Blog Entry

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

Posted on: January 6, 2012 4:42 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 4:48 pm
 

By Brian Stubits

Weekend Preview: Vancouver and Boston meet again

The Vancouver Canucks head to Boston for the rematch against the Bruins from last year's Stanley Cup Final. It was a house of horror for the Canucks, goaltender Roberto Luongo in particular.

Three games were played in Boston in that series and the Bruins won all three by a combined score of 17-3. The first game was an 8-0 blanking by the Bruins and Luongo was in goal for all of it. He gave up all but two of those 17 scores.

Fast forward to this season and it seemed to take Luongo a long time and a lot of boos to get back into the form that saw him earn a Vezina nomination last year. He's been significantly better of late, including a shutout in his last start, Wednesday at home against the Wild. So now he gets to go and face down some of his demons, right?

Wrong.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault announced on Friday that it's going to be Cory Schneider getting the start against the Bruins, not Luongo. His reasoning is that Schneider, who is from Boston and played college hockey at Boston College, has earned the start in his hometown.

"I would have liked to play the game," Luongo said Friday, "but in fairness to Cory he's from here and deserved to play -- I'm all for it."

I'm thinking the hometown start angle is malarkey.

I won't rule out that it really could be as simple as wanting to let Schneider start a game back in Boston. But it sure has the look of Vigneault holding Luongo back from this game in particular, doesn't it? How often do you see goalies benched the game after a shutout (and when it's not a back-to-back)? Not often.

There are three schools of thought on this, best as I can tell. The first is why risk damaging Luongo's confidence that has been built back up? With the way the Bruins are playing, the Canucks could be run out of the building. The second, which is the one I lean toward, is Luongo shouldn't be sheltered and should instead face that team in that building. The always say that the best way to overcome your fears is to face them head on.

The third school is that it's just a game in January.

I personally don't think a midseason game is going to do much one way or the other. If Luongo were to beat them, it wouldn't be the end to the talk of struggles and if he were to get beat badly, I don't think it would shake up to an unrecoverable level.

I think Vigneault should continue to play the hot goalie, the one that is playing well. I think it sends a bad message to Luongo if he is being sheltered, it's admitting two things: 1) that Luongo has a shaky psyche and 2) he doesn't like the odds of winning in Boston.

Is Vigneault making the right call here or not?

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Aug 18, 2007
Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:36 pm
 

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

Ummm. He's not sitting because its Boston.  He's sitting in spite of that fact.  Since he pulled his groin against pittsburgh in an afternoon game a couple years ago they don't like playing him in afternoon games.  The rest of it is just pot stirring and people trying to get those beyond boston and vancouver to care about a east west game in the middle of the season.  Oh and don't be surprised if Bieksa kicks Marchands butt.  Real tough guys don't go after swedes.  Time to man up.



Since: Aug 28, 2009
Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:49 am
 

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

Starting Schnieder over Luongo is a neutral move. Both positives and negatives connected to it.

It obscures the real key this, "just another game". Do the Canucks play hard through this game? No matter the outcome.

Does a healthy Kesler and his number two line have enough to counter Boston's shutting down the Sedin wheel and line?

It's both a gut check game and a talent check for the Canucks. The Bruins are playing their best. A good measuring before the trade deadline.

One doesn't make changes when they are playing at the level Boston is. The "second half adjustments" can change everything for a team...



Since: Jan 17, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:24 am
 

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

It was the TD Garden management that asked AV to start Schnieder.  They don't have enough spare red light bulbs to have Luongo start.



Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:22 am
 

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

I'm not the biggest AV fan but I like this move.   Gillis is no fool either.
I think this is more of move has very little to do with Louongo, and nothing to do with "protecting" him.   Schneider is an RFA at the end of this season and a potentially valuable asset for the organization.   I think a game like this is the best way (in January) to gauge what kind of player you have.   He gets to play in his home area, against the team they lost in the Finals too, and he gets to play with all eyes on him and his team.     This is a great opportunity for Vancouver to gauge what he's worth to the organization, there isn't many better ways to gauge the value of a young backup than giving them a start in a big game when the starter is healthy.   A backup's performance when the starter's injured doesn't provide the best sample either imo.  

Organizationally, I think it's a great move for Vancouver, and the fact that it's an out of conference game on the road is even better, because it's going to have the feel of a game with much more signifcance than it actually does.





Since: Jan 17, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 11:46 pm
 

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

Louuu is such a head case.  Earlier in the year, they were scared to play him against the 'Hawks.  Now they are terrified about playing him against the defending champs.

He is fragile, and this just shows the whole organiztion is fragile.




Since: Dec 27, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 11:12 pm
 

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

Love my Canucks........Love em...

I respect and admire Boston. Tough, deep, and bulldozing their way through the regular season.


I feel like we`re going to be playing against our big brother tomorrow, but occassionally the little brothers hold a few surprises up their sleeves.


Boston fans I salute your team right now....They are very very good...    &nbs
p;  



Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:56 pm
 

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

In my mind it really doesn't matter who they start. It's too early in the season to think that this game will hold much weight for either team although only seeing them once this year might prove me wrong. In either case I find it hard to believe that either goalie has a chance to slow down my Bruins and the way they have been tearing up the league since the end of October. Should be a GREAT game either way!!   GO BRUINS and stick it to the Doublemint Twins...LOL



Since: Sep 29, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:55 pm
 

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

The Bruins have nothing to prove against the Canucks. We already did that last June. 7-1 BRUINS !!



Since: Sep 29, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:48 pm
 

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

I'd love to see the Canucks bring their war -face on, But that team is made up  w/ wusses.



Since: May 21, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:40 pm
 

Canucks starting Schneider over Luongo in Boston

With all the smashing in the mouth tactics you suggest, I think the referrees will be busy escorting the Bruins to the box for a rest.  The tough part about making predictions like yours for real hockey fans, is that if you get it right you might start to believe you actually  know something about hockey.  If you get it wrong, you'll still think you understand the game.  If the only thing you think is important is smashing people in the face, then there is not much hope for you.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com