Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/24/13 at 08:25 AM ET
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Well, drama and TSN ratings aside, the real issue for the Canucks and their fans has little to do with Luongo's state of mind or the intrigue surrounding Goalie Confidential. No, that remains first-rate entertainment, but the relevant question now is: can Luongo provide anywhere near the goaltending by himself that he and the dearly departed Schneider provided for the Canucks the previous three seasons?
It will asking a lot of a goalie who turns 35 in April, but it will also be the single biggest determining factor to the Canucks' fortunes this season because – without great goaltending – this is an average team.
The Canucks, it should be noted, have grown accustomed to an elite level of goaltending over the last seven seasons. In the early part of the cycle, it was Luongo who played the starring role and absorbed an astonishing workload. But that changed in 2010-11 when Schneider emerged as one of the game's top young 'keepers.
His numbers over those three seasons speak for themselves, and it should be noted they were better than Luongo's in each campaign, albeit with a much smaller sample size. Schneider also wrestled the starters' job away from Luongo last year, but while you can argue over who was the better goalie over that span, there's little doubt that, collectively, the Luongo-Schneider partnership gave the Canucks the best goaltending in the NHL.
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