Filed under: Canucks & NHL, Definitions | Tags: bobby lu, canucks, hotbed, luongo, NHL, vancouver
By Josh Hall
It’s become quite unclear in recent days as to which of these applies to the situation Roberto Luongo finds himself in, playing for the Vancouver Canucks.
Not that I think Luongo should be blamed for the loss to the Rangers, but the way some “fans” criticize Bobby Lu is worse than how you would turn your nose to a pile of decaying matter.
There is no doubt in my mind that Luongo is strong mentally. He had an entire country on his shoulders in February 2010 and whether you like it or not, backed that team to a gold medal.
The Italian Stallion made arguably the save of his life on Patrick Sharp in Overtime of Game 7 against Chicago this past April.
Finally, #1 had not one, but TWO shutouts in the Stanley Cup Finals. The guy’s no cerebral assassin (begging Triple H not to sue), but he has been around the block. Yes, he forgot to pick up the milk at the corner store, but hopefully there will be more opportunities to come.
The thing is, despite Luongo’s apparent mental fortitude, based on all of the above, he seems to lack that confidence every October that anyone should have if they’re getting paid 7 Million Dollars. I’m not going to argue about player salaries and say that Lu is overpaid. I’ve always maintained that players getting millions is just the nature of the beast that is professional sports. That being said, it still doesn’t make much sense that Luongo can play so fantastically from November to June (every 2nd game), but play like decaying matter in October. There’s no denying he’s been uncharacteristically flaily so far, and that he seems to lay like a frog on the ice every time an opponent is in close. He needs to work those kinks out and I know he will. Will everything be fixed tomorrow? Nope! One must have patience and most people in Vancity don’t have that.
Vancouver is often described as a hockey hotbed and there’s no denying that. The problem with that is that one day, those “fans” I mentioned, are going to run Luongo out of town. Sure, Lu is a Canadian kid, and any Canadian player would say it’s a dream come true to play in a Canadian city; but if Luongo waived his no trade clause tomorrow and asked to be traded back to Florida or somewhere a team doesn’t belong, I honestly could not blame him. He is a human being people. I dare someone to tell me they don’t have bad days at work; and money is relative. The abuse Luongo takes is ridiculous and it’s borderline criminal. “Fans” treat him like…well do I have to go back to the decaying matter thing again? It’s true. It really is.
Take a look at the other definition of hotbed. “A situation conducive to rapid growth and development.”
The environment Luongo plays in every October is not conducive to development. Last night in the media scrum he was asked if he heard the jeers when he went to collect the puck in the slot. There couldn’t be a dumber question. The media doesn’t help. Luongo answered by saying he has ears. Can I blame him for being sarcastic? NO! Look, whether you like it or not, Luongo is the best goalie we have ever had. He IS better than Captain Kirk. He IS better than Richard Brodeur. He IS better than Dan Cloutier. Forget fans outside of Vancouver who razz Luongo, he gets razzed worse by people in his own city. It’s not like the section of the crowd that gave Lu the Bronx cheer was all NYR or Chicago Blackhawks fans.
I will say it again: if the people of this city who claim to be “fans” of this team cannot see how obviously a game like last night was not Luongo’s fault at all, we can all say Arrivederci to our former Captain and Olympic Gold Medallist goaltender. Frankly, I’ll offer right now to buy Luongo lunch to say sorry on behalf of all real Canucks fans when he does buy that plane ticket out of here.
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