Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo extends starting streak to three
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com February 1, 2013 11:33PM
Patrick Kane, Jannik Hansen, Sheldon Brookbank
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Updated: March 3, 2013 6:17AM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The goaltending saga in Vancouver continued Friday when Blackhawks’ fans favorite goalie, Roberto Luongo, made his third consecutive start for the Canucks as they hosted the Hawks.
Luongo, who lost his No. 1 job to Cory Schneider before the season began, has long been rumored to be trade bait. He is signed through 2022, with a $5.33 million cap hit each season for the Canucks, who have the least cap space of any team.
Schneider was pulled in the season opener after giving up five goals on 14 shots against Anaheim, and gave up four goals in a loss to San Jose last Sunday. He did shut out Anaheim last Friday. But Luongo has been very sharp in all three of his starts leading up to the Hawks game, giving up four goals in three games — including two overtime losses and a shutout of Colorado on Wednesday night.
“He’s playing good this year, it’s almost as if he has something to prove,” Hawks winger Patrick Kane said. “I don’t know if it’s the trade rumors or him being demoted to the second string. But he’s playing great this year. It seems like he has a little bit of an edge to him.”
Is Luongo being showcased for potential suitors? Or is he really a viable option to be the Canucks’ No. 1 goalie again? No one seems to know for sure. Coach Alain Vigneault played into the speculation on Thursday by flipping a coin when asked who would get the start against the Hawks.
Canucks assistant coach Rick Bowness said Friday that the reason Luongo was playing was simple.
“Sometimes a decision is made for you,” he said. “He’s coming off a great game and a shutout. It’s as simple as that.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville had a little fun of his own with the controversy, mimicking a coin flip when asked who’d get the start for the Hawks.
“It’s [Corey] Crawford,” he said. “I didn’t need a coin.”
Dave Bolland has spent a good portion of his Hawks career getting under the skin of the Sedin brothers — “the Sedin sisters,” as he once famously referred to them. But that was in his previous role on the Hawks’ checking line.
Now, as the second-line center between star wingers Patrick Sharp and Kane, Bolland’s objectives have changed. He still wants to be a defensive presence, but his primary goal is to score. He has three goals through the Hawks’ first seven games.
“It’s changed now,” he said. “Now it’s trying to put up as may goals [as possible]. My goals are putting up more points and getting to the net more, but I can’t forget about that defensive role.”