by Patrick Hoffman on 05/10/11 at 08:15 PM ET
Over the years, a lot has been said by both the hockey media and fans alike when it comes to Vancouver Canucks’ goaltender Roberto Luongo not being a big-game goaltender.
Sure, Luongo came up huge for Team Canada last year in the Olympics when his team beat Team USA in overtime to win the Gold Medal. but as always, the fans and media questioned where it was during the most important time of the season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Fast forward a year later and Luongo has himself and the Canucks waiting to play in the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1994 when the Canucks beat the Toronto Maple Leafs to advance to the Finals against the New York Rangers (you all know what happened there). This time, however, it is the Canucks who are the No.1 seed and the Canucks who are favored to win the Cup this season.
Luongo has been a big part of the Canucks’ progress this postseason. Sure, he’s allowed some soft goals but even Hall of Famer Patrick Roy did in his best day in the playoffs.
This postseason, Luongo has done his part to get the Canucks to the next level. Luongo is 8-5 with a 2.25 goals against average, a .917 save percentage and 3 shutouts. While the numbers may not look staggering, his play thus far cannot be overlooked.
Luongo has shown that he can bounce back from difficult starts or goals allowed and has also showed to be a bit more tougher, mentally. That mental toughness is going to be needed for the next round in a big way if Luongo wants to carry his club into the finals and be the first Canucks’ goaltender to do so since Kirk McLean.
The time is now for Luongo to show just how good he can be and prove to fans and media alike that he is worth every penny.
Is he destined for greatness? Only time will tell.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.