Contrarian Corner: Don’t Blame Luongo



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:

  1. Henrik, the league’s reigning MVP, was playing hurt.
  2. 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.

  • icedawg_42

    I read that article too – gushing all over how much class the Sedin’s had for shouldering the blame – something ANY NHL player would do in the same situation. Luongo is gonna get a lot of abuse, but I’m with you – he’ll get more than his share, and plenty of that share should go around.

  • In the games Vancouver won (in this series) his SV% was: 1.00, .933, 1.00

    In the games Vancouver lost his SV% was: .789, .800, .625, .850.

    So it is both. Vancouver was so outclassed that they would almost need a shut out for them to win, and at the same time Loungo wasn’t good enought to consistently give them that chance.

    It’s the GM’s fault. Had they not wasted all that money on Ballard they may have been able to afford more depth.

    • To be fair to Luongo, though, Game 4 was one they should have been in. It was only 1-0 for 31 minutes and the defense completely quit to allow two goals in like 90 seconds. If they’d shown up at all for that game, it’s a completely different series.

  • Canucks Suck

    I didn’t really blame Lebrongo myself as much as I hate him I do feel really bad for him having to put up with the Vancouver fanbase. I knew Boston could easily take this series away from vancouver if they were allowed to play 5on5 and thats pretty much what happened towards the end of the series. Vancouvers stars didn’t show up when they had to and they just had no fight in them that is also why I am glad they lost.

  • Oyo

    Now, I guess Vancouver is a big rival for you guys, so I offer this idea to you. Take a page from a guy like BaldVinny in New York: anti-rival shirts.

    Play up the Curse of Cam Neeley (no team that traded away a hometown stud like Neeley deserves to win the Cup) like the old curse of the bambino, for selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees

    Or maybe it is the Curse of Steve Moore (no team that recklessly ended that guys career deserves to win the Cup)

    Also, start calling them the Vancouver Cannots

    Enjoy that.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Kesler’s line didn’t exactly light it up offensively, either. You had Boston’s top two lines both scoring at decent rates, and Vancouver’s top two lines both failing pretty hard in that regard. Kesler does have the excuse of playing visibly injured, though.

  • I know that this defeats the purpose of this post but I can’t really blame anyone for the loss. I thought it was a pretty damn good series to watch. Both teams played for full value 95% of the time and the result was the best Finals in recent memory.

    I like the twins. They are really talented. Van had a lot of grit and they punished every team before Boston. The Bruins were just tougher. With Samuelsson, Hamhuis, a healthy Manny, Raymond not to mention the possible injuries to Kesler or one/both twins…who knows?

    I am by no means a Canuck fan/friend but well done to all of them. Nothing to be ashamed of. The riot afterwards however…that’s another story.

  • Just because the Sedin’s didn’t broadcast any injuries after the game doesn’t mean they didn’t have any. Kesler also declined to report any injuries despite it being well known he was playing with a torn groin among other things.

    Henrik Sedin at the very least was obviously injured. There was tape at various points in the postseason showing him favouring an injury.

  • “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.” Two German opera references in once sentence… nice!

    I don’t know what to say. It’s tough to blame just one person or the other. It took a team to lose that – and that’s going from the crease to the executive suite. Part of it was Luongo playing terribly, part of it was the lack of any offensive production when it was needed the most but maybe part of it was Karma screwing over one of the whiniest GMs I’ve ever heard.

    I don’t know what all the contributing factors were. All I know is I’m 100% tickled that the Bruins won and now all the people telling me I’m not a true Canadian because I wasn’t cheering for “Canada’s Team” can shut the hell up and leave me alone.

    …Go Flames.

  • They lost, true flames fans can all breathe a sigh of relief and thank Roberto for all the softies. To go up 2-0 and lose the next 4of5 leaves alot of blame to go around. Or not. Maybe the better team won. Maybe Jonathon Towes was right. The Canucks are overrated. aaaaand still without a cup. LOL