June 16 2011 03:03PM
Roberto Luongo has been through enough lately. He doesn't need idiots like you sitting there telling him he blew his chance to forever exorcise the "he's a choker" demons that follow him everywhere despite golds two World Championships, a World Cup and the Olympics.
Please stop trying to deflate his tires. He was hardly the biggest reason the Canucks failed to win in either of their elimination games.
It's a little gauche and, frankly, on-the-nose to say that Roberto Luongo was the reason the Bruins won the Stanley Cup on Vancouver's ice after fighting back from a 2-0 deficit and winning Games 6 and 7. He wasn't.
Sure, he was *a* part, but then everyone involved for Vancouver was *a* part. You can even say he was a big part. Your gives up 23 goals in a seven-game series, and you personally let 20 get by you, you didn't do especially well. The types of goals he gave up don't help his cause either, as they ranged from "soft" to "something so soft a comparable thing has yet to be developed by science." All the talk of tire-pumping staying in your paint is pretty damning too, considering the (could-be-interpreted-as) criticism of a guy who allowed just eight goals in 21 periods of work and won the Conn Smythe in the foregonest of conclusions to the series.
But despite all that, he was not the biggest part. Where Luongo and the Canucks' battered defense failed — miserably, it's worth noting — is relatively minor compared to the failings of its vaunted offense, which nearly everyone (myself included) believed should be scored to some of Wagner's more awe-inspiring pieces, and for Boston, the Siegfried Funeral March.
And what happened? Eight goals. Three of them in garbage time of futile losses. What had happened to the best offense in hockey? The one that had just finished pouring 20 past San Jose in FIVE games? The one with 50 goals in 18 playoff games against the steel of the Western Conference? The one that pounded opponents weak and powerful alike and scored 258 times in the regular season?
Where did it go against a team from the pitiable Eastern Conference, where scoring was easier and tough Ws nearly non-existent?
Well, you can just ask Daniel and Henrik Sedin, if you see them around anywhere. Which, if you watched the Stanley Cup Finals for any length of time great or small, you probably did not. They combined for just five points, four of them Daniel's, and those four in just two games, only one of which the Canucks won, and those came with the Canucks down four.
They'd faced adversity like that before, though. During the Nashville series everyone tried to explain their tribulations away as being the cause of one of two things or, more often, a combination:
- Henrik, the league's reigning MVP, was playing hurt.
- And he and his brother were up against a triumverate of frustration in Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne. Every. Single. Shift.
But even in tough against the Preds, they combined for two goals and six points. Not great, but nowhere near as meager as their totals against the Bruins.
With reference to the Cup Finals, let's not pretend like there's a better defensive pairing in the league than Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, who handle minutes like competive eaters deal with hot dogs on Coney Island. Let's also not forget that some guy named Tim Thomas is about to win his second Vezina trophy in three years' time. Let's remember, too, that they also have the league's most underrated all-around player in Patrice Bergeron stopping things up even more through the middle of the ice.
In short: They're not easy guys to score against. So that's fair enough.
But even against the tough-to-beat Bruins' second line, top D pairing and world's-greatest goalie, they should have been able to produce something if healthy, right? Five combined points and just one goal between them in 12 man-games from a pair of MVP candidates is pitiable. Hell, Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley — to pick two of not-the-world's-most-gifted offensive players literally out of a hat — combined for seven points and four goals in Games 3 and 4 alone.
So maybe one, or both, of them was hurt? Well, most players on the Canucks roster talked at length about their various injuries suffered during the playoffs. Broken bones, torn muscles, bumps and bruises too numerous to count. You didn't hear a word about that out of the Sedins. The only things hurt, it seems, were their pride and their ability to produce points at the eye-popping pace to which we've all grown accustomed.
Maybe the most telling stat, though, is the power play. Remember how terrifying that Vancouver power play could be? They whipped the puck around at Mach 3 and scored like NHL 05 on easy. But against Boston it was only 2 for 25, and just one of them from the Sedins.
Tony Gallagher, who is an idiot, wrote in the Vancouver Province that the Twins stayed long into the night, answering questions in two languages until every nuance of the game, series and season had the life squeezed out of it with a slew of "try our bests" and "just not good enoughs."
This prompted Gallagher to note, "The twins may not yet be Stanley Cup champions but they are unquestionable superstars of life no matter what Mike Milbury or anyone else might want to say about them."
Well what I want to say is they were absolute crap in the biggest games of their lives, and deserve far more abuse than Roberto Luongo has received, or than they've gotten.
If only I could find them.