It looks like the Luongo era is ending and the Schneider era beginning in Vancouver. Frank Doyle reports.
Has the two year debate over Cory or Roberto finally reached its end game? With their backs to the wall and staring at the prospect of being the first President’s Trophy winners to get swept out of the playoffs, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault made a big call last night. Instead of restoring Roberto Luongo to the lineup, Vigneault left him on the bench and retained Cory Schneider.
What makes it unusual – because Schneider and Luongo have been passing each other on the way to and from the Canuck goals for two years now – is that Luongo didn’t play badly in those first two games. In other times when he’s got the hook, the Canucks have got drilled. Not this time. This time felt more like the end of an era for Roberto Luongo.
Even when he first signed with the Canucks, people felt that Schneider was too good to ride to the pine. The plan was to play him enough to make him attractive as a saleable asset in a year or two, while retaining Luongo as Canada’s and Vancouver’s No 1. But Schneider ended up as the apprentice who surpassed the master and he’s looking more and more like a man who’s coming into his kingdom.
It’s possible that Luongo will stand between the Vancouver pipes again in the playoffs – he may even be the man who wins them the Stanley Cup – but the behind the scenes machinations make it seem more and more like that Schneider is the Canucks’ future and Luongo their past.
Of course, the fact that Danny Sedin was able to skate had no small role to play in Vancouver’s win at the Staples Center. Sedin had been on the IR since he sustained a cheap shot from Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith on March 21. His return was a surprise, but he played his part in a much improved team performance.
His return was certainly a source of inspiration to Danny Sedin’s twin brother, Henrik. Henrik was outraged when Kings’ captain Dustin Brown slashed at his brother, and quickly skated in to pop Brown one in the nose. Blood is thicker than water, after all.