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Vancouver Canucks: This IS a Controversy

Written on November 28, 2011 at 18:03, by headtothenet

During last year’s playoff run, a colleague at my office would give her daily update on which Canuck goalie should start the next game. She was a self-proclaimed bandwagoner who knew nothing about hockey.

(I’d quickly retreat to my office before attempting to have an inane and exasperating discussion that might leave me beating my head)

As you can see, it is so easy to second guess a goaltending decision that even non-hockey fans can do it.

“Uhh, Luongo let in 4 goals, we should start Schneider…”

Well done, mathematician.

People who watch the sport intently have more informed views and they have their own goaltending opinions as well.

Point is, everyone in Vancouver has a view on who should start in net. It’s a lot easier than trying to figure out who should play the point on the first unit powerplay, or who should play the right side on the third defensive pairing.

Why it’s a controversy

Last week, I wrote a post suggesting that a goaltending controversy was developing in Vancouver. Many of my Twitter followers told me that I should not be making a big deal out of nothing and that the media talks about this issue way too much.

Some Twitter personalities have been bold enough to suggest that there is no controversy.

I disagree.

The problem might be that the word controversy is misunderstood.

Controversy (from the Oxford English Dictionary):

“Prolonged public disagreement or heated discussion.”

I cannot fathom a better description of the current mentality of Canucks fans.

Since last season’s playoff run when they were debating whether Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider should start game 5 against the Blackhawks, the debate has raged on.

As of that moment, the “public disagreement or heated discussion” has not stopped. And don’t even try to tell me that it’s a fabrication of the media, or even that they give it too much attention.

Go to any office water cooler today and everyone will be talking about the fact that Schneider is starting tomorrow night against Columbus. Some will agree, some will disagree, some will say the entire discussion is overboard.

But they’ll all be talking about it.

Every single person who has chimed in on Twitter, even if just to say “this is not an issue,” has entered the discussion. Sorry to tell you, but you’ve fueled the controversy as well.

Realize that I’m not saying that Schneider is the number 1 goalie or that he’s better than Luongo. I agree with the decision to start him and I tweeted as much after Saturday’s game, but my views on Luongo vs. Schneider are beside the point.

What about the goalies

Before you staunch Luongo supporters get too worked up, remember that he responds to pressure. He reacts positively to being pushed. Don’t forget that he won the starting goaltending position in the 2010 Olympics from the incumbent, Martin Brodeur.

Luongo can handle the controversy and the pressure. And Schneider’s been handling it just fine for over a season now.

The people of Vancouver? That’s another story.

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  • Jonathan Briggins

    Goaltending controversies aren’t necessarily a bad thing. If the backup can push the number one to perform better, then that is a good thing. Sometimes the lines between starter and backup can be blurred a little and it turns into a 1A and 1B thing. But the fact is, you need to play whichever goaltender will get you the wins. It happened in Montreal. The backup Halak had his time to shine and Price showed last year that he is still a good goalie. 

    Having the option to play two goalies and not overwork the goalie seems to work well. Just look at the number of games started by Stanley Cup Champion goalies the past 5 seasons:
    Giguere 57
    Osgood 43, Hasek 41 
    Thomas 55
    Niemi 35
    Fleury 61If you have a “backup” who is going to win you games in the regular season, why not go with him and enjoy your team getting W’s.