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Canucks and Beyond

Not Such a Good Friday in Vancouver

“Hockey Playoffs” vs “Sticking Hand in Meat Grinder”:  What might be most fun on a weekday night?

I’m torn. 

“Hockey Playoffs” seems like a no-brainer… till you suddenly remember you’re a $%#@&! Vancouver Canucks fan, and unexpectedly the hand-in-meat-grinder thing sounds like it might have an upside.

God bless the Canucks—all that sheer talent, all of it unilaterally focused on some mission to terrorize their own fanbase.

The whole thing would almost be funny if it didn’t make me so homicidal.

Most of the team played poorly. (Maybe Cody Hodgeson didn’t completely suck. Any others? You’ll have to tell me—after a certain point, my Valium kicked in and everything went a bit fuzzy.) But no one had a more devastating impact on this game thannnn… (drumroll….)

Alain Vigneault.

What, you thought I was going to say Roberto Luongo?  Oh, there’s certainly a special place in hell for your Vezina Trophy finalist after last night, but let’s start with Vigneault. 

On what planet do you have to live on, as a coach, to NOT know that Luongo was in huge trouble at goal #2?  And even if I can forgive the decision to leave him in till goal #3 (after all, Viggy deserves our patience as he may have blinked and missed several clusters of pucks flying into the net) I can’t begin to imagine how he justifies keeping Luongo in to allow goal #4.

Of course, you could argue we should appreciate the psychological side of dealing with goalies, and bear in mind the fact that sometimes a goalie needs to feel his team’s confidence to pull his shit together.  But in this case, that ‘confidence’ was misplaced.  For one thing, it seems very likely Luongo is injured. I mean, for godsakes, he couldn’t seem to lift his hands higher than his chest—as Chicago clearly exploited, flying pucks over his shoulders at a rapid rate.  Maybe he thought he was okay to play, but after goal #2 (or worst case, #3) that should have been the end of it.  Cory Schneider should have been in.

And more than than, why not have given Luongo the entire game off to make sure our star goalie is in good shape for the long haul?  Cory Schneider is a NHL-caliber goalie, not some schlepp they hauled up from the the BCHL or something, praying he can stop a shot.  Schneider’s earned his spot on the bench for situations exactly like this.  Why not use him?

I feel pretty confident it would have been an entirely different game if the right goalie was in the net last night, and it’s why I hold Vigneault largely responsible for that game.  However, there’s plenty of blame to go around, and Vigneault can share it generously with Luongo himself. There’s a lot of ego there, and I wonder how much of that ego gets in his own way so that he can’t even admit that the right decision—for the team if not himself—might be to rest his body.  It’s hard to trust a player who can’t honestly evaluate his own limitations, especially when injury might be a factor.

God, I don’t want to think about that game ever again. I might not be able to even watch game #6 at this rate, unless Schneider gets the nod.  Unfortunately Ed Willes in today’s Province mentions Vigneault’s knee-jerk reaction is to put Luongo back out on the ice on Sunday.

It’s the sheer madness of doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results, as the saying goes.

On the bright side (and it is just the tiniest bit of brightness) there IS a two-day gap in this series finally. Given the boatload of momentum Chicago’s managed to generate, anything that slows them down—even if only for a moment—is welcome.

Filed in: vancouver canucks, | Canucks and Beyond | Permalink
  Tags: alain+vigneault, cory+schneider, roberto+luongo



Put in Luongo…. the Hawks need the win !  wink

Posted by sean_o_sean on 04/22/11 at 02:56 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Seems like it’s happening again where Luongo is bigger than the team, both in Luongo’s and Vigneault’s eyes.

That’s a horrible thing.  The Canucks have more than enough talent in front of their goaltender to win this series.

The coach needs to have the stones at some point to say “enough is enough” and to put the team ahead of any one of the individuals.  The circumstances aren’t quite the same, but in 2008, Mike Babcock had the guts to put a future hall-of-famer and maybe just the most talented goalie of all-time on the pine during the first round.

Of course, the Wings back then didn’t have a youngster backing up Hasek either… like I said, they’re not the same circumstances, but I think Schneider deserves a chance to show that he can start a game better than Luongo the headcase.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/22/11 at 03:05 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

sean_o_sean— Yeah, i figured that’s who was voting 40%+ for Luongo to play Sunday. smile

J.J. from Kansas—That’s the crazy thing, the coach DID finally have that new attitude this year… sitting Luongo and playing Schneider on a semi-regular basis, seemingly putting the team ahead of the individual. And Luongo, to his credit as well, has responded quite well to this approach.  What i don’t understand is why Vigneault is suddenly back to this, as you say, making “Luongo bigger than the team.”  It makes no sense for anyone. Vigneault could have easily sat Luongo last night claiming injury, and brought him back for a game 6 or 7 if need be. Or even the next series.  Better rested and ready. Instead of this trainwreck we’re seeing now.

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 04/22/11 at 03:17 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

The ‘Nucks, at least in my opinion, have the better team, and should win this series.  But as I said in another thread;

In 2006, I kept having those same thoughts, repeatedly,  right up until I watched Stevie Y skate off the ice in EDM.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/22/11 at 01:46 PM ET

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/22/11 at 03:48 PM ET


I have never heard of an entire city collectively having diarrhea until now.

Posted by Kyran on 04/22/11 at 04:47 PM ET


This kind of goalie being bigger than the team crap has been responsible for several of the Devils’ first round flameouts in recent seasons.  Alas this year we don’t have to worry about it.

Posted by Devils In The Details on 04/22/11 at 05:03 PM ET


I keep fluctuating between abject despair - because Game 5 is usually the most important in a series, and the team’s performance was, with the exception of Cory and Cody, emetic - and futile belief that (a) this team should be good enough to win one out the next two games and (b) if they can overcome this Fukushima-esque meltdown, they should be mentally ready for a Cup run.

But I’d be a whole lot closer to believing in this team if Schneider played Game 6. Not because Luongo’s played poorly - actually I think he’s been OK in the circumstances - but because the team seems to play better in front of Cory.

But AV sucks, what else is new. At least he’ll be gone if we lose Game 7.

Posted by fcjbencard on 04/22/11 at 06:44 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

Alanah, I know your pain all too well.

I am no fan of Vigneault and have often thought that the Canucks win in spite of him.  His failure to adjust to adversity has really hurt the Canucks in the playoffs.  Why not put Cory in last night?  You have nothing to lose and perhaps it would have woken the team up a bit?  You never know…but to not even try it and then come right out and say Roberto starts Game 6..hmmm…

Still think the Canucks can win this series but Vigneault needs to step up.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 04/22/11 at 06:54 PM ET


Why not put Cory in last night?

I don’t blame him for starting Luongo last night.  It could’ve easily been possible that Game 4 was an fluke, it happens a lot that a team is down big time only to pull a big win out of their asses as a last gasp effort (like Detroit did in game 4 last year against San Jose).  So I understand him starting Luongo last night.  One game is not enough evidence to lose face in your “franchise” goalie, but you have to at least consider not starting Luongo on Sunday…

Posted by Garth on 04/22/11 at 08:09 PM ET

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About Canucks and Beyond

Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.

In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.

So that's me. Who the hell are you? smile

Email: am@kuklaskorner.com

Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]

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