Do you think Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo are pumped about their head-to-head showdown tonight in Vancouver? Only months ago, Schneider was supposed to be the guy between the pipes for the Canucks – Luongo, a castaway – his days numbered with the organization. In the end, Luongo’s contract prevented him from being moved to another team.
Before I go any further, watch this hilarious video of Bobby Lou and Schneider mocking their own goaltending controversy, as shown by TSN last season.
The video was funny, but there won’t be anything jokes about tonight’s matchup between the Canucks current starter and the man who almost took his job. These guys want to win this game a little more than most.
Cory Schneider enters the contest with something to prove. Sure, there is no denying he’s happy to have found a home on the New Jersey Devils, but no one likes to be traded. Tonight is Cory Schneider’s chance to prove to his old team they traded the wrong guy. But more importantly, this game provides an opportunity for 2 points.
Some goalies are given the starters role at a young age. They hold onto it for years. Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh is an example of that. Schneider hasn’t been so uncontested throughout his career. Not only was he forced to go through Lou in Vancouver, now he shares the net with legend Martin Brodeur on the New Jersey Devils. A win tonight puts Schneider one step closer to outdoing the aging Brodeur for a regular starting role on New Jersey.
The Devils let a 3-0 lead slip last night in Edmonton against the Oilers. They ended up losing the game 5-4 in a shootout. The Canucks meanwhile, didn’t play yesterday. So, you’d think the Devils come into this game a touch more tired than the hometown Canucks. But you never know, it may not work out like that.
The Luongo/Schneider controversy was often blown out of proportion in the media, but the sense is, the two goaltenders remained buddies throughout the process. Schneider had kind words for Lou in an interview yesterday with the National Post. He told reporters, “I learned a lot from Roberto, whether it was on the ice or off the ice. The way he dealt with some situations there that were fair or unfair, he put on a smile and did what was best for the team. And that’s not easy to do, especially for a guy who has accomplished as much as he has and has as much pride as he has…………He always did as much as he could do to support me, to put the team first.” Read the full article by the National Post here.
There will be a media circus surrounding the two goaltenders today. It’s not so much their answers to the questions that are likely to entertain us after the media scrums commence. I can’t wait to hear Tortorella’s reaction to being asked about Schneider’s return, more than once.