Canucks and Beyond

Curing the Blues, Praying for Goaltending

01/23/2008 at 8:30pm EST

The St. Louis Blues are currently suffering a bad streak, which prompted a friend to comment to me this morning:

...the Blues are winless in five… well, that’s why God in her wisdom created the Vancouver Canucks.

Ain’t that the truth. The Canucks are so very generous at making teams on a skid feel better about themselves. Just ask the LA Kings.

As for the hullaballoo about Roberto Luongo’s recent play, Alain Vigneault’s criticism prompted this response from the goalie:

“Right now I don’t feel that I’m at my best but at the same time I don’t feel I’m costing games either. You have to fight through it, do your job, and let the distractions take care of themselves.”

Clearly Luongo isn’t happy—either with his own play or with his coach. Like with Willie Mitchell a few months ago, the public criticism obviously isn’t sitting well with him. But regardless, Luongo will have to suck it up—whatever the nature of this conflict, he does need to play better.

But at the same time, I’m not a big fan of Vigneault’s when he engages in situations like this either. Back in October, it appeared more like posturing for the media than actually an effort to solve the team’s problems.

If Luongo puts on a goalie clinic tonight, then great—problem solved. But what if he doesn’t? Well, then it seems to me you end up with a more frustrated player and the same tension in the locker room we saw earlier in the season. And then what? The situation can only just escalate.

It’s not that I think Luongo should be immune from criticism, I just don’t see how this is the best strategy to improve his game. It’s not like anyone is disputing how hard he works or how pivotal he is to the team’s success.

Maybe it’s the concussion speaking (I am feeling pretty fuzzy again this afternoon… ugh) but all things considered, I wish Vigneault would stick to calling out players in the locker room and not in the media. It seems more likely to create problems than solve them.

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