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Canada’s Goaltending

Canada has a recent history of a younger goalie taking over from a veteran starter in the Olympics.  In 2002, Martin Brodeur took over for Curtis Joseph during Canada's gold medal run.  In 2010, Roberto Luongo took over for Martin Brodeur in Canada's gold medal run.  To complete the pattern, it was expected that Carey Price would take over for Roberto Luongo in the 2014 Olympics.

In Canada's first game of the Olympics, Price was chose to play against Norway.  He didn't get challenged much but he did let in a bad goal when he got caught out of the net.  Luongo was given game two against Austria.  He played quite well and got a shutout.  Based on those two games alone, Luongo deserves the chance to be Canada's number one goalie.  Will he be given the start against Finland?

Luongo has wrongly been called a big game choker.  It is true that he didn't give a strong performance in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals, but it would be silly to use a week of his life to define his career instead of the rest of his career.  He has some outstanding seasons both in Florida and in Vancouver.  Most of his teams were not Stanley Cup champion calibre (in Florida they were not good enough to make playoffs).  Luongo has been successful in winning the Olympic gold medal, the World Hockey Championships and the World Junior Championships.

Price has never won the Stanley Cup either.  His Montreal Canadiens have never been a serious candidate.  He too has had World Junior Championship success. 

It is probably true that Price is now a slightly better goalie than Luongo, as Luongo is starting into the decline phase of his career, but he doesn't seem ready to give up the number one goaltending job in the 2014 Olympics.  After the first two game auditions, he looks like the better goalie choice going forward.  What will things look like after the Finland game?  If Luongo plays a strong Olympics, it would go a long way toward securing his legacy as one of the best goalies of all time, even if he doesn't ever win a Stanley Cup.

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Comments

awould's avatar

All that to say, go with the hot hand. If Luongo blows it the next game, it isn’t like their tournament is over and Price is still a good option. Then again, as an American, I hope they both suck.

Posted by awould on 02/14/14 at 10:40 PM ET

Avatar

Luongo has wrongly been called a big game choker.  It is true that he didn’t give a strong performance in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals, but it would be silly to use a week of his life to define his career instead of the rest of his career.  He has some outstanding seasons both in Florida and in Vancouver.

You seem not to understand what it means to be a big game choker.  Furthermore, he isn’t considered a big game choker, he’s considered a playoff choker.

No matter which tag is used, it doesn’t define his career.  It speaks to his play in specific situations.  Yes, he had some outstanding seasons in Florida and Vancouver.  In Florida he never played in the playoffs, therefore that has nothing to do with his “choker” tag.

He got the tag specifically because of his collapse in the first round of the 2011 playoffs and his collapse in the Finals of the same playoffs.  Those two series were some of the biggest of his career and allowing the Blackhawks, an 8th seed, to come back from a 3-0 series deficit to nearly pull a huge upset in game 7, being pulled twice along the way and only being put back in net because of an injury to Cory Schneider certainly can be seen as. Choking.  Luckily he recovered and didn’t single-handed oh give the upset to the Hawks.

Then in the Finals after being up 2-0 in the series he allowed 8 goals in game three, was pulled in game four after surrendering 4 goals on 29 shots, pulled again in game six and then lost game 7.

Completely ignoring his horrendous play in the second round of the 2010 playoffs against Chicago and his lacklustre play in the 2012 playoffs, simply concentrating on his nearly singlehandedly giving the Hawks an 8th seed comeback from 3-0 against a 1st seed, then basically giving the Bruins the Cup, being pulled four times in two playoff series and having another game in which he should’ve been pulled at some point over the course of giving up 8 goals, one really, really has to say that his reputation is unearned, right?  How could anyone possibly think her deserves to be thought of as a choker?

Posted by Garth on 02/15/14 at 12:11 AM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Garth on 02/14/14 at 11:11 PM ET

Hard to argue with that.

Posted by awould on 02/15/14 at 12:29 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Garth is an example of people fooling themselves by seeing patterns that don’t really exist.  We have limited numbers of playoff games and come up with a narrative that isn’t statistically meaningful at all.  Luongo has a career .919 saves percentage in the regular season and .916 career saves percentage in the playoffs.  Those numbers are completely consistent with one another.  The playoffs are tougher that the regular season because the worst teams are not there.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/15/14 at 01:13 AM ET

awould's avatar

Imploding in multiple important games is the basic definition of “big game choker”, statistics have no relevance in the debate.

Posted by awould on 02/15/14 at 01:44 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Your sample size is not statistically significant.  Its probably just a fluke that you have accepted as a meaningful trend because it fits the narrative that you like.

“Big game choker” is about as bullshit an idea as exists in hockey discussions.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/15/14 at 02:23 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

This big game choker has won multiple international titles including a gold medal in the Olympics.  That’s a bullshit narrative.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/15/14 at 02:24 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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