo for his playoff performances in the last two years, but it was poetic that Lu had no room on Chicago’s visitor bench when he needed to replace Schneider in goal. Quickly emerging from the locker room, Luongo jumped on the ice and brought a positive dynamic with his quick replacement. But stuck on the ground, Lu couldn’t make the overtime save that will take the Canucks and Blackhawks to Game 7.
Without an update on Schneider’s leg and a questionable atmosphere surrounding Luongo, there’s still room for redemption. Do you think this duality between the goalies is good for the Canucks?