It was bound to happen. It does most seasons in many Canadian NHL cities. What happens? The media ignites a goalie controversy. In Vancouver this year the Canucks created fuel for it but make no mistake who's fanning the flames.
Yeah, I get that Roberto Luongo will be traded sometime before the world economy gets rolling again, and Cory Schneider is now the number one...except that it's been 8 months and Roberto Luongo is back getting the starts again. Only why must media obsess about it? Scandal! Unheard of! Boy that Mike Gillis!
After all, it's hard for the players to deal with, right? It's impossible for the goalies to focus, right? Wrong. Over and over the players keep telling anyone who sticks a microphone in their faces that they're okay with it and the goalies note that their job is to stop pucks, period. Both Luongo and Schneider are being paid umpteen dollars per season and since Atom hockey they've become accustomed to two of them per team, so it's par for the course.
Canucks, goalies, media: Hockey's Bermuda triangle
But, naturally, the media in Vancouver is having none of that. OMG!!! Luongo is back starting and no one wants him and Gillis is asking too much and it's a dagger to the heart of Cory Schneider and what in the world does Gillis think he's doing anyhow? The Canucks, their goalies and the media are Vancouver's version of the Bermuda triangle and it's sinking any hope of simple, rational, non-hyped hockey stories.
On the Team 1040 before the Canucks game with the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday - yes, the night Luongo got a shutout and earned the start against the Blackhawks on Friday - they were creating all manner of controversy. They must be showcasing Bobby Lou, they screamed! Do they really think they can spend the season with a circus hovering around them, they yelled!!
Tony Gallagher from the Province was on the show and he even suggested that this "shocking" decision to start Roberto Luongo against Colorado was because coach Alain Vigneault likes goalies from French-Canada better. Did he really say that? I know I heard it so...yeah, he said it. But did he mean it? I don't think that he could have meant that, could he?
The Luongo/Schneider "can of worms"
In defence of the rabid manner they are approaching this simple thing the media is claiming that it's not a simple thing. "You're all talking about it," is the media refrain. "So we're just giving you what you want." Wrong. We open the paper or tune in sports radio to get a hockey fix between or before games, not to be bombarded endlessly about one subject. And such language! Here's Cam Cole from the Vancouver Sun:
” And now, because of a bad case of waffling on the part of Vigneault — who claims to have a master plan for the goalies one day, and says he’s going with his gut, game by game, the next — the can of worms is open, and the little devils are wriggling all over what looked, nine months ago, like a seamless transition in the making."
"Waffling" and "going with his gut?" "Can of worms?" "The little devils are wriggling?" All of that is worthy of a first year writing student's first short story, but not so appropriate, or so palatable, when you're looking to get a fix of hockey talk.
NHL hockey talk in Vancouver
Guys, lighten up. Luongo and Schneider are going about preparing to play what games they get and their teammates are trying to find their game. The coaches are making decisions based on who has the hot hand, goalies or otherwise, and they are all waiting the return of Ryan Kessler. That's about all there is to it.
This is nothing new in Vancouver, it's what media does. But if they could only stop nourishing it they'd discover that no one would implode with anger over not having countless stories and talk radio about the Canucks goaltending situation. Indeed, without the media's obsession, players wouldn't have a circus hovering about them - the media is the circus! - and fans would simply watch the games, read the stats online and continue about their day.
So let's do that now and maybe they will stop.
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